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Tom Maxwell

August 26, 2015

Congrats, iPhone owners: Popular online food ordering service Eat24 has determined that you are healthier than users of Google’s Android. That’s based on data it collected from its mobile app over a three month period, tracking information regarding how ordering habits differed across the rival platforms.

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August 18, 2015

Apple has long been involved in the networking peripheral space with its AirPort products, and today Google announced its own wireless router in partnership with TP-LINK. Google has just published a blog post unveiling OnHub, a wireless router it has developed in partnership with popular router manufacturer TP-LINK, which it says provides a Wi-Fi experience that’s “that’s fast, secure, and easy to use.” expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

July 22, 2015

Chrome 44 for iOS brings beacon-powered Physical Web closer to reality, new gestures

The Physical Web is an open source web specification from Google released last year with the aim to make interacting with smart devices in the real world as easy as clicking a link, just as we do on the web. Now with the company having released its Eddystone beacon technology and APIs for making this communication between devices in the same proximity easier, it’s integrating Physical Web directly into Chrome for iOS.

The latest version of Chrome for iOS, version 44 available now in the App Store, brings Physical Web content to the “Today” view. The Today view, for those who don’t know, is a section within the iOS Notification Center panel, accessed by dragging down from the top of the screen, which contains quick glance information that you may want to access often, such as weather information, calendar events, etc. But developers can also make their own widgets for this section which could include this same sort of quick glance information pulled from their own apps, as well as action buttons to perform quick tasks – like checking into a location on Swarm, for example.

What this means for Physical Web is better visibility and increased potential for adoption. While beacons have yet to heavily saturate the world, they face a chicken and egg problem: without a way for end-users to actually receive information from devices they pass by in the physical world, developers and manufacturers don’t have the same kind of incentive to design, manufacturer, and sell, and invest in beacons, and vice-versa. Physical Web, though, takes advantage of Eddystone-URL, a language that Google’s Eddystone beacon technology can send information to end-user devices in. Now that the company has a full end-to-end beacon solution – the beacon software that device manufacturers can use in their beacon hardware, as well as deeper integration into end-user devices – it will be possible for web developers to get more native-like proximity functionality out of their apps.

In addition to support for Physical Web, today’s Chrome for iOS update also adds new swipe gestures for making navigation throughout the app easier. The app is available now in the App Store.

July 14, 2015

Google announces a Bluetooth beacon platform to compete with Apple’s iBeacons

Google today announced a new beacon technology called Eddystone along with APIs that together it hopes will make it easier for Android and iOS-powered devices and beacons in close proximity to communicate with one another. Unlike iBeacon, Apple’s take on the Bluetooth-based protocol, Eddystone is open source and designed to be easily extendable, compatible with any device which supports the use of beacons. A new API announced alongside Eddystone, compatible with iOS and Android devices and available to Android developers today (iOS support forthcoming), uses inaudible sound emitted from device speakers and heard from other devices using their microphones to determine when other smartphones and tablets are nearby so data can be transmitted between them.

To learn more, read the full post over at 9to5Google.

June 24, 2015

You no longer need a Facebook account to use Messenger

Facebook Messenger is a beautifully designed messaging app available on both Android and iOS, and now you don’t even need to a Facebook account to use it.

June 22, 2015

Avid Foursquare junkies (myself included), rejoice – mayorships are back, just now in the Swarm app. You can become the mayor of a place by checking into it more than anyone else in the last 30 days, and only one check-in per day counts towards your rank.

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June 15, 2015

Facebook Moments app makes it easier to exchange photos with friends

Facebook has today unveiled a new app called Moments from its Creative Labs division that makes it easier to exchange pictures amongst friends who were together at an event or place, all documenting it through their own photos. Here’s how Facebook describes the problem they’re solving:

It’s hard to get the photos your friends have taken of you, and everyone always insists on taking that same group shot with multiple phones to ensure they get a copy. Even if you do end up getting some of your friends’ photos, it’s difficult to keep them all organized in one place on your phone.

Through the use of location and facial-recognition data (both areas where Facebook has invested heavily), Moments groups photos together and then asks if you’d like to share them with the people it has recognized, and vice-versa. It’s very reminiscent of the now-defunct Color, although that app was more real-time and ephemeral (Moments allows you to collect and sync photos with friends after an event is over), and wasn’t integrated closely with Facebook’s 1 billion plus user base.

It’s available now in the iOS App Store and on Google Play, which is useful in the event that some of your friends are on Android (gasp, I know).

May 27, 2015

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.

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