Google has updated the Google Translate app to version 2.5. With the update, Google has ushered in some big, and extremely useful, changes to the app. Instead of having to type in all of the text you want translated, you can now take a picture using the rear-facing camera and have the app translate selected text.
Simply select the camera icon, tap the screen to take a picture, and select the text you want translated and let Google's servers do the rest. The feature, according to AndroidCentral, takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it is easy enough to select small bits of text for translation.
The new feature requires you to be running a minimum of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), so my older Epic 4G, which I've neglected to update, wouldn't be able to run the app. This new feature could be extremely useful while traveling for translating train tickets, public transport signs or schedules, or restaurant menus. The options are endless.
You can grab the updated version of the app from the Google Play store.
Facebook SDK 3.0 for iOS hit beta a few weeks ago, but it looks like a finished version has popped up onto the surface of the Internet. The SDK continues to push a more iOS-native experience, better API support and better session management.
iOS 6 integration won't get the eye down until Apple pushes out their latest software update, with Facebook keeping a separate beta track active to serve forward-thinking developers. Facebook's regular users won't be getting the same reward, though. Mobile ads are peeking their head into the latest beta, it seems and while Facebook isn't pushing them big time [yet], it's a sign of things to come.
The social network is letting developers pitch their Android and iOS apps from Facebook's mobile portals, with a quick jump over to the relevant app store if the title isn't already loaded. At the moment there's no ETA, but with the mobile ads, I'm sure Facebook junkies are in no rush just yet.
Apple seems to be on an anti-Google rampage with iOS 6. The obvious change is the lack of Google Maps in the upcoming mobile operating system, but now Apple has said that the YouTube app will also be removed. It would seem that the reason for this change is due to the licensing agreement between Apple and Google has run out.
Don't fret, however, as Apple has confirmed that YouTube will work in Safari. They also said that Google is working on a standalone version of the app which will be available through the App Store. It's not clear whether Apple wanted to free the iOS experience of Google or if they got tired of paying Google's licensing fees.
It's likely that this change will be good for consumers. The stock YouTube app hasn't seen any major changes or improvements for years, however, now that Google has its own app, it can change and update it as much as it would like. A YouTube spokesperson said that "we are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users."
Apple's full statement is below:
Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
Note that iOS 5 devices will not lose the stock YouTube app; it is only being removed from iOS 6.
Netflix isn't the only game in mobile town anymore as Amazon has just released its new Instant Video iPad app. The app is available free to iPad users and offers both Amazon Prime and non-Prime users the ability to purchase or rent videos from Amazon's online database of over 120,000 selections.
The rented or purchased content can then be streamed when online or downloaded for later offline viewing. Amazon Prime members can stream thousands of of movies and TV shows for no extra cost above and beyond their yearly $79 fee. Non-members are required to purchase or rent each individual piece of content they want to watch.
The system is very similar in design and function to Netflix's offering. The layout looks very similar and it features a Watchlist, which is very similar to Netflix's queue. The one downside to the app is that purchases and rentals cannot be made directly from the app. Instead, users have to open Safari and head to Amazon's Instant Video Store. Once purchased, they are available for viewing from the app.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. There's a new free app that allows you to stream music by creating a radio station based upon a song. The kind of music playing can be adjusted by giving playing tracks a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Why didn't you stop me? That's basically exactly what Pandora does!
However, the new app I am speaking of is not Pandora. Instead, it is a free streaming offering from Spotify. Spotify's new app does basically exactly what Pandora does, right down to playing ads to free listeners. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would pick Spotify over Pandora as they do the same thing.
Be that as it may, competition is good so we may see better apps out of both companies, fewer ads, or other incentives to use one app over the other. This same app was released for iOS last month and delivers the same functionality. The app is available in the Google Play store for free. Paying users don't have to listen to ads.
