Android Wear is here. When Google first unveiled its wearable platform in May, the products looked impressive, but they hadn’t been seen in the wild. At Google I/O 2014, the first Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, are out and proud.
The G Watch and Gear Live are very similar. Before they’re officially on sale, the samples here at the show will only run in “retail” mode, meaning they only show sample notifications from Android Wear. At least they’re interactive — you can swipe and tap on them, but I couldn’t dive that deep.
The watch faces are slightly different — the Gear Live has hints of silver trim while the G Watch goes with basic black — but they both have the same rectangular shape, and the screens are virtually the same size (a 1.65-inch square for the G Watch and 1.63-inch for the Gear Live).
The screens may be the same size, and even look the same, but there’s different tech under the hood. Samsung’s is a SuperAMOLED screen, like the company’s phones, and LG opted for an IPS (in-plane switching) LCD. Both looked great to me.
Android Wear is a different take on the smartwatch than we’ve seen so far. It’s almost entirely focused on notifications — which is a good thing — with different kinds of alerts showing up as Google Now-style “cards” that you can scroll through, up and down.
Google’s main event of the year, I/O 2014, was chock-full of news: some expected, some decidedly not. The company showed off a colorful and playful new design style for all of its products, as well as a new version of Android, codenamed “L,” that won’t arrive until later this year. Google debuted a cheap but elegant Android One phone to court buyers on a budget. Android was everywhere at the developer conference: on smartwatches, in car dashboards, and even on your body with Android Fit, a new platform for fitness wearables and apps designed to rival Apple’s HealthKit.
But the carefully planned announcements may have all been upstaged by two vocal protesters: one calling Google to task for San Francisco housing evictions and the other warning about killer robots. Both were quickly escorted from the scene. The developer conference continues through the week, but it’s hard to imagine any bigger news coming after day one’s lively keynote
The site has collaborated with Giphy, an aggregate GIF site, to offer users two new ways to upload the looping animations.
Starting June 23, users can sync their Giphy accounts to their Twitter accounts and tweet GIFs directly from Giphy.com. If they don’t have an account (which is free to make), they can simply tweet Giphy links, which will embed GIFs into Twitter cards.
Twitter first announced GIF support on June 18, delighting its millions of users. At that point, users could add GIFs via Twitter by accessing the site directly.
For the past two months, though, Giphy’s worked with the social media site to help enable stronger GIF support. The company was also involved in Twitter’s initial rollout.
“Twitter reached out to us when they were developing direct GIF uploads to see if we would like to beta test their endpoints and also possibly be a launch partner,” Adam Leibsohn, Giphy’s director of strategy, tells Mashable.
The site is currently “aggregating every known GIF on the Internet, which we estimate at over 1 billion,” Leibsohn says. That’s a lot of endlessly looping cats, pizzas and animated memes.
Google’s annual invite-only developer conference, Google I/O, kicks off on Wednesday with a total of 80 sessions on the agenda.
None of those sessions, however, focus on a service that hundreds of millions of people use: Google+.
Google’s social network, which it often pushes aggressively upon its users, is mysteriously absent from this year’s I/O agenda. Last year, there was an entire two-day track at the conference dedicated to Google+, including 15 sessions related to Google+.
When asked about the omission, a Google spokesperson said there are fewer sessions this year, and that Google+ didn’t fit as well into I/O’s three main themes: design, develop and distribute.
“To that end, our content and sessions aren’t necessarily focused around specific products (G+ versus Android versus Chrome) but more generally about how Google can help you as a developer enrich the experience for your users and grow your audience, with tools at every step of the development process,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to Mashable. “Google+ is of course an important component to that, you can see it in topics like identity (Google+ sign-in) and our gaming platform, like Google Play game services.”
Both Android and Chrome do have multiple dedicated sessions on the agenda this year.
