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Google published a beautiful new set of wallpapers on Chrome OS, and you can download them here - Android Police
Are you tired of looking at your old boring wallpaper? Google recently published 3 new collections of wallpapers to the Chrome OS Canary channel, and in
This story was originally published 2020/09/14 3:24pm PDTon Sep 14, 2020 and last updated 2020/10/25 2:05pm PDTon Oct 25, 2020. Are you tired of looking at your old boring wallpaper? Google recently published 3 new collections of wallpapers to the Chrome OS Canary channel, and in my opinion: they're stunning. You can download them right now — even if you don't own a Chromebook. I get it. Having a plain, solid color background is important to keep you less distracted from your work in an enterprise setting. But with your device, personalization is key to make your computer look fresh and exciting. Collage Want something relaxing? This wallpaper collection features an analogous color palette that is gorgeous and easy to look at. Matthew Hollister did an amazing job keeping the mood serene and harmonious by creating a nice balance of color and contrast. Made by Canvas Feeling contemporary? These artworks were drawn on Chrome Canvas, a popular drawing app by Google. I love how animated and alive these illustrations are, especially the mid-century feel and color pop to emphasize the contemporary look. Russ Gray and Hedof both did a terrific job with this collection. Element Love 3-D abstract art as much as I do? Abstract designs like this collection create a unique composition using shapes, form, and gestural marks. I love how Rutger Paulusse takes advantage of translucency, lighting, and gradients to create a unique design metaphor. Some of these backgrounds have a dark variant, hinting that Chrome OS Dark mode may be right around the corner. Update 1: 2020/10/25 2:05pm PDT by Kent DukeMobile variants A lot of requests have been pouring in, wishing Google's new Chrome OS wallpaper collection could be optimized for mobile. Well, with a fair amount of effort, I compiled and extracted all of the wallpapers for you to enjoy on your phone. Here's a quick preview. Mobile variants of the Chrome OS wallpapers released late this year New downloads for the mobile versions of the wallpaper collection are available at the "Mobile" link down below. Download Chrome OS Canary users can get Collage, Made by Canvas, and Element now in the wallpaper picker, but you have to enable chrome://flags/#use-wallpaper-staging-url for them to show up. If you're not on Chrome OS Canary or don't own a Chromebook, no worries: I got you covered. You can download these wallpapers uncompressed in 3000 x 2000 resolution by clicking the source link at the bottom of the page. Adding new wallpapers may not seem significant on the surface, but it shows that Google cares about making a quality experience to users.
Tapatalk has been pulled from the Google Play Store - Android Police
Tapatalk was an incredibly popular Android app in years past, as it provided an easy way to access thousands of web forums through a single application,
Tapatalk was an incredibly popular Android app in years past, as it provided an easy way to access thousands of web forums through a single application, in an era when many websites had limited mobile layouts. The app still maintains a loyal (albeit smaller) following to this day, though the Android version has now been removed by the Google Play Store. Tapatalk seems to have disappeared from the Play Store sometime earlier this week, with users of the app starting to notice its absence on Thursday. While the app remains functional for anyone who downloaded it, VIP subscriptions are now unavailable, since they relied on Google Play in-app billing. VIP subscriptions are currently unavailable (Source: aametalart) Tapatalk's social media channels have been silent, as the Twitter account hasn't posted since April, and the company's Facebook page has been inactive for over a year. However, an admin on Tapatalk's own forums did confirm that Google removed the app. "We are working with Google Play to find out what the problem is," the admin wrote, "please stay tuned for an update." The exact reason for the app's takedown isn't clear at this time, but Google has removed many applications lately for completely idiotic reasons. Podcast Addict was briefly removed in May because it could be used to play podcasts about COVID-19, Slide for Reddit was pulled because a single screenshot had the word "ISIS" in it, and Tasker was unavailable for a short time due to an error in Google's automated review process. In the meantime, you can still download Tapatalk on APKMirror.
Google Play Music vs. YouTube Music: Everything you need to know - Android Police
Google Play Music is on the way out and has already become inaccessible for many. A lot of people have probably long taken advantage of the migration tool
Google releases Chrome and Chrome OS updates to fix zero-day security exploit - Android Police
Browsers are complicated pieces of software, and each release of Chrome includes fixes to address security flaws discovered both inside and outside of
Browsers are complicated pieces of software, and each release of Chrome includes fixes to address security flaws discovered both inside and outside of Google. However, there are sometimes security flaws that are frequently exploited before fixes can be widely rolled out, which has just happened with Chrome and Chrome OS. Google recently fixed a zero-day security vulnerability in Chrome, designated CVE-2020-15999. It's a memory corruption bug in the FreeType font rendering library that is bundled with Chrome. Project Zero, one of Google's internal security teams, found evidence that the flaw was being exploited to attack Chrome users. Thankfully, Chrome 86.0.4240.111 began rolling out two days ago with the required security patch. You might already have it on your devices by now, but if not, we have the APK on APKMirror. Google just brought the fix to Chromebooks today, with the release of Chrome OS 86.0.4240.112. The update also includes a few minor functional changes, including fixes for the 'Clear all' button and 'Pairing lost' notification, two new flags for modifying the protection level against Spectre, and a few other minor changes.
