Google Now has added a new reminder option which will persistently dog you about to-dos or tasks on a semi-ongoing basis. The addition of the ‘occasionally’ reminder option, which was first spotted by Android Police, may not seem significant at first, but it throws up a couple of interesting usage options.
Rather than specifically setting up a task for a particular day, date or time — which is then dismissed and disappears from view forever — the new option keeps an ongoing reminder. At this early point, though, it isn’t clear how regularly that ‘occasional’ reminders will be shown to users.
Nonetheless, if you want to remind yourself to do (or be) something on a regular basis, without consigning the reminder to history by dismissing the alert, then Google Now has you covered. Although, whether services like Google Keep, Evernote, or other online to-do lists are better suited for the task is up to you.
Thumbnail image via TNW, screenshot via Android Police
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We first covered the service way back in 2012, when it was available globally as a Web-only affair restricted mainly to artists from the non-major record labels. But it’s shifted focus slightly since then to mobile, and is now only available in the US.
That’s all very well and good, but its main differentiator for now is that it’s funded entirely from donations. You like it? You pay what you think it’s worth via PayPal, either as a one-time payment or a regular monthly fee.
It follows a Pandora-like radio approach, with users able to ‘Like’ songs they’re presented with, and it bypasses algorithms for human curation. There are 25 million tracks available.
You can download the Android app from the link below, revisit the iOS incarnation, and we’re told a desktop version is in the pipeline too.
Feature Image Credit – Shutterstock
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On its dscout site, Google says that over 90,000 people signed up to be “scouts.” Of those, the company selected the top 100 most active scouts to receive the phone.
A statement in the announcement says that “over the next 8 months, Google will continue to refine the Ara prototype.” That puts the release of the device sometime in March 2015. Not surprising considering that the ATAP team had difficulty booting up the phone at I/O.
Those interested in how our culture shapes and is shaped by the software we use every day should check out “App: The Human Story,” a documentary project on Kickstarter that hopes to give an in-depth look at the impact apps have had since their introduction with the original iPhone in 2007:
Though they don’t expect to complete the project until December 2015, the team behind the documentary has already gotten some impressive names from the app development community, including Apple blogger and Vesper co-creator John Gruber, Instapaper creator Marco Arment, and MacWorld’s Jason Snell.
If you’re thinking that the teaser looks a tad Apple-centric, you’re right. Jake Schumacher, one of the project’s co-creators, told me in an email that he and fellow director Jedidiah Hurt were both heavy iOS and Mac users going into the project, so “it was easy to start listing interviews on the iOS side.” Since then, the team has started to look for developers on the Android side of things who similarly stand out in that community.
Schumacher also told me that they’re hoping they can bring in those shaping the Android operating system itself. His most wished-for appearances in the film: Sundar Pichai, the Google senior vice president in charge of Android, Chrome, and Google Apps, and Matias Duarte, the director in charge of Android’s user experience.
Considering the relative success of Indie Game: The Movie, a documentary that took a similar look at the people behind some of the more popular indie games in recent memory, you’d think that someone would have already put something like this together. While many of those involved have spent plenty of time blogging and podcasting on the topic, there’s nothing quite like App: The Human Story’s attempt to turn their open discussions into a single piece of media that anyone get into without context.
In another email, Hurt noted that they’re also going to create something special for those who do follow the film’s participants: instead of letting the hundreds of hours of interviews they film go to waste after editing cuts them down to the final running time, they’re going to edit out all of the “umms” and long pauses and offer it all as a perk for those who contribute $300 or more. Pricey, but not that bad if you’re someone who buys Daring Fireball shirts or pays for premium podcast subscriptions.
IMAGE BY Kickstarter
Yesterday, at Google’s I/O developer conference, the company announced a new way for developers to build apps that integrate with Gmail, via its brand-new Gmail API. Designed to allow programmatic access to messages, threads, labels and drafts, the API was initially misunderstood by some as Google’s attempt to “kill off IMAP,” an older email protocol that offers email access, retrieval and storage.
