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Top software trends of 2016

Well, that was an odd year. We got a very public lesson in why it's important to keep online communications secure; we went outside to toss Poke Balls at augmented-reality pocket monsters; and we asked inanimate objects in our homes for assistance. Here are the software trends of 2016 that we found intriguing, important, or entertaining.

Streaming services put cable TV on notice

Cutting the cord keeps getting easier and more attractive. When PlayStation Vue launched in March... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Messaging , Apple , apps , Google , Facebook , streaming , app

All about Gmail | Latest versions | FAQs | Tips

About Gmail

Gmail is Google's free webmail service, accessible through a mobile app as well as a browser. Users get 15GB of space for free, and the service is tightly integrated with Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Calendar.

Gmail FAQs

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Topics: Windows Software

Tags: Google , Gmail , Google Chrome

Pokemon Go's major security loophole

Update 7/12/16: Niantic Labs has updated Pokemon Go on iOS to version 1.01. "Fixed Google account scope" is among the changes, which indicates that the previous issue with the app's permissions has been addressed. Pokemon Go on iOS now just asks for the username and email address associated with your Google account, which is normal behavior.

Original story follows:

Pokemon Go, the Android and iOS game that's exploded in popularity over the last few days, has a big privacy and... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , Google , security , mobile

Stop Google from tracking your activities

This week Google launched My Activity to show you how you're tracked online, so you can better protect your privacy. Google readily admits that it tracks your every move -- your Web searches, site visits, watched videos, clicked ads, and location. The company claims it does so to autocomplete your searches, improve YouTube recommendations, serve ads, and get you places faster on Google Maps.

If you're willing to sacrifice these expediencies for the sake of privacy, then you can delete... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Google , Google Chrome , Google Android

The best free Google Cardboard VR games

If you've been following the VR craze, you've probably noticed that the headsets can cost several hundred dollars, and the games and apps aren't free, either. However, you can try VR on the cheap with free Android apps and the Cardboard VR viewer, available on Google's site for $15, along with several similar viewers. Cardboard's app helps you set up your phone and add apps to your library, though Google's app store doesn't do a good... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Android , Google , games , mobile , Android apps

Apple Music versus Google Play Music

Apple and Google were so late to the streaming-music party that we wondered why they bothered to show up. Apple Music launched in June 2015, and Google Play Music relaunched in its current form in October 2015, long after brands like Spotify and Pandora had polished their products and built a loyal fanbase. We weren't alone in that thought: Some analysts even decried that "Apple Music is doomed."

But now that Apple Music and Google Play Music have had... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Apple , Google , music

Mobile commenting comes to Google Drive apps

Google this week opened up collaborative tools for mobile users of its Drive app.

Whether you use the Google Drive app or use Google Apps as part of Google for Work, you can now comment on docs from the Android and iOS apps for Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

You can also add collaborators to a conversation by typing their names in the comment box. The person will be added to the conversation and receive an email. Using a + or... Read More »

Topics: Productivity Software , Android Software , Android

Tags: Google

Favorite apps and services of 2015

Tech junkiedom can be an expensive business, since we're always eager to try new things as soon as they're available, instead of waiting patiently for discounts. But I noticed as I gathered this list of personal favorites for 2015 that these apps and services reduce my costs, bundle one thing into another, or both. Maybe my subconcious is trying to tell me something, but I've improved my quality of life (and the heft of my wallet) with regard to my... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Android Software

Tags: Guides , Windows 10 , Google , mobile , streaming , Android apps

Choose your Star Wars path with Google

"Star Wars: The Forces Awakens" opens December 19, and in case we weren't thinking about it enough already, Google today launched google.com/starwars. At this site you can choose to follow the light or the dark side of the Force, and then Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and other Google services will adapt to your chosen path.

Google's embrace of "Star Wars" reflects the company's love of the story. "It probably isn't a surprise that there are tons of 'Star... Read More »

Topics: Browsers , Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , Android

Tags: Google , movies

Google spruces up Drive apps templates

Google is rolling out a new collection of templates for its Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps to give you a running start on creating good-looking documents. The premade forms range from report and invoice templates to photo-album galleries and offer a clean, modern look. Access the new template gallery from within each app by choosing File, New, From Template.

The 30-plus Docs templates include ones for creating resumes, lesson plans, and school reports.

Sheets offers 15 templates for wedding planning,... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Android , Windows , apps , Google , Windows software , Cloud , Mac OS X