Google Drive is getting some improvements today. The update will affect its web interface. Even if you’re primarily using Drive on Android, you’ll end up visiting in the browser on occasion. When you do, you’ll see a refined User Interface and much better file downloads.
Here’s what Google says is coming in the update:
– You can now compress and download Drive items into multiple 2GB zip files. Files have an improved name structure, for example: drive-download-20160516T125832Z.zip for the first file and drive-download-20160516T125832Z-2.zip for subsequent archives.
-Better Google Forms handling.
-Empty folders are now included in the zip.
The 2GB size limit on large downloads was a real pain if you needed to grab a lot of files. Now, Drive will split downloads into multiple archives. You’ll also get empty folders included when you download an entire directory, thus preserving the hierarchy you’ve set up.
What’s new in Google Drive?
-New search box design
-“New” button is in the toolbar now
-The primary color is now blue
-New icons in the side panel
-Minor positioning/sizing changes for the toolbar
All the new features and changes should be live for everyone in between one and three days.
Don’t forget to download Google Drive on your iOS & Android Devices as well.
The Google I/O 2016 keynote wrapped up so we compiled interesting tidbits that we think iDownloadBlog readers might be curious to learn about, because it pays off to keep tabs on what competition is doing.
In addition to a pair of new iPhone apps, Google Assistant and Google Home, the search firm updated its developers at I/O 2016 on the latest on Android N, which launches this summer. It also announced Android Wear 2.0, talked about a virtual reality platform, dubbed Daydream, and more.
Google rewrote and redesigned “some fundamental aspects” of how Android works, focusing on three key themes for Android N: performance, productivity and security. Apps will install faster and take up less storage than before. As for the productivity improvements in Android N, they’re including Multi-Window support and Direct Reply.
Multi-Window mode in Android N.
With Multi-Window support, more than one app can be displayed at a time in side-by-side multitasking mode or one-above-the-other in split-screen mode. On TV devices, apps can use Picture-in-Picture mode to continue video playback while users are interacting with another app.
Notifications in Android N support the Direct Reply feature so that users can quickly respond to text messages or update task lists directly within the notification interface (yes, we’ve had that since iOS 8). Android N should also bring a lot smoother gaming and faster graphics-intensive apps with Vulkan, Google’s version of iOS’s Metal hardware-accelerated graphics framework.
Android N Developer Preview is available on a range of devices.
Android N will be required for Daydream, Google’s brand new reference platform for virtual reality applications, smartphones and controller hardware. By the way, Android N won’t be the actual name of the shipping software—Google is accepting submissions for what to call the system until June 8, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
On a related note, a new feature, called Android Instant Apps, will let Android devices stream apps and games from the Play Store, meaning you’ll be able to use apps without actually installing them. Android Instant Apps are coming to Android Jelly Bean 4.2 and newer devices later this year.
Android Wear 2.0
The next major version of Google’s Android-based platform for smartwatches launched as a developer beta today. Celebrating its second anniversary, the new Android Wear 2.0 brings standalone apps into full view, allowing smartwatches with an embedded cellular data to have direct network access to the cloud, without needing a paired smartphone.
Moreover, Android Wear 2.0 enhances the experience with features like a tiny keyboard that you can swipe to choose letters, customizable watch faces, integration with Google’s Fit platform for fitness apps, Google Assistant-powered smart reply suggestions, a full screen handwriting recognition mode and more.
And akin to complications on the Apple Watch, watch faces on Android Wear 2.0 can now display any piece of information from any other app with no additional work required on a developer’s part.
Android Wear 2.0 will release for public consumption this fall.
Daydream is a brand new virtual-reality platform from Google and one of the surprise highlights of the conference. Promising a high-quality virtual reality experience, Daydream will be coming to compatible Android phones this fall via the free Android N software update.
On Android N, Daydream provides a low-latency experience and includes a user interface for notifications when using a viewer. For those wondering, motion-to-photon latency on Nexus 6P running Developer Preview 3 is lower than 20 milliseconds.
Android phones will need to have certain screens and special sensors if they’re to e Daydream certification. Google says that Daydream-ready phones from the likes of HTC, ZTE, Huawei, Asus, Xiaomi, Alcatel, LG and Samsung are coming this fall.
But, Google took Daydream a step further with the introduction of a reference design for VR headsets and controllers for third-party vendors. A Daydream-compatible controller will work in VR-optimized apps and games and include a built-in trackpad and an orientation sensor for accurate motion control.
Take that, Cardboard!
Latest Google stats
Like Apple, Google tends to kick off major keynotes with a state-of-the-Union segment that basically provides updates on its many initiatives. The search company has its tentacles everywhere these days so we were expecting way more numbers than executives delivered on stage.
Here’s what’s happening with Google’s platforms:
600 models of Android-driven smartphones were introduced in 2015
Chrome has one billion monthly active users on mobile
Google saw 65 billion app installs on Google Play in 2015
25 million Chromecast dongles sold to this date
Google Photos has 200 million monthly active users
There are 50 million apps for Cardboard available
Oh, and Android Pay is now available in UK and coming soon to Singapore and Australia.
