Google Chrome Canvas PWA brings low-latency doodling to Chromebooks, Android, and even your desktop

Earlier today, our buds over at Chrome Unboxed spotted a new progressive web app by Google called Chrome Canvas. It’s a very simple sketching/doodling app that works best on devices like Chromebooks with stylus-based input, but it will also run on your desktop or phone. The new app is showing up as an installed app on some Chromebooks running Dev and Canary channels, but you can pull it down manually on other devices right now. Read MoreGoogle Chrome Canvas PWA brings low-latency doodling to Chromebooks, Android, and even your desktop was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Google's new Material theme rolls out to Calendar on the web

Something new is slowly but surely making its way into a web browser near you. Yes, the updated Material theme is coming to Google Calendar. This is not completely unexpected. Google has been updating its sites in recent months, and the Android app got a fresh coat of paint this fall.

Unlike some Google apps, the Calendar update is on the subtle side. See below for some quick comparisons. You’re mostly looking at new buttons, those hollow icons, and font tweaks. Read MoreGoogle’s new Material theme rolls out to Calendar on the web was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

New Google Fi customers can get $100 of free service credit

Now that Project Fi is called ‘Google Fi’ and works with all phones, the promotions are ramping up. As announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (of all places), new customers who sign up for Fi can get $100 in service credit. Assuming you use around 2GB of data per month, that’s roughly three months of free service.

Excited is an understatement—we’re talkin’ about @TheEllenShow levels of excitement. 😱
This holiday season, sign up with Google Fi and score $100 in credit. Read MoreNew Google Fi customers can get $100 of free service credit was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Q might drop NFC-based Android Beam APIs

Android Beam was a feature introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) that allowed people to share photos, sites, apps, and more by tapping their phones together. It was a neat feature when it launched, and it still works great for sending links and small files, but Android Beam’s future is now uncertain.
According to a series of AOSP commits discovered by XDA Developers, Android Beam and its accompanying APIs may become deprecated in the next major release of Android. Read MoreAndroid Q might drop NFC-based Android Beam APIs was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

YouTube is testing Up Next filters on Android

 
When you’re watching a YouTube video, the app often taunts you with other recommendations you should watch next, and if you have Autoplay turned on, it even goes through that list automatically. However, you rarely have any control over what shows up in this list. A server-side test tells us that this might be changing soon.

Over the past month, we’ve received a few tips about filter bubbles showing up above the Up Next recommendations. Read MoreYouTube is testing Up Next filters on Android was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Google to spend $1B on NYC campus

 Alphabet Inc’s Google said it is committed to investing over $1 billion to establish a new campus in New York city, as it expands its current presence in the city’s technology corridor along the Hudson River. The new leased campus, which is over 158,000m² (around 1.7 million square feet) will be the primary location for Google’s global business organisation, the company said in a blog post.

With the investment, Google plans on doubling its headcount in the city from 7,000 employees to 14,000. The expansion of the Google Campus will be gradual, taking up to a decade to be fully implemented.

The announcement follows Google acquisition of the Chelsea Market for $2.4 billion back in March and comes hot on the heels of Amazon’s decision to chose New York as a location for its HQ2. If you’re looking for a tech job in the next few years, it looks like New York City may be competing directly with the Bay Area in California. 

Source: Google Blog

Mainstream media still doesn’t understand Android

Those of us who have been using Android for years have a good understanding of the platform, its limitations and how it compares to the competition. While I’ve been a proud Android user since the original T-Mobile G1, I’ll be the first to admit that Android has its fair share of issues. For all its versatility, power and compatibility, the platform can’t compete with the simplicity of iOS. For all its restrictions, Apple’s devices and ecosystem do create a more-cohesive environment that gives its users a sense of security and peace of mind. Android simply doesn’t have that.
But the issue I’m struggling with is how Android is still so misunderstood. A consumer who has never used Android before definitely gets a pass, but the media definitely doesn’t. An article published on Business Insider a few weeks back shows that even mainstream media still doesn’t seem to understand Android.
Below are a few examples pulled from the article.

Android as an open-source platform
Android’s software is built on an open-source platform, which gives developers the ability to create apps that can do more. The potential for customization is basically limitless.
It’s true that Android does have a lot more customization options when compared to iOS, but that’s not necessarily due to the open-source nature of the platform. Because Android is open-source, the code can be taken, modified and used in any way imaginable, but that doesn’t mean that an app developer is given magical powers to transform the Pixel or any other device at will through an app installed through the Play Store.

