Not all pop-ups are intrusive ads, Chrome
The Google Chrome pop-up blocker is useful for blocking annoying ads. But sometimes, it can be the problem instead of the solution. Some websites use redirects or pop-up windows to start a download and display verification checks, among other functionality. Your browser may flag them as intrusive ads because it's a default setting, but you can turn it off in the settings menu. However, you'll lose control of how ads and redirects appear on your screen.
Google's answer to Microsoft Copilot
Generative AI has taken the world by storm. While Google has been a few steps behind the competition, it's coming to the fray like a charging elephant. During its Google I/O 2023 event, Google displayed the Duet AI for Google Workspace feature that integrates with all Google Workspace apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and Gmail, and helps people become more productive. If you have been out of the loop, let us explain Duet AI for Google Workspace and why it's a big deal. So, put in your wireless earbuds, play your favorite music, and let's get started.
Coping with Shinra's greedy capitalism is no easy feat
Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis is one of our most anticipated Android games in 2023 and is in strong contention to be a hit on your favorite Android gaming phone. Lucky for you, we were able to get a closer look at Ever Crisis during the first closed beta test, so we've created a guide outlining how the battling works, the various growth and enhancement systems, and how exactly the gacha mechanics impact accounts.
People's initials replace the generic silhouette
In its early days, WhatsApp started as a messaging platform for individuals, and later expanded to facilitate group chats, quickly rising to become one of the hottest encrypted messaging apps on the scene. Rival apps like Telegram which were built around group chats have inspired most of WhatsApp’s changes of late. The Meta-owned chat app has been experimenting with different ways to show participant avatars in group chats, especially if they don’t have a profile picture uploaded. Now, we are seeing the company try another approach in this ongoing experiment.
Google Chat users can now hyperlink words with links
Google Chat is a great communication tool, but it has had a major flaw in regard to sharing links. Without being able to hyperlink a word, users have had to type out the entire URL or copy-paste it. It can really clutter a chat, making an unprofessional atmosphere, especially if it's a longer URL. Finally, Google has implemented a new feature that many chat systems — from Discord to Slack — have by default, the ability to hyperlink words in your messages.
YouTube Music has added a 'Dismiss queue' option in response to user feedback
YouTube Music's most recent update has gotten a lot of heat, mainly because of changes to the mini player that appears when you collapse the Now Playing UI. Users lost the ability to dismiss the mini player through a swipe down gesture — a popular function, as it was the only way to quickly clear the current queue aside from starting a new playlist. Thankfully, another update has provided a solution, but it isn't as convenient as a swipe.
Square Enix masterfully knows how to tease it best Final Fantasy stories
Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis was revealed during the 2021 State of Play livestream. Now that the game has entered closed beta, we can finally see what Square Enix has been cooking. As a fan that's been playing Final Fantasy for over a decade and a half, starting with Final Fantasy IX (working forward and backward), I've sunk my teeth in every spinoff and sequel to every mainline title since. This also includes Crisis Core on the PSP, Dirge of Cerberus on the PlayStation 2, and reading through fan-translated transcripts of Before Crisis, a Japanese-only mobile game.
Internet Identity is a new type of authentication for Web3. Here's what you should know about it
Passwords are hard. Even with password managers to generate and autofill them, they're still a pain to use for all the daily logins in our lives. The problem is that there aren't any great alternatives. However, the Web3 techs at the DFINITY Foundation are working on a promising alternative. It's called II or Internet Identity, and it could reshape our online security. Here's what we know.
The company is getting rid of useless awards that Redditors were happy to throw money at
Reddit recently caused turmoil when it introduced steep prices for access to its API, effectively killing many excellent third-party Reddit apps out there that augmented the core experience in often significant ways. The company cited its desire to become profitable and cut off GPT scrapers as a reason why it took this step. It previously all but lost money on providing and updating the API. Reddit’s next move then could strike you as odd, as the business has announced that it will discontinue coins and awards, which likely provided the company with a small but steady stream of revenue.
Teach Gboard to understand that you don't mean "I ducking hate autocorrect" every time
Texting is one activity most people can't do without. Virtual keyboards make it effortless every day. Google's Gboard is one such keyboard that offers more features besides basic texting capabilities, including language translation and voice typing. When you activate auto-corrections, your keyboard becomes a know-it-all and modifies spellings without asking. You may find this feature annoying if you regularly use slang and shorthand.
