Google just launched its Google Now app via an update to the Google Search for iOS app. The app appears to be exactly the same as the Android version with the exception of users being able to swipe up to launch the Now application.
Google Now pulls information from all of your Google services like Search, Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Chrome browser history, and anything else that is connected to your Google account, then it provides pertinent information to the smartphone owner before they know they need it. Basically it is a concierge without an annoying voice.
Baris Gultekin, Director of Product Management at Google, had the following to say:
"The history of Search can put Google Now in the best context. It's gone from serving links to being able to serve up links, and images, and videos, and deliver a rich experience. And then we wanted to answer natural questions, both in text and in spoken word. So to us, Google Now is the next step. It is answering the question before you ever ask it."
This morning Google implemented changes to its terms and conditions to ensure that apps can no longer push updates from outside the Google Play Store. This update comes not long after both Facebook and Adblock Plus began pushing updates to their apps independent of Google and Google Play.
"An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism", reads the new sentence in Google's terms and conditions.
While this change will have very little effect to Facebook, it seems like another major roadblock for Adblock Plus who was using the independent update method to keep its banned app updated.
Google have just pushed out an update to the Chrome Beta for Android, which increases page rendering performance and fixes some frequently occurring crash issues. The full list of changes is as follows:
- 179250: Black screen during load on Huawei tablets
- 224379: Cannot scroll images after zooming in
- 226193: Blue line displayed below the omnibox
- Improvement to page rendering performance
- Fixes for some frequently occurring crashes
You can read more on Chrome Beta for Android, and download it, from the Google Play Store.
News on the BlackBerry 10 front has been a little slow as of late, but this morning we are learning that Skype has finally made it into the company's app store. This is a pretty big deal considering how much Skype on BB10 was talked up at the launch, yet it has taken four months to appear.
BlackBerry Z10 owners should not get excited, though. The popular messaging and video chat service is only compatible with the Q10, which runs the latest version of BB10. This means that while the Skype is technically available on BB10, no one in the US, UK or Canada can use it at the moment.
BlackBerry says that Skype support for the Z10 is coming, but we will not see any progress made until the Q10 goes on sale. The Q10 is expected to hit the UK on April 29th with Canada following on May 1st, and a US launch in late May.
Rightware have announced that their mobile benchmark, Basemark X, is now available for iOS. Basemark X is a cross-platform benchmark, something we took a look at a couple of weeks ago when it was released for Android.
The iOS version can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, and can be run on iOS devices to see how they fare against Android-based devices. The next step for Rightware is Windows Phone 8, something they're working on - they're having to wait until the Unity engine is supported under Microsoft's mobile operating system.
In the near future, we'll also see the release of Basemark X for Windows on the PC, then the fun will really start! You can get Basemark X for iOS from the App Store.
Swype seems to have come out of the rock that was shaped like the word beta, and has now reached the point of being called Swype 1.5 for Android. The latest version of the keyboard replacement for Android is now available on the Google Play Store.
Version 1.5 adds a quick shortcut to Dragon Mobile Assistant for those who have it installed, expands Living Language to 20 dialects, adds two new themes and refines both Smart Touch and Smart Reselect. The biggest change, is that it is available directly from the Google Play Store, and not from the Swype website.
Nuance is charging just 99 cents for Swype 1.5 on Google Play, but for a "limited time" only.
eBay for Android has been updated today, with the latest version receiving a face lift in both the visual and function side of things. eBay for Android has now reached version 2.2.
The departments that receive a fresh new look include Home, Cart and Checkout areas, with users in the US and UK get a Shopping Chart that will synchronize across all devices that use eBay. This way, the items in your cart on one device, transition over to another device. The option to pay for multiple items at the same time under a single checkout is now available, too.
The item search section of eBay for Android has been updated, and now includes the ability of inline search suggestions, autocorrect, and expanded international results when few to no results are returned. You can grab eBay for Android here.
Google has finally released a Google Fiber TV app for the iPad after having an app available for Android devices for around a month. Much is unchanged between the Android app and iPad app as both allow you to browse, watch, buy, and record content...provided you live in Kansas City and have a Google Fiber TV subscription.
