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Follow me on Twitter!

With Google+ shutting down by August 2019 and no clear alternative from Google, you can now find me on Twitter. The content I share will obviously be different due to the character limit, but I look forward to embracing the new platform. I'll be sharing my thoughts and opinions on Android, Chrome, and much more.

You can follow me using the following link: https://twitter.com/brandonlall36?s=09
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+Google+ To Shut Down by August 2019

Disappointed --- is one word to describe how I feel right now.

During a Project Strobe audit, --- an internal effort by Google to review third-party developer access to Google account, Android device, and other app data --- the company discovered a bug within the Google+ People API. Google noted the following on the company's blog post:

* Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.

* The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.

* This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age. (See the full list on our developer site.) It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.

* We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018. We believe it occurred after launch as a result of the API’s interaction with a subsequent Google+ code change.

* We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks. That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug. However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.

* We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.

As a result of the aforementioned information, the company will be shutting down Google+ by August 2019.

As I mentioned, I am disappointed. The bug was discovered and immediately patched in March 2018. As users, why are we now hearing about this?

Of course, I am disappointed to hear that the platform will be shutting down. For years, I have called Google+ my home --- using the platform as my only social media application. Sure I have a Facebook account to communicate with friends and family. However, I found myself straying away from that platform for various reasons. I once created a Twitter account (I rarely used it), but found the character limit --- well, limiting.

You see, the Google+ provided an outlet for me ---- and many others --- to showcase their interests. To share knowledge, photos, and create content that revolved around those interests. The platform wasn't Facebook and it wasn't Twitter. It was different. It didn't revolve around friends or family, and posts weren't limited. It's definitely disappointing to see it go.

I am still deciding on a platform to move to. It will likely be Twitter and the content will obviously be different. I will share more in a future post....

#Google+
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HMD Global announces Nokia 7.1

Nokia's revival is based on two core principles — good value with great hardware and pure software. Nokia has been releasing a slew of mid-range smartphones over the past few months, all while keeping their phones as up-to-date as possible. Now, the company is release another, and its coming to the U.S.

Called the Nokia 7.1, the smartphone is built out a single piece of aluminum with two-tone accents on the frame, camera lens, and fingerprint scanner. On the back, you'll find a glass back with a mirror finish. As far as specifications are concerned, the Nokia 7.1 features a 5.84-inch edge-to-edge PureDisplay (IPS) at a resolution of 2280x1080 (19:9 aspect ratio), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage (expandable), an 8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera, a dual rear camera setup (12MP f/1.8+5MP f/2.4 depth sensor), NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, a fingerprint scanner on the back, a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 3,060mAh battery with Nokia fast charging, and Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One; upgrade to Android 9 Pie in November).

Colors: Gloss Midnight Blue and Gloss Steel.

Pricing and availability: The Nokia 7.1 will be available globally. It will cost €319 for the model with 3GB of RAM/32GB of storage and €349 for the model with 4GB of RAM/64GB of storage. In the U.S, you'll be able to purchase Nokia 7.1 from Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H. However, we'll only see the model with 4GB of RAM/64GB of storage. It will cost $349, with pre-orders beginning October 5th and devices shipping on October 28th.

#Android #HMDGlobal #Nokia
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LG announces V40 ThinQ

Today, LG announced the latest model in its "V" smartphone series — V40 ThinQ. The V40 ThinQ has the same design as the LG G7 — featuring an aluminum frame and a glass back. However, LG has stepped things up a bit by adding five total cameras to the device (two on the front and three on the back). Let's dive into the device below!

The LG V40 ThinQ has a 6.4-inch edge-to-edge OLED display at a resolution of 3120x1440, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage (expandable), a dual front facing camera setup (8MP f/1.9+5MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens) and a triple rear camera setup (12MP f/1.5 with PDAF and OIS + 16MP f/1.9 wide-angle lens + 12MP f/2.4 with 2x optical zoom, OIS, and PDAF). LG will have a triple-photo mode that will allow you to (slowly) take a photo from each camera and later select the preferred photo. Rounding out the specifications are a fingerprint scanner on the back, a USB Type-C port, Bluetooth 5.0, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 32-bit Quad DAC, a 3,300mAh battery, and Android 8.1 Oreo.

Colors: Black and Blue.

Pricing and availability: Starting on October 18th (17th for Verizon customers), LG V40 ThinQ will be available from AT&T ($950), T-Mobile ($920), Sprint ($960), Verizon ($980), and US Cellular ($900).

