Monday, 10 December 2018

Google has Unveiled Flutter 1.0

Google unveiled the Flutter 1.0 at an event at the Science Museum in London, UK. The Product Manager Tim Sneath introduced Flutter 1.0 to the enthusiastic developers.

What is Flutter? 


Flutter 1.0 is a cross-platform portable UI toolkit. It is an app engine that brings software development kit (SDK) out of beta.

Since 2015, it was undergoing various stages of development. Several of the beta versions were out last year and a preview of Flutter saw the release this summer.

It allows developers to build apps that can work on Android and iOS from a single codebase.

Flutter was designed by Google so that there could be a better collaboration and rapid development between the developers and coders. It is powered by Skia 2D graphics engine.

Material Design widgets which would look nice on both, Android and iPhone devices, will be powered by Google’s Dart platform. It will enable compilation to native 32-bit and 64-bit ARM code for Android and iOS. With the ‘stateful hot reload’ feature, you get quick visual results without any need to restart, thus saving time and increasing productivity. According to Google, the development cycles are three times more productive.

Flutter, being an open source, with a BSD-style licence, allows contributions from developers all over, since there are plenty of third-party plug-ins and widgets ready to be tried out.

Ashley Narayanen told Computer Business Review that even though it has the ability to target more than one platform which is not a new concept, the others being Xamarin, Cordova and React Native, it is a product of Google and not a third party component.

The other point to be noted is that Flutter is slated to be the main framework for the next-Gen operating system, Fuschia.

Though the Xamarin framework offers a native experience, there are still problems in cross-platform targeting since a complete 100 percent of the components cannot be used across both the Android and iOS platforms.

It has been designed to support Google’s ‘Material’ design language as well. Since there is heavy use of shadows and other effects, one can use the native hardware graphics acceleration on both the Android and iOS platforms. With the result it is capable of handling such workloads.

Many Big Companies are using Flutter


Big companies like Alibaba, Groupon, Tencent and others are developing and shipping apps with Flutter.

The mobile payment service Square announced two new Flutter SDKs whereby accepting payments for goods and services would become easier with Flutter. It could be done by using a Square payment reader or payments within the mobile app developed on the platform.

Animators 2Dimensions announced the use of ‘Flare’, a tool that enables designers to create animations which could be embedded into a Flutter app and manipulated with code. With Flare, there is no need to design in one app, animate in another and convert everything to a device-specific assets and code.

With Flutter, app design is radically simplified. Google made an announcement that they would be experimenting with running Flutter on the web under the codename, Hummingbird.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Upgrade Your Daily Drive with New Android Auto features

Android Auto

New Android Auto Features to Make Driving even more Entertaining!

Since its release Android Auto is making driving a lot more entertaining for us and it just keeps on getting better. Google has added more features to Android Auto to make driving more helpful and convenient. Among the updates are a bunch of Android Auto features to help with messaging and easier media browsing. There are even new Android Auto features for visual message previews as well as staying connected in a group through group messaging.

All these new Android Auto features will be present in apps such as Google Play Books, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pocket Casts. Add to that the all popular messaging apps like whatsapp and hangouts to the update list. All these new Android Auto features and more will be available in the next few updates that Google brings about in Android Auto. So don’t forget to get yourself updated.

Better Media Navigation with new Android Auto Features: 


If a silent drive to your destination isn’t for you, then listening to media and searching for your favorite media just became a lot more easier with this new Android Auto Feature. Google has made an update in the form of this new Android Auto feature that brings all your media content directly onto your screen for easier browsing. That means less time searching for your favorite media and more time enjoying it.

With the new and improved layout with large sized options, makes it easier for you to select your selected media while on the go. With this new Android feature, you simply browse, select and click on your favorite tunes for a more entertaining ride.

New Android Auto Features makes Improvements to Voice Activation: 


So you don’t want to browse, “Ok Google…”has got you covered. Google has made further improvements to its voice control assistant making it easier for you to just tell the Google assistant what you’d prefer and Voila! Your song starts playing for you on your ride to the office.

Anything from 80’s music to a particular song, the Google assistant has got all that and more. Just say “Ok Google” and the song or songs title you want to hear and it starts playing.

New android Auto Features for Messaging and Staying Connected: 


If while driving you don’t want to miss out on important messages, this new Android Auto feature will come to your rescue. Android Auto now shows you a preview of messages while the car is stopped. You can always turn off this feature if it interferes with your driving.

Android Auto features also add more support to apps that use multimedia and RCS or rich communication services. This means that get you get the best out of messaging apps while on the go, like for example support for group messaging. You can now stay connected with loved ones and with important family updates with group messaging.

Google will bring out all these new Android Auto features in the next several days. You can also visit the app store for further updates on the new Android Auto features.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Why Being Able to Convert Video Formats Can Benefit Users

Most people are aware of the fact that there are many different video formats out there, and are also aware that there are converters designed to convert between them. However many don’t actually use converters – often because they don’t see a benefit to it.

To be completely honest nothing could be further from reality, as there are lots of benefits to being able to convert video formats. Some of the more important are the fact that it can:
  • Ensure videos can be played on any device or platform

    As you probably know different devices and platforms support different video formats, which is why you may have trouble viewing videos on some devices. Rather than attempting to find a software to play the video (which may not always be possible), a far more effective solution is to convert it to the format that you need.

    Typically nowadays the MP4 format is as close to a universal format as possible – so you’ll want to convert your video to it in most cases. That can be done easily, and if you want you could use Online Video Converter to convert any formats including MTS to MP4.

