When I was a younger man, it was all the rage to replace the stock stereo and speakers in your car with better, third-party options. This enabled you to have more features and increased volume. If you did not have something like an Alpine or JVC deck, you and you car were lame. However, as time marched on, car manufacturers slowly began to improve the stock offerings, and, today, many people are content with the factory audio.
Two tech companies are looking to shake-up the car audio industry -- Apple and Google. Yes, the smartphone wars are advancing from your homes and pockets to your automobiles. Google has Android Auto, while Apple has CarPlay. Even though Android has handily become the dominant force in smartphones, according to a new study, the war for your car is still either company's to win.
Way back in January, Google announced plans to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Today that deal has completed. The acquisition sees control of Moto X, Moto G, Moto E and the DROID product ranges moving out of Google's hands as Motorola operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary under Lenovo. Google's CEO is happy with the outcome: "Motorola is in great hands with Lenovo, a company that's all-in on making great devices".
Lenovo takes a total of 3,500 employees under its wing, and becomes the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Practically speaking, at least in the immediate future, little should change. Motorola will remain headquartered in Chicago, and Rick Osterloh will stay on as COO.
Bookmarks implementations have remained pretty static over the lifetime of the Internet. Google is changing that with 'Bookmark Manager' (formerly called Stars). An extension available in the Chrome Store, it promises to bring your bookmarks into the future with a new design, better search, smart organization, and sharing.
The first thing you will notice is the design, and nice, subtle animations. It feels like Google Drive, with a 'New' button on the left with the navigation under it. Each bookmark is given an image and description in a 'card-like' UI. Bookmarking pages is also a nicer experience. Adding the bookmark to a folder is more intuitive, and you can create a new folder easily. One of my favorite features is that you can include a quick note, reminding yourself why you saved the page.
You haven't exercised in a while. It's OK, we know. We can see you getting winded when playing Wii. Who can blame you? I mean, nowadays, there is such incredible technology, that it is hard to be impressed by real life. It is easier to sit on the couch with your precious Nexus 7 watching Law and Order than going for a walk. Hell, maybe you are a Brony and you watch My Little Pony; whatever, it is your life. No judgement. Well, a little judgement -- you are fat and need to get in shape. Your parents are worried about you.
Don't worry, Google is going to motivate you. No, the company is not going to dangle an Inbox invite on a string in front of you and have you chase it around the yard, although that would probably work. Today, the company releases an app called "Fit" that is aimed at getting you off the couch and moving. Sure, it is ironic that technology is being used to motivate sedentary Android fans, since technology has contributed to their lazy ways. But hey, whatever works, right?
As my colleague Brian Fagioli said yesterday when reporting on the launch of Amazon’s new Fire TV Stick, there’s no shortage of streaming devices available to choose from, and knowing which to go for can be tricky.
If you use Chrome, have an Android phone, and love YouTube, then Chromecast is probably for you. If, on the other hand, you are an Amazon Prime member, then the Fire TV Stick is a good choice, especially as it can currently be had for just $19. The Roku Streaming Stick has over a thousand channels to choose from and loads of options. Still not sure which to go for? Let’s take a look at what they all have to offer.
With every passing day, Microsoft's enterprise competition gets a bit stronger. Between OS X, Chrome OS and Linux distributions, Windows is under constant attack; however, the true threat to Microsoft is competing office suites and cloud solutions. While the business world will not largely be transitioning from Windows anytime soon, software like Google Docs and Drive are legitimate options.
Today, Google announces a new agreement with a company called PwC, which will bring Google's solutions, like Gmail, Hangouts, and Docs, to the company. Believe it or not, PwC has over 45,000 employees in both the USA and Australia which is a huge win for Google. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a huge number of users, but slowly and steadily, Google is accumulating these relationships and they add up. Should Microsoft be worried?
The other day my colleague Brian Fagioli posted a story about Cortana advancements for the Windows Phone crowd. It got me thinking because he stated that "quite frankly, Google Now is so good at learning about you, that at first, it can seem a bit creepy". He isn't far off the mark, as it is creepy, but it works. And it works to an almost scarily good degree, when it comes to figuring its user out. TV? Travel? Packages ordered? It will have you covered. But is all of this a good or bad thing?
The answer will depend on the person, as I know the privacy advocates will chime in and disagree with my assessment. Am I worried about this invasion to my personal life? The answer is a resounding NO. Google Now alerts me to all sorts of events, some are just useful, some are things I'd likely have forgot without the help of the search giant.