The app is available for iPad users from the Apple App Store. Google has not said whether the Google Fiber TV app will be coming to the iPhone or iPod touch, though it makes sense that it would. After all, Google allows the Android app on any Android-powered device.
To make gamers' lives easier, Microsoft and Pizza Hut are set to announce a way to do just that - an app for the Xbox 360 that will let you order pizza directly from your console.
The pizza delivery service will let you build a pizza using Kinect, through "hand motions or voice commands". This is something that Xbox representative Larry Hryb says is easier than using the controller. Personally, I think it would be easier to do it through a phone or tablet app, versus getting out of your game to order your pizza by waving your hands around.
Amazon has updated the Kindle app store with a bunch of new apps, including a much-anticipated Xbox SmartGlass app. The SmartGlass app is a companion app for the Xbox 360 that allows users to control their Xbox and get second-screen information, including access to Xbox Music, messaging, and other features.
The app has been available since fall for iOS and Android, but has just been made available Amazon's redesigned Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. The app will scale natively to the resolutions provided by these Android tablets. If you have a Kindle Fire or Fire HD and an Xbox 360, you can download the SmartGlass app for free from the Amazon App Store.
Sometimes I feel like I have one of the more powerful Android-based devices when thinking of my Nexus 4, but sometimes, in the case of Facebook Home, I feel left out in the cold, and deserted.
Well, Facebook Home has been out for around a week now, and just how many downloads did it rack up in the last five days? Facebook Home has passed 500,000 downloads on the Google Play Store since its launch on April 16. Considering an app like Instagram saw one million downloads in a single day when it launched on Android, these Facebook Home numbers aren't so great.
I'm sure it'll continue to expand, but it looks like it might not be as quick as some may have previously thought.
Last month Twitter announced that it would be shutting down TweetDeck Air, TweetDeck for Android, and TweetDeck for iOS but had not finalized the date on which the apps would go offline. Today we found out that date.
May 7th will be the last time that the TweetDeck mobile apps will see the light of day. They will be removed from their app stores and their APIs turned off. Facebook integration to TweetDeck will also cease to function.
Twitter says that both the Windows and Mac versions will stick around for the time being and will slowly be updated following browser updates. No word on if we will see a TweetDeck like replacement for mobile devices anytime soon though and our advice would be not to hold your breath.
Apple says that each data set is assigned a random number string that represents a person. After six months the data is disassociated with the account and stored for 18 months afterwards to be used in development and testing. If a user turns Siri off on their device, all data is deleted instantly.
KuaiYong, a Windows app that allows pirated iOS software to be installed on an iPhone or iPad without jail breaking, has just gotten a web based front-end. The new website dubbed 7659.com will let users install apps to their iPhone and iPads without having to navigate the KuaiYong app on their device.
Pirated apps are nothing new on iOS, but have always required a jail broken device, which has served as a very lightweight safeguard against many people choosing to pirate apps. KuaiYong circumvented the need to be jail broken by using a bulk enterprise license to get around those safeguards.
It is still unclear as to why Apple has not attempted to take the site or app down. Some say that it is because they simply do not know it exists, but let's be honest here - if sites like Engadget, Techmeme and TweakTown know about the KuaiYong, you can bet Apple is aware of its existence.
Some suggest that Apple is simply afraid to push the matter in China as it is doesn't want to cause any more issues with state run media.
If you were after some totally free VoiP calls between your friends on Facebook, then you may want to pay attention to Facebook Messenger. The latest app update include the ability of free VoiP-based calls between your Facebook friends.
In the beginning of last month, Canadian users were greeted with the VoiP call goodness, but now it has extended outside of Canadaland, and into the US and other countries. If you want to see if you have this feature, all you have to do is tap into a current chat, tap the 'i' button in the top right corner and if you're in one of the countries the new feature has rolled out into, you'll see a "Free Call" button at the bottom.
I've just tested it on my Nexus 4 here in Australia, and can confirm it's working for Australians.
