37 articles published since June 13, 2023
About Matthew Zucca
Matthew Zucca, a tech enthusiast and former consultant from Canada, joined Android Police in 2023. Leveraging his technical knowledge and previous consulting experience, Matthew got his first two games published on the Play Store and developed a love for tinkering with new technology. When he isn't exploring the Android landscape with his Pixel 6, you might find him on his Nintendo Switch or enjoying a game of soccer.
The upcoming makeover is all about user-friendliness
There are plenty of great fitness apps with a wide range of features, but one way for an app to separate itself is to focus on user experience and design. Renowned for its commitment to thorough fitness tracking and health solutions, Fitbit is working on a visual transformation. The Google-owned brand plans to release an innovative, user-centered revamp of its app this autumn that incorporates key elements of the Material You design language. Fitbit enthusiasts can look forward to a sleek, streamlined interface that customizes their health journey with a variety of new features.
Google's earthquake alerts were largely ineffective in the February disaster
The technology for detecting and alerting to earthquakes has been widely praised as a vital method to lessen the impact of such disasters, and mobile phones have become a critical participant in this arena. A strong example of this is Google's Android Earthquake Alert System, a service designed to give users precious seconds to find safety before an earthquake strikes. Despite the commendable intention, the system's implementation has faced challenges, as shown by the tragic February earthquakes in Turkey.
Moving up from the bottom of an endlessly scrolling list
The ChatGPT-powered AI experience is rolling out to Google Chrome with some caveats
The digital technology arena, dominated by giants like Google and Microsoft, is a hotbed of competitive innovation, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence. This competition has produced notable events like the advent of Bing's AI Chat on Android phones and the incident where Bing inaccurately generated an AI response for a Google Chrome search. Amidst this backdrop of rivalry and innovation, Microsoft has expanded the availability of their Bing AI chat experience, powered by ChatGPT and previously only available on their Edge browser, to now include Google Chrome.
Apple pushes back against UK privacy laws that threaten to endanger end-to-end encryption
New rules in the UK about online safety are causing concern among big tech companies like Google, Meta, and now, Apple. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal have already indicated they might cease their services in the UK due to these rules, arguing they could compromise user privacy. Now, Apple shares the sentiment. In a recent statement, the tech giant expressed fear that these rules could force the halt of two of their popular services, FaceTime and iMessage, in the UK. Apple argues that the proposals would make the UK government "the de facto global arbiter of permissible levels of data security and encryption."
New laws could let developers keep more revenue, changing the digital economy
Even though Google is attempting to fall in line with new regulations, the company is continuing to draw the scrutiny of lawmakers across the globe. The Play Store fee imposed by Google on in-app purchases has become a popular target of global regulators, closely mirroring the heat Apple's App Store has been receiving. This is a deja vu moment, harking back to the 2020 scuffle between Google and Epic Games, where Epic challenged Google's exclusive control over the Play Store and its 30% cut from in-app purchases.
Existing subscribers to the basic plan can retain it until they switch or cancel their subscriptions
Netflix has long eclipsed its humble DVD-by-mail roots to transform into a global streaming juggernaut, but it is not about to stop tweaking its business model now. Recently, that's involved moves like cracking down on password sharing, and the introduction of its "extra member" add-on for those who wish to continue. Now the latest change is the elimination of the "basic" subscription plan in the US and UK, following in the footsteps of a similar adjustment made in Canada last month.
One change, while seemingly small, enhances the app's visual appeal and functionality
For the first time in what seems like forever, Google is focusing its attention on improving the user experience of its Weather app. As part of its pending Material You redesign that has already soft-launched on the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, Google Weather is introducing a completely transparent system navigation bar. This update follows design trends visible in other Google apps, such as Chrome, which integrated a similar transparent nav bar back in May. Although this particular element of the update may seem minor, it's clearly an essential component of the eagerly anticipated redesign.
The original 4GB iPhone recently sold at auction for a staggering $190,372.80
Surprisingly, the auction value of the original iPhone has well surpassed the cost of any modern Android phone. The mint-condition device recently fetched an astounding $190,372.80 at auction. This price emphasizes the historical importance of the iPhone as well as its rarity, giving it a nostalgic and desirable quality that modern Android devices simply cannot match.