That confusion seemed to come about largely because of the wording in one highly trafficked Wall St. Journal article, which originally said that the new API would “replace IMAP, a common but complex way for applications to communicate with most email services.” (The article has since been updated with new language that says “instead of” as opposed to “replace.”)
Google’s developer’s documentation also backs this up: the new Gmail API will not be killing off IMAP - at least, not yet – but it will make Gmail application development easier.
The Gmail API does not offer full inbox access for all operations, explains Google in a blog post detailing the API’s new features; it’s about giving fine-grained control to applications which don’t need “full-fledged email client access,” as the developer documentation states.
Instead, the API would work well for apps that need to scan through your inbox, looking for e-receipts, itineraries or order confirmations; those that let you schedule email to be sent later; CRM applications; email “snooze” buttons; and more. In these cases where full inbox access is not required, the Gmail API would be quicker than using IMAP to perform a search or find a particular email thread.
And while the Gmail API means Google is inviting developers to build ever more applications that dig into your most private social network – that of your email inbox – it’s also doing so in a way that actually better respects the sensitivity of that data.
Now, if a user wants to authorize an app that only performs one function, like sending mail on the user’s behalf, but not retrieving incoming messages, the Gmail API could allow for this, where before that same app built with IMAP would mean the developer would have to access all of your emails just to get their app to work.
However, the Gmail API stops short of enabling the lineup of mobile email clients, like Accompli, CloudMagic, Boxer or Gusto, for example. Those apps will still need to work with the older protocols like IMAP and SMTP, at least until Google decides to expand the Gmail API further to include all the functionality of IMAP, if the company ever chooses to go that route.
The Gmail API is now in beta, as Google solicits developer feedback before a wider launch.
Follow this link: No, The New Gmail API Is Not Killing IMAP
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Google has posted the links to the L Preview for developers to download after it announced L would be the next major version of Android to be released to the world later this year.
L preview brings more than 5000 new API’s to Android as well as a complete design overhaul featuring ‘material design’ elements and a number of new features. One of the focuses of L Preview is the unification of design languages across mobile, tablet and web.
L Preview is only available for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 and is in an early preview stage so shouldn’t be installed on your main device. If you’re curious to give it a try but don’t have the right Nexus, you can download the Android SDK and try it out in the emulator.
Original post: Google makes Android L Preview available to developers
I’ve now had about a day with the LG G Watch, and in that time the device only left my wrist when I lay my head down to sleep. It’s my first experience with Android Wear, Google’s magical new wrist-based operating system, and so far I’m finding the platform and the device to be unique and genuinely useful additions to my mobile world.
First the watch itself – my initial impressions from a few minutes of use left me with the feeling that it was at least as comfortable as a standard wristwatch, and longer use has reinforced that impression. The watch is light, and the face, while fairly large, isn’t too big as long as you don’t have tiny wrists. LG claims to have designed for everyone, regardless of wrist type and gender, but it’s still going to look large on smaller arms.
The watch surprisingly supplements my smartphone usage pretty nicely. Google has clearly put a lot of thought into Android Wear, and what to include, as well as what to leave out. The notifications it provides come in exactly as they come in to the phone, and they reside at the bottom of the interface until you swipe up to reveal them. With apps optimized for Wear, you can open up to the relevant page within an app from the watch, and you can also reply to messages in apps like Hangouts via voice input.
Voice input on the G Watch is solid. I rarely encountered any errors in terms of transcription, and that includes in multiple environments, such as the noisy surrounds of the Google I/O After Hours party last night. Activating functions with “Ok Google” worked well, too, and I found myself using my voice to command my watch a lot more than I ever would’ve imagined I would.
The buttonless design of the LG G Watch presents some interesting challenges; figuring out how to turn the device on took some time, for instance, and I had to eventually resort to reading the included paper instruction booklet to find out that you have to put it in the magnetic charging cradle to power it up.
From there, set up was also a bit tedious. Some of that was due to the fact that I was using pre-release developer software to get it going. Also, the watch has to load software and perform a series of actions during which it tells you to wait a minute, hold on, etc. multiple times. Hopefully this is streamlined in time for the consumer ship date of July 7.