Industry analyst Brian Blau of Gartner, who is attending I/O this week, said he, too, noticed a lack of Google+ content on the agenda. Instead, it appears Google is focusing on user interfaces, he says.
But that doesn’t mean the Google+ omission should be ignored.
The world is full of mysterious monuments, each brimming with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of years of history. Ancient stone walls, mosaic-tiled floors and ornately painted ceilings adorn some of the most fascinating places around the globe.
Though each offers a unique experience, it’s impossible to visit them all. So, which wanderlust-worthy landmarks should adventurous travelers add to their bucket lists?
Trip Advisor shared the world’s top-rated landmarks based on millions of traveler reviews. Mark these awe-inspiring destinations on your travel maps for future reference.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced his company’s first smartphone in Seattle on Wednesday, the Fire Phone, by first turning to a curiously ironic metaphor: a bucket of water. “You can fill a bucket with an eyedropper, if the bucket doesn’t leak,” Bezos said, striving to convey Amazon’s success at getting and keeping customers for its Prime subscription service. Now those Prime customers have a new reason to immerse themselves deeper into Amazon’s bucket of devices and services: a smartphone designed just for them.
The Fire Phone is designed for Amazon’s “most engaged customers,” Bezos said, and it shows. Like Amazon’s other devices in the Kindle family, the Fire Phone’s plain-looking body and sharp screen hide some decent — if not quite industry-leading — computing hardware. But it’s in the mix of the phone’s hardware and software that Amazon tries to stand apart, offering subtle 3D effects, unique gestures for using the phone, and gallons of Amazon-branded video and music features that work with its other devices. Starting at $199.99 on AT&T with a free year of Prime membership, it’s clear that Amazon wants the Fire Phone to rise to the top of an already crowded sea of competitors.
Facebook is fully operational after a 30-minute outage which affected the social network’s web and mobile site as well as connected apps.
Users who tried to access the site early Thursday were greeted with a message saying “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.”
“Earlier this morning, we experienced an issue that prevented people from posting to Facebook for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 per cent. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNET.
Facebook did not disclose a specific reason for the outage.
The outage caused a short but intense storm of tweets, either complaining about the site’s unavailability or making fun of it.
It’s a big day for Adobe. The company updated all of its mobile apps on Wednesday and released new versions of most of its Creative Cloud suite of desktop apps, including Photoshop and Illustrator.
The new mobile apps include Lightroom for iPhone as well as three new iPad apps: drawing apps Line and Sketch and image-editing app Photoshop Mix.
Lightroom for iPhone is much like the iPad version that rolled out earlier this year. The free app syncs with your Creative Cloud account so all of your photo collections and edits will be synced across your devices. And, like the iPad app, it uses Adobe’s Smart Previews feature, which enables users to work with large files without storing the entire file locally on their device.
The company also launched three free Creative Cloud-connected iPad apps: Line, Sketch and Photoshop Mix. Unlike Photoshop Touch, which is meant to be more of one-stop-shop mobile substitute for Photoshop, Mix focuses on bringing just a few of the program’s most powerful image-editing tools to the iPad.
The airlines’ new online home is responsive and features a single screen. It also books people twice as fast as normal sites.
California-based airline Virgin America worked with design studio startup Work & Co. to reinvent the airline’s website, particularly their online booking system.
The airline wanted to change up their website user experience, especially on mobile devices, to make it easier and more convenient for their customers to book flights with them online. Booking flights using smartphones can be a tricky process since most of the websites are not configured to be mobile-friendly and it can be difficult to navigate through them on mobile devices. One of the airline’s main goals for the website redesign was to increase the number of booking transactions on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
For eight months, Work & Co. collaborated with Virgin America’s IT, Creative, Marketing, and Customer Service groups to create a new online experience for Virgin America’s customers. Virgin and Work & Co. went with a responsive and stripped down website, removing all the usual vacation ads, credit card promos, and car rental offers. The redesigned website allowed customers to book flights nearly twice as fast on any type of device.