Google I/O keynote took place Gat the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
Firebase is expanding
To make it easier to write cross-platform apps that work together and provide consistent, unified user interfaces, Google announced an expansion of its Firebase solution which is now becoming a unified app platform for Android, iOS and mobile web development.
Android TV and Google Cast
A quick recap of Android TV and Google Cast news:
Google Cast, which is built into all Android TV devices, is coming to a lineup of TVs from Magnavox, Philips, Polaroid, Toshiba, Westinghouse and more
Sony and Sharp are adding to their Android TV product lines with Sony’s 2016 BRAVIA and Sharp’s Net Player
New devices are also on the way with RCA’s first Android TV and Xiaomi’s sleek 4K set-top box
In Europe, Android TV will be available from Beko, Grundig and Vestel starting in June
New features available in Android N will let Android TV users play video while browsing other content in Picture-in-Picture mode, record live TV and enjoy crisper 4K UHD video with support for High Dynamic Range
Saying 👋 to Allo and Duo: new apps for smart messaging and video calling
Whether it’s welcoming a new baby, celebrating the winning shot in overtime, or discovering the best taco stand ever—we all want to share these moments with friends and family the instant they happen. Most of the time, this means picking up our phones and sending a message or starting a call. Today we’re sharing a preview of two new apps that take a fresh look at how people connect. Allo, a smart messaging app
Allo is a smart messaging app that makes your conversations easier and more expressive. It’s based on your phone number, so you can get in touch with anyone in your phonebook. And with deeply integrated machine learning, Allo has smart features to keep your conversations flowing and help you get things done.
Emojis, stickers, Ink, and our Whisper Shout feature in Allo
Allo has Smart Reply built in (similar to Inbox), so you can respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and will show suggestions that are in your style. For example, it will learn whether you’re more of a “haha” vs. “lol” kind of person. The more you use Allo the more “you” the suggestions will become. Smart Reply also works with photos, providing intelligent suggestions related to the content of the photo. If your friend sends you a photo of tacos, for example, you may see Smart Reply suggestions like “yummy” or “I love tacos.”
Smart Reply suggestions in Allo
Allo also features the Google assistant, bringing the richness of Google directly into your chats—helping you find information, get things done, and have fun. You can chat one-on-one with the assistant, or call on Google in a group chat with friends. Either way, you no longer have to jump between apps to do things like book a dinner reservation with friends, get up-to-date sports scores, settle a bet, or play a game. The assistant in Allo lets you bring things like Search, Maps, YouTube and Translate to all your conversations, so that you and your friends can use Google together.
The Google assistant in Allo understands your world, so you can ask for things like your agenda for the day, details of your flight and hotel, or photos from your last trip. And since it understands natural language patterns, you can just chat like yourself and it’ll understand what you’re saying. For example, “Is my flight delayed?” will return information about your flight status.
Google assistant in Allo
Privacy and security are important in messaging, so following in the footsteps of Chrome, we created Incognito mode in Allo. Chats in Incognito mode will have end-to-end encryption and discreet notifications, and we’ll continue to add new features to this mode.
Duo, a video calling app for everyone
Duo is a simple, fast one-to-one video calling app for everyone—whether you’re on Android or iOS, a fast or slow connection, in New York or New Delhi. Like Allo, Duo is based on your phone number, allowing you to reach anyone in your phonebook. And its simple interface fades away when you’re in a call, so it’s just the two of you. Video call in Duo
One of our favorite features of Duo is Knock Knock, which shows you a live video preview of the caller before you pick up. Knock Knock invites you into the moment, making calls feel spontaneous and fun. Once you answer, Duo seamlessly transitions you right into the call.
Duo calls are in crisp HD video (up to 720p) and audio. We’ve optimized Duo to work well even on spotty networks, so if bandwidth is limited it gracefully adjusts quality so you’re still able to connect. We also seamlessly transition calls between cellular and Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about what network you’re on. Finally, we built Duo with privacy and security in mind and all calls on Duo are end-to-end encrypted.
Both Allo and Duo will be available this summer on Android and iOS. We can’t wait for you to try them.
While there are a number of other third-party keyboards available for iOS devices, you might not have been expecting Google to be the next company to deliver a GIF-capable one for your device. You’d have been wrong, however.
Launched today, Gboard for iPhone aims to bring together anything you might want without having to navigate away from whichever app you’re typing in. So that could be a GIF, emoji support or the ability to search things like nearby stores and restaurants, news, weather forecasts and everything else you can search via Google. So, everything then.
As well as putting a world of information, stupid pictures and emojis at your fingertips, the keyboard also supports the Swype-like ‘Glide’ typing found on other alternatives.
And yes, like most of Google’s apps, it is free to use.
The one potential downside is that it appears to only be available to users in the US for now.
