TIME Google

Google’s Secret to Doubling Your Phone’s Battery Life

An attendee takes a photograph prior to the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2014. Google Inc. executives are taking the stage this week to talk about a plethora of new technologies, including automobiles, home automation, digital TV, Web-connected devices and a new version of Android. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
David Paul Morris—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP An attendee takes a photograph prior to the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2014.

New version of Android shuts down processes in certain apps to stem battery drain

Google is aiming to give your phones and tablets a little more juice to make it through the day without dying.

At its annual I/O developers conference Thursday, the company announced a new power-conservation feature in its upcoming mobile operating system Android M. Called “Doze,” the new feature uses motion sensors to detect when a device hasn’t been moved for an extended period. Android will then automatically shut down processes for certain power-hogging apps, which should significantly extend the device’s battery life.

When testing the feature, Google said a Nexus 9 tablet running Doze on Android M had a battery life twice as long as the same device using the older Android L operating system.

The new feature won’t turn your phone into a total paperweight. Users will still be alerted to alarms and high-priority messages even when the phone or tablet is dozing.

TIME Apple

Everything We Know About Apple’s New iPhone Software

Get ready for split-screen views, transit routes and lowkey shade delivered via iMessage

The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system is almost here.

The company is expected to unveil iOS 9 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. A new iOS update isn’t quite a big deal as a new iPhone, but the announcements can often be substantial–iOS 7 brought us a completely revamped mobile interface, while iOS 8 featured a health activity tracker and improved predictive keyboard.

Here’s what’s rumored to be in the works for Apple’s iOS 9:

A New Font

Apple is reportedly planning to dump the Helvetica font it’s been using since iOS 8 in favor of a San Francisco font that’s currently in use on the Apple Watch. The font was chosen for Apple Watch specifically because it’s readable on small screens.

A “Home” app for connected devices

In iOS 8 Apple added HomeKit, a framework that helps users control connected devices in their home. Now the company is working on a user-friendly app called “Home” that will let users more easily control disparate devices from a single interface. Among the features rumored to be part of the Home app are virtual rooms that let users easily detect which parts of their house have which connected devices. However, 9to5Mac warns that the featureset so far is fairly limited so the app may not be ready for a public debut in June.

Improved Apple Maps

Apple is finally planning to add subway and bus routes to its Maps app, a feature that’s been available in Google Maps for years. The initial rollout may be limited to just a handful of cities globally, including New York and San Francisco. The company is also using Roomba-sized robots to develop indoor maps of buildings and landmarks, though that feature won’t necessarily be ready for iOS 9.

Dual-app viewing for iPad

Apple wants to give iPads the ability to run two apps side-by-side. The split-screen functionality is already available in tablets by Samsung and Microsoft, so it would be a welcome addition to Apple’s device. The new mode could allow users to resize an app to take up one-third, one-half or two-thirds of the screen.

The iPhone 4S may still be supported

The iPhone 4S is close to four years old, which is an eternity in the world of mobile tech. However, Apple is expected to continue supporting the still-popular device with iOS 9. In fact, according to 9to5Mac, Apple is changing its software development process to ensure that iOS 9 runs better on old iPhones and iPads than iOS 8 did.

Contact-specific read receipts

Passive-aggressive texters, rejoice! Apple is apparently tweaking iMessage to let you choose which of your contacts you share read receipts with. Drake is probably really excited.

A Google Now Competitor

Apple may be planning to expand its digital assistant capabilities beyond Siri with a new personalized interface code-named Proactive. The menu, which would likely be located left of the main home screen, would integrate information from a user’s calendar, Passbook and other apps to provide daily itineraries. Proactive could remind you to call your mother each week for instance, or automatically pull up directions to your office each morning. The similarity is similar to Google Now, which is available for Android phones.

TIME Mobile

Here’s the 1 Trick to Getting People to Like Your Photos

Flickr study shows that filters increase engagement

Are you the kind of person who proudly attaches a #NoFilter hashtag to your photos online so that people know the pictures are authentic? Well, you’re missing out on a whole lot of likes, comments and other Millennial manna.

And now there’s data to prove it.

