Apps

Google Play now has a ‘Teacher Approved’ section for kids

Helping make distance learning easier

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Today, even a three-year-old knows how to use a mobile phone, navigate through apps, and even install them via the app store. To protect young kids, Google has created a new “Teacher Approved” section in Google Play. All apps under this section are verified by a lineup of teachers, ensuring the apps comply with Google’s existing requirements.

The new category is titled “Kids” and will be found by opening Google Play on your phone and swiping across the top list of tabs, just beneath the search tab. It was previously called “Family”, but you should notice the change soon as updates slowly roll out.

Google says that “everything” in this new Kids section is teacher approved, meaning all apps or games have been approved by a team of academic experts that Google teamed up with.

“Teachers are working hard to review apps as quickly as possible, but it will take time to review all apps, so we appreciate your patience,” Google said.

According to National Center for Education Statistics, More than 50 million children in the US are now sitting home while schools remain shut due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. This also means their smartphone usage has exponentially increased and could be looking for distance learning programs to light-hearted games.

Globally as well, multiple countries have executed a complete lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s essential to protect the young from harsh content that isn’t mean for consumption at their age. However, the tab is limited to the US right now and the feature shall be released globally in the coming months.

Apps

Nearby Share which is ‘Google’s AirDrop’ now rolling out

Now supporting Pixel and Samsung phones

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After a long time in development, Google’s Nearby Share feature is now available on some Pixel and Samsung phones. The file-sharing feature enables direct transfer of files locally, improving speed as well as ease-of-use.

Apple’s iOS and macOS have a feature called AirDrop for a very long time now. Using local WiFi protocol, any large file can be swiftly transferred within the ecosystem. Android users have long been asking for a similar feature and it’s now available on a few phones.

If you want to share a file, just tap share, and wait for the nearby device to show-up. Select the device and the file will be off within a few seconds. This eliminates the need to upload the file on a cloud and later download it on another device. Bluetooth connection is radically slower than WiFi protocol and hence cannot be used for larger files.

The concept is on the same lines as third-party apps like Xender or Me Share. But, with a direct app from Google, Nearby Share can become a deeply rooted part of the operating system, much like the Play Store.

The receiving device will always have the option to “accept” or “decline” the file, so files are never transferred without explicit confirmation. However, the best part about Nearby Share is its cross-platform compatibility. It’ll work with Chromebooks, Windows, and Chrome browser. iOS support isn’t mentioned yet.

Nearby Share leverages Bluetooth and location, along with WebRTC, or peer-to-peer WiFi sharing. Lastly, the feature is backed by Google Play Services, so Huawei phones will again miss out on a simple app.

Although, Chinese tech giants like OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, realme, and more have created a consortium that shall support a similar file sharing app seamlessly across all their devices. Google is quite late to the game and these Android phone makers were kind of tired of waiting.

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Firefox for Android about to become faster, sleeker

Expect big changes in version 70

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One of the main Android browsers out there is Mozilla Firefox. For a long time though, Firefox for Android remains largely unchanged. Also, some people complained about performance issues compared to other browsers. That is set to change, however, as a new version of the browser land on these coming months.

This new version is actually in development by Mozilla for a long time now. Internally referred to as “Fenix”, the upcoming Firefox version is actually rebuilt from the ground up. As such, the Firefox browser that most people are using now is actually a legacy browser. Mozilla stopped the development of this legacy browser until versions 68-69 but continued issuing minor updates along the way.

Version 70 marks the new browser that will slowly roll out in the coming months. This new version is focused on speed and simplicity. One of the biggest changes is the location of the navigation bar. Users will now find it on the bottom along with the menu button, making navigation much easier with one hand. Plus, Firefox is introducing a new “Collections” feature which is basically a list of your favorite sites.

Also new is support for dark mode, and enhanced tracking protection. The latter is a feature that Mozilla has been pushing to its users across its desktop and mobile users.

Firefox is also getting a much-needed performance and speed boost with the latest version. Mozilla reworked the Gecko engine that powers this browser. Developers put an optimized version of the Gecko engine — GeckoView — inside. Aside from a revamped UI and faster browser engine, Firefox promises support for add-ons. For now, however, users can only install a limited number of add-ons.

Coming sooner than later

Mozilla has already begun the process of updating existing Firefox users to the new browser last February. For users to receive the update, they have to be on Firefox 59 or higher. Plus, they should be running Android 5 Lollipop or higher. They must also have automatic updates enabled.

Eligible users don’t have to do anything to upgrade to the latest Firefox. Mozilla will handle the update process for them. Most browser data from the legacy browser will also be migrated to the new one. These browsing data include history, bookmarks, cookies, default search engine, add-ons, and more.

Meanwhile, ineligible users won’t receive the new browser. Mozilla is devoting its development resources to the new browser, so there won’t be any more updates to the legacy browser after 2020. Users who upgraded to the new browser can’t downgrade too.

Indeed, the beloved Firefox browser had come a long way. Recent developments to the browser mean that Firefox users can expect more on months and years to come.

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Chrome for Android will soon accept biometric authentication

Never too late!

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Google Chrome for Android will soon start accepting your fingerprint for authentication, coupled with advanced auto-fill options.

Once released, you’ll be able to add your payment credentials within a second by using your fingerprint. According to XDA Developers, the card’s CVC or CVV number will be needed for the first transaction only.

A majority of phones today ship with a fingerprint sensor and this can be leveraged to improve the web experience on Chrome. Pixel users will also be able to use facial recognition instead of a fingerprint scanner.

The biometric authentication feature will be optional and users will be able to enable or disable it from within Chrome settings. The biometric payment feature is not yet available but is expected to arrive sometime in the next few weeks.

Furthermore, Google is now bringing support for Chrome to share its passwords with different apps on iOS. This will create a seamless experience for iOS users who rely on Google services. Android and iOS are two completely different ecosystems and Google is trying to bridge this gap by providing a smoother service.

Earlier this year, Google Chrome released support for Windows Hello authentication system, letting compatible devices run a smoother payment experience.

Apple, on the other hand, already has a similar system in place on the Safari browser. The newer generation of MacBooks also has Touch ID support that’s deeply integrated with macOS and the rest of the Apple ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Google Chrome gains tab grouping in a new update

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