Millions of daily active users still play Roblox, an app that's over a decade old
Since Roblox's launch, many gamers have followed and continued to support the legacy this metaverse has left behind. Today, Roblox has become more than just a massive sandbox/simulation game; it reels in a large growing community and brings indispensable resources to get gaming creations out to the world without needing a top-end Android phone.
This is like the polar opposite of a country selector
Google's in-house VPN, which is a part of its Google One subscription, is a bit different in philosophy to other VPNs. While most other VPNs allow you to transport yourself to any part of the world you want, Google's own VPN doesn't believe in that. There's no country or region selector, and instead, you just fire it up and get to browsing again. It's meant to shield yourself and your IP address online, and it's probably the most solid option if you don't really need to hop around countries for any reason. And if you've ever wondered whether this would change, it will not — in fact, the servers you'll connect to are now getting even closer to you.
Google Assistant gets a UI revamp with the latest release but that’s about it
Google announced a major Android Auto redesign at I/O 2022. Codenamed 'Coolwalk,' it revamped Auto's UI for bigger infotainment displays and introduced a split-screen mode, among a barrage of other improvements. Eight months after the initial announcement and two months of beta testing, Google started rolling out the new Android Auto design for everyone at the beginning of 2023. The company has since then been spotted testing minor UI changes, though nothing major has rolled out. Google has now silently released Android Auto v10, with a new UI for Google Assistant.
Downloading Facebook videos doesn't require rocket science
Despite the recent addition of the video downloading feature on Instagram, Meta's other app, Facebook, continues to fall behind. While you can download your video uploads, it doesn't offer a feature to download videos uploaded by other users on your Android device, computer, or top Chromebooks.
Check if your viewers have learned anything from the clips they've watched
With tons of information always accessible through our mobile phones and computers, there's almost no reason to commit so much knowledge to memory. However, YouTube found a way to facilitate actual learning when it unveiled an experimental feature last September that allows creators to create quizzes in the Community tab to gauge how well their viewers understand the educational content they churn out. The quiz feature has subsequently been rolled out in beta since then before presumably hitting the stable channel in March of this year, though only on Android phones. YouTube has now updated its Help Center page to indicate that quizzes have arrived for desktop computers as well.
Users can now filter requests from accounts they don't follow only if those accounts are verified
Twitter has come under fire recently for a lot of reasons (many of them quite fair). Ever since Elon Musk took over the site in 2022, changes have been quick and frequent, resulting in an exodus of sorts from many long-term employees. On the product side, Twitter has faced no shortage of problematic issues, from a nightmare of API changes, to service outages, to complaints of price gouging. One thing that hadn’t been fully addressed since Musk took over was the amount of spam direct message requests that Twitter users had to deal with. Today, Twitter announces a new DM feature in an effort to further combat spam — but it sure feels like it's being used to promote Twitter Blue.
Availability of the RCS-exclusive assistant may soon expand to SMS
Google seems to have an identity crisis of sorts with its AI-based writing assistant tools Magic Compose, Write for Me, Smart Compose, and Smart Reply. Nonetheless, Magic Compose is the way forward for the Google Messages app. It has been available for RCS conversations for some, but we have recently spotted it in testing for regular texts as well.
Updated Play Store policy clarifies what is (and what's still not) allowed
Blockchain apps have been largely prohibited on the Play Store, and Google has long only allowed apps that allow users to remotely manage cryptocurrency, trading, and some other basic functions. However, Google has decided to loosen these restrictions with a policy update that could bring in a whole new genre to the Google Play Store.
Fitbit joins other Google apps that have already gotten the MD3 treatment
Google is in the middle of a low-key UI refresh for it apps and services. Going back to last fall, we've been checking out the slow spread of a new interface for switching between multiple Google accounts, one that embraces modern Material You style. This week we're checking out what seems to be the latest app to make the change, as the new account switcher reaches the Fitbit app.
Calendar widgets get their long overdue facelift
Material You introduced a slew of design changes to how Android looks and feels and added a ton of customization options, too. While dynamic theming was a big part of this facelift that came with Android 12, various Google apps simultaneously picked up new interface elements to go with this major refresh. Google Calendar also followed suit, but its widgets had remained behind the curve for some reason. Not anymore, as Calendar widgets are finally receiving their long overdue Material You facelift.