Researchers at Yahoo, in partnership with a professor at Georgia Tech, have published a new study analyzing how filters impact engagement on Yahoo’s photo-sharing site Flickr. According to the study, filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed than non-filtered photos and 45% more likely to be commented on. Photos with filters that project warm colors tend to drive more engagement than cooler filters (though we’re unconvinced anyone ever “likes” photos filtered with Kelvin, the overly orange tint available on Instagram)

By interviewing photographers, researchers also discovered different motivations for using filters. Serious photographers use filters to correct coloring errors or bring attention to specific objects. More casual photo-takers, meanwhile, use filters as a means of personalization or to achieve a general “vintage” feel.

While the study focused on Flickr users, it’s safe to say the findings apply to Instagram as well—in fact, more than half of the photos researchers analyzed had been cross-posted from Instagram to Flickr. So next time you’re trying to ensure that your latest picture will get that coveted 11th like, embrace the filter (but again, please, don’t use Kelvin).

TIME Mobile

Why Tweets Are About to Dominate Your Google Searches

The Twitter logo displayed on a mobile device.
Bethany Clarke—Getty Images The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device.

The two tech companies are cozying up

On Tuesday, Google announced that it is partnering with Twitter to make tweets searchable on mobile devices. The new feature will become available on the English version of Google.com, the Android and iOS versions of Google’s search app, and on mobile browsers.

“It’s a great way to get real-time info when something is happening,” writes Google senior product manager Ardan Arac in a company blog post. “And it’s another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments.”

Google had previously gained access to Twitter’s so-called firehose, the stream of real-time posts uploaded to the social network, earlier this year—rekindling a failed partnership from several years ago.

A post on Google’s official blog shows what the new feature will look like. It demonstrates a search for “nasa twitter”:

nasa-twitter
Courtesy Google

The deal could signal more partnerships between the two to come. It looks like the two are hitting it off already:

For more on Google and Twitter’s partnership watch:

http://fortune.com/video/2015/02/05/how-the-google-search-deal-could-be-a-boon-for-twitter/

TIME Mobile

You Can Now Order Food Right From Google Search

Google Food
Google Google Food

Google continues to add more functionality to mobile searches

Google is making it even easier to be a lazy eater.

Starting Friday, users will be able to order food directly from a Google search. Users who search for nearby restaurants on their phones will see a “Place an order” option in the information card that appears in the search results. Select that button and you’ll have the option of going directly to the restaurant’s page on one of six food-ordering sites: Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com.

Google says it plans to add more options in the future.

Embedding more functionality in mobile searches makes sense for Google, which has seen its search dominance put under pressure by the emergence of single-purpose apps. Instead of using Google to find restaurants, for example, users might use Yelp’s app. The tech giant is doing everything it can to make sure Google search results are a kind of one-stop-shop that lets users execute many different types of actions, including ordering lunch.

TIME Web

Google Is Making a Big Change to Its Search Results

Mobile-friendly websites will now get a big boost

Google has let the world in on a recent change to its carefully protected search algorithm. Starting Tuesday, the company is boosting the ranking for mobile-friendly websites and demoting those pages that don’t load well on smartphones.

The search giant first announced the change back in February, and the move has earned the moniker “Mobilegeddon” as anxiety over the algorithm tweak has grown in recent weeks. The end result should benefit users, who will less often be sent to hard-to-navigate websites designed for desktop computers.

The shift will also help Google, which is fiercely competing with apps dedicated to specific services (think Amazon for shopping, Yelp for restaurant reviews) that are siphoning away inquiries users could be typing into a Google search bar.

TIME India

Flipkart, India’s Amazon, Plans to Shut Down Its Website Within a Year

General Images of Flipkart As India's Largest Online Retailer Said To Buy Competitor Myntra
Brent Lewin—Bloomberg/Getty Images The websites for Flipkart, bottom, and Myntra.com are displayed on an Apple Inc. iPad and iPhone 5c respectively in an arranged photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

The firm's mobile traffic has apparently increased tenfold in less than 18 months

Flipkart, India’s biggest e-commerce company, said on Monday that it plans to shut down its website within a year and transition completely to a mobile app.