The bottom line is that Google’s Android Wear is a smartwatch interface that makes sense and gives you what you need. Google Now notifications would pop up to tell me weather, remind me of tasks I’d set earlier and more. Quickly replying to text, email and Hangouts messages with canned responses or by voice is a big time saver. In general, they’ve put what you need on your wrist, and left out what you don’t.
Does that mean Android Wear will finally open the floodgates for wearable tech? Likely not just yet, but it definitely moves the category forward, and LG’s G Watch is a solid early contender. We’ll have longer-term impressions in a full review to follow later on.
Read the original post: LG G Watch And Android Wear First Impressions Review
Taiwanese computer manufacturer Asus previously announced its intent to create a smartwatch for release this year, but details were scarce. Now, a source familiar with the company’s plans has confirmed to TechCrunch that Asus will indeed launch an Android Wear smartwatch later this year, with a targeted debut window of September, an AMOLED display, and a price point below those of the current crop of launch devices from LG and Samsung.
Pricing for the Asus device will likely be between $99 and $149 when it launches, according to our source. The company made the decision to wait until later to launch its Android Wear project because they didn’t want to “rush” their efforts, the source added. It’s true that LG conceded during its press conference for the G Watch yesterday that part of the reason it didn’t include a heart rate monitor in its device was because of time constraints, so there was clearly a schedule imposed by Google to stick to in order to meet the Wear launch window.
Asus had previously discussed including gesture control on its smartwatch to make up for a smaller screen more suitable to wristborne computing, but this was prior to Google’s unveiling of Android Wear so it’s unclear if it’s the same project as the one discussed above. One thing is for certain: almost every major electronics OEM will probably jump in the Android Wear pool in time for the holidays, if only for fear of being left behind in this new market.
Read the original here: Asus Aiming For September Launch And Price Advantage For Its Android Wear Smartwatch
Developers with access to a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 can now install a preview of the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android L.
Android L brings a number of improvements over Android 4.4 KitKat. It brings the new “Material Design” design language, which vastly improves the look and feel of controls, notifications, and animations throughout the operating system. It also brings “personal login,” a new security feature that has your device look for environmental signals (like which Wi-fi networks are available) to determine whether it’s safe to unlock without a passcode.
As with the beta versions of iOS that Apple releases at WWDC, this is an early version of the software that will roll out to other Android devices later this year. Only those who are familiar with Android developer tools and who have the patience to deal with apps occasionally acting weird or crashing should install Android L on their devices at this time.
Continue reading here: Android L Preview Now Available On The Nexus 5 And Nexus 7
The surprise hit of Google I/O was without a doubt Cardboard. Google’s paper product — or phone-based VR viewer — made its debut during yesterday’s keynote, and today, David Coz, the project’s founder, revealed its origins.
Depending on who you ask at I/O, Google went ahead with this project either because it wanted to show that Facebook overpaid for Oculus Rift or because it is jealous that it couldn’t acquire it. According to Coz, however, who works for Google’s Cultural Institute in Paris, Cardboard was simply a project he felt like working on.
“I’m a big VR fan,” he said, adding that there has been so much progress in this space in the last few years. With Cardboard, he wanted to see how he could build a VR viewer in the “simplest and cheapest way.”
The project started about six months ago. After Coz showed it to Google Research scientist Christian Plagemann in Mountain View, it became his 20 percent project, and the company decided to go ahead with it for a larger project.
So why use cardboard? Coz said he started working with it because it was an easy way to hack together a prototype, but he also liked it because he wanted the viewer to look really simple. All the processing, after all, is handled by the phone. In addition, he noted that Google wants anybody “to just take scissors and staplers and modify it.”
Given that Google has made a developer toolkit available for Cardboard and that the
paperhardware is not just simple but also open source, chances are we will actually see quite a few Cardboard-based apps and viewers from other manufacturers in the near future. The team also talked a bit about how Google’s Project Tango could be used for more precise head tracking.
To be fair, others have tried a similar approach to phone-based VR viewers. None of them, however, can match Google’s reach and existing developer ecosystem.
Go here to read the rest: The Story Behind Google’s Cardboard Project