23 articles published since June 07, 2023
About Jorge Aguilar
Jorge is a writer for Android Police. He likes to say he knows mobile phones enough to own an Android, but he has been writing for multiple industries that all revolve around tech. He has upgraded his phone but has never gotten the warranty, because he never had a phone long enough to use it. Upgrades all the way is what Jorge says!
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.
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.
Huawei reportedly partnered with SMIC to produce 5G chips in China
Back in May 2019, Huawei was banned from the US, being put on a list that prohibits American companies from selling products or services to Huawei without a license. These restrictions have made things very hard for the company, and for the last three years, it's been in crisis mode, trying to stop a downturn in profits as well as get past the sanctions. As it turns out, Huawei may have found a way to raise profits despite sanctions.
WhatsApp is beta testing a new feature to hide phone numbers in communities
Joining a WhatsApp community comes with a lot of benefits, like the ability to chat with workmates or like-minded people. However, once you join a community, your phone number is put out for everyone to see, even if all you do is react to a message. It has made users feel like there should be some kind of privacy option — luckily, WhatsApp seems to be providing one.
Users with Search Generative Experience enabled might notice some new swipe actions
Browsing the web on your phone tends to take a bit more work than browsing on your computer. Screen real estate is limited and there's no right-click option, so things like saving bookmarks and sharing links are just a little harder to do. In general, it's safe to say we need something more intuitive and fluid. In that vein, Google has introduced a way to save and send links using touchscreen gestures.
Emoji can be considered a legally enforceable digital signature in Canada
Emoji have become commonplace in phone conversations, to the point where most people don't think twice about giving a thumbs up or hearting messages. Heck, emoji are even animated now — but they're not without issues. We've all found ourselves regretting an emoji choice after someone else took it the wrong way, and things like an eggplant or a peach can definitely have more than one meaning. Now, it appears that the thumbs-up emoji can get you taken to court.
A new option in Pixel Launcher will soon show what apps are being used by the Smartspace widget
Apps need to access certain data in order to provide you with relevant info, and there’s usually nothing sinister about it. Trouble is, it’s gotten to the point where most of us treat permission prompts like a terms of service popup — we blindly tap “Yes” and move on. Thankfully, Google’s Pixel Launcher looks to be adding a privacy option that lets us see exactly what data is being used by the At a Glance widget, which should come in handy as the service continues to add new features that pull data from various sources like ridesharing and delivery apps.
The latest beta shows a Style option in the widget Settings
Google's At a Glance widget has undergone several updates since its initial release to make things more convenient for users. As time passes, the service has gone from weather, date, and calendar events to other easy-access info like mini doorbell video feeds, rideshare information, and more. This is convenient but looks similar across multiple devices, which doesn't leave room for much personalization. That may be changing soon, as Google appears to be testing ways to personalize the widget.
ChromeOS is testing an option to change square corners to rounded corners
ChromeOS has had a clean and straightforward design for some time, but a big Material You-focused makeover is standing by for a stable release later this year. One missing piece in this redesign are ChromeOS's hard and pointy corners, which stand in contrast to both the browser's own tabs but also the design the company brought to Android in recent years. The latest ChromeOS Canary update offers a glimpse at what to expect with a flag that allows users to activate rounded corners at various pixel radius options, ranging from 8 to 18 pixels.
And we're not talking about rubbish battery life
Touchscreens have been around in one form or another for decades now, but their modern presence on smartphones and tablets has really defined the way we interact with these devices. While very intuitive, having to physically touch your screen isn't always the most convenient thing — especially if you've got messy hands. Motion Sense on the Google Pixel 4 gave us a taste of how hands-free phone control could work, and now it looks like Xiaomi is poised to bring it back, with plans for a similar feature on what seems to be an upcoming tablet.
You can finally have the last word in those heated debates
Chat systems have become essential to the work environment, especially as many offices move to a remote model. Managers can get their messages across instantly, teams can coordinate faster, and employees even get a way of developing office relationships without needing to leave their desks. Despite this, miscommunication can still occur, especially if someone responds to multiple messages simultaneously or you need to reply to an older message. With Google Chat's newest feature, it's easier to understand who the message is for and what the user is responding to.
Google is beta testing image search functionality in its Fact Check Explorer
In this age of misinformation, how is anyone supposed to know what to trust online? Even if the image you're looking at hasn't been altered in Photoshop, it can still be hard to find out where a picture originated, what context is needed to understand it, or to tell if it's candid or staged. Since it's incredibly easy to take any image and make false statements about it online, Google is introducing an upgrade to its Fact Check Explorer that adds image search.
The Google Home app can now only trigger routines on the device it is being used on
For years, the Google Home app has provided users with the convenience of creating and utilizing routines directly on their phones. Routines allow users to automate a series of actions, making it easier to manage various tasks and scenarios. The app allowed users to either run routines directly through Assistant on their phones or trigger them remotely on other devices. That option to run routines on other devices through Google Home seems to have been removed for some users with no explanation as to why.
For the brave and the foolhardy, alike
Smartphones have often faced criticism for their durability and limited repair options. You normally need special tools to work on a phone, and mobile device components aren't usually sold outside of specialty stores. Lately, we've seen huge wins in the right-to-repair movement, with both Apple and Google making announcements that support the maintenance and care of your own device. Google recently announced that the Pixel Fold will have repair guides and parts available through iFixit.
The Telecom Jetpack library is poised to enable VoIP call streaming between devices
Every Android is designed with the idea that it is not just a phone, but an entertainment device, able to surf the web, download apps, and do a lot of what a computer can do. Phone manufacturers have gotten the call quality to such a high standard that poor call quality is typically not a phone issue, instead, it's usually a service area issue. However, Google is still working to make call experiences even better.
The new Paramount+ with Showtime starts fighting with Peacock for your streaming scraps tomorrow
Is it too much to ask for a little consistency from our streaming services? They were supposed to be this grand replacement for cable, but every time we look, it feels like they're dropping programming, or just outright merging with each other, giving us less consumer choice in the progress. HBO Max is now Max since merging with Discovery, and now we're checking out two other once-distinct platforms that are getting in a similar boat, as Paramount+ and Showtime merge — and make viewers pay more for both.
Letting screen readers to their thing, even without alt text
For as many incredible things that our phones and computers can do, it's easy to forget that not everyone's able to interact with these systems in the same way. Google has thankfully been a trailblazer when it comes to accessibility, including making web content available to everyone. Chrome's reading mode and PDF viewer are both part of this commitment, and can be invaluable to those with visual impairments. Now a new image-to-text feature in Chrome on ChromeOS will help screen readers work with PDFs, even when images lack alt-text descriptions.
Leaks claim that Google is working on a stylus and keyboard for its Pixel Tablet
Half of the fun of following upcoming smartphone and tablet releases is trying to figure out which leaks are legit and which are fabricated. Since the Pixel Tablet was in the unique position of being unveiled a whole year before its launch, there were an unusual amount of rumors around it. One had us excited about potential first-party accessories from Google, but it never came to fruition. Now, there's new evidence to rekindle hope.
Zoom is getting a Google TV app, but it's exclusive to Sony Bravia TVs
When businesses had to deal with social distancing limitations during the pandemic, Zoom became an incredibly popular tool in workplaces across the world. In March 2020 alone, Zoom received two million downloads on mobile, and it's now become the clear leader among video chat apps for offices that rely on remote work. Now, Zoom video conferencing is headed for your living room, albeit in a limited capacity.