If you're looking for a way to track your Android phone or tablet in the event that it's lost or stolen, Google has a free service that will come to the rescue. It's called Android Device Manager, and it will work with all Android devices associated with your Google account. You can find your device on a map, lock it with a new password, or erase it securely, from anywhere in the world.
If you want to get more information about a particular photo, you can actually use that picture as your Google search. Google calls this "Reverse Image Search," and it can turn up similar images, website addresses that contain the photo, information on who took the photo, and more. Of course, this will work best with photos of people or objects that are likely to show up elsewhere on the web.
While Leo remains skeptical on the idea of the smart watch, he has begun to like the LG G Watch more. He finds it convenient to send and receive text messages and get notifications passed from his phone. He can talk to it, query it, and tap the screen. It's not as much of a health tracking watch, as other fitness bands and smart watches have been, but it does measure steps taken. Leo says the jury is still out on this, and probably not worth buying yet. He suggests waiting to see if Apple does something magical to make watches good.
Leo has the newest Google product, which is made of cardboard. All of the attendees at Google I/O received a cardboard box that, once assembled, fits an Android smartphone. The box acts as a viewer for virtual reality, and the smartphone runs a cardboard app that will give each eye the appropriate image. Since the smartphone has an accelerometer in it, it will move with your head as you look around. This does the exact same thing as the Oculus Rift headset, which Facebook paid $2 Billion to acquire.
Google has announced its Android Wear platform for smart watches. LG and Samsung have announced Android Wear watches, and Motorola will be doing another one this summer. These watches will let you know when you have an incoming call, and even will allow you to respond because it has a built in microphone. They'll also have Google Now, so it can provide contextual information when you need it, right on the watch face. These watches also have sensors to track your health statistics, like many of the fitness bands that are already on the market.
Ron hears that Amazon offers apps for free every day. Is that safe or should he just buy them from Google Play? Leo says that Amazon is not only safe, but probably safer than Google Play itself because they vet every app. And it's not like he's getting his apps from "Joe's apps" or anything.
Ron will have to go into the settings and enable the ability to get apps from other stores. That's safe to do as long as he is careful. Amazon is perfectly safe, though.
Google I/O is coming this week and Leo says we'll likely see more about Google's new Android Wear initiative, which will include health monitoring watches powered by Android. It'll join a ton of other companies, including Samsung, that are going into fitness watches ahead of what everyone thinks will be an Apple iWatch. Leo says that Apple has already previewed where it's going with iOS 8, but they have yet to announce a device, leaving everyone to wonder when, or if, they even will. But Apple's recent hires hint at it, plus Kobe Bryant has been hanging out at the Apple Campus.
Google bought NEST, the programmable digital home thermometer with the aim to get into home automation. Then, the NEST division bought DropCam for a half a billion dollars. Leo uses six DropCam cameras at the BrickHouse studios in Petaluma and you can view the cameras online here. Leo says that the acquisition makes sense for the home automation track that Google is on with NEST.
Whenever Netflix has been having buffering issues, they have been checking with other customers of the same internet service provider to verify that they also are having problems. If they are, Netflix has been displaying a message that puts the blame on that internet service provider for being too congested. Verizon sent Netflix a cease and desist letter to get them to stop doing this, though.
Google has wired Portland, OR for gigabit internet and Wi-Fi as part of their Google Fiber high speed broadband initiative. Leo says that this is a good trend as Google is working to not only make faster internet more affordable, but also give customers better access to streaming. It's the exact opposite of ISPs, which are acting as gate keepers buffering streaming traffic unless content providers pay more.