20 August 2015

Google's Blue Tabs


Google lets you switch between its specialized search engines and check image results, video results, news articles, books, Google Maps results and more. The active tab was red, but now it switched to blue.

Here's a screenshot that shows the blue tab:


... and a screenshot that shows the old red tab:


Inline Search Results in Mobile Google Search?


Google's goal used to be sending users as quickly as possible to the best sites that answered their questions. Smartphone's popularity changed this and Google started to show detailed answers that used information from other sites. On-the-go users don't have much time to check multiple search results and find their answers, many sites aren't optimized for mobile, mobile data is still expensive and users have to deal with slow Internet connections.

Brandon Giesing noticed an interesting question from Google Opinion Rewards: "Imagine you're Googling on your phone. Compared to tapping on a regular search result, would tapping on a result that expanded to reveal content below where you tapped would be... much worse/worse/similar/better/much better?" It looks like Google considers adding a feature that loads the content of a search result inline, probably from Google Cache.


{ Thanks, Brandon. }

19 August 2015

Adjust the Volume of your Android Phone without using the Buttons


Most Android phones have physical buttons on the side for controlling the playback volume and, whether you are listening to podcasts or watching Youtube videos, these keys are sometimes the only way to control the app’s volume. The hardware buttons are easy to use but they are not as convenient as, say, the Control Center on the iPhone where one can change volume using the on-screen volume slider.

Does something similar exist for Android devices that would allow you to control the volume without using the hardware buttons? The Google Play store throws up dozens of ‘abandoned’ software based volume managers but there are at least two Android apps that seem to solve the problem through widgets.

Here’s a 30-second demo video of the Android volume widgets in action.

Also see: Make a Desk Stand for your Phone

The first in the list is Virtual Volume, a free app from Italy. It adds a floating speaker icon on your screen and when you tap this icon, it opens up the Android volume slider to help you quickly adjust the device volume. You can control the size and transparency of the icon and it can placed anywhere on the screen.

The app has no complicated settings and you can configure the speaker icon to only show up when certain apps, like YouTube, are active. The ads only only show up when you are inside the app’s settings, not when you are using the widget.

Android Volume Control with Widget

Next in the list is Volume Notification that, as the name suggests, places the volume up and down buttons in the notification drawer of your Android phone. When you are watching a video in YouTube, pull-down the notification bar and tap the buttons to adjust the volume or mute the audio.

You can configure the notification widget to load on boot from the app’s settings. A volume slider would have been more convenient but, according to the developer, certain technical limitations in Android make it impossible to place a sliding volume bar in the Notifications window.

Android Volume Slider in Notification Bar


The story, Adjust the Volume of your Android Phone without using the Buttons, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 19/08/2015 under Android, Music, YouTube, Software.

Help on Social: Answer Questions About Google


The more you think about it, the more you realize that Google's next acquisition could be Twitter. Why not buy Twitter, now that Google+ is an also-ran and Facebook is more powerful than ever?

After integrating Twitter with Google Search, now Google launches Help on Social, "a new way to ask and answer Google questions on Twitter". Help on Social is powered by Conversocial and brings together Google product questions from across Twitter so you can ask questions or help others.

Help on Social requires to create a profile, connect your Twitter account and select the Google products that interest you. You can then find tabs with answered, unanswered and pinned questions. Why would you answer questions about Google? You can win points and become a Top Contributor.


{ Thanks, Stefan and David. }

Google OnHub: Smart Router for Internet of Things


Google is all about the Web: it develops the most popular browser and mobile operating system, it has a public DNS service, it provides broadband Internet (Google Fiber) and wireless service (Project Fi). So why not build a router to improve your Internet connection and make your router as smart and easy to use as your smartphone?

Google partnered with TP-LINK to build OnHub, a next-generation router for the Internet of Things. It's not the fastest router (AC 1900 Mbps), it's not the most expensive router ($199.99) and it's not the best router for power users. Instead, Google focused on providing the best experience for regular users, much like Apple and its Airport devices.


"We replaced unruly cords and blinking lights with internal antennas and subtle, useful lighting, so you'll be happy placing OnHub out in the open, where your router performs its best. A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance. You can even prioritize a device, so that your most important activity — like streaming your favorite show — gets the fastest speed," mentions Google.


There are mobile apps for Android and iOS which let you setup the router, change the settings and check the stats. A Google account is required and Google saves all the settings online, except for the WiFi password. Google's OnHub downloads and installs new versions of the firmware automatically and the best thing is that the router doesn't restart, so it doesn't interrupt your connection

OnHub is designed for Internet of Things and it supports Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave (Nest protocol for the Internet of Things), IEEE 802.15.4 (a standard that focuses on low-speed connections between devices). The router has 4GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, one USB 3.0 port, a 3W speaker, a WAN port and a single LAN port (both are Gigabit ports). You'll need a switch if you want more Ethernet ports.

You can pre-order OnHub from Google Store, Amazon and other sites in the US and it will ship in the coming weeks. It will also be available for sale in retail stores in the U.S. and in Canada. Google plans to release a second OnHub device later this year, in partnership with ASUS.

18 August 2015

Organize Albums in Google Photos


There are many Google+ Photos features that are missing from Google Photos. You can remove 2 of the features from the list: reordering photos in an album and changing the timestamp for photos.

Just click the new "edit" button when opening an album and reorder photos using drag and drop. You can also add photos from other albums.


Open a photo, click the info icon and then click the edit button next to the date and time if you want to change them.


{ via +GooglePhotos }

Standalone Google Hangouts Web App


Now you don't have to open Gmail or Google+ to use Google Hangouts: just go to hangouts.google.com in your favorite desktop browser and check the new standalone web app for Google Hangouts. The site redirects to talkgadget.google.com, so you can use this URL too.


"We are launching another way to use Hangouts today. From our new site you'll be able to take advantage of the best of Hangouts in the browser, along with an inspiring image to get you through the day," says Google's Jordanna Chord.

It's actually a slightly different interface for the Hangouts feature from Gmail, except that Gmail has been replaced with a wallpaper you can't change, the Hangouts roaster is bigger and there's a navigation menu.