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All posts tagged "Google"

  • FYI: Google Home Mini works just fine in South Africa

    Google hardware is notoriously tough to come by in South Africa, as we've found out over the past couple of years. This is chiefly due to a combination of pending localisation and regulatory approval, country manager Luke Mckend told us in an interview earlier this year. For what it's worth, I managed to grab a Google Home Mini for US$30 during a work trip to the USA last week. And the good news is that it works well enough thus far (in case you didn't know), even without proper localisation in place. In terms of the hardware setup, the Google Home Mini...

  • Someone peeking at your phone screen? New Google tool will alert you

    Google researchers have come up with a unique tool which alerts you when other people are peeking at your smartphone screen. The tool, spotted by The Android Soul, isn't available yet but is set to be demonstrated at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference next week. As for how it all works? The phone's front facing camera is used to detect gazes and faces, doing so very quickly and alerting users in the process. The application draws a red box around the Peeping Tom and also adds a rainbow effect for good measure. "The runtime is 2ms (milliseconds) per face for...

  • A ton of Chromebooks now support Android apps [List]

    Google has been pushing Chromebooks in the last year or so, bringing Android app support to the platform via the Google Play Store. Buying a Chromebook with Android app support wasn't easy though, as the functionality took its sweet time to arrive on various laptops. But since our last look at compatible Chromebooks, the list has grown in a very big way. So who has stepped up to deliver? We see stable entries from: Acer (R13, 11 N7, C771, C771T, 14, 14 for Work, CB3-532, CB515-1HT), Asus (C101PA, C202SA, C300SA/C301SA, C302), CTL (NL61, J2/J4), Dell (3180, 3380, 3189), eduGear (K Series, M Series), Edxis (Education Chromebook),...

  • CrossOver beta lets you run Windows apps on Chromebooks

    The Chromebook family of laptops has come a long way from merely being glorified Chrome browsers, offering a pretty substantial platform thanks to Android app support. Now, prominent studio CodeWeavers has revealed an open beta for its CrossOver program, allowing you to run Windows apps on your Chromebook. The studio says it worked hard over the years to bring Windows apps to Android devices, but the form factor and specs weren't ideal. "With the announcement of support of Android in Chrome OS, suddenly things made a lot more sense. A Chromebook has a big enough screen. And a keyboard and a mouse. And...

  • Want Google hardware in South Africa? Well, keep waiting

    Google marked its ten year anniversary on the continent at an event this week, but what we really want to know is when the company will be bringing hardware to South Africa. It was worth noting that the event saw a Google Home available for attendees to try out. But when can we see the product actually launching in SA? This seems like a no-brainer, especially with the cheap Google Home Mini being launched in the USA for US$50. "We love Google Home, it's a fabulous product. Having Google Home is contingent on a couple of different things, not least of...

  • Google Pixel 2 XL drama: Google announces two year warranty

    The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL haven't enjoyed the smoothest smartphone launches ever, owing to several reported issues. It's clear that the Pixel 2 XL has more negative press though, after numerous tech websites reported that their review units were suffering from screen burn-in. The burn-in was even more glaring as it occurred after less than two weeks with the review units. Now, Google has announced some findings. And you might be surprised with the results... "Regarding differential aging , we put all of our products through extensive quality assurance before launch and in the manufacturing of every...

  • Android 8.1 official: so what’s new in this version?

    Android 8.0 hasn't even made its way to a quarter of smartphones, but Google doesn't care. No, it's pressing ahead with Android 8.1, bringing a couple of solid improvements to the table. The company's Dave Burke announced the developer preview this week, also revealing features we can expect in this iteration. The first major improvement? That'll be for Android Go devices. "Android 8.1 includes a set of memory optimisations for Android Go configurations (1GB or less of memory). We've added new hardware feature constants so you can now target the distribution of your apps and APK splits to normal or low-RAM devices running Android 8.1...

  • Google Pixel 2 XL suffering from screen burn-in already?

    Screen burn-in is almost inevitable with AMOLED displays, as UI elements get seared into the screen over time. But the key here is "over time" -- the Pixel 2 XL appears to be suffering from the issue after a much shorter period of time. According to Android Central, their Pixel 2 XL review unit has been in use for roughly a week and the navigation bar is already scorched into the display. That's some pretty wild OLED burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL after maybe 7 days of full-time use pic.twitter.com/EPJTs6D0Kg — Alex Dobie (@alexdobie) October 22, 2017 The publication noted that in the week...

  • Explained: How Google delivered portrait mode on single camera Pixel 2

    The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL don't have dual-camera setups, but they still ship with an Apple-inspired Portrait Mode for depth-of-field effects. Effects like this traditionally require a dual-camera system for depth calculations and the like. But Google opted for a software and machine learning approach, detailing the techniques and advantages/disadvantages in a new blog post. Google engineers Marc Levoy and Yael Pritch explain that if they could figure out the distance between the smartphone camera and various points in the scene, they could create depth-of-field and bokeh effects. How the effect is traditionally achieved A shot...

  • Reviewer’s Google Home Mini goes rogue, records everything

    Manufacturers of smart speakers have gone to great lengths to explain to users that the devices respect their privacy. But Google was in a rather tricky situation after a tech journalist's Google Home Mini speaker malfunctioned. Android Police journalist Artem Russakovskii was one of many to receive a Google Home Mini at the company's 4 October event. But quickly found that it was listening to and recording everything, instead of only listening to a hotword to activate. "Several days passed without me noticing anything wrong. In the meantime, as it turns out, the Mini was behaving very differently from all the...