Android devices as fundamentally insecure
While I never got a virus scare with iOS, using Android reminds me of surfing the web in the early 2000s. I’ve frequently had to exit out of apps like a maniac as pop-ups flooded my screen.
Security is definitely an important topic to cover, but there’s a big difference between security and pop-up ads. It’s not Android’s fault that a user downloads an app from a developer that is more concerned about making a few extra bucks with ads than offering a great user experience. Read the reviews before you download and you’ll find amazing apps.
This hit home for me earlier this year when an Ars Technica report revealed that Facebook had been collecting texting data and call history from users through its Messenger app. Though users technically opt in, the specifics of what Facebook was allowed to collect was hidden in the fine print. This breach of privacy affected only Android users.
The Facebook messaging tracking fiasco was a huge story this year, but it’s surprising that the media is still blaming this on Android. Yes, Android did allow Facebook to collect specific data on its users, but that was not a flaw in the system. Facebook was the one at fault for simply breaching consumer trust.

Android’s main features
What I missed most was the ability to copy and paste from a text message. Google recently resolved this issue, but at the time it was a huge pain, especially when people sent addresses. You really get used to the ability to simply click an address and have it come up in your maps app.
I always laugh when iOS users think their devices have the corner on certain features which were actually implemented on Android years before Apple got around to them. Copy & Paste is far better on Android than it is on iOS and clicking on a link to open it in Maps has been around for about a decade.

…you could find many of these functionalities on the Google Play store. But the effort of finding something and vetting its quality never seems worth it.

Finding great apps on Android is just as easy as it is on iOS. The default apps on Android may not have all the same features as those on iOS, but the versatility that Android offers mean that developers can do a lot more on the platform than they can on iOS.
Final thoughts
While Android devices account for the vast majority of smartphone sales around the globe, iOS is still the platform of choice for many members of the press. I don’t have an issue with that since choosing an operating system is subjective to the user’s needs. What irks me is that there is so much uneducated reporting on Android, painting it as an operating system for coders and gamers.
If you’re still not sure why your friends and family members are reluctant to switch from iOS to Android, I suggest reading the Business Insider article. It’s definitely eye-opening, revealing how little the media and general consumers really know about Android.
Source: Business Insider
 

[Update: Now $1,234] The high-end Google Pixelbook (Core i7/512GB) is just $1,275 ($374 off) on Amazon, extra 10% discount for Prime Student members

Update 1: 2018/12/12 4:36pm PST

The price has dropped even further to $1,234. This is the lowest price we’ve seen the i7 Pixelbook at by far, so it might be worth consideration if you’ve been

The vast majority of Pixelbook buyers out there won’t need a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage, but if you’re one of the few who do, you’re in luck. Amazon is currently offering the highest-end Pixelbook for just $1,275, a discount of $374 from the $1,649 MSRP. Read More[Update: Now $1,234] The high-end Google Pixelbook (Core i7/512GB) is just $1,275 ($374 off) on Amazon, extra 10% discount for Prime Student members was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Google Playground and its AR Playmoji come to Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, new Travel pack lands [APK Download]

When the Pixel 3 debuted two months back, Google made sure its new flagship lineup was adorned with all the latest bells and whistles, introducing us to a whole bunch of new features in the process. From the get-go, we were curious to learn which of these might also make their way to older Pixel phones, and when. Over the past few weeks more and more have been expanding to new devices, and the latest to spread the love is Playground and its Playmoji packs, now formally available for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. Read MoreGoogle Playground and its AR Playmoji come to Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, new Travel pack lands [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Gboard adds support for more than new 50 language varieties

Every few months, Google adds some new language variants to Gboard. This time around, a whopping 50+ language varieties have been added, most of which you probably haven’t heard of. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t divulged every single addition, though there are some that are name-dropped.

Without further ado, here’s the list of 31 mentioned:

Alas
Amis
Brahui
Choctaw
Gayo
Giryama
Gorontalo
Gusii
Hehe
Iban
Jingpho
Kadazandusun
Kamba
Kekchi
Konkomba
Konzo
Kumyk
Lugbara
Luo
Makasaar
Meru
Nande
Nkore
Nyaturu
Sasak
Teso
Tooro & Wayuu
Karelian
Komi-Permyak
Eastern Oromo
Trinidadian Creole English

Unfortunately, because Google didn’t provide all of the names in the changelog and the support page hasn’t yet been updated, we’re still missing over 19 entries from that list. Read MoreGboard adds support for more than new 50 language varieties was written by the awesome team at Android Police.