Thursday, January 30, 2014

Android Device Manager gets password protected.

Our Android devices are priceless not because of their purchase price, it's more about the content stored on them: contacts, emails, bank details, resumes etc. For that reason it is of paramount importance that we take appropriate and necessary steps to protect our data in case our phones are lost or stolen and none is immune to that and there's nothing scarier than having our personal data in the hands of strangers. Enter Android Device Manager.

Android Device Manager is an app that lets you locate lost devices on the web and lock, erase or even make them ring remotely. A must have app if you own a Android device. Once installed, a network connection is required to locate your other Android device, provided the latter is connected to the internet. The app had a security flaw until today's update. It was open and easily accessible by a thief  or anyone who picks up your phone and thus could wipe your other devices.

Google has added a security layer to the app that requires a password when opening the app or switching between accounts. This feature is enabled by default after updating the app and can be disabled on the login screen by checking "Never ask me again" after or before entering your Google account password. To re-enable it, tap "Require Sign in" in the settings of Device Manager.

The Android Device Manager update also include the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.

Source: Google Play

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Twitter for Android photo editing improved.

Using the official Twitter client on your Android phone is really a matter of taste rather than practicality, considering the amount of high quality Twitter third party clients in Google Play Store. But it is said that tastes cannot be discussed. No shame if you use the official app :). The app has been updated today with some improvements that still leaves it far behind other clients.

 What's New
This release includes enhancements to Tweet replies and the photo viewer.
• Easily mention other users when you Tweet a photo.
• Improvements to the photo cropping and image rotation
• Better login verification.
• When you’ve read all the latest Tweets, pull to refresh and see recommendations for new content on Twitter.

Source: Google Play

Friday, January 24, 2014

Google+: One search box to find them all.

Google social network  is getting popular each day. Even if it is lagging behind Facebook, Google is determinded to keep the pressure on Zuckerburg's baby. The thing is, I'm not sure the world needs and wants another social network. No matter if Google catches up with Facebook, it seems that people are just not excited anymore with social networks.

Google's Google+ has been updated today. The Maountain View social network made it's search box capable of handling searches for posts, people, photos etc. Another feature allows users to "explore specific topics from the What’s Hot stream". I don't know what this feature does or if it was even builtin into Google+.

What's New
- A single search box for posts, people, photos, and communities
- Explore specific topics from the What’s Hot stream
- Additional bug fixes and performance improvements

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Instagram launches Instagram Direct to privately send photo, videos and text messages.

Instagram Direct was announced in mid-December last year and has finally found its way to my Android devices a month later. Indeed the update showed up in Google Play today on both my Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 (2013). So, what is Instagram Direct? 

With the growing popularity and competition from apps such as SnapChat and WhatsApp, the introduction of private sharing was the next logical step for Instagram, even if these competing apps are no threat yet to Instagram; or maybe they are. The Direct feature introduces a new way to send photos, messages and videos directly to one or up to 15 followers directly. 

How that works? Simple. Once you're done editing your masterpiece and instead of using the same steps to post, tap Direct and choose the people you want to send the picture to. It's as simple as that. No you just cannot instantiate a chat session with your followers. To set Direct in motion it all starts with a photo and you will see the avatar of your online friends light up.

Now check the updates on your Android device and start privately sharing your photos, videos while chatting with your followers. If the update hasn't appeared on your phone/tablet yet, go to Google Play directly to get it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flipboard update: Pinch-to-zoom full screen images on tablet.

My favorite news reader on Android, Flipboard is a beautiful magazine-like app for Android phones and tablets. With Flipboard you can naturally flip through the news like you would do with a paper-based magazine. You can, obviously, connect to your Facebook and Twitter account or your favorite news source.

The latest update to the app brings some nice features for a better experience on the tablet with the ability to pinch-to-zoom images on tablets. A logical addition, but one that should have been there from the start. To me the most interesting novelty in this update is that users who do not have a Flipboard account will now be able to change push notifications options in settings.

Check out the change log for more info:
- Now you can pinch-to-zoom full screen images on tablet.
- People without a Flipboard account can change push notifications options in Settings.
- Emojis are now compatible everywhere inside the app.
- More bug fixes.

FlipBoard is available free to download here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gmail app update automatically show images in emails.

Google published an update for its Gmail app that enables the automatic display of images in emails. Some do get annoyed by the fact that they have to wait for images to download and while for others it is a means to save money because image downloads can indeed take its toll on data plans. The latter group need not worry because even if Google made the auto-download of images a default, they also added a switch in the settings to turn it off. 

Go into the settings by tapping the three vertical dots at the top right corner of the app. Then tap your email address and scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap Images. You'll see two options there: Always show and Ask before showing. 

The update also includes some other nice features like the ability to set a vacation responder right on your device. In case you're wondering what that is, it's the equivalent of the Out Of Office. Check out the log below for additional features:

What's New
● Images now show automatically
● Set up your vacation responder in Settings
● Send or download attachments of any type, including documents, PDFs, zip files
● (Android 4.3+) Attach multiple files at once
● (Android 4.4) Print emails and attachments
● Enhanced performance for low memory devices
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and up.

Download/update the Gmail app in Google Play Store.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Facebook for Android lets you search for hashtags; updates Home.

It's the beginning of a new year and I'm fortunate that Santa brought me a Nexus 7, my very first Android tablet. I must say I'm loving it so far. The screen is absolutely gorgeous and playing Asphalt 8 on it is amazing; especially when compared to the experience on my old Galaxy Nexus. What did you get for Christmas? That said, let's get to the subject of this post.

Facebook has updated their Android app today with the ability to search for hashtags within your timeline and newsfeed. You can also tap them to keep tabs on what other people are saying about a topic. A feature that, well, is not really new if you use more than one social network. Which is pretty much the case for almost anyone these days. But it's good to see Facebook play catchup.

This update also includes new permissions and I recommend you check them out by visiting Facebook help center:

Remember Facebook Home? Yeah that piece of launcher that Facebook launched last year to bring your social life front and center on your mobile phone. Besides myself experimenting with it, I have yet to see someone using it. Just to say that Home has not been a success. Facebook is not ready to admit defeat and included some new features for Home in the update.

If you use Home, here's what's new:
- Swipe down to unlock
- View the time, weather and notifications on your lock screen
- Swipe to browse photos and posts on your lock screen
- Pick from new photo categories to customize your wallpaper
The update is available for download on Google Play Store.