Google Keeps adds features via update

Google Keeps adds features via update

Apr 20, 2016

Google Keep is getting better on the web and mobile.

How many times have you found yourself with a great idea, but no easy way to jot it down for later? Or maybe you’ve got lots of notes scattered around, without no central spot to find them. Having a single place to capture what’s on your mind and save your ideas and to-do lists is what Google Keep is all about, and today’s updates give you a few new ways to collect and manage the information that’s important to you.

Keep is ready when you are

The next time you’re on a website that you want to remember or reference later on, use the new Keep Chrome extension to add it—or any part of it—to a note in Keep. Just click the Keep badge to add a site’s link to a note, or select some text or an image and create a new note from the right-click menu.

Same goes for Android—you can now create a note while you’re browsing or tapping away in other apps—without having to open Keep. Just open the “Share via” window and choose Keep to create a new note.

Organize your thoughts with #Labels
One of your top asks has been for a way to organize and categorize notes, and now it’s as easy as using a #hashtag. This should help you keep track of to-do lists for a #trip or a collect your favorite #recipes, for example.

You’ll also notice that some of the menus have been moved around to group similar options together, as pictured below.

So whether you’re researching a project at work, putting together details for your Science Fair submission, or collecting inspiration for your upcoming home renovation, give these updates a try on the web, or with the Keep app on Android and for iPhone & iPad.

Gmail for Android is Getting Two New Features Soon

Gmail for Android is Getting Two New Features Soon

Sep 22, 2015

The Android Gmail app is getting two new features that are slated to help users better control their email inboxes.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your concert ticket appeared at the top of your inbox just before the event started, or your hotel confirmation came back right before you needed to check in?

Starting today, Snooze in Inbox is getting a bit more convenient—when you snooze an email that has dates and times (like event confirmations or shipping notifications), you’ll get a one-tap option to snooze to exactly the right time, like the day of your concert or the morning your package will arrive.

You’ll see these new Snooze options on most of these types of emails:

Package tracking updates
Restaurant and event reservations
Calendar invites
Flight confirmations
Hotel reservations
Rental car reservations

So next time, try snoozing that email to the day before the event. Then sit back and relax, knowing your email will come back at just the right time.

The features are due out soon.

[Source: Official Gmail Blog]

Tapjoy Partner Apps Get Halloween-themed Updates

Tapjoy Partner Apps Get Halloween-themed Updates

Oct 27, 2014

Tapjoy is letting folks know that some of its partner apps are getting Halloween-inspired updates.

The press post (edited for Android specificity) is below:

It’s that time of year again, when black cats saunter suspiciously through the streets, cobwebs cover every corner, and jack-o-lanterns light the night with their eerie glow. All of which can only mean one thing – our favorite apps are getting a special Halloween update!

Dozens of Tapjoy partners are updating their apps for the holiday, and below we are highlighting for you some of the most notable updates. Be sure to check out all the scary fun, and look for the upcoming currency sale to earn bonus virtual currency in most of the apps mentioned here.

The Price is Right Bingo, by Ludia

Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right Bingo! Play the bingo game based on the longest-running game show in television history. The latest version includes an all-new Halloween room with special, spooky gameplay. A new collection is available to help you unearth your favorite monsters, and you can get the Daub-for-your-life while it’s still available (the daub, not your life!).

Battle Camp, by PennyPop

Dare to clash with rampaging dragons and fire-belching warthogs? Then join Battle Camp, a persistent virtual world filled with legendary monsters and ancient evils. Get the latest update featuring a new Halloween virtual world, where you must fight the demon boss. Get exclusive Halloween monsters and costumes! Update available beginning a week before Halloween. Event is on now!

Kill Shot, by Hothead Games

Zombies have overtaken the local county fair in this sniper-based First Person Shooter game, and it’s up to you to contain the outbreak. The new version of Kill Shot features five different types of zombies: Walkers, Runners, Armored Dead, Blisters and Hurlers, all depicted in stunningly horrifying 3D. Players must choose their favorite weapon from among a selection of high-powered guns, including a brand new Anti-Zombie Rifle, to seek and destroy the zombie hordes before it’s too late.

Growtopia, Robinson Technologies Corporation

This creative sandbox platformer MMO gets a scary makeover complete with ghosts, goblins and haunted mansions. Explore a universe of over 70 million user-created worlds, all persistent and connected to each other, and check out all the Halloween-themed worlds created for the holiday.