“Last year, we had more on the app but still did our web and desktop. In the next year or so, we’re going to be only mobile,” Michael Adnani, Flipkart’s vice president, retail and head of brand alliances, told the Times of India.

The decision is a reaction to the rapid growth of smartphone users in India, which is the third largest Internet market after China and the U.S. The Boston Consulting Group projects that the South Asian nation will have more than 550 million Internet users in 2018, of which almost 80% will be on mobile devices.

“A year ago, 6% of our traffic was coming from mobile. In less than 18 months, that traffic is 10-fold,” Adnani said. “That shows the significance of what a mobile phone is doing for the consumers and consequently doing for us.”

Two-thirds of Flipkart’s 8 million monthly shipments come from cities and small towns, where most people don’t have access to desktop computers and broadband Internet.

Fashion e-retailer Myntra, which Flipkart acquired last year, is also set to abandon its website in favor of an app on May 1.

TIME apps

Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

Google Handwriting
Google Google Handwriting

New app works in languages as varied as English, Chinese and Hindi

If you’re tired of pecking at minuscule letters on virtual keyboards, Google has the app for you.

The company has unveiled a new handwriting keyboard for Android devices that will convert your chicken-scratch into typed-out words. The app, called Google Handwriting Input, can replace your device’s stock keyboard and be used for texting, web browsing and other basic phone features.

A brief hands-on showed that the app was surprisingly good at recognizing a variety of different handwriting styles in English, even if the script was sloppy and the last few letters in a word were bunched at the edge of the screen. Adding punctuation marks is also easy, and you can even recreate many emojis by scribbling them out as old-fashioned emoticons.

The only area where the app seemed to struggle was cursive—print seems to be the way to go for the greatest level of accuracy. The app has earned 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Google Play store, indicating that most users are finding the app highly functional.

Google says the new keyboard supports 82 languages and believes it will be most useful for ideographic languages like Chinese, which are often constrained to a single dialect on traditional keyboards.

TIME Smartphones

You Can Now Find Your Lost Phone by Googling It

Inside A Samsung Electronics Co. Digital Store Ahead Of Fourth-Quarter Results
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A visitor tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 4 smartphone at the company's d'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

It only works for Android users

Next time you lose your phone, a simple Google search may be able to find it.

Google announced Wednesday a new phone-finding feature for Android users tied to its search engine. Simply type “find my phone” into the Google search bar, and the results will show a map with the last known location of your phone. You can also choose to ring the phone from this page to make it easier to find — say, if it’s lost under the couch.

The feature works on the desktop and with the Google search app. Just make sure you’re signed into the same Google account on your phone and on your desktop to enable the option.

Read next: Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Crime

UberX Driver Arrested for Trying to Rob Woman’s Home After Taking Her to Airport

Mobilitäts Apps
Britta Pedersen—Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP Images An iPhone user is seen using the Uber app as Taxis queue

The incident is the latest to raise safety concerns regarding the hugely popular ride-sharing app

Police in Denver arrested an UberX driver Tuesday on suspicion of attempting to burgle a woman’s house after he dropped her off at the airport.

According to the Denver Post, 51-year-old Gerald Montgomery was taken into custody on suspicion of attempted second-degree burglary, a felony. Montgomery allegedly tried to break in through the backdoor of the woman’s home but fled when her roommate noticed.

“Upon learning about this incident from our valued rider, we immediately deactivated the driver’s access to the platform, pending a full investigation. We remain committed to supporting Denver law enforcement in any way we can,” Uber spokesman Taylor Patterson says in a statement to TIME.

Uber performs a three-step screening process that includes a county, federal and multistate background check. However, according to the Post, Montgomery had no criminal history in Colorado. Uber says they work closely with the police department to facilitate the arrest of individuals accused of crimes.

UberX is a low-cost version of the wildly successful ride-sharing program. Based in San Francisco, the firm has been the subject of numerous legal challenges — including from a Philadelphia woman who accused an UberX driver of rape a little over a week ago.

Montgomery is due to appear in court on Friday.

[Denver Post]

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