On its website today, HTC unveiled the HTC 10. This is the phone HTC hopes will take on Samsung’s Galaxy S7, LG’s G5, and Apple’s iPhone 7.
HTC’s latest attempt to save its smartphone business is a flagship with the tagline “Power of 10” which, apparently, symbolizes “greatness and independence but also that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, the company claims — just as every other smartphone manufacturer tries to — that the latest flagship offers more than just a new metal design, better camera, and improved performance.
And yet, those are indeed the highlights that HTC insists will save it.
HTC’s press release, leaked to us ahead of the official announcement, uses nonsense marketing-speak like “inspired by light and sculpted to perfection” when describing the new design. But in short, you can expect a full glass front that merges with the metal body.
The company also notes that the HTC 10 was subjected to over 168 hours of extreme temperature tests, ranging from -20°C (-4°F) to 60°C (140°F), plus over 10,000 drop, bend, scratch, and corrosion tests. Is this finally a phone that absolutely doesn’t need a case? Probably not, but one can sure dream.
Next up, the camera features “the world’s first optically stabilized, larger aperture f/1.8 lenses” on both the front and rear cameras, larger sensors, 12 million UltraPixels (1.55um per pixel), laser autofocus on the back, plus a wide-angle lens and screen flash on the front. The HTC 10’s camera is also designed to launch “in as little as 0.6 seconds.” RAW format support is also a go.
HTC also claims that the 10 features “the world’s first stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio recording, capturing 256 times more detail than standard recordings, across twice the frequency range.” The phone includes a headphone amp that delivers “two times the power of a conventional headphone amp,” the ability to upscale from 16-bit to 24-bit audio, and digital to analog conversion. You can even create your personal audio tuned to your individual hearing. The BoomSound Hi-Fi speakers feature a separated tweeter and woofer design, and a dedicated amplifier for each.
And finally, performance. HTC says the 10’s quad HD display is 30 percent more colorful and 50 percent more responsive to touch than its predecessor. The company says its fingerprint scanner unlocks in 0.2 seconds and is algorithmically designed to recognize you faster over time. It also claims that its battery can be charged to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.
Last, but not least, HTC has created a new Freestyle Layout, which essentially means you don’t have to organize your apps in a grid anymore. You can place icons, stickers, and widgets anywhere you like, organize by layers and groups, link stickers to apps, or even get rid of icons altogether.
Here are the HTC 10’s specs:
Display: 5.2-inch, Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels), super LCD 5
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Platform: Android 6.0 with HTC Sense
Memory: 4GB RAM, 32GB/64GB storage expandable up to 2TB via microSD
Rear Camera: 12MP (HTC UltraPixel 2), laser autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), f/1.8 aperture, Pro mode, Auto-HDR, Zoe Capture, hyperlapse, 12X Slow motion mode, 4K video recording with Hi-Res Audio
Front Camera: 5MP (1.34MICROm pixels), autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), f/1.8 aperture with ultra wide-angle lens, Live Makeup, Auto-HDR
Sound: HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition, Dolby Audio, Personal Audio Profile, Hi-Res Audio Certified, Hi-Res Audio Earphones, Three microphones with noise cancellation, Hi-Res Audio Stereo Recording
The app launcher makes Chrome apps easy to open outside the browser, but Google has found that users on Windows, Mac, and Linux prefer to launch their apps from within Chrome. With Chrome’s continued emphasis on simplicity and streamlining browser features, the launcher will be removed from those platforms and it will remain unchanged on Chrome OS.
Beginning in a few weeks, Chrome will no longer enable the launcher when users first install a Chrome app. Anyone who currently has the launcher will receive a notice informing them that the launcher will be going away. In July, existing instances of the launcher will be removed.
Google Chrome Tips:
Since Google Chrome can be used to do almost anything, as you’re using Chromebooks, find below some tips that you can benefit from while using Chrome:
New Tab Window
Google tries hard to make new tabs useful from the outset but there are some Chrome extensions that can make it work even harder. One of these is Momentum.
Upon opening a new tab, instead of the spartan slate of recent sites and Chrome apps you get Momentum, your personal dashboard presenting a Things to Do list, quote of the day, favorite links and, to top it all off, a beautiful landscape.
Any power user worth his or her salt knows the keyboard is still king. Knowing the right Chrome key combos can save you a ton of time across your day.
Here are a few shortcuts you should definitely know (PC/Mac):
Ctrl/Cmd + L – highlights text in the address bar
Ctrl/Cmd + T – open a new tab
Ctrl/Cmd + W – close current tab
Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + T – reopen closed tab
Ctrl + Tab – switch tab one tab to the right
Ctrl + Shift + Tab – switch tab one tab to the left
Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + B – toggle the bookmark bar visibility
You can use the top bar on Google Chrome to directly search for anything you want, and its a smart search. Go ahead and try to enter a simple or complex Math expression or convert currencies or simply search for the weather!