    Keep in mind that it is best to use a format with a codec that has hardware support on your device, so that it can be played without requiring too much processing power.
  • Reduce the file size of videos

    Part of the video format that is used is known as the video codec, and it is what compresses the data in your video files. Some codecs are able to compress data more efficiently than others, and will let you reduce the file size of your videos without adversely affecting its quality.

    Typically newer codecs are better than older codecs in that regard, and have improved compression rates. For example H.265 can reduce the file size of H.264 videos by about half in most cases.
  • Match the recommended format of online platforms  

    Most online platforms recommend that videos be uploaded in particular formats. While some may reject videos that don’t comply with that format, others will convert it themselves.

    As a rule it is always best to follow the recommended settings when uploading videos so that you don’t have any difficult and avoid it being transcoded – which could affect its quality. For instance you can look at YouTube’s recommended settings and see that they prefer MP4 with H.264.
  All in all being able to convert videos between formats is generally useful. Depending on how frequently you handle videos and the different types of devices you use, you may even find that it comes in handy every single day.

If the converter that you use allows you to adjust the video settings as well (which many do), you may find that it has other benefits that are worth exploring. In short you could compress, adjust or prepare your videos in a wide range of different ways if you require.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Google Maps Now Lets Users Send Messages to Businesses

Google Maps

Users Can Now Send Messages to Businesses through Google Maps!

Google has recently rolled out a feature whereby users can send messages to local businesses in Google Maps. The whole “sending messages to local businesses” part of it is not new, though. Google had initially brought out the concept of messaging businesses as a part of its Google My Business campaign. This took place somewhere last year. But now to get more users on board and to keep the messaging local businesses separate from messaging personal contacts, Google has rolled out messaging local businesses to Google Maps.

Google My Business Profile:

Last year, Google initiated Google My Business which allows users to initiate convos with local businesses over the Google My Business profile. These text messages were sent and received through your normal SMS.

A New Option to Send Messages To local Businesses through Google Maps: 


Users now have the option of sending messages to local businesses through the Google Maps app. There will be an option to send messages at the side menu of the Google Maps app. You can then start a conversation with a local business by tapping on the ‘Message’ button present in ‘business profiles’.

The whole idea behind this move is to keep user’s personal messages separate from messages to local businesses in Google Maps.

The next benefit, is that Google My Business messaging feature will open up to more people across the globe. Before the Google My Business option was present only in a few countries that Google rolled it out to.

What this Means for Businesses: 


With this new initiative by Google, Business will be getting a lot more messages from users or potential customers, which in turn means that they have to be aware of the bulk of messages about to be received.

Business’ can also opt out of receiving messages from users by not turning on the messaging feature. It is already turned off by default anyway.

But those who wish to take advantage of “Messages to Google my Business through Google Maps” feature can do so by turning on the feature in messaging, found in the Google My Business dashboard.

Business engaging with customers over the messaging feature on Google Maps will also be able to get stats over time, such as number of clicks by customers on the message option, number of conversations had, total number of messages received and so forth.

Business can also have a separate individual managing their Google My Business profile such as a social media manager. Such persons have to be designated as a manger under the Google My Business listing in order to interact with users or customers over the Google My Business messaging service on Google Maps.

Initiating messaging with local businesses through Google My Business on Google Maps also has the added advantage of users contacting businesses when they search for a business in Google Maps. So users can now simultaneously search for business on local maps and make enquiries of them at the same time.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Google Introducing Call Screen

Call Screen May Require A Save Option!

Google’s Pixel 3 and 3XL’s feature is heaven send when you don’t want to answer those annoying spam calls that come multiple times in a day. If you don’t want to answer any of those calls, and who does anyway? then send the caller directly to call screen. This new software feature initiated by Google to the Pixel 3and 3XL phones has been one of the most innovative and best feature to come to a phone as yet, not to mention it saves you the immense hassle of getting rid of the robot troll caller.

But is it all great? On the surface yeah! We all know how annoying robot troll callers can be but what happens when you want to save a call or need important information right away?

What is Call Screen? 


A feature that can be found on Google Pixel 3 and 3XL allows the user an option of putting a call through call screen whereby Google Assistant picks up the call and you can monitor the call proceedings in chat form while the call is ongoing.

The moment a person calls and you want to press the call screen option, Google assistant immediately picks up and lets the caller know that they are speaking to an assistant. The caller then has to explain who they are and what they want. While all this is going on you can view the chat form of the dialogue taking place between the caller and Google assistant.

So what’s the Problem with Call Screen then? 


While everything seems to be picture perfect with call screen, it’s just that it does not store the transcript of the message or have an option to send the caller to voicemail.

This can be bad in instances, where you need some important information that the caller has. You can always screenshot the chat screen while the call is taking place, that is if you remember to do so. But if you forget, there is no way to get that specific information back, unless you go to the call log and call the person back.

While none of the chats are stored after the call in call screen, some may actually appreciate the fact their privacy has not been affected.

What Should Google do to improve Call Screen?

To improve the call screen feature which is pretty great now but can be made better, Google can do three things- save the transcripts of the chats to the Pixel 3 or 3XL, give a “send to voicemail” option and lastly have the option to save particular calls. Google says that the first option of saving transcripts of the chats onto phones may be coming soon.

During call screen when the caller knows they are talking to Google assistant, they automatically give their name and certain other details. Many a time, this information comes in handy and you don’t want to necessarily miss out on that info. Hence the need to save transcripts or chat history in call screen.