Sprint steps up the bloatware game in a bad way with BlackBerry KeyOne

Getting a new smartphone from a carrier usually means putting up with the bloatware that carriers install. This can be in the form of the carrier’s own specific apps that it believes you just cannot live without or it can be third-party apps from vendors the carrier has struck business deals with. The bloatware landscape has improved a little bit over the years and users can now disable or remove some apps in many cases. However, reports of what Sprint may be doing with the BlackBerry KeyOne may point to a disturbing new escalation in the field of bloatware.

Google expands voice typing to new languages including U.S. emoji

Google announced today some additional languages that will be available for voice typing as part of the company’s speech recognition code that will cover more than a billion people around the globe. Even English speaking users in the U.S. will enjoy some of the fruits of Google’s labor as one of the “languages” will be the ability to use voice to search for an emoji. The thirty new languages that are being added by Google bring the total number of languages supported by Google’s speech recognition engine to 119.

New Facebook Watch platform for videos coming up next

Facebook has announced their next platform to be released, a video streaming service called Watch. Many are pointing to the new Watch as being Facebook’s answer to YouTube TV, although Facebook says they are capitalizing on their own success with making video available on their platform. Watch will serve as a hub to help users find content instead of relying on the normal Facebook News Feed or through the Video tab that is available to U.S. users.

Google adds app quality component to Google Play

Google has announced some revisions to the way apps show up in the Google Play Store in an effort to push developers to give more attention to quality and to help users enjoy their apps more. In the announcement from Andrew Ahn, Product Manager with Google Play, he notes the team’s efforts should result in helping “people find and discover safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps.” To make this happen, the Google Play algorithms for search and discovery have been enhanced to incorporate app quality in determining what to display to a user.

Google’s Image Search now displays badges to identify Gifs, videos, and recipes

Google’s Image Search is a wondrous thing, but sometimes when searching for pictures of food it would be great to know if it was a photo of something you could purchase or even a recipe that you could follow. Thankfully, Google has updated its Image Search engine so it will now display a badge to do just that, as well as if there are Gifs or videos available.

Google exec confirms that YouTube Red and Google Play Music will merge into single service

Despite Google’s prowess when it comes to search and advertising, its approach to apps and services isn’t exactly clear-cut, its gluttony of messaging apps is a prime example. Another would be its music offerings, with Google Play Music, YouTube Red, and YouTube Music featuring different, yet overlapping content. YouTube’s head of music, Lyor Cohen, says that YouTube Red and Google’s Play Music need to be joined into a single offering. 

Google may be adding SMS notifications to Chrome OS desktop

If you are a big user of SMS messaging and also spend lots of time working on a computer, then you likely appreciate the ability to send and receive messages on the desktop and having threads stay synced across devices. This is one of the big reasons so many people gripe about an app like Allo not providing this capability and forcing users to rely on third-party apps or services instead of being able to stick with their preferred Google platform. For Chrome OS users, that may be changing in an upcoming update based on some findings in a recent development release.

Google releasing new Emoji compatibility library

If you have ever traded messages with someone using your smartphone – which is basically everyone – you have probably run into a problem where someone sends you an emoji that just displays as a blank box or a box with an X through it. This happens due to incompatibilities with fonts supported by an operating system and can be quite frustrating. Google’s Android developers think they have figured out a way around this that will separate emoji display from the operating system and put more control in the hands of developers to open up the world of emojis to their users.