NASA just gave Nokia millions of dollars to upgrade the moon's cell service - Android Police
Much like Gru, Nokia has always been obsessed with stealing the moon. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but the company has taken a very keen interest in
Much like Gru, Nokia has always been obsessed with stealing the moon. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but the company has taken a very keen interest in developing technology for lunar missions. Back in 2018, Nokia was working on a system that would bring LTE connectivity to everyone's favorite lumpy gray rock. Now NASA has agreed to hand over 14.1 million dollars to help make Nokia's dream a reality. The project, which involves Nokia building a 4G cellular communication network on the moon, is part of a series of new contracts NASA is awarding for lunar surface research missions. In total, $370 million is being awarded to companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance with the goal of making the moon a place that astronauts will want to call home by 2028. NASA hopes the system could "support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and provide more reliability than current standards." Nokia's moon network could support better communication between lunar landers, rovers, and even astronauts. With the $14.1 million contract, Nokia will examine current terrestrial technology and investigate potential modifications to make it viable in the lunar environment. While this is cool and all, I can't help but feel a little dubious. The last time Nokia wanted to test new technology on the moon, things didn't work out. The launch, which was set for 2019, never happened, and one of the companies Nokia was working with filed for bankruptcy protection. And anyway, in this modern age of 2020, should the moon really settle for mere 4G? /s
Google Assistant is coming to recent Samsung smart TVs - Android Police
Google Assistant is on everything from alarm clocks to refrigerators. The latest move to bring the helpful AI assistant to more places sees Google and
Google Assistant is on everything from alarm clocks to refrigerators. The latest move to bring the helpful AI assistant to more places sees Google and Samsung teaming up to integrate Assistant with Samsung's latest lineup of smart TVs. Assistant starts listening when you press down on the remote control's mic button, just like on the new Chromecast voice remote. Users will be able to change channels, adjust the volume, control playback, open apps and more. And of course, it will be compatible with Google and Nest smart home products, so lights can be lit and locks can be opened. Asking the Assistant to play media content is supported, but if the corresponding app being requesting is not currently integrated, users will be redirected to a YouTube results page instead. We learned that Google was trying to convince Samsung to kill Bixby in favor of the Assistant earlier this year — perhaps this is one of the results from those discussions. The 2020 smart TVs that will receive support for the Assistant include Crystal UHD TVs, Frame and Serif TVs, Sero and Terrace TVs, and Samsung's 8K and 4K QLED sets. Once the OTA update is installed, the Assistant can be enabled by going to Settings -> General -> Voice -> Voice Assistant. It's rolling out in the US now with more countries to follow.
Google is improving the Alt-Tab switcher in Chrome OS, here's what you need to know - Android Police
Alt-Tab is an often overlooked keyboard shortcut on Chrome OS that allows you to cycle recent applications without using a mouse. Despite the productivity
Alt-Tab is an often overlooked keyboard shortcut on Chrome OS that allows you to cycle recent applications without using a mouse. Despite the productivity potential, the Alt-Tab switcher is mediocre because it lacks interactivity. For example, you can't use the arrow keys or your cursor to select and launch recent applications, making them frustrating to access if they're placed towards the end. The developers at Google realize that the Alt-Tab experience can be better, so they tackled the interactivity issue head-on to help you quickly open your recent applications. As spotted recently in the Dev channel, Chrome OS uses a combination of shortcuts and gestures to help you quickly launch recent applications in the Alt-Tab switcher. For instance, you can finally navigate using the left and right arrow keys or move your cursor to select and focus applications. Other small changes include adding a three-finger touchpad swipe to scrub applications and pressing the enter or space key to focus the application chosen. Here's how the new interactivity features work. Using your cursor Selecting a recent application with your cursor is a notable addition that Chrome OS surprisingly didn't have until recently. While pressing the Alt and Tab keys and holding Alt down, you can move your cursor to any window you want to open and click it. It's incredibly useful if you're going to quickly select