Tag Archive | "finally"

Fitbit Sense finally gains ECG functionality in some countries

fitbit sense review heart rate sensor

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • The Fitbit Sense’s ECG functionality is now available in some countries.
  • Some users in the US, UK, and Germany now have access to an ECG app in the Fitbit app store.

The Fitbit Sense made its debut in August as the company’s new flagship smartwatch. It’s loaded with sensors, chief of which is a new ECG monitor. While users in some countries had to wait for ECG functionality to be enabled subject to local laws and testing, it now seems that the feature rollout is gaining momentum.

Some users posting to the Fitbit subreddit have now confirmed that the ECG sensor’s smarts are now available through a new Fitbit app. This corroborates Fitbit’s confirmation to Android Authority that the functionality would be available in October. Notably, the rollout isn’t seemingly limited to the US. Those posting to the thread also reside in the UK, while others have checked in from Germany.

In some markets, the app is simply called “ECG” but that title will likely change based on the country’s dominant language. The app’s called “EKG” in Germany, for instance. Nevertheless, the app is now listed on the Fitbit store in some markets and allows users to perform an ECG scan with the Sense. The ECG, or electrocardiogram, allows users to gain insight into their heart’s performance and possible conditions, like irregular or erratic heartbeats.

The Sense is the first Fitbit to gain the functionality and now puts it on par with the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and Withings ScanWatch.

Next: The best Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers you can buy

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WhatsApp could finally let you mute those pesky group chats forever

WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 9

  • It looks like WhatsApp is tweaking the mute option for notifications.
  • The app could soon let you permanently mute groups and contacts.
  • This looks set to replace the option to mute chats for a year.

One of the biggest issues with WhatsApp is that it doesn’t let you permanently mute a contact or group. Instead, the app only lets you mute them for eight hours, a week, or a year.

Now, serial leaker WABetaInfo has uncovered evidence that the WhatsApp team is working on the ability to permanently mute contacts and groups. The screenshot suggests that the “always” option will replace the “one year” option when muting notifications. Check out the screenshot below.

WhatsApp always mute functionality WABetaInfo

Credit: WABetaInfo

This would be a welcome addition for WhatsApp users, at least in our book. I mute notifications from every group due to the sheer number of messages stemming from them, but the “one year” option felt like a band-aid rather than a permanent solution. After all, I have to mute those groups all over again in 365 days. The only other option right now is to simply leave those groups — not ideal for the likes of family chats and work groups.

There’s no word on an exact timeline for this tweak to roll out to WhatsApp users at large, and the latest beta doesn’t seem to offer it yet. But we’ll update the article as soon as the change is pushed out to devices.

This reported tweak also comes a few days after more evidence surfaced for multiple device support in the chat app. So here’s hoping we see both features coming soon.

Next: 10 best video chat apps for Android

Android Authority

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Google Assistant smart displays will soon finally get access to web pages

Lenovo Smart Display Speaker

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • In the coming months, Google will introduce a smart display web pages feature.
  • This will finally allow smart display owners to read articles and news briefs on their smart displays.
  • Web pages will need to be AMP-compliant for this feature, which means not every site will work.

If you own a Google Assistant-powered smart display, such as the Google Nest Hub, you know you can do a lot of cool stuff with it. One thing you can’t do, though, is read web pages, which would seem to be fundamental. Thankfully, smart display web pages are finally coming to Google-supported devices in the future.

Google didn’t announce a specific timeline for the feature to roll out, other than “later this summer.” It also used the usual Google-ese when it said it will announce more news related to smart display web pages “in the coming months.”

Smart display web pages: What we know so far

We do know a few things about this new feature, however. The most important bit is that smart display web pages will need to be AMP-compliant. AMP is Google’s simplified, fast-loading web framework. Luckily, most news sites (including Android Authority) create AMP content, so there should be plenty of articles to read.

Unfortunately, though, this would mean that not every website would load on a smart display.

Another detail Google revealed is that the smart display web page viewing will be part of a new News feature. Google didn’t divulge any specific info about this, but when you consider there is currently no way to read the news on a smart display, it makes sense that Google would need to develop a whole new feature and UI to make it work.

Today’s announcement coincides with some new developer features that Google hopes will encourage game-makers, app-designers, and other creators to make content optimized for smart displays. If you’re interested, you can find out more about these new features at the Google blog.

In the meantime, sit tight for a new smart display web pages feature to roll out this summer!