#Android #LG
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Google releases October Security Update

Folks, it's October 1st. You know what that means, right? It's time for another round of security patches from Google.

As usual, the October Security Update is available for Pixel and Nexus devices that are still officially supported, and as both factory images and OTA.zip files. So far, there are new Android 9.0 Pie files for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (PPR2.181005.003), as well as Pixel and Pixel XL (PPR2.181005.003, PPR1.181005.003). You'll also find new Android 8.1 Oreo builds for Nexus 6P (OPM7.181005.003), Nexus 5X (OPM7.181005.003), and the Pixel C (OPM8.181005.003).

Google notes that Pixel and Pixel XL build PPR2.181005.003 is the generic build for all users except Telus users who should use build PPR1.181005.003.

As far as functional updates, they are as follows:

• Improves performance for certain protected media formats (Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL)
• Improves fast-charging behavior for Pixel devices (Pixel, Pixel XL)
• Improves stability when using Android Auto (Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL)
• Modifies call screen behavior when using Maps Navigation (All)

Factory Images: https://developers.google.com/android/images
OTA Files: https://developers.google.com/android/ota

#Android #Pixel #Nexus
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Google launches "Repair Center" for Pixel smartphones

Pixel smartphone not working? Prior to today, the only way to get your Pixel phone repaired through an official channel was to take the phone to uBreakiFix or Puls (a phone repair startup). Now, Google is launching its own mail-in repair center for broken Pixel smartphones.

Simply head to the "Repair Center" landing page (store.google.com/repaircenter), and you'll be taken to a page that prompts you to troubleshoot your phone. For each potential issue (display, battery, or water damage issues), Google has a support page that could potentially help you fix your phone without having to send the phone to the company. If none of those troubleshooting tips work, you'll be able to start a repair order with Google. Once you start a repair order, you'll be prompted to enter your phone's IMEI number, which will help identify your device. You'll then be presented with a variety of options to help Google better understand what the issue is with your phone. Should your phone be under warranty and the issues are not caused by accidental damage, the site will let you know that the repairs are free.

If, however, the damages are accidental (e.g. cracked screen or water damage), Google will give you an estimate for the repair (before taxes). For example, fixing a cracked Pixel 2 display will cost $239 and water damage will set you back $413. The repairs usually take 7-10 business days and Google will cover shipping charges, offering to send you a prepaid package.

Google's "Repair Center" is available for Pixel, Pixel XL. Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. It will obviously expand to Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 XL when launched.

#Android #Google #Pixel
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Android Messages update brings improved search interface, new icon, and more

With Google Allo in the back seat, the company continues to make improvements to Android Messages. Yesterday, Google announced an update to Android Messages, which brings a new search interface and a few other minor tweaks.

With Android Messages version 3.6, Google has tweaked the app icon. You'll notice that Google now uses a lighter shade of blue, which can also be found in the redesign of recent Google apps like Contacts. The message bubble on the icon is now smaller amd white. Additionally, the message lines on the message bubble are now thinner, wider, and blue instead of gray.

Moving onto the improved search interface, you'll notice that tapping on the search icon will initially show you a sliding row of your contacts. Underneath your contacts, there are four categories of media you can filter by: images, videos, places, and links. If you search for a contact, you'll see a nice interface which will show you all your conversations — including those from group chats — with said contact in a single place. If you wish to filter your messages by content, simply tap one of the previously mentioned categories. While the filters appear as bubbles in the search bar, attempting to further refine your search by typing next to the filter bubble will result in "No results found."

Finally, Android Messages version 3.6 brings a new setting for "Automatic Previews." While you could toggle on the ability to show link previews in version 3.5 (with the ability to limit downloading previews on Wi-Fi), the latest update makes link previews as a sub-category of all previews. By default, Android Messages does not automatically opt you into all previews. Unfortunately, when turned on, the link previews didn't seem to work within message threads (at least in Android Police's tests). However, they did show up in the new search interface.

#Android #AndroidMessages
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Google rebrands Feed to "Discover" and expands to mobile homepage

On September 4th, Google Search turned 20 years old — an amazing feat for a product that has changed the lives of many people across the globe. Search has always been the company's core product, and Android users have grown accustomed to the Google Search bar that encompasses their homescreens. On mobile, Google Search evolved into Google Now — an extension of search that intended to predict the information you needed before you realized you even needed said information. Google Now was later renamed to Google Feed, and now today Google is rebranding Google Feed again — this time to "Discover."

