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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.
It was only last week that we talked about the rumor of a dedicated Podcast app from Apple, and now we have it. We thought we might have to wait for iOS 6, but Christmas has come early for Podcast and iOS users.
The new app is called, quite simply, "Podcasts", and is available for all iOS devices running iOS 5.1 or later. Podcasts features a bunch of ways to browse and discover new podcasts through the thousands upon thousands of the things.
Podcasts also includes a new Top Stations feature that groups together select podcasts by category, as well as the ability to either stream, or download the episodes for offline use. Podcasts is optimized for both the iPad, and iPhone versions, and it's also able to sync podcasts with iTunes to your Mac, or PC. You will need to have iTunes 10.6.3 first.
Grab Podcasts for iOS here.
Mozilla have just pushed Firefox 14 for Android, and made it available on the Google Play store. Firefox 14 doesn't have any new stand-out features to really brag about, but there's enough filler here to have a reason to upgrade your mobile browser.
Mozilla claim that Firefox 14 is faster, including start up and page load times, as well as panning and zooming. This even includes running mobile web pages like Mozilla's BrowserQuest game. Mozilla note that Firefox 14 runs much faster than the stock Android browser, with sample tests showing Firefox 14 to be more than three times faster than the default Android browser.
Firefox 14 sports a new streamlined look, including a personalized start page. Awesome Screen, a function that is powered by Firefox Sync, brings across all of your bookmarks, passwords and browsing history from y our PC to your smart device. Mozilla have also tweaked tabbed browsing and add-ons to bring a more desktop-like experience. Firefox 14 also features Flash for a broader range of web content compatibility, as well as HTML5 capabilities.
Version 1.8 of the Facebook Messenger app for both iOS and Android has been released and sports some new snazzy features. We have fast conversation switching, swipe-to-delete for specific messages, and a built-in buddy list for who's "online" when you begin a conversation.
The update should have hit already, and also adds the ability to see larger photos in the app. Local notifications for chat updates are also here, as well as read receipts. This along with the other features makes Facebook Messenger a feature-packed instant messaging app. A full feature log from Facebook:
- Quickly switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications (you'll get notified of an incoming message while within another conversation)
- Include friends of friends in conversations
- iOS users can now swipe to delete an individual messages from conversations. Android users can hold down a message to delete it.
- See who's available when you start a new conversation - Update: in changelog, but from a prior version of Messenger
- Share bigger photos (tap for full screen and pinch to zoom)
- Bug fixes: fixed some bugs and improved performance (faster app loading, navigation and sending, and more reliable push notifications).
Google not sour over being dropped from iOS 6's Maps app, instead plan 'amazing iOS Maps experience'
Google don't seem to mind that they were dropped from iOS 6's Maps app, and plan to make a triumphant return to the upcoming OS from Apple. A recent post from Google exec Jeff Huber has hinted that Google will not be leaving the iOS map scene, and instead will make a push with its own specifically-designed mapping app.
The news broke today from a Google+ post celebrating a new Google Street View exhibit at the Computer History Museum. It was in a response to a comment expressing dissatisfaction with Apple's forthcoming Maps app. Huber said that Google is looking forward to "providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS".
Another user stepped forward and asked Huber to elaborate on this, asking if he meant iOS users could expect a new dedicated app, or web-based services. Huber didn't provide any further details on Google's iOS plans.
Google have donned their magic fingers and made some changes to some of the most-requested features for their Gmail for iOS app. They've announced the changes today, which come in three new features.
First up we have full Notification Center support, the ability to send messages from your alternate e-mail addresses, and an improved login experience. Now Gmail is fully integrated with Notification Center and even supports banners, alerts and lock screen options. Plus, notifications are now 'incredibly fast', up to 5x faster than the previous version of the app.
The second update to the Gmail for iOS app is the ability to send e-mails from your alternate e-mail addresses. If you have this configured through alternate sender addresses in Gmail on your desktop under Settings -> Accounts -> Send mail as, you will see a From: option when composing new messages with the new app.
Everyone was shocked when Facebook acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Facebook said they were going to keep Instagram somewhat of a separate entity after the acquisition and Facebook rolled out their own Camera app. Now, Facebook has released an update to the Instagram app, the first facelift since the acquisition.
What's New in Version 2.5.0:
- Revamped profile tab
- Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
- Improvements to commenting
- User search autocompletes based on people you follow
- Visual improvements
- Speed optimizations
- Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)
The biggest change comes in the form of the new "Explore" tab which shows popular photos and has a way to search photos as well. The search allows users to look for users, hashtags, and photos based on the entered search terms.
Currently rocking an iPhone and want to switch over to that awesome new Samsung GALAXY S III but don't want to go through the hassle of manually re-entering all of your contacts, etc? Well, fear not, Samsung have released what they call 'Easy Phone Sync'.
Easy Phone Sync is an app that has been developed to make the transition between an iPhone and the GALAXY S III much easier. The app can run on both a Mac or a PC, and gives options to transfer music, videos, podcasts, pictures, contacts and even text messages. The process takes around five minutes to set up, and users can continue to rely on iTunes to manage their content after the transfer.
DRM-restricted content purchased from iTunes can't be transferred, the same goes for iOS apps.
SwiftKey 3 for Android is now here, and the customizable and helpful keyboard has been updated with some new features. The updated version of SwiftKey sports a more intelligent correction capability, and an improved user interface.
One of the new features is something the developer, TouchType, call "Smart Space". Smart Space detects when you've inserted a space in the middle of a word, or forgotten to insert spaces when typing too quickly into a string of words and automatically corrects it for you.
The keyboards also sports a bigger space bar, and a smart punctuation key that gives you access to common punctuation. As a long-term user of SwiftKey, the new smart punctuation key will take a little getting used to. There's also two new themes to choose from, the first "Cobalt" and the second "Holo", which looks similar to the default color theme of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Flipboard arrives on Android, includes Google+ and YouTube, also comes standard with US-bound GALAXY S III phones
I've been using Flipboard on my iPad when I'm laying in bed, or on the couch and it's a perfect app that I wish were on Android, and now it is. Flipboard officially launched on Android today after its short beta period and sports some new flashy super powers.
These new super powers include integration with YouTube as well as Google+ across platforms, as well as a pretty big distribution deal with Samsung. The Verge reports that the YouTube and Google+ integration works just like the Twitter and Facebook integration does in Flipboard. To add, you just tap the content guide ribbon, then select either service under 'Your Accounts', then head to 'Add an Account', easy.
YouTube on Flipboard looks great, as it pulls down all of your subscriptions allowing for simple browsing, as well as full commenting, liking, sharing, and subscriptions support built directly into Flipboard. Google+ is said to be pretty much the same, you can +1, share, and comment on posts, as well as browse circles, individual users, or pages. The updated Flipboard app is available from the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Barnes & Noble NOOK Store, Amazon's Appstore for Android and finally, Samsung Apps.