You might have noticed we're in a crazy news cycle right now, and in these times of political and civil uncertainty, staying on top of breaking news is more important than ever. If you want the most relevant stories delivered to your phone in the shortest possible time, we've got the apps for you.
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Released last year, Google Assistant hasn't really proven itself useful outside of checking the weather, searching Google, or setting an alarm using voice commands. So far it's been limited to basic features that are more than matched by other smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. But Google is trying to change that.
Have you ever dreamt about impressing the people around your neighbourhood with preachy Banksy-inspired graffiti? SketchAR is an augmented reality drawing app that uses a smartphone and its camera to let you trace images. And when used with a device that supports Google's Project Tango technology, suddenly anyone can become a tagger who doesn't suck.
With an eye towards the developing world where people are more likely to own cheap phones and have spottier wireless data access, the big names in tech are developing simpler versions of their apps. These apps are lightweight, use little data, and don't burn through battery life. Sound good? It does to us too, and here's how to give them a test drive.
It's incredibly tempting to reach out and respond to a text you get while you're driving, but maybe less so when you realise that distracted driving is causing thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year in the US alone. Take away the temptation by having your phone reply to messages for you, so you don't have to worry about it.
If you use Gmail and your office uses Google Apps or you like to maintain multiple Facebook accounts, than operating on a phone can be a nightmare. Multiple logins means constant logging out of apps and then logging back in — a process that only gets more excruciating when you have two-factor authentication (and you should really have two-factor authentication).
Once upon a time in the not-too-distant past, getting an email or a weather forecast popping up on a smartphone felt like magic — but now the technological novelty of these alerts has worn off. We're growing sick of the constant interruptions. Mobile notifications are undoubtedly useful, but you need to make them smart.
Apple's pulling the cord on its iOS guillotine a little early this year. The next operating system update will reportedly only be available for the iPhone 5S and newer devices. That means if you have an iPhone 5 or an iPhone 5C, your expensive slab of aluminium and glass is about to become obsolete. (See the update below: you iPhone 5 might survive just a little longer.)
Apple recently pushed out its newest app, a mobile iMovie for the Snapchat generation — but it's far from the only lightweight video editor you can get for your phone. Jazz up those clips of your pets and vacations before they hit Instagram and Snapchat with these mobile video editing suites, putting pro tools in your pocket.
Your existence is scattered across the internet. You likely have accounts at forums you haven't been to in a decade, and social media services so bereft of users they resemble graveyards. And each and every one of those accounts is a potential avenue into your private life for a hacker. So you need to secure them.
Good news for anyone with an Android phone that isn't a Pixel: Google Assistant is rolling out to more phones, new and old. That means many more of us will be able to take advantage of Google's latest and smartest AI. There are some things both the Google Assistant and Siri are excellent at — like pulling up emails or showing photos you've taken in the last week in a specific city (Apple really seems to be catching up to Google in the image analysis department).
Gmail is a fantastic email service, and a great alternative to Yahoo, which saw 500 million user accounts hacked in 2014, and AOL, the preferred email service for Mike Pence business. If you want to tap into the power and cloud storage offered by Google's Gmail service, but don't necessarily like the Gmail apps put out from Mountain View, then you've got plenty of choice when it comes to alternatives.
Back in October we stumbled on a strange app called Vigilante. Push notifications would tell you about nearby robberies, shootings and other crimes. Under the tagline "Can injustice survive transparency?", Vigilante encouraged its New York City-based users to put themselves in harm's way to film these misdeeds.
It's likely that you've got details of your whole life stored on your phone — the people you know, the banks you've used, the videos you've wasted hours watching — and you don't necessarily want that info getting out into the wider world. If you're keen to lock down your handset against unwelcome visitors, you need to take a few steps.