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Today Google announced the launch of a new app for Android called Google Camera, confirming recent rumors that the company was working on developing a new camera app with some unique features. The new standalone app branches away from the current Android 4.4 camera app, and features a more refined UI and is overall, easier to use. The camera app brings several new features to Android devices as well including Spherical images, software-based lens blur, and even a more intuitive panorama mode.
"Achieving this optical effect has traditionally required a big lens and aperture, and therefore hasn't been possible using the camera on your mobile phone or tablet. That all changes with Lens Blur, a new mode in the Google Camera app," Google said in a blog post. "Lens Blur replaces the need for a large optical system with computer vision algorithms and optimization techniques that are run entirely on the mobile device, simulating a larger lens and aperture in order to creating a 3D model of the world."
I was one of those 50 million users who installed "Brightest Flashlight" onto my Android smartphones, but location data from each user - which is a number that climbs over 50 million - was transmitting users' real-time locations to ad networks and other third parties.
Last Wednesday, the FTC confirmed that GoldenShores' owner, Erik Geidl, are not to collect users' geolocation data without clearly outlining how and why they're doing it, and they have to confirm who is receiving the location data. Geidl is forced to inform the FTC about any new businesses he decides to start in the next ten years, and just a few days left to delete all of the data he had collected. The problem here is, that the FTC does not even touch down on the money that Geidl made selling 50 million users' geolocation data. There would have to be a very large sum of money there, but for now it seems like the FTC gave him a simple slap on the wrist.
Google has just pushed out an updated Chrome for Android beta, which includes some new features. One of the new features is the ability to "undo" the accidental closure of a tab.
The video player has been updated, which will let your phone or tablet use HTML5-based full-screen video with subtitles and on-screen playback controls. The latest Chrome for Android beta also includes support for the multi-window features on select devices, as well as support for sending some videos from the browser, over to Google's cheap Chromecast, direct.
You can get the latest Chrome for Android beta right here at the Google Play store.
It looks like music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are making Apple push in changes to its own service quicker than the company previously would've liked to have done so.
Apple hasn't been seeing increased music sales since it launched its iTunes Radio service last year, but a continued decline. Billboard is now reporting that Apple wants to dramatically overhaul its iTunes Store in order to better compete, which might include "an on-demand streaming service, an iTunes store for Google's Android devices and negotiating download sales windows that favor Apple".
Minecraft continues to make headlines, with the mobile version of the game, Pocket Edition, selling over 21 million copies. Mojang's Jens Bergensten announced the news over Twitter.
Bergensten said: "[Minecraft: Pocket Edition] has sold over 20 million copies (actually, over 21M)". With the game hitting this number so quick, it means that sales have doubled in the last twelve months, and that sales have actually increased over that time. Minecraft: Pocket Edition launched back in October 2011 on Android, followed by the iOS version a few months later.
In April 2013, Pocket Edition had reached 10 million sold. Chief Word Officer at Mojang, Owen Hill, said: "We're extremely grateful to all players for your dedication and creativity. Without that, Minecraft wouldn't be anywhere near as significant as it is today".
Navigating to images stored on your Dropbox on any mobile device has always been a pain in the but, and today Drobox took a big step forward in alleviating those pains. This afternoon, Dropbox announced the launch of a new image viewing and sharing app that will allow its users to more efficiently navigate and share their images.
Called Carousel, the new app allows friends to effortlessly share images between one-another all from within Dropbox. While users have always been able to share images via SMS, Email, and other apps from Drobox's native app, Carousel allows them to share images directly between each other's Dropbox accounts. Carousel also organizes all photos from within ones Dropbox account and unifies them all in a single camera-roll. Photos are sorted by date taken, and users can scroll through them in several different manners. Carousel is available on iOS and Android now.
If Facebook's recent acquisition of WhatsApp is not enough of an indication that the company is focused on dominating the instant messaging space, a new report that it will be removing messaging from its native app should be. Today Facebook began notifying select users that messaging from within the Facebook app will no-longer be allowed, and that they must download the official Facebook Messenger app to continue messaging on mobile.
Facebook says that it is ending messaging within its native app in an effort to send more users to its stand-alone messaging app, Facebook Messenger. Not everyone will be forced to use the Messenger app though, and those excluded include Android-devices with exceptionally small amounts of RAM, and Windows Tablets. All other iOS, Android, and Windows Phone users will eventually be forced to either download the Messenger app, or stop sending, reading or replying to messages on Facebook from their mobile device.
Anthony Hariton, a computer science student at the University of Crete, said that he has found a simple hack for Apple Passbook which will allow him to get free first class tickets for a flight anywhere you choose.
The student plans to present his finding in the Box Security Conference that will be held in Amsterdam. Apple's Passbook iOS app allows you to scan items such as movie tickets, boarding passes, and more so that users will not require to carry any papers. Once the boarding pass is in the app, all you have to do is show the boarding pass on your phone.
Hariton also claims that the process is so simple, that even an everyday user can do it. But he also said that one would require a good poker face and nerves of steel along with the software hack. Until the presentation is done, it will be difficult to say if the hack really works. If it does work, those who are caught would most likely be arrested and charged with fraud and theft.
Searching Yelp has always been an easy process, and for that matter, searching anything on the internet has always been an easy process. There are those out there however who feel that it should be even easier, and today Yelp became one of those companies. users of the popular restaurant rating service can now search for good eats by simply typing in a single emoji.
That's right, iOS users can now flip to their alternate keyboard when searching Yelp an enter in one of the small cartoon-like emojis that appear on the screen. This move signifies Yelp's commitment to improving its mobile platform, something most of its users now use to access the service. This news follows a recent decision by Twitter to begin allowing the use of Emojis on its mobile platform as well.
Ever since Google opened up the Chromecast SDK to developers, support has been added to services and apps at a blazing pace, and today Rhapsody became the latest in a long line of recent additions to the $35 media streaming dongle. Today Rhapsody announced that it had updated its Android and iOS apps to now support Chromecast.
This meas that Google Chromecast users now have access to more than 32 million songs that Rhapsody holds in its collection. Chromecast support has also shown up in the Napster app which is owned by Rhapsody and used mostly in the UK. Today's announcement follows a similar release by Rhapsody's competitor Rdio earlier this week.