Google revealed its new cross-platform Photos app and service today at its I/O developer conference taking place right now. The idea is similar to Apple’s own Photos app and iCloud Photo Library. Google is automatically backing up and syncing photo and video libraries using Google Drive storage and not local device storage, but Google’s killer feature for its version comes down to price: Google Photos is completely free. expand full story
After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.
As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”…
Google’s App Indexing technology isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to discuss, but so long as the majority of the company’s revenue still comes from search (it does), it is imperative that they figure out how to make their main business work on mobile where the eyeballs are going. So the company announced that today App Indexing is coming to iOS apps, starting with Chrome and Google Search.
Following up on Google’s agreement with Twitter to instantly add tweets to web search results, the duo announced today that users on mobile devices will start seeing real-time Twitter results as well. The feature is available in the Google app on iOS or Google’s mobile website, and is expected to make its way to the desktop soon.
Google today has released its first application for the Apple Watch in the form of an update to its iOS Google News & Weather app. Launched last fall, Google News & Weather iOS populates local weather and news headlines. On the Apple Watch, based on the screenshots from iTunes, the application pretty much serves the same purpose. Like other Apple Watch apps based on WatchKit, this new Google application does not appear to be anything special. The screenshots display a bland, text-filled application that is light on functionality…
Google announced yesterday that it will be ending support for its YouTube Data API v2 used by older devices. For Apple users, this means the YouTube app will no longer work on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches running iOS 6 or earlier; users instead will have to rely on the mobile web version of YouTube at m.youtube.com going forward.
The change also affects some Apple TV users, as only the current 3rd-generation 1080p Apple TV supports YouTube’s overhauled channel; prior-generation models will entirely lose access to YouTube… expand full story
Snapseed, the excellent free photo editing application, today received its first major update since Google purchased developer Nik Software back in 2012. Version 2.0 arrived in the App Store with a brand new user interface and a huge collection of new features, most notably including spot healing, lens blur effects, perspective transformation, and a non-destructive editing system that can copy edits from one image to another. The app remains universal across iOS devices, and now has a minimalist UI with Material Design influence.
While Apple’s Photos application improved considerably with the release of iOS 8, Snapseed’s unique ability to selectively fix small parts of photos — such as improving the brightness level of one dark face in an otherwise bright image — has kept it relevant as a key iOS photo editing tool for years. Snapseed 2.0 expands upon that feature, letting you apply filters and brushes selectively with a brush tool. You can also go into individual layers and make adjustments to changes that were previously applied during the editing process.
Snapseed 2.0 is available for free from the App Store now. Additional details are after the break…
Microsoft shifted its focus when it introduced the Surface Pro 3 last year to target both the iPad and the MacBook, but today the company announced a more consumer level iPad-like version of its tablet simply called the Surface 3 with the same $499 starting price as the iPad Air 2.
Google also unveiled a collection of new competitively priced hardware including new Chromebooks and a Chromebit HDMI running Chrome OS for under $100 … expand full story
UK Safari users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their browser settings.
It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.
Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …
Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.
In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.
The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable … expand full story