Remember when video games came with a free trial? The nifty feature allowed you to try short versions of games before you buy them. Google is reviving the feature in a new Google Play update.
Nicknamed Google Play Instant, the update will let you try certain games without buying them first. As of release, the included games are Clash Royale, Words with Friends 2, Solitaire, Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, Bubble Witch 3 Saga, and Mighty Battles.
The previews will follow the developer’s discretion. As a result, each preview won’t take the same slice of their parent game. For example, Clash Royale and Words with Friends 2 offer short, tutorial-like sections of their game. On the other hand, Final Fantasy XV’s preview is a short mini-game developed strictly for the feature.
Each preview takes a small amount of data to work and only a few seconds to download them.
The update also includes an “Arcade” tab. The tab features video game trailers and how-to videos from YouTube relating to games on Google Play’s library.
Google Play’s latest update follows from their Instant Apps announcement back in 2016. The initiative plans to include more apps for Instant Play compatibility in the future.
The games update is still under a closed beta stage. When it officially launches later this year, Google will include more games and a broader audience.
6 apps that help make travel stress-free
Don’t leave home without these!
In this crazy-busy world we live in, we often find ourselves in need of an escape. Travel provides that for me. Going away for a bit of a break is an absolute necessity. There’s nothing like coming back refreshed and ready to take on the stress brought by daily life — both the challenging and the mundane parts of it. Sometimes, however, the thing that’s supposed to help you destress can be the cause of it too. Planning and the actual journey just to get to your destination (and even coming home) can be pretty stressful.
Years of traveling has taught me a couple of things to make trips like this easier both on my wallet and my stress levels. In a previous article, we discussed how to save money while traveling (link). This time, we’ll be talking about apps that help keep the stress away. Being ready and planning ahead is half the battle for any journey. Having these six apps on your phone will make sure you’re more than ready for it.
I’ve been using PackPoint since 2015. Back when we were still living in Kuala Lumpur, one of my friends who traveled often recommended it to me and it has been part of my life ever since. At that time, my husband and I were about to go visit my family in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Malmö with side trips to Paris, London, and Geneva. It was a three-week trip and I was going nuts with planning what to bring.
That friend saved me by introducing me to this app that comes up with a digital packing list that you can consult on the go. All you have to do is enter the place you’re going to along with the dates. It will then ask you what the trip is for (business or leisure?) and a few other basic questions. It will then give you your personalized packing list — from clothing to your electronics. Packpoint just figures everything out for you, making those days before a trip a little less stressful.
Spotted by Locals
When visiting a new place, we often make time to see the historical highlights. But what happens when you’re done with those? I always make sure I visit an interesting establishment, a café, or even a restaurant that’s local-approved. More authenticity, less overpriced. I often consult Spotted by Locals for this.
The app collates recommendations from locals in the city you’re visiting — from places to grab food in to interesting and alternative sites to see. Even though I live in Berlin, I make it to a point to look through this app for some recommendations here and it never disappoints. I often find something that piques my interest, like this GDR Cinema I plan to visit next week.
What I see on Spotted by Locals, I always save here on Google Maps. The option to save places on different lists such as “Favorites” or “Want to Go” is such a blessing for people like me who need to organize absolutely everything — even my thoughts and my eating plans. Whenever I feel hungry and I don’t know where to go, I just open it up and see the places that I’ve saved on my “Want to Go” list and pick the ones nearest to me. It solves the problem of having to keep going back and forth with your friends, deciding where to eat.
While Google Maps can already provide you with transportation options to get to where you want to go, City Mapper is an app I keep for more options. You get your usual routes via walking, taking the train and bus, or even driving there, but you also get ride-sharing options. It even tells you where the nearest Mobike (bike-sharing app) is so you can exercise a bit by cycling your way there.
I absolutely hate signing up for Wi-Fi in airports. The questionnaires just seem to go on forever, I end up wondering whether they will be asking me for my medical history next. Flio lets me sign in hassle-free. It also keeps my flight information, helping me keep track of my schedule and making sure I never miss a flight while browsing the Duty Free makeup aisle.
Flio also tells you which restaurants and shops are at the airport while giving you vouchers for them. We all know dining in airports can be pretty expensive so a discount is always welcome. Your phone’s battery running low? It also tells you where you can charge within the airport so you can keep posting stories on Instagram.
Save yourself the trouble of miming your way to get information. This app can translate a conversation as you go. Another fun feature is the camera which lets you snap a photo of signs and labels. It will then scan the photo for words and all you have to do is highlight the ones you need translated and press on the blue arrow. Et voila! You now know the flavor of jam you have inside that jar. This is such a lifesaver when grocery shopping abroad or looking at posters and announcements in a foreign language.
Got favorites of your own? Share them in the comments below! Would love to discover new apps that I can use in my next trips!
Tinder’s new feature tells you when a lot of people are swiping in the area
You’re welcome, Tinderella!
Dating app Tinder is finding more and more ways to get people swiping more.
Enter: The new Swipe Surge feature.
Let’s face it, not all areas or events are equal — in terms of swipe activity, that is. But, fret not. Tinder will now tell you if you’re in an area with a high swiping ratio to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun.
Wait, what fun exactly? Well, according to Tinder, during a Swipe Surge, activity on the app is 15 times higher than normal. This means that the chance of finding the love of your life (or the love of tonight 😉) is higher by 250 percent and even chatting up some cuties becomes 33 percent faster. Yep, those are some serious computations.
To get in on the fun, enable push notifications so that the app can notify you when a Swipe Surge is happening in real time. Once you’ve joined the Swipe Surge party, you’ll be put on top swiping priority. Tinder will even show you who’s actively swiping at that moment!
Oh, what fun! Swipe Surge is being tested on iOS in select cities. Unfortunately, we don’t know which ones, or when it’s coming to all users; if it even ever will.
Spotify introduces its app for Apple Watch
Control music from your wrist
Spotify has just launched its new mobile app for the Apple Watch. Users can now access and control their favorite music and podcasts while on the go.
The new app allows you to play music on the Apple Watch and control how it’s played on compatible devices. However, you can’t stream your favorite songs straight from the watch even if it’s via your connected phone. Instead, the app acts like a controller for Spotify Connect. This allows you to control your music and select playlists individually then play it on shuffle from your wrist.
The downside is there’s no offline playback yet so users still need to bring their phones when going for a run or listening on wireless headphones. Spotify guarantees that they have plans to make offline playback available in the future.
On the bright side, you can now do a lot of things with ease. You can play music even if your phone is in your pocket and you can switch songs when running without having to take your phone out of its running case. When you encounter a friend while your music is playing, you can just tap pause if you ever want to chat. You can skip tracks to match your mood or the activity you’re in, and rewind podcasts to catch details you missed. It’s all on the watch’s screen, accessible with just a single tap.
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