New and improved ‘Explore Nearby feature’ coming to Google Maps

by Robert Nazarian on
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Google recently updated the Maps app last week with new features, but it looks like a handful of people are getting one additional feature. It’s a new and improved “Explore Nearby.”

Everybody already has the current version of Explore Nearby, which will give you ideas for different types of establishments. This newer version gets its own button at the bottom right, and it’s more powerful. It has more groups along with points of interest. You can even select the time of day to get better suggestions such as a bar for later at night.

We aren’t sure when this will land on an official update, but we are thinking sooner rather than later.

source: Android Police

Want an updated factory image of Android L Dev Preview? Not gonna happen, a Googler says

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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If you’re one of the many who jumped ship from their stable Android version to try out the Android L Developer Preview, you definitely noticed it’s not exactly the most polished thing in the world (not even close, actually).

No reason to be mad at Google, though — it’s just a developer preview, and we’re lucky to have something before launch.

As most Android enthusiasts tend to do, we looked ahead, and hoped for Google to upload an updated factory image of the L Developers Preview. But according to Googler Rich Hyndman, it ain’t happening.

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Why wasn’t the Motorola Moto X commercially successful?

by Justin Herrick on
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When Google gained control of Motorola in 2012, the expectation was that Google was ready to release a smartphone of its own. That never happened. The blame can perhaps be put on Google’s engineering team or even the CEO’s lack of wanting to work with Motorola. Instead, Motorola pushed on its own and produced its flagship that was announced and released in August 2013: the Moto X. It was the return of Motorola, eliminating its massive amount of devices to just focus on a single one. Google was now holding an umbrella over Motorola, making sure nothing could go wrong and nurse it back to health. Everyone thought that this device would bring together a superb, unchanged software experience along with cutting edge specifications. For some reason, hardly anyone bit. » Read the rest

ZTE announces Google Now Launcher coming on new devices

by Jeff Causey on
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ZTE has announced that they are adopting the Google Now Launcher for a couple new devices, and probably more later, instead of loading a custom user interface making them some of the first smartphones outside of Nexus devices and Google Play Experience devices to do so. The ZTE Blade Vec 4G is a mid-range device that has been selling in China and Europe. ZTE’s announcement regarding the use of the Google Now Launcher coincides with the device’s entry into the Hong Kong market. » Read the rest

Games with in-app purchases will no longer be called “free”

by Justin Herrick on
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Everyone loves free games, but many of them are not actually free. In-app purchases within a game can make just as much money for a developer that releases a paid one without any purchases after the initial download.

The European Union feels that this is an issue for consumers since many parents have run into an problem with children making in-app purchases after a “free” game has been downloaded. Google has listened and will no longer use the word for games featuring in-app purchases. Also, the company will have restrictions built to make it not so easy for people (but primarily children) to make in-app purchases without permission. These changes will all become official in September.

Google working on fixing laptop battery drain bug in Chrome

by Jared Peters on
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A recently uncovered bug in Chrome showed that Google’s browser was unnecessarily using too much battery on laptop computers due to the way Chrome handled PC processors when it was idling. Chrome sets the processor tick rate at 1 millisecond, even when it’s just sitting in the background not doing anything, which can cause up to an extra 25% battery drain on some hardware. Other browsers, like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, keep the CPU tick rate at the default 15.625 milliseconds when it isn’t doing intensive tasks. » Read the rest

[APK Download] Google Maps now has richer biking navigation and voice input

by Justin Herrick on
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A Google Maps update is rolling out now (to version 8.2). Firstly, it brings a much better experience to bikers that use Maps. When designing a route for biking, Maps will now show much information such as altitude. This will be very helpful for bikers that are serious bikers. the other part of this update is in the form of new voice input while navigating. Just hit the microphone on the display and voice input is ready to go with whatever you throw at it.

The update is unsurprisingly moving at a slow pace, but we have the APK file ready for you.Hit the break for download links.

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Google, Samsung have growing tension over wearables

by Justin Herrick on
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First they argued and made up over a software scuffle, but now there is tension regarding wearables. Samsung recently made the decision that Tizen would be its smartwatch platform, but Larry Page of Google is not very happy about that. According to The Information, Samsung’s vice chairman Jay Y. Lee met with Page a few weeks ago and Page expressed exactly how he felt. » Read the rest

Google will release a custom watch face API for Android Wear soon, current watch faces may not work with it

by Robert Nazarian on
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When Google released the Android Wear SDK at Google I/O a few weeks ago, we were told that custom watch faces weren’t supported. I was very disappointed, but very excited to actually see custom watch faces in the Play Store a week later. How was this possible? Well I am no developer, but there is some sort of workaround that is working pretty well.

Google’s Wayne Piekarski recently posted about this and mentioned that a custom watch API is in the works.  He also notes…

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Google Wallet updated with ability to store gift cards and more

by Robert Nazarian on
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Google Wallet has been updated today with a couple of really nice features. As you know, Google Wallet already lets you store your loyalty cards, which makes things a lot easier. With this update, you can now store your gift cards for the same easy access. Just like loyalty cards, you can snap a picture of your gift card or enter the information from it in the app to store it. If you received an electronic version, you can click “Save to Google” directly from the e-gift. Once your gift card is in your Wallet, just show your phone to the cashier at checkout.

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