Feature updates include a redesigned interface, curated podcast feeds, and offline playback for all users
In the dynamic world of music streaming services, other platforms are often judged against the long-established standard set by Spotify. Spotify had a 30% market share in 2022, leaving rivals Apple Music and YouTube Music in the dust with 15% and 9%, respectively. The battle is still far from finished, though, as YouTube Music keeps working to close the gap and provide users with a more complete media platform.
Saving you a stern talking-to from the flight attendant
Modern travel often involves flights where passengers carry devices like smartphones or laptops. These devices have wireless features such as Wi-Fi or GPS that can interfere with the plane's systems. So, airlines often ask passengers to use airplane mode during flight, turning off these features.
This unique experiment lets anyone guide a bird character named Viola as she plays a cello
Artificial intelligence is bringing changes to many areas, including the arts. Google's Arts & Culture team, known for using AI creatively, has introduced several artistic projects recently. One of these was the Blob Opera, a fun tool that used AI to let people compose their own music. Now, they have an even more inventive project called Viola the Bird.
The company’s AR roadmap is looking increasingly blurred with the departure of Mark Lucovsky
Will the metaverse and augmented reality really change the way we access systems? Even with some really impressive stuff like Apple's Vision Pro on the way, it feels like much of the early hype is already starting to fade. We've already seen Google grappling with the fallout from the termination of its ambitious "Project Iris" earlier this year, and now the company faces yet another stumbling block on its rocky path towards augmented reality and mixed reality, with the unexpected resignation of Mark Lucovsky, its Senior Director of Engineering, Operating Systems, AR.
Med-PaLM 2 is already in testing at Mayo Clinic
Google is a crucial player in pushing the boundaries of innovation as artificial intelligence technology has been developing quickly across several industries. The beta release of Bard, an outstanding language model capable of producing fresh content and offering conversational responses, seems like it was only the tip of Google's AI iceberg. The company has now unveiled Med-PaLM 2, an advanced medical chatbot that has the potential to transform the healthcare sector, building on the success of Bard.
No more scrolling through countless chats
WhatsApp development never sleeps, and it feels like every time we look, there's some new feature being worked on to enhance the messaging app. It hasn't even been a full day since we were checking out an intelligent sticker suggestion system based on emoji usage, and now we're already looking at what's next, as WhatsApp starts beta testing a simple chat list filter designed to help users find conversations faster.
Google's transition from semi-custom Samsung to fully-custom TSMC for its Tensor chip pushed to 2025
Google's ambitious journey into the world of custom chip design, initiated with the Tensor G1 SoC in the Pixel 6 series, appears to be approaching a significant turning point. Although Google has depended heavily on Samsung for chip design and production since the introduction of the Tensor, this reliance is set to shift as the tech giant is planning to debut a fully customized Tensor chip by 2025 and has selected Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) as the new production partner.
The recent Google Photos update introduces a range of video effects
Google Photos, which could be considered the Swiss Army knife of gallery apps, is always getting better with each update. For example, recently Photos received a convenient import function. Now, the developers have added video effects and fine-tuned media controls, transforming the app into an even more comprehensive tool for Android users.
With a launch scheduled for July 6, Instagram Threads is set to challenge Twitter's reign over text-based social media interactions
In keeping with its habit of cloning famous app features, Meta is getting ready to release "Threads," a copy of Twitter. The company has a history of using such tactics, as seen by the introduction of Live Audio Rooms, its answer to the audio-only discussion platform Clubhouse, and when it expanded its TikTok clone, Reels, in response to the rising competitor currently facing bans.
Rate limits and new login requirements are having ripple effects across the internet
Lately, Google has been trying to get better about incorporating social media posts into your search results, launching a new Perspectives tab right around the same time Reddit's blackouts started. Meanwhile, Twitter has changed its platform in ways that may be affecting the appearance of tweets in search results. CEO Elon Musk announced the controversial decision to impose temporary rate limits just days after the company made most of its content solely available to registered users, and now we're seeing a lot of Twitter results disappear from Google Search.
In an unforeseen turn of events, Twitter has decided to test user patience by cloistering tweets behind a sign-in wall
It was not long ago when Twitter made a controversial move to monetize access to its API, raising eyebrows in the developer community. With an amended Developer Agreement barring the resurgence of third-party Twitter clients and the ending of free API access, Twitter had evidently embarked on a new journey. This overhaul has sparked discussions about the future of the platform, not least because of the potential loss of automated accounts and the serious impact on smaller developers who were heavily reliant on the previously free API.