Security firm BT are claiming that more than one-third of all Android apps have malware baked inside of them. BT bases their statement on tests that the firm itself has conducted, where they examined more than 1,000 Android apps.
According to the company, the fact that malware is in that many devices means that those devices are compromised in some way or another. The company said this during a panel discussion at NetEvents Americas conference. The panel moderator pointed out that he had found malware in an application whilst reviewing Samsung's latest Galaxy S III, with BT's representatives detailing the company's findings.
One thing that BT hasn't revealed is whether the malware they found was found in apps coming from Google's Play Store. With Google's Android-based devices being capable of downloading apps from more than one place, it may be possible that BT's numbers are a bit explosive, and aren't really a representation of people who download apps directly from the Play Store, and nowhere else.
Instapaper has seen a huge surge in downloads since the release of Google and ASUS' 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 has becomes the most popular device for the app, according to Instapaper's internal numbers.
Since the Nexus 7 was released, downloads of the Instapaper app on Google's Play Store have increased by a whopping 600-percent. The app's developers attribute some, but not all, of this increase to the $25 credit Google gives away with the Nexus 7. Downloads paid for with the credit are listed under the codename "grouper", as shown in the chart above.
"Grouper" downloads make up 15.58-percent of all installs, making the Nexus 7 lead the bunch of devices. Instapaper's app developer notes that the Nexus 7's mostly positive reviews are the main driving point behind the device's popularity, as well as the 600-percent surge in downloads.
Instagram have announced that the photo-taking and sharing service now has passed 80 million users, a 60-percent increase in the last 13 weeks. Instagram infrastructure engineer Rick Branson wrote in a tweet "we now have >5.7m users per employee", with Instagram having 14 employees, the math is simple, Branson adds "We're hiring :)".
Instagram have had a fun-filled adventure, with the service launching in October of 2010, and only took the company a year and a half to hit 50 million users, which the company announced back in April. This means it took just three months to add a 30 million users. The growth that Instagram are experiencing is quite amazing.
Up to now, the 80 million or more Instagram users have shared more than 4 billion photos, mostly of their food in front of them. That last bit was a bit of humor from me, not actual fact.
Madfinger Games has said they have been forced into relaunching their Android game at a lower price point due to piracy rates. Even though the app only cost $0.99, Madfinger Games has said that piracy rates were "unbelievably high" and that is why they have relaunched the game for the low price of free.
The game is available for Android users on the Google Play store for users who would like to download it. Of course users who purchased the app are not exactly happy that it is now free and as such have started posting angry one-star reviews. Madfinger Games has released a statement regarding the change, although it's doubtful to relieve much anger:
The release of Windows 8 is getting closer and closer every day and Microsoft keeps releasing more and more information about the upcoming operating system. The latest nugget of news is that the app store, aptly and unimaginatively named Windows Store, will enable and facilitate the ability to offer 7-day free trials.
This is a welcome addition. As most users of iOS know, there is no method for offering trials through the app store. While some developers have produced lite versions of their paid apps, significantly more have not. Furthermore, these lite versions aren't exactly the same as a full version trial. Developers also have to worry about putting safeguards in, which isn't the easiest task, especially with Apple's restrictions.
However, Microsoft has detailed how the Windows Store will offer APIs and facilitate the ability to offer 7-day free trials of paid apps. It turns out that a try-before-you-buy offer boosts sales to as high as five times. Microsoft is even going to offer analytics to show how many conversions are made from the trials.
Trials will benefit both developers and consumers. Developers get a chance to get up to five times more sales and consumers get to test out an app before purchase. There's really no downside to this proposition.
A new app has been developed by a new spinout from University College London, Department of Computer Science. Based upon the work of senior researchers, the app transfers data by chirping a series of notes. These chirps are designed to work in loud environments, such as pubs, at low volumes.
Even cooler is that the app can transfer data to multiple devices without being paired to any of them. Each chirp lasts about two seconds and is composed of about 12 distinct notes. When another device hears the sequence of chirps, it decodes it into a shortlink which can then be accessed to download the data.
