Google Maps offers up new traffic alerts just in time for the Memorial Day weekend craze

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Those of us here in the U.S. are excited for a three day weekend as we celebrate Memorial Day. However, the one downer is traffic. Since this weekend is kind of like the unofficial start of the summer, a lot of people travel to visit family and friends which results in a lot of congestion on the roads.

Finding your way is the easy part if you use Google Maps, but finding the best route with the shortest delay is no easy task. Google Maps already helps with traffic alerts, but a new update might makes things a little easier.

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Spotify announces major updates, additions to service

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At a press event today, Spotify announced some major changes to their service built on the data they have amassed from 25 billion hours of listeners using the service over the past seven years. Besides new content that is being added in the form of video clips and podcasts, Spotify is planning to move away from the concept of genres and toward playlists focused more on moods, time of day, and listening history.  Read more

Google suffers from another Google Maps hack

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A few weeks ago, Google Maps was hacked through the Map Maker function which resulted in an image of an Android peeing on the Apple logo near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Google immediately apologized and removed the image. They supposedly suspended Map Maker as well.

Now they have suffered something similar. Don’t bother trying this because it has already been taken down, but yesterday if you searched for “N***** king” (yes that is the N word), you were directed to the White House. It even worked with the search term “n****a house.”

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Spotify gains control of music at Starbucks thanks to multi-year partnership

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It used to be that when you went to Starbucks, you could pick up a card that gave you a free iTunes download, but it seems that will be coming to and end soon, which is no bad thing if you are an Android user. This is because Starbucks and Spotify have just entered into a multi-year agreement that will see the music subscription service become an integral part of the Starbucks experience. This partnership will see the 7,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. linked with the approximate 60 million (global) Spotify subscribers, creating a ‘first of its kind ecosystem’.

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MixRadio leaves beta, announces new partnership with HTC

mixradio bannerAfter being purchased by LINE from Microsoft and Nokia, MixRadio has ditched its beta tag and hit Google’s App Store. The music streaming service tries to offer a more personalized approach to your music by learning what you like and playing things it thinks you’ll like. Other apps have tried to do this with mixed success, so it’ll be interesting to see if MixRadio can pull it off.

The app has also announced a partnership with HTC that will curate music news to BlinkFeed on HTC devices. As the service learns what music you like, it will display relevant info and news about artists and genres you like in your news feed. It’s a pretty nifty use of BlinkFeed that hopefully works as well as it sounds. Read more

Instagram launches Layout app onto Google Play

instagram_app_iconInstagram has made their Layout collage app available for Android users today, giving you the ability to set up your pictures in several different layouts. It’s something that many other apps have gotten popular doing, but Instagram’s approach seems incredibly streamlined.

The interface is very touch-friendly, allowing you to easily drag and drop different photos, pinch to zoom in, and drag the borders of your different photo frames to adjust the size. That leaves a ton of room for customization, which is great for Instagram users. Read more

Basis Peak now exports data to Google Fit and has new leather bands to celebrate

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The Basis Peak, developed by a company underneath Intel, finally has support for Google’s health and fitness platform. The Basis Peak now shares data with Google Fit and other similar platforms. The data normally stored in the official app — heart rate, calories, and activities — can be on the move. Meanwhile, the app allows users to import their weight data from outside platforms.

Hit the break to see what else the Basis Peak got today.

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Google’s new photo sharing and storage service to come next week

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Next week, the split between Google+ and features involving photographs is expected to be complete. Bloomberg reports that Google will likely use I/O 2015 as a launch pad for a photo sharing and storage service. Users will be able to share photos to other services while storing them underneath Google’s name.

The move could be in response to competition, such as Facebook owning Instagram, moving ahead in the mobile photography space.

Are you interested in what Google has coming with photos? Let us know in the comments if you are already locked in with another service for sharing and storing photos.

Source: Bloomberg

Samsung launches Flow, a direct competitor to Apple’s Continuity

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Another service from Samsung has launched as a direct competitor to an offering from Apple. Flow, which is a response to Apple’s Continuity, transfers activities between devices in real-time. Users can also use one device with the other. For example, hitting an address link on a tablet will bring the option to view a map on a phone. Information stays on one screen while the other device manages another task. Activities can be transferred or paused immediately with Flow.

The app, which is labeled as a beta, works with the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, and Galaxy Tab S.

Hit the break for the gallery and download links.

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Microsoft opens beta testing for Office for Android on smartphones

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This past January Microsoft released Office for Android on tablet devices that were at least 7-inches in size. Today they announced another step in their effort to make the suite of desktop applications truly cross-platform and cross-device with the launch of beta testing of the app on Android smartphones. Microsoft says the interfaces for Word, Excel and PowerPoint have all been optimized for use on Android phones while preserving formatting and content. Read more