and focus an application without having to press buttons on your keyboard. Using the arrow keys Did you know that Alt-Shift-Tab navigates the Alt-Tab switcher in reverse? I sure didn't. In contrast to Alt-Shift-Tab, the arrow keys are much easier to remember. The left arrow key navigates the switcher backward while the right arrow key moves the selection forward. Enter and Space key The Enter and Space keys aren't as handy as the other Alt-Tab improvements coming to Chrome OS, but they may help ease the learning curve. If you want to maximize a recent application you selected, you can either hit the Space or Enter key. Trackpad gesture You can quickly scrub through running applications in the Alt-Tab switcher using three fingers on the trackpad, just like Chrome tabs. Three fingers to the left will move the selection backward while three fingers to the right will navigate forward. Despite the productivity potential, I feel that the trackpad gesture sensitivity is too weak to be practical. I often misselect windows when I try compensating for the lack of responsiveness. Also, there's a weird quirk where scrubbing windows with the trackpad gesture also affects Chrome tabs in the background, but I imagine this will be fixed in the future. Alt-Tab still needs work Adding interactivity to the Alt-Tab switcher makes a huge difference to my workflow. As a student, I often juggle through several Chrome windows at once while writing research documents for school. I was surprised I couldn't navigate the Alt-Tab switch using my cursor or the arrow keys like Windows. Because of the interactivity limitations, I never used this feature since it was not productive for my Chrome OS workflow. There is still work that needs to be done for Alt-Tab to be a useful productivity tool. For example, I wish Chrome OS would offer a close button in the Alt-Tab switcher to close a recent application without focusing its window first. My Pixel Slate also struggles to maintain an acceptable framerate when I navigate several windows, especially when using the three-finger swipe gesture. But by far my biggest gripe with Alt-Tab on Chrome OS is the awful layout when more than three applications are opened. It's a pain to cycle through multiple windows. As you can see, the Alt-Tab switcher overflows past the right side of the screen. If you navigate past the third window, the switcher scrolls from the screen's right side. While it allows a larger window preview to be seen at a glance (thus making it easier to recognize), I cannot see my other windows, meaning I have to cycle through several applications before getting to the end. Google can easily fix this usability issue by exposing all of the active windows in the Alt-Tab switcher (similar to Windows). I'm happy to see Google recognize the need to do something to improve the Alt-Tab switcher on Chrome OS. Despite their current shortcomings, these new interactive features are a solid improvement that will help speed up your window management workflow. They're currently live on the Chrome OS Dev channel and should soon roll out to the Beta and Stable channel.
Google made a video starring a sloth to promote Project Jacquard's newest smart backpack - Android Police
Google is all about ambient computing these days. From TVs to speakers, the company is prioritizing smarter, more connected technology. Google began
Google is all about ambient computing these days. From TVs to speakers, the company is prioritizing smarter, more connected technology. Google began making smart clothing when it started Project Jacquard back in 2015. Since then, the project has produced things like jackets with Levi and shoe insoles with Nike. Now Google is announcing its latest fabric-based innovation: two new backpacks developed with Samsonite. And they start at prices low enough for normal people to actually consider buying one. Unlike the previous $995 backpack made in collaboration with Saint Laurent, these new Google Jacquard backpacks begin at just $199. That's still spendy, but not outrageously so for a high-end backpack. For that price, Samsonite and Google will sell you the "Konnect-i Slim" model, and $20 more gets you the "Standard" size, which is a little bit bigger in every dimension and has a slightly different design. Both are also water-repellent, and they have the same materials and feature list. Above: Slim. Below: Standard. Each of the two new backpacks embeds the Jacquard sensor in the left strap, and they can perform different configurable actions when you brush up, brush down, and double-tap. There's even an LED light on the strap that lights up according to alerts you can set. Definitely one of the weirdest ads for a backpack that I've ever seen. While most of us probably don't need (or even want) a smart backpack, it's cool to see Google working to produce weird gear like this. The company says it's all in on the Jacquard platform, and hopes to make it even smarter over time. I wonder what everyday object they'll embed a chip inside next?