Discover on Android

In a blog post on The Keyword, Google explains that they have renamed the Google Feed to "Discover," and are introducing a redesign, which has been A/B tested for months. Within Discover, you'll find large cards of content that fall under topic headers. Tap on a topic header and you'll be able to dive deeper into that topic. Next to each topic header, you'll see the Discover icon (an * that appeared earlier this week), which you'll start seeing in Google Search for a wide range of topics.

You can tap "Follow" for any topic to get even more content in your Discover feed. Additionally, you'll start seeing more "evergreen" content — articles and videos that are not necessarily new to the web but may be of interest to you — in your Discover feed. For example, you may be planning a trip to Italy. Discover will be able to intelligently surface a travel article about Italy that was published three months ago, which may be more relevant to you now. Discover will also be able to determine your level of expertise on a particular topic. For example, it will be able to determine if your a beginner who is now learning to play a guitar and surface beginner content about learning chords. Alternatively, if your more advanced, Discover can surface more advanced techniques.

Furthermore, you'll be able more finely control Discover. Simply tap the control button on the bottom right corner of Discover cards and you'll be able to choose whether you want to see more or less content from that topic. Finally, Discover will be available in multiple languages. Google says that you'll be able to configure for certain content to come in one language versus another. For example, you may like to read sports in one language but news in another. The company will be starting off with English and Spanish in the U.S, with expansion to more languages and countries coming soon.

Discover on Google.com (mobile)

Since its inception, Google Search has been a simple white page with the Google logo and a search box plastered in the center. That's going to change on mobile. Perhaps the biggest change with the announcement of Discover is the company's introduction of the feature to google.com. Yes, that's right — Discover will be rolling out to google.com on all mobile web browsers over the next few weeks!

#Android #Google #Discover
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Xiaomi announces Mi 8 Lite and Pro

Xiaomi continue to expand its Mi 8 linup, which currently includes the standard Mi 8, Mi 8 Explorer Edition, and Mi 8 SE. Now, Xiaomi is adding to more smartphones to the company's Mi 8 family — Mi 8 Lite and Mi 8 Pro.

Mi 8 Lite

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite has a 6.26-inch IPS LCD display at a resolution of 2280x1080, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB if internal storage, a 24MP front-facing camera, a dual rear camera setup (12MP+5MP), a USB Type-C port, a fingerprint scanner on the back, and a 3,350mAh battery.

Colors: Aurora Blue, Sunset Gold, and Midnight Black.

Pricing and availability: The Xiaomi Mi 8 will be available in China on September 25. It will cost RMB 1399 (~$204 USD) for the 4GB of RAM+64GB of storage model, RMB 1699 (~$248 USD) for the 6GB of RAM+64GB of storage model, and RMB 1999 (~$292 USD) for the 6GB of RAM+128GB of storage model.

Mi 8 Pro

The Mi 8 Pro, on the other hand, has a 6.21-inch OLED display at a resolution of 2248 x 1080, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 20MP front-facing camera, a dual rear camera setup (12MPf/1.8+12MP f/2.4), a USB Type-C port, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a 3,000mAh battery.

*Colors * Sunset Gold, Black, and Transparent Titanium

Pricing and availability: The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro will go on sale on September 21. It will cost RMB 3199 (~$427 USD) for the 6GB of RAM+128GB of storage model and RMB 3599 (~$526 USD) for the 8GB of RAM+128GB of storage model.

#Android #Xiaomi
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Google Pay now available in Italy

Google Pay is always expanding — whether that's adding support for smaller banks and credit unions in the U.S or expanding across the globe to new countries. Today, Google is expanding Android Pay support to Italy.

At launch, seven banks are supported and they are listed below:

Nexi (and partner banks)
Widiba
Banca Mediolanum
Boon
HYPE
N26
Revolut

Simply add your Maestro, Mastercard, or Visa card to the Google Pay app, and you'll be able to tap and pay wherever contactless payments are supported. For example, you'll be able to tap and pay at Autogrill, Bennet, Esselunga, H & M, Leroy Merlin, Lidl, McDonald's, Profumerie Douglas, and the ATM Metro network in Milan. You'll also be able to quickly make purchases in your favorite apps or websites, without ever having to type in payment information or addresses. For example, you'll be able to quickly pay in Asos, Booking.com, Deliveroo, Flixbus, Ryanair, Vueling and in the coming months, IBS, MyTaxi, Musement and TIM.

#Android #GooglePay
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