Family Feud 2, Ludia

Survey says…it’s time to play Family Feud & Friends 2. Enjoy new graphics, all new surveys and special twists allowing you to boost your scores. This spooky Halloween update makes playing everyone’s favorite community game even sweeter. Enjoy Halloween-related questions and new, unique medals, plus discover the all-new tournament mode!

The Sandbox, Pixowl

Zombies, Mummies and other creatures of the night are available in the latest version of this world-building, hidden-gem game. Craft your spooky worlds and share them in the Online Gallery during this Halloween season!

The games are all available on the Play Store.

[Source: Tapjoy Blog]

Big Action Mega Fight Launches on Google Play and Ouya, Gets Redesigned for a Better Experience

Big Action Mega Fight Launches on Google Play and Ouya, Gets Redesigned for a Better Experience

Jun 25, 2014

Big Action Mega Fight is expanding from the Amazon Appstore on today, June 25th. The game is out now on Google Play, and Ouya. There’s controller support, including Xbox 360 controller support on Fire TV and Ouya, and DualShock 3 support on Ouya. The game has also gotten a rebalancing according to the developers, in order to hopefully eliminate the sensation of grinding. Additionally, the game is on sale for $1.99 for launch week.

Read our review of the Amazon release of Big Action Mega Fight.
Download the game from Google Play.
Download the game on Ouya.
Download the game from Amazon Appstore.

The Hills Are Greener: Google Solving Its Software Update Problem

The Hills Are Greener: Google Solving Its Software Update Problem

May 27, 2013

Google is well-known for having issues getting software updates out to users. Look at all the devices still on Gingerbread, after all. But what Google recently did at I/O was a big step forward for them: they’re making Android version updates a much smaller issue than they ever were thanks to shifting important feature usage through app updates and common SDKs, not through Android version updates.

Contrast this strategy with what Apple does: big new features are part of mandatory software udpates. This was a problem when Game Center launched, because for users to log in and use the social gaming service, it required iOS 4.1, which released in the days when users had to connect to iTunes to install iOS updates, and it came to the iPad even later in version 4.2. As such, it had a slower buildup, not becoming a universal feature for games until about a year later.

Google Play Game Services may take a while to take off, sure, but it has the advantage of not requiring an Android system update to use. This way, anyone with a compatible device (Gingerbread and later) can take advantage of it. Developers can integrate the SDK without worrying about excluding users. And thanks to the fact that third-party services never really got a great foothold – even OpenFeint never reached critical mass the way it did on iOS – there’s little reason for it to not be adopted by anyone releasing on Google Play.

hangoutsThat they’re also pushing updates for Google Talk as Hangouts and Google Music All Access. That they’re pushing new features as app updates is important – they’re showing that they are recognizant of the Android landscape: providing features needs to be done in light of the fact that not everyone is on equal footing.

Of course, what Google really needs to be able to do from here on out is to be able to push important security updates quickly to users. That’s the biggest issue now for users on earlier versions – many are on OS versions still susceptible to malware, which often goes un-fixed due to the fact that manufacturers and the carriers are unwilling to get updates out in a timely fashion. If Google can make it so that they can get a quick patching system in place, either through partnerships with the manufacturers and carriers, or even through software, they can make the issue of software updates almost a non-issue.

The Hills Are Greener: Why Maybe the Latest Android Version Isn’t Necessary, But Then Again…

The Hills Are Greener: Why Maybe the Latest Android Version Isn’t Necessary, But Then Again…

Apr 30, 2013

Google Glass running Android should surprise no one – after all, if you’re building a piece of hardware that you want developers to test on, and if you’re spending a lot of money to build an OS, why not make it run Android? The reasons are just too obvious.

What should be surprising is that Google isn’t running the latest version of Android on it – it’s running a build of Ice Cream Sandwich instead of Jelly Bean. Google is usually the company that pushes out the latest and greatest Android versions to their devices, so for them to be 2 versions behind (if you count Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2) is a bit shocking.

But is it really necessary? Is there some Jelly Bean feature that Google Glass would be tremendously improved by? For limited-purpose devices such as this, does it really just need a functional version of Android in order to work properly, as opposed to the latest and greatest? Your Android-powered oven doesn’t really need Project Butter, does it? For phones and tablets, user-facing devices, yes, having the latest version should be a goal. But for limited-use devices, is it such a big deal?