For a significant number of users a computer session starts, and ends with Chrome. Google continued to reinforce this with Chrome Apps, which are apps that run on the desktop, outside of the browser and can be pinned to your taskbar.
You will soon be able to open files from the Windows file explorer directly in Chrome Apps. Chrome apps will be able to specify the file types they handle, and for those file types, you will see the Chrome App listed in 'open with' when you right click a file. If the Chrome App is the only app installed which handles that file type, it will be set to default (so simply double clicking will open the file in the Chrome App). This will essentially remove all distinction of Chrome apps and desktop programs you have installed on Windows.
Microsoft just stoked the fires of the cloud storage wars once again. There have been various updates to OneDrive in recent months. Microsoft lifted the 2GB file size limit all the way up to 10GB, and we showed you how to up your free storage to 15GB. But if you’re an Office 365 subscriber, things just kicked off -- storage limitations are a thing of the past.
Starting today, Office 365 Home, Personal and University plan subscribers have unlimited OneDrive storage. Store as much as you like in the cloud for free. Well, free if you ignore the subscription you've paid, or continue to pay each month. The roll out to the consumer level subscriptions starts today, but you'll need to take action if you're interested.
There are now a lot of smartwatches to choose from, and many of them need to be tethered to a phone to function properly. Google today rolls out an update to Android Wear that adds support for watches with a GPS sensor, meaning that it will be possible to leave your phone at home when you go for a run.
The GPS update is making its way to the LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Moto 360 over the coming days. It coincides with pre-orders opening for Sony's SmartWatch 3, the first Android Wear device to include a GPS sensor. The smartwatch is available on Verizon right now (yours for $249.99) for shipping on 30 October, and will be making its way to Google Play very soon.
I am a huge fan of artificial intelligence (AI). After all, it is the technology that might eventually make my dream of a realistic robot girlfriend a reality. Sure, many people are wary of this technology, claiming it could lead to machines becoming self-aware and destroying humanity. However, those people are simply paranoid conspiracy theorists (who've watched the Terminator movies too often). AI is something that should improve technology and help humanity overall.
Google is a very forward-thinking company, often on the forefront of technology and ideas. Today, the search-giant announces that its DeepMind division is partnering with the renowned Oxford University for artificial intelligence research.
Hands up if your inbox is out of control? From that quick show of hands, it's clear that the idea of inbox zero has not caught on globally. We all have more email to deal with than ever before, even if most of it is junk. Google has a new solution to email overload. Inbox. This is, Google is quick to point out, not Gmail, although it is from the same people.
Available for your Android phone and the web, Inbox by Google helps to cut through the crap to ensure that you're free to focus on what actually matters. It expands on some of the ideas already found in Gmail, but is a completely separate tool. This is Google recognizing that people use email not only to communicate with others, but also to organize their lives and keep on top of a schedule.
Google Analytics has become something of an industry standard for gathering web metrics. But a new report from form building company Formstack says that businesses may be concentrating on measuring the wrong things.
It suggests that users tend to focus on vanity metrics, like page views and bounce rate, but stop short of real data tracking. What they should be focusing on are the actionable GA metrics that will impact conversion rate and ultimately revenue.
Google has long been unhappy with traditional passwords. And rightly so, they are a headache. If they are easy to remember, they can become easy to guess. There are problems with reuse, attackers are getting them through compromised third party applications, and there are more problems than I care to list. It is hard enough to follow good practice as an informed and security conscious individual -- imagine the struggle for the "non-techy".
Google has long been looking into proximity based credentials as alternatives, and placing them in objects like rings. Last Google I/O, the company released an upcoming feature in Chrome OS that uses your authorized, unlocked phone to unlock your computer simply by having them near to each other (unlocking your phone indicates you are near your computer).
Firebase, a company helping developers to produce apps and services that store and sync data in realtime, is the latest Google acquisition. With a user base of 110,000 developers three-year-old Firebase announced that it is joining Google and plans to continue the work it already does, but pointing out it will be possible to "do much more, much faster" with Google's resources and backing.
With Firebase's focus on the cloud and mobile, it is little surprise that Google's own announcement about the acquisition came on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. The two companies appear to be a good match, with Firebase's aim to "continue to be platform agnostic and provide clients for iOS, Android, the web, and more" being very much in keeping with Google's own ethos.