Google is rolling out a MAJOR new feature for Google Maps on Android…full offline support. 9to5google.com says you could already see a map area without a net connection, but now you will be able to use features like navigation and business info without being connected. You will need to download sections of the map while you’re online first…once you’ve done that, all of the above is available without using your cellular or wi-fi connection. Keep in mind that some features…like traffic alerts…won’t work if you’re offline. The rollout of the feature is underway to Android users now.
Big Brother may not be watching, but your big screen TV may be. Of course, you knew that some brands have had this dubious feature….it’s been reported about Samsung, LG, & Toshiba…but on those, you have to opt in. It turns out that Vizio smart TVs make you opt out of their spying on you and selling your data. Geek.com reports that they’ve buried the option under the ‘Smart Interactivity’ label, and they even tell you the so-called feature is at ‘no cost to you,’ and warn that you’ll miss out on coupons and special offers if you turn it off. As geek.com pointed out, if you’ve ever wondered how Vizio can sell its TVs so cheaply, with the same features as the big boys, now you know.
Amazon has dropped a small but significant update to their Prime Music app. According to 9to5google.com, you will now be able to store offline music on a device’s SD card for playback when you’re not connected to the web. The update also adds support for Android Wear smartwatches. With SD cards becoming less ubiquitous in smartphones, no word on whether Amazon will extend the feature to the main memory of smartphones. At any rate, the updated app is available free at the Google Play Store.
Speaking of Google, it appears that they’re moving towards merging Chrome OS into Android. Theverge.com says to look for a demo of the combined system at Google I/O next year. It will take some serious changes under the hood to get Android to run everything on laptops, and when the final new system is rolled out in 2017, Chromebooks will obviously get a new name…Androidbooks, perhaps? Google has noted that they are not exactly ‘killing’ Chrome, so there may actually be 3 different systems moving forward.