Jelly Bean LogoThere is just one problem: Android updates include fixes for security holes. For devices like phones and tablets that have users installing third-party software that can potentially contain malware that exploits these holes, this is why they need updated system software. Right now, holes go unpatched for long periods of time while manufacturers wait to get updates ready, or if they never get them ready at all. Thus, bugs can be fixed quickly, but never actually reach the users who need the protection.

For devices like Google Glass and ovens where their purposes might be more limited, there’s still a potential issue because of the fact that they are still connecting to networks, and with Android’s open source nature, it seems like breaking in would be within the realm of possibility, if not likely.

Now, Google Glass is still a product only for a limited market of developers and early adopters, and as such, probably doesn’t need the kind of security that consumer models will need. But still, to see that even Google doesn’t necessarily care about always getting the latest version of Android out there is a bit distressing.

The Hills Are Greener: Why Android’s Father is Wrong About Android’s Future

The Hills Are Greener: Why Android’s Father is Wrong About Android’s Future

Nov 12, 2012

The co-founder of Android, Rich Miner said something interesting recently that seems to jibe against Google’s seeming strategy with Android, which is less carrier modification. Miner thinks that Android needs more carrier customization.

Here’s the problem, though: that is exactly the opposite of what Android needs. One of the beautiful things about the iPhone is that no matter what carrier it’s on, the user gets the same experience. It’s a very good thing, and it helps people use the operating system better because they can expect a consistent experience no matter what.

But with Android, phones are dramatically changing from version to version, even between the Nexus devices! Android is very confusing to use because the user never really knows what to expect. That back button is still inconsistent and confusing, and probably always will be. Users need to get a consistent experience that they can learn to use, not something new every single time they get a new phone.

This is not to say that user interfaces shouldn’t change at all, but that maybe building a consistent user experience for Android is important. iOS may seem dated to tech observers and pundits, but what if users like that it looks familiar? There is a fine line to walk between stiflinf innovation and user comfort, though.

So, to say that the carriers should be doing more customization is asinine. It’s only good for one party: the carriers, who try to encourage people to stay by way of fear of change.

Much like speech, customization should be a right that users don’t have to necessarily take advantage of. The out-of-the-box experience should be consistent and comfortable, and users should not feel like they have to customize just to be happy with their device.

But this shows how different the perspective of Rich Miner must be from Google’s current team working on Android. Is it possible that he sees the OS as perhaps he once did: a platform that is extensively customizable, instead of how Google may see it: the biggest competition to iOS, and something that they can ‘use’ instead of something that exists. Of course, now that Miner is part of Google Ventures, maybe he’s looking at it from a purely business sense.

But then that’s why iOS devices are doing so well: because Apple does take care with user interfaces. Android should have a consistent user experience, and then allow customization for those that want it. That’s the best balance. Rich Miner may have once worked on Android, but heeding it would be a major step back for Android.

Lightbox, Facebook Acquisitions, and the Curious Volatile State of Apps

Lightbox, Facebook Acquisitions, and the Curious Volatile State of Apps

May 22, 2012

After years of software that was rarely updated or changed, apps have created a new world in which software is strangely impermanent, and an app that someone uses regularly can disappear just like that. Lightbox is one such app: the app for sharing photographs as a photo blog has disappeared from Google Play, thanks to Facebook, who hired away its engineers, seemingly in order to improve their mobile photo sharing product, similar to why they acquired Instagram. Facebook has said that they have problems with mobile, and improving their mobile apps and services is why they’re making such moves. Lightbox is the exception among Facebook’s recent acquisitions: both Instagram and Karma are remaining in their current forms for now.

However, it’s all just a reminder, that these apps from small teams can suddenly change, and possibly disappear because they were too good, or too successful, and someone else wanted their success to be part of them. Or a major update can come along and dramatically change the way an app works. Games tend to go through this a lot. Perhaps every app we use should be used and enjoyed while we have them, because there’s just no guarantee that they will be that way tomorrow, and it’s still just a vastly new and unique thing in the world of software.

Samsung Reports the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab Won’t Get Ice Cream Sandwich…Officially

Samsung Reports the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab Won’t Get Ice Cream Sandwich…Officially

Dec 29, 2011

The Galaxy S line of phones and the Galaxy Tab, one of the first mass-market Android tablets, may be old news, but there are still millions of users with these devices (this author included) and Samsung has at least seen fit to upgrade these devices to Gingerbread. However, with Ice Cream Sandwich rolling out, it appears as if Samsung cannot or will not be putting the latest tasty Android treat into these users’ hands.