The chirp can also be saved for later viewing if an active data connection is not available. The ability of being able to transfer to multiple devices without pairing offers a significant advantage over other data transfer apps. More information on the app is available on their site at Chirp.io.
Our Mobile App of the Day today comes in the form of Reqvu for iOS.
Video for Facebook made simple.
Your life is full of sound and motion, so why limit yourself to photos? The all new Reqvu is the video app made for Facebook that simplifies and adds more fun ways to make and share videos directly with your friends, and even Facebook groups.
See something your friends would like? Dedicate it to them.
Want to see what your friends are seeing? Make a video request.
See something all your friends would like? Make a video update.
You know what you like and what your friends like. Life is full of moments you can capture and share with the people you care about. Use the richness and vitality of video to share fun and interesting experiences that others will enjoy. Reqvu brings friends closer through video.
You can download Reqvu for your iOS-based device directly from the App Store, or here.
Google released Chrome for iOS just over a fortnight ago, and even though it's being held back by Apple's security protocols and can't use its own rendering engine, the browser has been among the most popular free downloads on Apple's App Store since release.
According to the latest data from online advertising network Chitika, Chrome for iOS has snagged a market share of 1.5-percent on its network. Safari is still the champion browser on iOS, but Chrome is seeing some great growth, considering its just over two weeks old.
Chitika has found that around 14.5-percent of iOS users surf the Internet on a browser that isn't Safari. It is worth noting that most of this traffic doesn't necessarily come from a third-party web browser, but from people who arrive on a given site through an app such as Facebook. Chitika's data is based on an analysis of "hundreds of millions of impressions" from Chitika's ad network in both the U.S. and Canada.
Microsoft have added some herbs and spices to their My Xbox Live iOS app, where there's a nifty feature that now allows you to use an iPad as a remote control for the Xbox 360. Version 1.6 of the app also adds a new Discover section that helps you find new and feature content to play on the Xbox 360.
In order to get going, you'll need to enable the Xbox Companion feature on your 360. This can be found in Settings, System, Console Settings, then Xbox Companion. After you've done this, you'll need to grab the app itself from the Apple App Store, and once you have it installed, just sign in with the same Windows Live account that you have linked to your Xbox 360, and that's it.
This the perfect app for those who don't want to always use the Xbox 360 controller, meaning you can continue to use your iPad for other things like Facebook or web surfing, periodically using it to control your Xbox 360.
Back in May, Google redesigned the Google+ experience for the iPhone, which added some new visual elements into the social networking app. But today, the company has released the Google+ app for the iPad, as well as introducing new features into both the iPhone and iPad apps.
Google designed the Google+ for iPad app with the iPad in mind, with your stream styles content based on popularity, type and orientation. The team has also added unique ways to interact with the app, such as:
- Pinch and expand posts right in your stream to add your comments
- Use two fingers to drag a post from your stream to easily re-share it
- Start a Hangout from your iPad and stream it to your TV using AirPlay
Google have also now created the ability to create, and manage Events on Google+ directly from the iPhone app. You can post a comment, upload a photo or check out who's going. Your past event invitations are saved with all of the photos and posts shared by your friends, allowing you to relive that party anytime you wish.
It looks like Next Issue is about to become much bigger than they were yesterday, with the release of an app on iOS, with the iPad app hitting the App Store today. For those of you who aren't in the know with how Next Issue works, it wants to be the Netflix, or Spotify of the magazine world.
Next Issue offers monthly subscriptions for unlimited access to their library of 39 titles. This breaks down to around $10 per month for all the monthly and bi-weekly magazines, or alternatively, $15 for all of that, as well as access to tabloids and other weeklies. One note: the free app is the magazine reader, you'll need to download the apps through Next Issue's browser-based store.
