Google’s new Camera app introduces Lens Blur via software optimization

by Jeff Causey on
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When Google released their Camera app on Google Play earlier today for users who have Android 4.4, one of the new features noted was something called Lens Blur. This is a new mode Google has introduced that enables a software based shallow depth of field. One of the main uses of a shallow depth of field is to create a bokeh effect where the primary subject of a photo is in focus while the background is blurred. HTC recently enabled this in their new HTC One (M8) through hardware consisting of a dual camera system. Google’s new Camera app achieves this entirely with software. » Read the rest

Google’s Project Ara phones will be available to purchase in January 2015

by Jared Peters on
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If you’re waiting to get your hands on a Project Ara device, you’ll only have to wait until January of next year. Google has announced that the customizable devices will be available to purchase in January 2015 through a configuration tool similar to Moto Maker for the Moto X. Project Ara plans to go beyond the simple color tweaking that you could get through Moto Maker, though, and it will allow you to change the components and design of the phone, in addition to different colors and materials. » Read the rest

Chrome Remote Desktop exits beta and can now be used by anyone

by Justin Herrick on
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Google is giving everyone access to the Chrome Remote Desktop application starting today. It was previously in an invite-only beta, but now the company has released it for the masses. Android devices running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above can run Chrome Remote Desktop.

As the name suggests, Chrome Remote Desktop will allow users to access their computers directly from a smartphone or tablet. Just how responsive a user’s experience will be may vary depending upon the device’s power and the connectivity. Regardless, it is a handy tool to have by your side. To get started, users need both the application available in the Play Store as well as the one found in the Chrome Web Store.

For the gallery and download links, hit the break. » Read the rest

Google releases stock Camera app in the Play Store

by Robert Nazarian on
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Google has released more than a few stock Android apps into the Play Store, but the Camera app wasn’t one of them. Good news folks!! They just released today. It’s essentially the same Camera app found on Nexus devices, so that means you can get the stock Android camera experience with any device. Plus, you get Photo Sphere too. With this release, they did add one update, which is a lens blur effect.

Unfortunately this app is only for those running Android 4.4 KitKat or higher. We’re not sure if it will open up to users Jelly Bean and below, but we certainly hope so.

Hit the break for the full features list, screenshots, and download links.

» Read the rest

Google hosts early Mother’s Day sale

by Robert Nazarian on
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Actually I am not even sure this sale is really all that early since you actually have to buy your Mom a gift before Mother’s Day. Google knows that, so they are already offering 1 year magazine subscriptions for Mom at $5.00 off plus select books at 50% off. The sale will run through May 5th, but I would hit the source link now to get your orders in before you forget. You might want to pick up a Nexus 7 for her as well, but unfortunately they aren’t on sale.

Mother’s Day is May 11, so make a note of it.

source: Google Play

Matias Duarte thinks ‘mobile as a concept is actually dead’

by Robert Nazarian on
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Don’t panic, Google isn’t about to drop support for mobile devices anytime soon. Matias Duarte, Chief Android designer, did say “mobile as a concept is actually dead,” but he didn’t mean mobile devices.

Speaking at the Accel Design Conference with The Verge, Matias meant that apps need to be designed for multiple screens as in developers shouldn’t be creating different apps for each device. I think what he is saying is far deeper than worrying about 5-inch displays and 10-inch displays. I do believe the future mission is to create apps that work on both Chrome and Android, thus the convergence of the two. So for example, an app might work in Chrome OS, and the very same app would work on your phone and tablet. Mobile shouldn’t be thought of as a separate category anymore.

The full 37 minute interview can be seen after the break.

» Read the rest

Hoverboards, Teleportation and Space Elevators? Just some of the projects the Google X team discussed

by Macky Evangelista on
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People always wonder what projects Google’s secret division dubbed as “Google X” considers each year. Thankfully, a couple members of this secret Google division came out and discussed some of the projects that were talked about. Hoverboards, teleportation and space elevators were all talked about and while it seems very far-fetched and a far reach, you have to reach for the stars in order to achieve something great, right?

While it’s not practical for the technology we currently have, I like the idea that Google at least talks about these ideas. Lets face it, ever since we all saw “Back to the Future 2,” I think it’s safe to say we all have wished for hoverboards to be invented someday. While the projects of teleportation and space elevators have been shelved due to the high cost of money and the need to break certain laws of physics, who knows, maybe we’ll see these projects being revisited in the decades to come?

source: Fast Company

Project Ara gets an inside look before prototype is finished

by Justin Herrick on
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Project Ara keeps making a ton of progress. A finished prototype is expected to be ready by the end of this month. In case you were unaware, Project Ara is a device that uses modules to function properly. Simply input different modules for different purposes. The folks at The Verge were able to get an inside look at what Google and the Project Ara team have been up to. The end goal for Google to have a brand new industry in its hands. » Read the rest

Google’s Gmail makes access to your smartphone’s photos much easier

by Jeff Causey on
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Google has announced that they are rolling out support in the Gmail web client for users to access all of the photos from their smartphone when composing new messages. To take advantage of the new features, users do have to have the Auto Backup feature for photos enabled on their Android powered phones. When composing a new email message, users can click on the Insert Photo button to be taken to a new dialog. In the past users were given the option of uploading an image from their computer or pasting the URL for a photo. The new dialog box adds tabs for Photos and Albums stored on a user’s account via the Auto Backup. » Read the rest

Google exec claims they didn’t copy iPhone software features

by Robert Nazarian on
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Late last week, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google VP of engineering for Android, took the stand for the Samsung vs Apple trial. Of course this trial is all about copying Apple, and Lockheimer argued that they never tried to copy Apple’s iOS. Not only that, many of the Android’s software features were created before Apple did.

“We liked to have our own identity; we liked to have our own ideas,” Lockheimer said. “We were very passionate about what we were doing, and it was important that we have our own ideas.”

» Read the rest