OpenSignal, the central repository for crowdsourced cellular reception maps, has finally released an app for iPhones. Up until now, OpenSignal has been relying on only Android users to collect data about signal strength, cellular towers, and speed data.
OpenSignal has used this collected Android data to extrapolate how signal would perform on iPhones. Now they will be able to rely on data collected via iPhones. To download the new app or learn more about it, head over to OpenSignal's webpage for the new iPhone app.
The app features some useful functions. If you're having reception issues, the app can point you in a direction that should help boost your signal. It can also locate free Wi-Fi if you need to borrow a faster connection. The app will also collect anonymous signal data to help build the map available at OpenSignal's website.
Yahoo has launched two iOS apps today as CEO Marissa Mayer continues to try to turn the floundering Yahoo around. Mayer is attempting to use the well-received Weather app as a springboard to other apps. She hopes that it will create a "halo effect" in that users will love it enough that they will be willing to try other Yahoo-made apps.
As you can see, the app features a slick interface that goes above and beyond the stock Weather app that is also powered by Yahoo data. Yahoo also released an updated Mail app for the iPad so users will have a native experience. This means much better use of screen real estate and features.
The Name Your Own Price Mac Bundle 2.0 is much like the Humble Bundle. People can choose what ever price they would like for the pack of apps, 10 percent of which goes to charity. Every buyer, no matter the price, gets three apps, while you have to beat the average price to get all ten.
For the cheap--err, thrifty--among us, you'll get:
- Elmedia Player Pro - $20 - Flash Video Utility
- HoudahSpot - $29 - Spotlight Addon
- PhotoBulk - $10 - Watermark and Photo Utility
If you beat the average--note, it's better to do it now as the average will continually rise as more people beat it to get all ten apps--you'll get these additional apps:
- DiskTools Pro - $80 - Hard Drive Utility
- CrossOver 12 - $60 - Run Windows Software
- Snapz Pro X - $69 - Screenshot and Video Utility
- Paperless - $50 - Document Manager
- Mac Blu-ray Player - $60 - Blu-Ray Player Software
- Gemini - $10 - Duplicate File Locator
- Musictube - $11 - YouTube Music Player
All told, the entire pack is worth $399. The sale ends in just over 7 days, so you should buy soon. The current average price is $8.07, though many people have exceeded that price.
Facebook Home has expanded outside of the US finally, jumping over to the UK and Canada for starters. Even if you're based in the UK or Canada, you'll still need a specific phone for Facebook Home to work.
These phones are the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III, HTC One X+, One X or One. Facebook Home does come pre-installed on one phone at the momnet, the HTC First, which is still a US-exclusive on AT&T. EE and Orange have confirmed they'll support HTC's First smartphone in the UK, but there's no word right now on any Canadian telcos carrying the 'Facebook phone'.
So if you're after Facebook Home for your smartphone, and have a compatible device, check out the Google Play Store on your device.
Google have just updated their Chrome for Business browser, where the Mountain View-based company have added legacy browser support and cloud-based management for Google Apps.
If you are someone who uses older apps at work, you'll now be automatically switched to an alternate browser when needed. On the cloud side of things, the cloud-based management allows employees to log in to their Google Apps for Business or Education accounts from any device.
Today at Dive Into Mobile, WhatsApp CEo Jan Koum took a moment to brag that the messaging company is now larger than micro-blogging site Twitter. "We're bigger than Twitter today." WhatsApp boasts more than 200 million users, eight billion inbound messages, and 12 billion outbound messages per day.
Koum noted that WhatsApp also has one of the smallest ratios of engineers to active users with fewer than 50 engineers at the company. Of course, it's not completely fair to compare WhatsApp to Twitter since the services are quite different. However, it does show how WhatsApp has exploded onto the mobile messaging scene.
It's important to note that WhatsApp recently announced they would be charging $0.99 per year for the service. Koum added that WhatsApp hasn't seen any negative impact on user numbers. Because of high engagement and a way of monetizing users, Koum said the service isn't looking at any acquisition offers.