The problem appears to be partially self-inflicted; namely, TouchWiz is the problem. The devices appear to lack some of the space for both Ice Cream Sandwich and for TouchWiz customizations that Samsung wants to offer. In an attempt to have their cake and eat it too, Samsung apparently wants to try and emulate some ICS enhancements by offering them through the Market to Gingerbread-toting Galaxy S/Tab users. It’s not Ice Cream Sandwich, but it is at least a gesture.

However, here’s the dirty little secret: Ice Cream Sandwich can fit on these devices. Enterprising Android hackers have gotten early builds of Ice Cream Sandwich running on devices like the Samsung Captivate. The catch of course is that they don’t feature TouchWiz or any other Samsung customizations; of course, advanced users may be more likely to want to ditch them for a stock experience, using their own preferred launcher instead of TouchWiz, and ditching any unnecessary Samsung apps.

So, basically, Samsung is going to be depriving users of the latest pure Android experience, because of their own attempts to improve on it. These attempts can easily be removed by users enterprising enough to hack their devices, but users having to hack their devices and violate their warranties in order to get the best experience with their phones seems paradoxical. Of course, who knows – Samsung could definitely find a way to get TouchWiz working with ICS given the space concerns. Or, they could decide that giving users the stock experience as Google intended is the way to go. However, the big manufacturers feel like they have to apply their own interfaces to their phones for better or for worse, so expect TouchWiz to live on, even if it means limiting the number of users getting the latest Android updates.

The Hills Are Greener: Apples and Androids

The Hills Are Greener: Apples and Androids

Oct 31, 2011

An infographic has been making its way around the web the past week showing the various Android phone’s that have been released and their hardware OS support. There’s nothing quite inaccurate about it, but there’s a subtext with many of Apple superiority because of OS support. A lot of these comparisons are apples to oranges, of course. First off, the definition of “major release” seems to be based solely on named Android releases to Apple’s yearly major releases, not counting any major point releases. It seems unfair to compare by major version releases when Android releases what are counted as major version releases more often than Apple does.But we’ll play along with the graphic in the terms it defines.

The thing to remember, though, is that Android and iOS are different in their very natures. iOS is a piece of Apple software, following Apple principles; it is designed to run on specific hardware. That is a big part of why the experience is often smoother. Android is designed to run on many, many forms of hardware, not just what Google has intended for it to run on. Yes, Google has their stock devices that run a pure Android, but Android is meant to be something bigger, and not as something tailored to one set of hardware. That Android is on the caliber of Android is impressive.

Tus, I find it hard to swallow the arguments of iOS supporters as to iOS being smoother – it is, but Apple’s also playing a different game. It’s difficult to say one way or the other if iOS would be as pleasant an experience if it had to work on disparate hardware like Android does. After all, Apple has always been about controlling what hardware their software runs on, from traditional computer operating systems to iOS now. Designing software for many types of hardware is more challenging, and it can explain many of the reasons why software isn’t as smooth. It has to be more generic and compatible, because it has to run on more types of hardware, and on many different resolutions. It just is not the same, conceptually.

As well, Apple is hardly innocent when it comes to device OS support. The original iPhone was not supported with iOS4 at all despite being practically identical in terms of hardware to the iPhone 3G. Oh, and iOS4 ran very poorly on older hardware, to boot. Then, Apple ditched the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd Generation in sudden fashion with iOS 4.3. By the way, Apple sold a device, the 8 GB iPod touch 3rd Generation, which was no longer supported not 15 months later from the day it went on sale.

Guess there is a comparison between Apple and other hardware manufacturers: neither is perfect with long-term support.

[Updated] Dungeon Defenders: First Wave, Fruit Ninja and more…

[Updated] Dungeon Defenders: First Wave, Fruit Ninja and more…

Jan 21, 2011

We all love a good update and while most of the time we get much needed improvements and added content, there are also those rare times when updates bring us crashes and headaches. Hopefully you will experience the former when checking out some of the recent updates released for a few of Android’s popular games.

Fruit Ninja by HalfBrick

Fruit Ninja was just recently updated to bring us that long awaited “Arcade Mode” we told you about back in November plus some other features. Arcade Mode should now take the place of that mysterious “Coming Soon” black banana you’ve come to ignore. To read all about Arcade Mode for Fruit Ninja just hop on over to our November post [HERE].