Microsoft Bing Gains Visual Search Functionality in Latest Update

Microsoft Bing Visual Search

Microsoft has updated the Microsoft Bing search app for Android and iOS, bringing a new visual search functionality to it.  The feature works very similar to Google Lens (albeit not real time) by allow you to snap a photo of an object, bar code or a photo from your phone to identify objects in it.

The feature is also part of Microsoft Launcher and Microsoft Edge for Android with the feature coming to Edge for iOS shortly.

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Google Assistant Gets Continued Conversation on Google Home Devices

Continued Conversation on Google Home

After trickling out over the course of the past few days, it looks like Google has pushed the big red button and the broad release of Continued Conversation for Google Assistant on Google Home is happening.  The feature, which was highlighted at Google I/O, is aimed to create a more natural conversation between you and Assistant without having to issue a “Hey Google” for every command.

Now you can say “Hey Google” once, issue a command (or a series of up to three commands) and Assistant through your Google Home will execute them.  Then it listens for another few seconds for a follow up command.  If you don’t issue a follow up command, or if you say “Stop” then it no longer listens and goes back into waiting for you to say “Hey Google”.

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Google Play Store Subscriptions Goes Live in The Play Store App

Subscriptions Page in The Google Play Store

Back at Google I/O, Google announced that a new centralized subscription page would be coming to the Google Play Store app.  The idea behind is that users will have one place to go and manage their subscriptions, be it unsubscribe, change billing information or the like.  That new page is now live.

If you go to the Play Store app on your Android phone, tap on the hamburger menu in the search bar and you will see a new Subscriptions section.  Tap that and all of your subscriptions are listed for you.

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Chrome for Android Beta Sees Third Chrome 68 Build

Chrome for Android Beta - Chrome 68

The third Chrome 68 build has arrived for the Chrome for Android Beta app in the Play Store.  The app, which anyone can download and install on their phone, is now running build 68.0.3440.33.  If you already have the app installed, you should have the OTA update ready to install on your phone.

The focus of this update, as per the norm, is bug fixes and performance improvement in the browser.  As you may recall from the first beta release from a couple of weeks back, there are a slew of changes coming to Chrome for Android with Chrome 68.  A new horizontal task switcher is available, a new Home screen mini bar instead of a banner has been added as well as new identifications for non-HTTPS sites that you visit.

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AT&T Begins Rolling Out Android Oreo to The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

Good news this morning for those of you who have the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active on the AT&T network.  Your Android Oreo 8.0 update is now starting to roll out.  The update, according to AT&T, is build R16NW.G891AUCU3CRE7 and it is about 1.5GB in size.   The update brings the April Android Security Update and is version 8.0 of Oreo, not the more current 8.1.

Fundamentally, the update is the same that has been rolling out on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint for the normal Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge which brings all the Oreo updates along with the new Samsung Experience 9 user experience.

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Google Flutter Release Candidate 1 Now Available

Flutter Logo

Google’s new cross platform mobile SDK, Google Flutter, has had its first Release Candidate build released for developers to use and test.  Flutter was announced way back in February at Mobile World Congress and it is aimed to give developers a leg up in developing mobile apps that are native for both Android and iOS.

The beauty of Flutter is that it comes packing its own rendering engine and framework which, in essence, bypasses the native UI frameworks in both platforms.  This is not something new for developers, especially game developers who have used different rendering engines.  This allows for significant performance increases (particularly on Android).  When you compile the app with the available Android and iOS SDKs, you get the appropriate app & framework for the respective platform.

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MSN News Rebranded Microsoft News

Microsoft News for Android

Microsoft’s efforts to update and modernize their Android apps continues with a new update to what was known as MSN News.  The revamped app is now under the name Microsoft News and it has a load of changes.  Well really, it is pretty much a new app.

Starting with the new first run experience to help you personalize the news and information you get and when you sign in with your Microsoft account, your interests will follow you device-to-device.  You also have a new dark theme and a revamped look and feel overall.

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Westworld Now Available in the Play Store

Westworld for Android

After being announced last week, the new Westworld game is now available as a free download in the Play Store.  The game, which looks and plays very similar to Fallout Shelter, is set up as a trainee simulator from the Delos corporation, you build up the simulators AI, build hosts and please the guests who are visiting Sweetwater in the game.  It plays along the same story lines as the hit television show on HBO.

If you have played Fallout Shelter or other similar style games, you will be right at home with Westworld.

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