Nest Audio review: Throw your Google Home in the trash - Android Police
Google's first Assistant speaker, Google Home, turns four this year. The company says that device was designed primarily as a means to access the Google
Google's first Assistant speaker, Google Home, turns four this year. The company says that device was designed primarily as a means to access the Google Assistant, and music playback was secondary. But the de facto second generation, the new Nest Audio, was purpose-built as a media device — and boy, does it ever show. Design, hardware, what's in the box The first Google Home had an iconic (if funky) design that kind of looked like an air freshener. The Nest Audio trades that eccentric character for a more discreet look, and while that's probably going to disappoint some, I like the direction. The Nest Audio is kind of a featureless, rounded rectangle, coated in the same "acoustically transparent" recycled fabric used on the Nest Mini. Shaped and textured the way it is, it reminds me of a throw pillow, and it blends easily into home decor. You can get it in five colors: Chalk (light gray, seen here), Charcoal (dark gray), Sage (green), Sand (kind of an earthy pink), or Sky (blue). Chalk and Charcoal are both pretty low-key and easy to hide; the other three stand out more. With its new fabric-coated design, the Nest Audio more closely resembles the Nest Mini and Google Home Max than the original Google Home. There's nothing on the front side of the speaker — it's just an expanse of fabric. The top edge houses capacitive touch controls: tapping the left or right corner will adjust the volume down or up, and tapping the middle will play or pause. There's no way to activate the Assistant by touch, presumably because of the always-listening fiasco from the Google Home Mini's launch. The Nest Audio's backside is home to a physical microphone mute switch and a barrel plug port for the included 30-watt power brick — but no auxiliary jack, unfortunately. While it's only about an inch taller and wider than the Google Home, the Nest Audio weighs more than twice as much: two pounds and nine ounces to the Home's one pound and change. The increase in weight is because there's so much more stuff packed into the speaker's housing. It's got a 75-millimeter woofer and a 19-millimeter tweeter, whereas the first Home only had one 50-millimeter "full-range" driver. Audio quality Those improved drivers coupled with a jump from 300 to 520 cubic centimeters of back volume (the hollow space behind the drivers) mean the Nest Audio can muster a whole lot more oomph than the Google Home could. Google says it can produce 75 percent more volume and 50 percent more bass, and while I have no means of scientifically testing those claims, they sure seem to hold water. This thing gets surprisingly, neighbor-botheringly loud, and the low-end frequency response feels extremely robust compared to the Google Home. It just sounds larger than you'd expect for its size. The word that came to mind as I listened to the Nest Audio was big. It just sounds larger than you'd expect for its size. That's not only because it's louder and the bass is stronger, but also because it doesn't have the compressed, slightly muffled flavor Google Home had. (Google says that muffled sound was because the Home's two passive radiators — essentially internal vents that let sound leak out the sides in addition to the direction the driver faced — caused low frequencies to reverberate for longer. The Nest Audio has no passive radiators.) The Nest Audio also uses new Google-developed software to limit compression and improve the sound further. Across genres, I was consistently impressed by how well-represented highs, lows, and mids are. Bass really thumps in '90s R&B and jangly indie rock guitars are clear as a bell. Dynamic range is wild for a speaker this size, too. Even in busy arrangements, little details come through: I was taken aback to pick out guitar parts in my favorite metal album that are all but inaudible when listening on Google Home. I had two first-generation Google Home speakers in two separate rooms when my Nest Audio review unit arrived. I figured I'd make them a stereo pair in my office, where I listen to music more often, and stick the Nest in the bedroom. After testing the Nest Audio, though, I've decided to swap that setup. It's that good. Should you buy it? Hard yes. At $99, the Nest Audio is a bargain, especially when you remember that the Google Home launched at $129 back in 2016. It does everything you've come to expect of the Google Assistant just as well as Google Home — better, even, thanks to improved on-device processing that speeds up certain commands like music controls. It also sounds fantastic for its size, and it's able to hear hotwords startlingly well, even with the volume maxed. I'm probably going to buy a second one to make a stereo pair. That stereo pair will be solely wireless, though, because Google didn't include wired input in the Nest Audio. That's a real shame, because two of these would be great hooked up to a turntable. If you want to make a wired stereo with Google speakers, you'll have to shell out for two Google Home Maxes — which will run you $598 at retail. Not only is that super expensive, it's also overkill for most rooms, especially smaller ones. By contrast, you can get a two-pack of Nest Audios for a small discount: $179. It's very hard to find fault with the Nest Audio. But unless you really need to hardwire your speaker to an audio source, it's very hard to find fault with the Nest Audio. It's damn near the perfect smart speaker, and a sensible upgrade for anyone using the original Home. (Don't really throw your old speakers away, though — donate or recycle them, please.) Buy it if:
- You've had your Google Home(s) a while and want to upgrade.
- You're looking to start a whole-home smart audio setup. The Nest Audio is a great place to start.
- You want a speaker with auxiliary input.
- You already have Google Home Maxes in every room of the house.
LG teased a slide-out phone in the Wing announcement and no one noticed - Android Police
LG officially revealed its new 'Wing' smartphone in a livestream earlier today, following weeks of leaked videos and several teasers. The pre-recorded
LG officially revealed its new 'Wing' smartphone in a livestream earlier today, following weeks of leaked videos and several teasers. The pre-recorded event was over an hour in length, so it's not too surprising that a teaser for a new slide-out device at the very end went unnoticed by most people. The end of the livestream shows off an animation of what looks like a phone sliding outwards. There's very little detail visible, so it's not clear if the section sliding out is a keyboard (perhaps for people mourning the death of TCL's BlackBerry-branded phones), a covered display, or something else entirely. I'm guessing an Xperia Play-style gamepad is off the table, given there's very little clearance between the sliding component and the outer shell. The teaser brings back memories of the LG G5, which had a removable chin for accessing the battery compartment and attaching 'Friends' modules. LG said during the Wing's unveiling that it was developing several other phones under the 'Explorer Project' banner, so perhaps the slide-out device will be the next to market.