Search wars: Google may pay Samsung $3.5 billion in license fees

Google is on a licensing renewal spree, and Korean analysts today are chiming in that it may be on the hook for up to $3.5 billion in fees paid to Samsung for carrying its search engine as default, and featuring it prominently on its phones. One look at our Galaxy S8 photo above will tell you why – the Google search bar sits right smack in the middle of the home screen, and there are millions of Samsung phones out there that do the same.
Needless to say, Google hopes to recoup the investment by its ad earnings from its stock search and browsing apps Samsung has …


Google Allo is finally available for desktop, but not everyone can use it

Allo — Google’s nth chat app — continues to grow. It ticks all the basics — stickers, optional encrypted messages, expressive messages where you can change the size of your text bubble, and doodling — and has a couple of unique features, like smart suggested replies and Google Assistant built in for an endless feed of dad jokes. The app’s on par with the competition for sure, just a bit late to the party and lacking something truly exclusive to pull people away from WhatsApp and Messenger.

Allo has now made another major jump — it is now available for desktop computers! …

Google Pixel 2 visits the FCC with Android 8.0.1, Active Edge and SD-835 on board

The Google Pixel 2 has been certified by the FCC. Based on documentation found on the FCC website, it appears that the Pixel 2 will once again be built by HTC. The latter has its name all over the FCC filing. The paperwork also reveals that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will have a feature similar to the Edge Sense that is used on the HTC U11. With this feature, users can squeeze both sides of the phone together to open apps, control certain functions (like snap a picture, for example) and more. The FCC leak indicates that on the Pixel, this will be known as “Active Edge.”

Based on some leaked …

Report: Google to pay $3 billion to Apple to remain the default search engine on iOS

Securities firm Bernstein sent a note to clients today, stating that Google will end up paying approximately $3 billion to Apple this year to remain the default search engine on the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad. That is triple the amount that Google paid Apple three years ago for the same licensing rights. The revenue from Google is counted by Apple towards its rapidly growing services business. According to Apple, if its service business was considered a separate company, it would qualify for the Fortune 500.

Bernstein analyst A.M. Sacconaghi Jr. said in his firm’s missive to investors that …

Google Contacts updated to work on all Android devices running Lollipop and above

The last major Google Contacts update dates from May when a new UI and lots of tweaks have been added to the app. Today, the developers announced another important update, which is meant to expand the availability of the app to even more devices.

Starting with this update, the Contacts application will be available for download on all Android devices running Lollipop and above. Previously, Google Contacts was only available to Pixel, Nexus, Android One, or Google Play Edition devices via Play Store.

The compatibility with just about any Android device is the most important change …

Opera Max for Android gets discontinued and removed from the Google Play

Sad news for Opera fans, as the Norwegian developer announced one of its popular Android applications will be discontinued, Opera Max. Originally launched back in 2014, the application was meant to allow users to manage and reduce data usage on Android smartphones.

For whatever reasons, Opera has decided to discontinue the Android app and remove from the Google Play effective immediately. Apparently, the developer wants to focus on other services and stop pouring any resources into Opera Max’s development.

Opera has now decided to discontinue Opera Max. The …

Google brings voice typing to 30 new languages in Gboard, Voice Search and more

New improvements are coming to Google’s apps, the search giant announced. Starting today, voice typing to 30 languages and locales around the world is available in Gboard on Android, Voice Search and more.With the latest update, Google’s speech recognition will support 119 language varieties in multiple apps.

Among the new languages added today, Google mentions support for ancient languages like Georgian. Support for many Indian languages has been added too, along with two of Africa’s largest languages, Swahili and Amharic.

Google is used machine learning models when it added these …

Android Wear bug leaves Google Assistant unable to do anything but basic search requests

A bug affecting smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0 is preventing Google Assistant from fully working on the platform. Actually, the virtual assistant will still run very simple Google searches. What it won’t do is set alarm times, send text messages or control smart appliances to name a few features. A community manager keeping his eye on the Android Wear Help Forum posted a message revealing that Google is aware of the problem and is “gathering bug reports.”

While most of the incidents surrounding Google Assistant deal with the version of the virtual personal assistant employed on Android …

Google Camera with HDR+ added can be sideloaded on many 2016-17 Android models

The camera found on the Google Pixel impressed us when we reviewed the phone last year. The software used by the Pixel in the processing of photographs is obviously doing a fabulous job, thanks to the HDR+ feature. Now, an app developer named B-S-G has posted a modification to Google Camera that delivers the HDR+ technology to any Android handset running the Snapdragon 820, Snapdragon 821 and the Snapdragon 835 chipsets. XDA tried it out with several phones such as the LG G6 , OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S8.

The bottom line? The software provided definite improvements …

Google releases Android Things Developer Preview 5 based on Android O

Even though Google announced last month that Developer Preview 4 will be the last beta release before the launch of Android O. But it’s not too late for another Android Things OS beta release, so if you’re a developer, then now would be a good time to make any last minute changes before the final version is launched.

Android Things Developer Preview 5 is quite important since this is now based on Android O, which is still under development for phones and tablets.

As expected, the 5th Android Things developer preview is aimed at developers and early adopters, …