RunKeeper for Android update showcases Material Design revamp

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RunKeeper is a rather popular fitness app for tracking your run, walk, or bike adventures.

So it’s no small matter when an app with tens of millions of installs joins the Material Design club. RunKeeper’s version 5.3.3 update sticks pretty closely to Google’s new guidelines, adding in splashes of animation, organizing information into cards, and popping in some brighter colors.

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The new Friends tab Material interface (right) unifies the top bar’s color scheme, unlike the previous version (left).

The biggest change comes to the activity list, which breaks out each of your separate jaunts into its own card, with the length of the trek, time spent, and calories burned all detailed. They’re also visible on a large Google Map.

Other elements of the new version match this aesthetic, such as the shareable friends tab, which by now should be familiar if you’ve spent time with any of the top Material Design apps.

Runkeeper promises that the upgrade is not just prettier, but faster too.

The app is free to download, with several in-app purchases for upgrades.

Why this matters: This update is another indication that Google’s effort to unify how apps look and perform on Android with Material Design is gaining traction. Even if Android updates remain messy, if more developers get on board the Material Design express then at least your favorite apps and services will have a sense of congruity.

How to select multiple languages for Google voice search

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Google has pushed voice search and actions to the forefront over the last few years, introducing features like the Google Now Launcher and the “OK Google” command. Many phones now let you initiate a search from any screen, and a few can even be woken up from slumber with the trigger phrase.

However, when you do a voice search, Google only listens for your one default language. If you speak multiple languages, you can change that in a few taps.

Head into the main Google app settings (open the Google app, or swipe over to the Google Now cards, then select Settings in the flyout menu on the left). From there, open the Voice section. The menu item you’re looking for is predictably called Languages. This will open up a new selection menu with dozens of languages, each one with a checkbox. You can select up to five of them for your phone to recognize on the fly, but make sure you long-press to pick a default language as well.

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Just pick the languages you speak.

Selecting secondary languages allows you to switch back and forth with a limit of one language per search. Basically, Google detects the language you’re speaking for each search, then plugs in the right translation engine. If you have voice output enabled, the device will also speak in the detected language.

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All I remember of high school Spanish.

You won’t be able to mix and match words from multiple languages in the same query, but this is still much more convenient than going into the settings each time you want to use another tongue.

ASUS ZENFONE C (ZC451CG) – Here’s some vital info

After constantly delivering grand Smart phones one after another, the company, Asus, has now placed its feet in the affordable market. Asus’s novel bee, the ASUS ZENFONE C (ZC451CG) is a budget smart phone that is promising great specifications and reliability.

It will be exciting to see the client reaction levels towards ASUS ZENFONE C (ZC451CG). A lot of people believe that it would catch the attention of a vast crowd. The best facet of possessing an Asus Zenfone C handset is users have the freedom to explore high-quality technology in a sensibly priced handset. It is a great model indeed.

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When it comes to size, the Zenfone C is the 10.9 mm which is thinner than its arch contestant Moto E. It carries a weight of 149 g respectively. In terms of overall appearance, it feels cheaper as compares to the other smart phones in the budget section. Zenfone 5 is obtainable on flipkart at just Rs 5,999.

The company’s recently rolled out Zenfone C in the Indian market is an enhancement over the preceding Zenfone 4 series.

PROS

Great recital – when it comes to everyday performance it does a great job and can also handle numerous games.

Great build superiority – The handset is made with immense craftsmanship. From screen to keys to back panel, everything is just ideal and firm.

ZenUI – this is the other positive point of this handset, like a superior brand it too has its individual UI which is named ZenUI.

Android – The handset is is based on android 4.5 and is quit fluid. It is useful plus stable, so that it will not crash every time your cell phone is load up. If you are bore of stock android UI or from heavy UI’s like touchwise, this ennui will be a great experience for you.

 

 

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Twitter Digits Can Now Help You Personalize Your App, Make It More Secure

Twitter announced friend-finding and two-step verification for Digits, its sign-in tool for developers.

Twitter launched its new mobile app development platform called Fabric in October. It’s made up of three modular kits, including a Twitter kit, which includes Digits. Digits allows people to sign into apps using their phone number. As the company explained at the time:

It’s built on Twitter infrastructure so you don’t have to worry about managing multiple relationships with carriers and SMS interchanges. Digits is fully themeable so that it fits the user experience you’ve designed for your app. Digits won’t post anything on your user’s behalf since it isn’t tied to their social network accounts, including Twitter. And with Digits, your apps are ready for global adoption: it’s available immediately in 216 countries and in 28 languages, on iOS, Android and the web.

Digits also solves a number of issues for your users. Since Digits uses a phone number, there’s no need for users to remember complex passwords or usernames and all they have to share is a phone number to get started in your app.

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In January, Twitter launched Digits for the web, enabling developers to implement phone-based login on their mobile apps’ websites.
The latest features will make it a more attractive sign-in option since they provide added security and the ability to make an app more personally relevant to the user.

“Since every app is different, many of them need their own social graphs to provide a differentiated experience to win users over,” says Twitter engineer Eric Frohnhoefer . “While social networking services give you the full list of your users’ friends, those connections may not be up to date or relevant to the app experience you’re delivering. On the other hand, contact lists on your users’ phones have the strongest, most current connections – but it can be cumbersome to build custom code to import those lists and match the contacts to create a social graph.”

Friend-finding in Digits is the solution as far as Twitter is concerned. It enables apps to create social graphs with users’ contact lists. It will match both mutual and one-way connections so users who are already on the service will know which of their contacts are also using it. They can also be alerted when a friend joins at a later time.

