Since Google Hangouts was released last week, users haven’t been too happy with the lack of SMS and Google Voice integration. Google has already told us that SMS messaging will be included in the near future, and today a Google member is assuring us that Voice will also be a part of future versions. Nikhyl Singhal, product manager for real time communications at Google, went so far to say on his Google+ profile that Hangouts is “designed to be the future of Google Voice” and that future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly.
In addition, the recent Gmail update that added Hangouts disabled Google Voice outbound calling. On his Google+ account, Singhal added that “outbound/inbound calls will soon be available.” It’s great to see that Google will continue working to add and restore features to their new client that users want, but with Google, it’s hard to expect anything less.
The Google+ Photos enhancements that were announced last week were already available on the web, and they have now been added to the Android app as well.
Auto-backup is added in the update to automatically backup user’s photos taken on their phone to the cloud, of course with permission. Snapseed features are also included. Users can use tweaks like cropping, rotating, and exposure adjustments, as well as the popular filters Snapseed offers. Google’s own “Auto-awesome” feature which was demonstrated at the I/O is also available in the app after the update. Searching for the best photos is also improved in the update, using the new “highlights” feature which allows Google to pick and display the best photos from an album on the main page of that album.
Among the other features the update offers are improved location sharing and automatic related hashtags. You can download the updated app through the link after the break. » Read the rest
This year’s Smart App Challenge by Samsung has arrived, and will focus on creative usage with its Chord SDK. The Chord SDK features quick peer-to-peer sharing, and allows for collaboration and sharing info/media between multiple devices on the fly.
There’s $800,000 in prize money at stake for 10 different applications. The possibilities are essentially limitless for this new technology, and perhaps the most impressive demonstration of what the SDK can do is featured in the surround sound speaker mode. Samsung will take entries from June 20th to August 31st and the winner will be announced this December.
This adds a fresh perspective to what Samsung is trying to accomplish and it will be exciting to see the outcome of the competition.
Do you remember last month when we told you of the sad news that Samsung’s old TecTiles didn’t work with the new Galaxy S 4. Well cheer up my friends because Samsung TecTiles 2 are now available for you to purchase. For those of you that don’t know what a Samsung TecTile is, let me give you a quick refresher. They are smart NFC tags that can be programmed by the Samsung TecTile app to do many things. You can set TecTiles to change settings in the phone, call a specific number, or send a predefined text. As an example, you can place a tag at the office, and when you scan the it, it can set your smartphone to silent or it could bring up your work calendar. You choose what you want the tag to do when it is scanned, making the little tasks that much easier.
For those that have a Galaxy S 4 and want more info, check out the source.
We have some good news for retro game-lovers today, as Sega launched the classic version of Sonic the Hedgehog to Google Play. On the game’s official page on the Google Play store, Sega states that this is the full original version, and includes some pretty neat exclusive features, such as the ability to play as Knuckles and Tails. The game is available for download at only $2.99. Enjoy, gamers! Let us know how you like it. The Google Play link is available after the break, as well as a preview video. » Read the rest
While we await the imminent release of Android 4.3 and its inclusion of Bluetooth Smart support, some app developers have taken it upon themselves to start adding Bluetooth 4.0 syncing to their apps, including Fitbit, a healthy lifestyle tracking application.
As they added support for the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II back in February, today they announced that the app will now support the Galaxy S 4, with all of the efficiency improvements that it brings. Obviously since the new Bluetooth support is not yet standard in Android devices, Fitbit says that custom development work is needed for individual smartphones. Obviously Samsung’s new flagship device was an early priority.
You can grab the updated Fitbit app from the Google Play Store after the break. » Read the rest
Simply put, Google Hangouts is awesome. It’s seamless, it’s cross-platform, and it works really well. At least, it works well so long as you’re not on AT&T’s mobile network. Unfortunately, if you try to video chat when you’re using AT&T’s network, it won’t work. According to AT&T officially, video chatting will work on their network with any app that isn’t preloaded, but it’s up to manufacturers to make sure their apps work on AT&T’s network. That’s kind of a loophole exception, because Google Talk is a preloaded app but Hangouts has to be downloaded from the Play Store… Overall, not exactly a consumer-friendly move. Regardless, don’t try video chatting over AT&T’s network in the near future. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if they change their stance on the matter.
Concrete Software wasted no time incorporating Google’s new gaming service into their title PBA Bowling Challenge. Multiplayer support was a function users had been requesting for the highly rated game and the new game service enabled Concreate to quickly incorporate that feature into their title. Concrete’s decision to take advantage of the new game service may be a harbinger of how Google’s game service will serve both players and developers. According to Keith Pichelman, CEO of Concrete Software: » Read the rest
When Google announced the new Hangouts application yesterday, many people were excited to finally have an integrated, synced messaging service. That excitement was tempered by the realization that SMS was not supported – at least, not yet. The lack of SMS integration was curious since the application’s permissions include the ability to send, receive, and read SMS messages. Some users were also getting messages during the installation or upgrade process that seemed to indicate the app was using SMS for phone number verifications.
A message from Dori Storbeck, community manager with Google indicates “SMS integration is coming soon – it is one of our most requested features!” Storbeck did post an update later indicating “We actually have nothing to announce at this time.” The pieces seem to be in place for SMS integration and it is clearly a function that users are interested in having. The question remains as to when it will be made available.
With yesterday’s announcement about the new Google Play games service, Google also started the process of shutting down Google+ Games. Visiting the Google+ Games page yields visitors a new banner announcing Google+ Games will not be available after June 30th. Some developers are already working on replacements or alternatives for players who want to continue to play a particular title. » Read the rest