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Google to finally address customer support issues with 3,800 new support reps

Google Pixelbook Go Google logo closeup

If you’ve ever needed to contact Google for support issues related to either hardware or software products from the company, chances are good you didn’t have too good of a time. Thankfully, that could change soon with today’s announcement related to Google Operations Centers.

Google Operations Centers are where actual Google employees work in customer service-focused positions. As of now, there are only about 1,000 employees at these centers in the Philippines and India, meaning that the bulk of customer support assistance from Google ends up being provided by third-party companies.

Google announced that it will be opening a new center in Mississippi (the first to be in the United States) as well as hiring as many as 3,800 new employees. While Google will still likely continue to use third-party companies for at least some of its support needs, your chances of getting a real Google employee who knows what they’re talking about on the phone just went up.

Related: Google’s recorder app is like magic, but here’s how it works

Since these will be Google employees, not contractors, they will get all the usual perks of working at Google. That includes three weeks of paid vacation, up to 22 weeks of paid parental leave, and comprehensive health care. It also includes minor perks such as free workday meals, access to local culture clubs, and more.

In general, these employees will likely be much better at addressing the needs of customers.

Originally, Google launched Google Operations Centers as part of a pilot program in 2018. Google says this program was a success, which is why it is dramatically expanding the service.

Google committed to hiring the 3,800 new employees at Google Operations Centers by the end of 2020.

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(Update: available now for some users) Video calling app Duo is finally arriving on Android and iOS

Update, 08:50 AM ET: Duo is now available for some users in the Play Store. Click on the download button bellow to check the availability on your device.

Original post, 2:53 AM ET: One half of the dynamic, um, duo of chat apps that Google introduced at I/O is finally here. Almost.

In a blog post, Google announced that one-to-one video calling app Duo would become available on Android and iOS starting today. The post was published late in the evening (Pacific time), so the app should be rolling out right now.

Currently the Play Store Google Duo listing only gives us the option to pre-register for the app. It’s very likely that Google is rolling Duo out gradually, to avoid virtual traffic jams and iron out any unexpected issues that can arise with a brand new service.

Google highlighted the simplicity of Duo, an app that lacks the bells and whistles of Skype or even Google’s own Hangouts. “Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are,” said the company.

It sounds like Google wants to remove any friction that could potentially prevent users from using video calling – the Mountain View company cited research stating that half of all users never make a video call.

To be as accessible as possible, Duo doesn’t need a separate account. You can start using it with just your phone number, just like WhatsApp.

Simple as it may be, Duo is not completely barebones. One of its coolest features is Knock Knock, which basically lets you see the person who’s calling before picking up. You also get end-to-end encryption, which aligns Google with Facebook and Apple when it comes to protecting user privacy.

Very importantly, Duo works on Android and iOS, which will put it on collision course with Apple’s very popular FaceTime.

We’ll keep an eye on the Google Duo Play Store page and update you as soon as the app becomes available.

Download Duo from the Play Store
Download Duo from the Apple App Store

No word yet on Allo, the text chat app that Google introduced alongside Duo. It can’t be too far behind though.

Anyone here who’s got Duo yet? Let us know!

Android Authority

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Google is finally shutting down Picasa

Google Photos AA

I think we all knew this would happen eventually, and the day is finally here – Google has just announced that it will soon retire Picasa. For those unfamiliar, Picasa is a photo-sharing and storing website that’s been in Google’s lineup since 2004. Ultimately, Google stopped rolling out any notable updates to the service, so it was only a matter of time until the photo website was shut down.

So what are Picasa users to do now that their photo service is getting shut down? Google is unsurprisingly telling folks to move over to Google Photos, the company’s new-and-improved photo service. The idea here is for Google to focus on one service that works across both mobile and desktop, rather than split its efforts across two different products. If you happen to have photos or videos stored away in a Picasa Web Album, Google says all of your media will already be available in Google Photos. Once you access Google Photos, you’ll be able to share, download and organize all of your media in one location. For those who aren’t keen on using Photos but would still like to view tags, captions and comments, Google will be creating a new place for you to access your Picasa Web Albums data. You’ll still be able to view, download and delete your albums, you just won’t be able to create, organize or edit your albums. Google Photos can do all of these things, so you might want to think about giving it a try if you’re on the fence.

This is all happening very soon, but not today. Google will start rolling out the changes on May 1st, 2016.

The company also says it will stop supporting the Picasa desktop application on March 15th, 2016. It will still work beyond March 15th, but Google will stop developing it and there will be no future updates. Also, Google is retiring some functions of the Picasa API. Developers can learn more about those changes here.

Download Google Photos from the Play Store
best free android appsNext: 15 best free Android apps123

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