As Twitter notes, you can use contacts gained from the feature to personalize content with the app. For example, you could show users what their friends have bought or “the highest level they’ve achieved to incite ‘friendly’ competition”.

“By delivering an experience fit for the individual user, you can increase the adoption of your app and retention among your user base,” says Frohnhoefer. “New users will know immediately which of the people they know best are using your app and current users can be ambassadors for the new initiates. It’s worth noting too that the social graph users create in your app with Digits will not be shared with other third-party apps, and the service is opt-in for users – it won’t interrupt the simple sign-up Digits offers.”

As far as security goes, Twitter says phone-based login is already more secure than email or social-based login, but the two-step verification just adds another layer. Once you implement the verification, your app’s users can login to Digits, and set up a code, which will be prompted on future logins and signups.

Developers can get Digits at get.fabric.io, downloading Fabric, and installing the Twitter Kit. Android documentation for the new features can be found here. iOS documentation is here.

Twitter is currently in the middle of a series of developer events, which are taking place around the world. The next one is on March 11 in New York. more on those here.

Google Significantly Upgrades Contacts

Google just released a preview of its new Contacts experience, which comes across as a major upgrade right off the bat, unlike other recent next-generation email-related offerings from the company.

As Google says, the new experience makes it easier for you to keep track of the people you know and get the info you need, fast. A quick click on the preview link pretty much confirmed that for me. Whereas in the past, my Contacts have always been kind of a jumbled mess comprised largely of people I rarely interact with, the new experience puts the people I actually know and care about front and center, and with virtually no effort on my part.

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The new Contacts puts together all your contacts, circles, and the people you talk to most in Gmail.

“As the people you know change jobs, cities, and names, it can be tough to stay up to date with their latest information,” says product manager Sean Purcell. “The new Contacts ensures that the info you see is still accurate and ready to use by blending your contact’s Google profile information with the stuff you already have.”

The product will also now show you your most recent emails and meetings with a person right in their contact card. This could be tremendously helpful for recalling who people even are, and what your relationship with them was even based on in the first place. For people who do a lot of emailing that’s a pretty great feature. This doesn’t actually appear to be working for all contacts for me at the moment, but this is only a preview.

Google says you can expect to find the preview in Gmail sometime in the next few weeks, but you can take a look here in the meantime. It’s not available for Google Apps customers yet, but it will be eventually.

In some ways, the new Contacts experience follows a similar path as Inbox by Google, the company’s latest attempt at rethinking email. Like Inbox, Contacts is making better use of Google’s various offerings and putting them together to make the product more useful. In my opinion, Contacts is a more practical attempt at this. It’s certainly not as radical a change as Inbox is compared to the familiar Gmail experience, though both do have their helpful traits.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think the new Contacts will be much easier to swallow for the masses of Gmail users than Inbox necessarily will be. Granted, there are quite a few people who do think Inbox is an improvement to the Gmail experience.

Google May Start Offering .App Domains

One of the hottest generic TLDs up for grabs by some of the Internet’s biggest companies was .App. According to reports, Google has now won that TLD, and is paying a whopping $25 million for it.

According to Domain Name Wire, that’s likely a record-breaking price for a TLD, and Google has been battling 12 other companies, including Amazon, for its rights. With those rights, Google will now be able to offer other businesses access to domains that end in .app, just as they have started doing with other domains. Domain Name Wire reports:

With the domain in hand, it’s possible Google can limit registrations to companies that have an app in Google Play, or use the domains to point directly to app listings in the store. However, its application suggests that it will allow the domain name to be more universally used:

The mission of the proposed gTLD, .app, is to provide a dedicated domain space for application developers. The term “app” is associated with a wide variety of applications, including mobile applications, web- and browser-based applications, cloud-hosted applications and even desktop applications. Charleston Road Registry expects uses of the gTLD will include a wide variety of uses across all of these types of applications, not limited to any specific platform or provider. The proposed gTLD will enhance consumer choice by providing new availability in the second-level domain space in which application developers can deliver new content and offerings. It also creates new layers of organization on the Internet and signals the kind of content available in the domain.

Google Registry has so far launched three TLDs including .soy (for U.S. Hispanics), .みんな (in Japanese), and most recently, .how, which it describes as a domain for teaching. We delved more into that one here.

The Google Registry site lists TLDs that are “coming next,” and these include: .DAD, .ESQ, .HERE, .MEME, .PROF, .ZIP, .ADS, .DAY, .FLY, .MOV, .RSVP, .BOO, .EAT, .FOO, .ING, and .NEW. The company actually already has descriptions for what each of these are for:

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.App is absent from that list, but it’s possible that Google simply hasn’t added it yet because it just won it. It will be interesting to see if it is added to the list soon, because if it’s not, that would suggest that Google intends to keep it for itself for something like what Domain Wire mentioned.

It seems likely that Google would sell the domains to third-parties, however, as it could make money on what could be a coveted new TLD that way. The app ecosystem only continues to grow massively, and Google’s own efforts are fostering that growth on Android.

Earlier this week, Google announced that it is expanding paid search into the Google Play store, which will give Google a new (yet familiar) revenue stream, and give apps more opportunities for discoverability.

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That’s only in pilot testing mode now, but I don’t really see a scenario in which this doesn’t become an available offering to everyone down the road.

Google also announced that it is making some changes to how it ranks content in mobile search results. It’s factoring in mobile-friendly content for one. It’s also using information from indexed apps as a signal for signed-in users who have the apps installed on their devices.