Google Photos has been updated for Android and with it comes a long requested feature of the app. Version 2.0 is out now in the Play Store and if you have the app already installed, you will get an OTA update for it over the course of the next few days. The new feature? The ability to permanently organize photos in albums.
Prior to this release, photos in an album could be moved around but they could not be sorted automatically (say oldest to newest). This update to Google Photos brings that feature.
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Google’s new video app, Google Duo, has been out about a month now and while the 10 million downloads are okay, it isn’t exactly setting the world alight. If you haven’t tried it out, it is a great video experience. To help get awareness of the app up and to show it in action, Google released a series of 10 adverts for the app and some of them are really good. My favorite, which you can find after the break, is something we can all related to: A lost sock in the laundry.
The range of videos are centered around things that go together. Like a pair of socks. Or salt and pepper. Or Peanut Butter and Jelly. You get the idea. Duos
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Microsoft and their mobile devices, Microsoft Lumia, were in the news again this week and not in a good way. The company has all-but confirmed that they will be killing off the devices and brand by the end of 2016. As a long time H/PC, PocketPC, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone users (I started this site back in 2004 writing about Handheld PCs and PocketPCs), it is a shame to see a company with the resources of Microsoft so utterly screw up their mobile strategy around devices. There are a lot of reasons for this of course and I could spend a lot of digital ink on it. But the bottom line is, from a device perspective, Microsoft made a long series of major missteps that has led to where we are today: Virtually no Windows powered phones. Sure there is the new HP Elite X3 but at the price point it has ($799), it will see very few and really, it’s aimed at the enterprise anyway.
But to suggest that Microsoft’s mobile strategy is dead because their phones are dead is a bit of a stretch and dare I say, false. Their strategy is very much alive and well across both Android and iOS and proves that you don’t necessarily have to have phones in the mix. Microsoft’s focus has been pretty clear for the last two years. First, they want you using Microsoft services on whatever devices you want to use. Second, they want you to have the apps to make you productive and give you near the same level of functionality as you have on the desktop. These two things not only make up a mobile strategy but it makes a pretty solid one.
Evernote has announced that they have selected the Google Cloud Platform as their choice for data storage and usage, replacing their own server farms and data centers. The news is another big win for Google’s cloud services which has gained a number of high profile customers over the course of the past 18 months. Adding Evernote to that mix will not only add another marque for them but will bring additional support and reliability for Evernote customers.
Until now, Evernote has owned, configured, and maintained its own servers and networks. This approach gave us the ability to build the service we wanted the way we wanted to build it. But it is also limiting—expensive to maintain, slow to upgrade, and difficult to scale. And while the infrastructure we have now is perfectly suited to support Evernote as it runs today, it lacks the speed and flexibility we need for tomorrow.
Essentially the move is about future proofing the company’s services yet continuing to support the existing 200 million users of the service today.
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If you are using the Chrome browser on your Windows, Mac or Linux machine, there is an important update that is out now for you to download. The update, version 53.0.2785.113 has several security improvements in it but most of what has been fixed has not been released by the Chromium team. As is often the case on these mid-stream releases (remember, they just released a big update last week), the team and their researchers found a significant security issue and they won’t release the details of it until a majority of users have updated to the build. Once that happens, all the gory details can be found on the Chromium Blog.
That said, there are five named fixes in the update, two of which were considered high priority.
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There is another new update to Skype for Android, the second such update in as many weeks. The latest build, version 7.16 for those keeping score at home, brings some fixes and improvements to the messaging app but more importantly, brings Accessibility support to Bot cards. As you might remember from the last update, Microsoft and their partners added a new Bots feature where you could get automated information and even place orders with some companies. Now the company has enabled those Bots to work with the accessibility features of your phone. If you have those features enabled, Skype will now support it and allow you to interact with the Bot properly.
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Android Marshmallow continues to see incremental growth in the install base according to the latest figures from Google. In the platform version dashboard report released today, Marshmallow’s install base grew from 15.2% last month to 18.7% this month. The growth was certainly expected given that a number of devices were updated to Marshmallow this past month from a wide range of manufactures. Still, Marshmallow remains well behind the leading release, Lollipop, which stands at 35% of the install base.
As a reminder, these figures are derived by Google from devices that visited the Google Play Store for a 7 day period that ended on September 5, 2016. While it is by no means exhaustive, it does give a good indicator of the varieties of Android that are out there and still in use today.
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