According to Google, “Chat features are already available for some of you in Messages, and today we’re starting to broadly roll them out in the U.S. If you already have Messages, you’ll also be prompted to enable chat features in the coming weeks. If you don’t have Messages, you can download it on the Play Store. We expect this service to be broadly available in the U.S. by the end of year.”
For those who are unfamiliar, RCS is essentially the evolution of SMS. The problem with SMS is that it is limited in terms of what it can do, which is why messaging apps like WhatsApp are extremely popular where it allows users to not just send text messages, but they can also send photos, videos, and more.
With the recent Android releases, Google has been focusing on the ‘Digital Wellbeing’ feature to help you have a healthy lifestyle (rather than just looking at the smartphone all day).
The features offered currently are quite helpful to reduce or control the screen time. You can put timers on every application and put a limit on its usage.
In recent times, we have started to notice a growing concern about people, especially kids, spending way too much time on their smartphones. This has resulted in companies like Apple and Google introduce tools that allow users to manage their time on their phones, and also more robust parental controls.
However, given that Android allows handset makers to customize the OS and create something more unique to them, this has resulted in different experiences across the board, but that could change soon. According to the folks at XDA Developers, it seems that they have discovered that in future Android devices, Google will require handset makers to introduce some form of digital wellbeing solution along with parental controls.
As some of you might know, Google’s Project Zero team is a group of security researchers who try to seek out vulnerabilities and exploits in apps and services in a bid to keep us safe. The team also regularly publishes their findings to make the public aware of what’s going on, and it seems that the team’s latest discovery comes in the form of an Android zero-day exploit.
You would assume that Project Zero would want to give its own colleagues a bit more leeway, but that would be a disservice to everyone, so kudos to them for being neutral. That being said, the exploit in question affects several popular Android handsets, like the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, and S9, the Google Pixel 1 and Pixel 2, and the Huawei P20.
If you don’t relish the idea of having to spend more money, you’re in luck because at IFA 2019, Google has announced a new feature coming to Google Assistant which the company is calling “Ambient Mode”. Basically, what this does is that it will take your Android device, like a smartphone or tablet, and turn it into a ready-to-go smart display.
According to Google, “Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode is a new visual overview that makes it easier to see notifications and reminders, start a playlist and control smart home devices on the lockscreen of your device. When you’re done, your screen will turn into a personal digital photo frame linked to your Google Photos account to add another personal touch.”
One of the defining features of Android is Google’s playful take on the naming schemes for the different versions of the software, where with every release, Google chooses to name the update after a dessert in alphabetical order. This year, which is version 10 and is known as Android Q, Google has yet to officially reveal what the update will be called.
After all, there aren’t that many mainstream and obvious desserts starting with the letter “Q”, right? Turns out, for Android 10, Google has decided that they will be marking the end of an era by dropping the use of dessert names completely, and where 2019’s version of Android will simply be known as Android 10.
Despite Google being so easy and straightforward to use, people still like to ask questions that they can easily Google the answer for, but we get it, sometimes older users might not be familiar with the process and the good news is that Google is testing out a way for users to easily share their searches.
This new share feature seems to be part of a recent update to Google beta app on Android, where as you can see in the screenshot above, there is a new Share button. This means that users can tap on it and share it with other people via messages, email, and so on. Prior to this, users could share search by copying the URL.
Malware on our smartphones aren’t new, although for the most part, this can be easily avoided by not downloading from suspicious-looking websites or unofficial sources. However, it seems that being smart about your downloads isn’t good enough because Google has recently confirmed that there have been some Android devices that have actually come preinstalled with malware.
For those who are unfamiliar with what has been going on, earlier this year, there was a Trojan malware called Triada that was discovered on a bunch of budget Android handsets. This confirmation by Google basically acknowledges that some Android handsets were indeed compromised by this malware as part of a supply chain attack.
Android users have long been asking Google for a native dark theme for the OS. There were reports that the company may introduce this with Android Q, the next major update for its mobile OS. Google confirmed today at its I/O 2019 developers conference that there will indeed be an Android Q dark theme.
It acknowledged that users have long been asking for this and that it has listened to them and developed a dark theme for Android Q. It works as you’d expect a feature like this to work. There will be a toggle in the Quick Settings menu. The system UI will switch from white to black when you tap on that toggle.
Now that Google has a full-fledged car infotainment platform in Android Automotive, it's opening the door to apps built for that platform. As of Google I/O, developers will have the power to create media apps for Android Automotive-equipped cars like the upcoming Polestar 2. It's using the same underlying framework as Android Auto, which should ensure that a favorite music or audiobook app will work properly across different touchscreen sizes and car customizations. You'll have to wait awhile for the first apps since the Polestar 2 doesn't arrive until 2020, and there aren't any publicly announced partners (although a preview graphic does show NPR One). Don't be surprised if the app ecosystem expands over the months ahead, though. And yes, Google intends to open Android Automotive to more than just media apps. The company has "plans" to enable apps for navigation, communication "and beyond," so you might have alternatives if you don't care for Google Maps or need a third-party internet calling service. The aim is ultimately to create an app ecosystem for cars that more closely resembles what you see on phones, rather than another take on the walled-off environments you see today. Android Developers
Reported by Jon Fingas for Engadget
As we’re starting to see more handset makers opt for the full-screen design, it also means that Android needs to start adapting where instead of relying on on-screen/soft keys, gestures will probably be a better idea. We’ve seen Google adopt some gestures with the Pixel 3 smartphones, but now it looks like they might be expanding on that.
In a report from XDA Developers, it appears that Google is testing out a “swipe back” gesture in Android Q. At the moment, going “back” in Android comes in the form of an on-screen button that users can tap to go back. This has been more or less the standard for many years now, but Google seems to be testing using gestures to go back instead.