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Google updates Contacts with fresh look, automatic contact updates

Google updates Contacts with fresh look, automatic contact updates

Today, Google is announcing an update to Contacts. In the preview, you’ll notice straight away that Google has rolled in a bit of the Material Design flavor, giving your Contacts page a fresh look and feel. Not only a facelift, Contacts also gives you some new features, most notably the ability to easily find and merge (or delete) duplicate contacts. Still in preview, the new Contacts feature is already much better that what you might be using now, and makes finding people much easier.

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Confirmed: performance woes back Google off Android encryption

Confirmed: performance woes back Google off Android encryption

Over the past few days, news has surfaced that Google quietly stopped forcing full-disk encryption for Android devices. After loudly thumping their chest about security, Google silently removed the requirement. At the time of discovery, it wasn’t clear why Google would do such a thing. A study found that Android handsets performed much worse when encrypted, so it was believed that was the reason Google had for yanking the encryption. Now, Google has responded, and performance is confirmed as the issue.

 

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Android Wear could come to iOS as Google preps app

Android Wear could come to iOS as Google preps app

As Google I/O approaches, we’ll start to hear some interesting rumors and chatter about what we might discover in May. Though a lot is going on lately with Google+, Android Pay, and Google’s incoming Nexus-ish carrier plans (which we can expect to hear more about at I/O), a lot is left dangling in the wind. Now we’re getting word that Google’s Android Wear platform may not be so Android-y in the future. According to one source, Google is preparing to make Android Wear more available to iOS.

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Waze may soon be a pre-loaded Android app

Waze may soon be a pre-loaded Android app

If Google Maps didn’t come pre-installed on your phone, you probably went and found it on an app store somewhere. The leading mobile Maps app has a lot of features that keep users coming back, and it gets better all the time. On purchasing Waze, many assumed Google would simply shutter the service at some point (at least in the US) and bring it to Maps. Today, Waze is announcing the app may soon come as standard an Android app, preloaded when you buy your next phone.

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Google softens Android full-disk encryption requirement

Google softens Android full-disk encryption requirement

Encryption has become a touchy subject. What was once was, and still is, a standard way to protect data has become controversial in light of recent events. But while most tech companies hailed its privacy and security benefits, few, especially on the mobile device sector, choose to enforce it. It seems that, at least for the time being, the cause has lost one strong proponent. Google has rather quietly revised its Android 5.0 compatibility requirements to let OEMs choose whether to enable full-disk encryption or not.

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Google+ is being dismantled, and that’s a good thing

Google+ is being dismantled, and that’s a good thing

In a recent chat with Forbes, Google’s Sundar Pichai turned a few heads by noting Google+ would be considered as parts — not the sum of those parts. Rather than a social network, Plus would be a stream. And Photos. And Communications. Adding a bit of fuel to the fire was the subsequent dismissal/resignation of Dave Besbris as the head of Google+. Besbris took over for Vic Gundotra, who spearheaded Plus from inception. With a new boss in Bradley Horowitz, the circumstance around Plus might sound confusing. That’s because they kind of are.

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Google API puts games on TV as phone/tablet become controller

Google API puts games on TV as phone/tablet become controller

Android users might have another reason to want an Android TV soon. Adjunct to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Google is hosting a Developer’s day event, and has announced a new API. Called ‘Nearby Connections’, the API has a few handy tweaks for Developers, and when used properly, you as well. With Nearby Connections, users will be able to use Android devices as game controllers for Android TV-ready games. It’s only available on one game so far, but expect more to follow suit quickly.

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Android Pay mobile payments framework gets offical

Android Pay mobile payments framework gets offical

First Apple Pay, then Samsung Pay, and now Android Pay. Google's Sundar Pichai has confirmed a new mobile payments system is in the pipeline, not just an app like Google Wallet, but a full service on which other companies would be free to build their own payments system. It's also being created with more than just NFC in mind, Pichai said, though the near-field technology for "tapping" to pay is likely to be the first way Android Pay payments will be made.

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New Google+ boss confirms Photos, Streams split

New Google+ boss confirms Photos, Streams split

Google really has some trouble putting Google+ in its proper place, or at least helping the public understand what it's all about. The much maligned social network, if you still could call it that, has weathered problem after problem but now it seems that the status quo isn't going to last anymore. Brad Horowitz, who will be standing at the helm of Google+, has just confirmed speculation that the service will soon be split up into a more photo-centric product called Photos and the traditional social feed called Streams.

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Sundar Pichai: Google has carrier plans, but think Nexus-scale

Sundar Pichai: Google has carrier plans, but think Nexus-scale

Google will indeed light up its own MVNO network in the coming months, SVP Sundar Pichai has confirmed, but it's more like the Nexus of wireless than a strike at AT&T and Verizon. Rumors of Google-controlled wireless cellular service have circulated for some years, surfacing again in January with speculation of a direct-to-user network which the search giant would use to test out new mobile tech. According to Pichai, while there is indeed some truth in the Google MVNO chatter, it's not quite the same as a play for the market as a whole.

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