What magazines do they have on offer? Well, most of the big players are on-board: Conde Nast, Time, Hearst, Meredith and News Corp. This means you'll have access to The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated and Popular Mechanics. Next Issue Media has also talked of wanting to double the catalog by the end of 2012, as well as grabbing deals with more publishers. I think I may just have to have one of those $15 per month subscriptions!
If you've been wondering why HBO Go was launched for the Amazon Kindle Fire a few weeks ago, and not Android-based devices, well, you can rest easy. The HBO Go app has hit version 1.5 and is now available on Google Play.
HBO Go's release notes state that it supports Android tablets running software up to and including Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. This means that the recently-announced Google Nexus 7 tablet won't work, but considering Jelly Bean is fresh, this is no surprise.
You'll need HBO, and pay-tv to sign into the app, but you most likely already knew that if you were reading this news. If you do try it out, be sure to let us know how you go!
As quick as it hit Android, Adobe Flash is disappearing from the platform. Adobe took to their official blog that it has no plans to release a certified Flash built for Google's upcoming, deliciously-named Jelly Bean, or Android 4.1.
Adobe has also announced that they plan to stop handset owners from downloading it from the Google Play app store starting in mid-August. Why the kill-the-Flash move from Adobe? Well, the company is wanting to ditch mobile Flash and replace it with HTML5, as HTML5 is considered the best solution for browsers across various smartphone platforms.
Once August 15 hits, Flash will disappear from the Google Play app store for all versions of Android, but Adobe have said that they will continue to offer updates for those sporting Ice Cream Sandwich, or older versions and have it installed on their device before August 15.
Adobe will not be offering any Jelly Bean support, period. They've even said that those updating to Jelly Bean from Ice Cream Sandwich should remove Flash before doing so, as installing Jelly Bean with Flash still installed "may exhibit unpredictable behavior, as it is not certified for use with Android 4.1".
Popular web browser from Google (and my personal favorite) Chrome is now available on iOS devices. The browser brings along some popular features from its desktop counterpart, but there are three stand-out features that make it much better than Apple's built-in Safari browser.
- Incognito mode is separate from standard browsing and can be opened as a new tab (vs enabling manually in Safari)
- Unlimited tabs (vs the 9 limit in Safari)
- Browsing and bookmark syncing between mobile and desktop versions (coming to Safari with iOS 6 & OS X Mountain Lion)
There are other features, too, such as being able to request a full desktop version of a site you've visited, versus the mobile version, as well as the ability to search by voice by tapping the little microphone in the URL bar. I will be throwing this on my iPad as soon as I use it again.
Google's cloud-based storage service has finally arrived on iOS and Chrome OS. Google let the news out during their Google I/O conference, with the iOS app now launched, it features the ability to search through all documents, thanks to OCR technology.
For example, if you were to search for "pyramid", it should display images with the word in them even if the file name is totally unrelated. On the Chrome OS side of things, Drive is said to be deeply integrated, right into the software's filesystem.
The technology allows for simultaneous collaboration, and sync across devices, right up to the point of having live updates for each keystroke. Impressive. Documents can be edited offline, and resynched when an Internet connection is detected.
You can grab the iOS-based app here.
Google I/O 2012: The amount of things that Google have unleashed at Google I/O is amazing, with YouTube for Android 4.0 being shown off. The new app sports a bunch of new features, but requires Android 4.0 or higher to take advantage of them.
The app is available in 47 countries and sports a brand new UI with support for channels that reflects the redesign that YouTube's website received last year. YouTube for Android 4.0 can also precache videos from your favorite channels so that you can view them at a time that suits you better. In order to do this, all you do is select "preload" in the settings menu and it will pull down videos from your subscriptions and Watch Later queue when plugged in and on Wi-Fi.
Something else included is an integrated remote functionality which lets you control playback on connected TVs and other devices. This is said to also extend out to more than just Google TV, and Google have told us to "expect more updates later" on how this feature will become more broadly available.