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Google Now isn’t enough for you? Looking for some unique features in your virtual assistant? Or may be you just don’t want Google to know everything about you. Whatever the reason is, there are many virtual assistant apps available for Android that are worth trying out. Although they are not as good as Google Now when all features are compared, they do excel in fulfilling particular needs like navigation.
Below you will find four virtual assistant apps for Android. Each assistant has its own unique features and works better in certain situations, so choose the one that works better for tasks you often need help with.1. Indigo Virtual Assistant
Indigo focuses on replacing Google Now by trying to offer everything Google Now has to offer, but it adds its own style to it. She can keep you updated with the latest news you’re interested in and also read it aloud for you. You can perform all the basic tasks, such as open apps, search online, get a weather forecast, translate text, manage a calendar, find desired locations near you, and call people, and all of this is just with voice.
She can read and send texts and email for you to make the process completely hands-free. She is also connected to many other services to offer custom answers, like Yelp, Wikipedia, Google Maps, StreetView, YouTube, Wolfram Alpha, Facebook, Twitter and many more. The app is also easy on the memory and has a very intuitive interface, making it perfect for anyone.2. Microsoft Cortana
Hage a Windows 10 PC but not a Windows phone? Well, try Cortana on Android. The same Microsoft’s virtual assistant is now available on Android as well. The purpose of the app is to let your Windows 10 PC work together with your Android phone, so you will still need Windows 10 to be able to use this app. Cortana can do many things for you just like on Windows 10, but she may be a little limited compared to her native platform.
She can control your phone’s functions, make calls, set reminders, search any type of information, give recommendations based on your interests and has the same sense of humor as on Windows. She works seamlessly with your Windows 10 PC; anything configured on your PC is synced with the Android app (and vice versa) like reminders, location-based notifications, missed call notifications and interests. If you have a Windows 10 PC, then there is no better virtual assistant for you than Cortana.3. Robin
Robin is still under development, but even in her current state, she works perfectly fine. Robin works best on-road when you need an assistant that can provide accurate road guidance hands-free. She has a gesture activation system where you can wave “hello” twice in front of the phone to activate her.
She can answer any questions you throw at her, but she can go a bit deeper as well. For example, you can ask her for the nearest restaurant and then ask if there is a parking place for you or not. You can get precise directions and real-time situations of the traffic near your desired location. Travel is not the only thing she is good at, as she can do all other common tasks as well like controlling the phone, search, set reminders, call contacts, read aloud text/emails, social media integration and even tell jokes.4. Jarvis
Jarvis is another fully-featured virtual assistant that comes with some unique perks. He can do everything you would expect from a virtual assistant but adds a little charm to it. It has different themes to keep its interface fresh and can automatically change your phone’s wallpaper everyday. The app has a widget for accessing it from the lockscreen, and the widget can even take notes without opening the phone.
He offers voice notifications about the latest news, weather, battery status and app notifications. You can also use it on Android wear to completely control your phone. Furthermore, it has two modes for Office and Sleep, so it won’t disturb you when you are busy or just don’t want to be disturbed. Overall, Jarvis is a great personal assistant that adds a unique touch to your daily tasks.Conclusion
Karrar is drenched in technology and always fiddles with new tech opportunities. He has a bad habit of calling technology “Killer”, and doesn’t feel bad about spending too much time in front of the PC. If he is not writing about technology, you will find him spending quality time with his little family.
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Many Android users love the convenience of Google assistant. You can control smart home devices, play games, get important details, and much more. A new experimental feature allows you to enable Google Assistant in Chrome on Android to enjoy the voice assistant directly within the browser.Benefits of Enabling Google Assistant
For most users, you’re probably already used to just asking Google Assistant a question by saying “Hey Google” or pressing the Google Assistant button on your Android device, if one’s available. Having it incorporated in your browser may not seem like a big deal.
However, Google is slowly adding Google Assistant functionality to as many existing Google features as possible to ensure easy access no matter what you’re doing. For instance, some devices already have Google Assistant integrated into the Gboard keyboard to aid in more accurate voice typing.
By enabling Google Assistant in Chrome on Android, you can search using Google Assistant versus just Android’s built-in voice recognition search software. This can lead to better accuracy for voice searches.Before You Enable
There are three things you need to know before trying to enable this feature. At the time of writing, the feature is still experimental, meaning there could be some glitches. Also, it’s not enabled by default. If it goes over well, it’ll likely be incorporated into newer versions of the Chrome browser.
The feature is only available on Android devices for now. Even if you’re using Google Assistant on iOS, the feature is only compatible with Android.
Finally, you’ll need the latest version of Chrome for this to work. If you have an older version of Android, newer versions of Chrome may not be compatible with your device. I had to update to version 87.0.4280.141 to do this.Enable Google Assistant in Chrome on Android
The Google Assistant feature in Chrome on Android involves enabling a flag. Chrome flags are experimental browser features. They come and go as new features are tested out. They’re a great way to try out new things before they’re fully released.
To access flags, open Chrome on Android and enter chrome://flags in the address bar.
This brings up all the current Chrome flags available.
Instead of scrolling, type “omnibox assistant voice search” in the search box at the top of the screen.
When the Omnibox Assistant Voice Search appears, tap the drop-down box below it. It’ll say “default” at first.
Choose “Enabled” or opt to add a grey or colorful mic. I went for the colorful mic.
You’ll need to relaunch Chrome for the changes to take effect. Tap the blue Relaunch button at the bottom right to relaunch.
When Chrome restarts, you’ll see a microphone in the Google search box. If you tap the omnibox or address bar to search, you’ll see the colorful mic (or whatever option you chose) to use Google Assistant.Alternative Way to Use Google Assistant in Chrome
If you don’t want to go through enabling a flag, there is a workaround. Gboard keyboards have Google Assistant built in on newer devices. Others may only have Android’s voice recognition built in.
Tap the search box or address bar in Chrome to bring up your keyboard. Tap the microphone icon and then speak.
Whatever you say is entered into the search box. However, not all Android devices have this feature.
The good news is there is a possible new feature on the horizon that may enable nearly hands-free voice typing using Gboard. It’s just rumor for now but shows what the future might hold.
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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FaceTime has always been my favorite video-calling app for iDevices. However, the app has lost its charm due to the lack of new features. While many longtime rivals, like Skype and Viber, have several highly imposing features, Apple’s stock video calling app has yet to significantly improve. If you are also disappointed by it, check out our lineup of the best FaceTime alternatives for iPhone and iPad.
The world’s most loved messaging app WhatsApp is second to none when it comes to providing top video calling experience. You can chat with your friends and family using WhatsApp Calling to stay in touch with them even if they living in another country. You won’t have to pay extra charges to send messages internationally.
The app lets you set temporary status which expires automatically after 24 hours. You can also delete the sent messages and rev up messaging by using vibrant GIFs. Even better, WhatsApp supports a number of international languages like Arabic, Bengali, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hindi and more so that you can communicate without any hurdles.
Skype has always been the best in the business when it comes to voice and video calls. To me, it’s the finest video-calling app for groups. You can easily add your friends and start chatting. The app allows you to make free video and voice calls to ensure you stay connected with your loved ones. It offers low calling rates to mobiles and landlines worldwide with Skype.
Beyond calling, you can send photos, videos, voice messages, emoticons, emojis. It also lets you respond to any message from your contacts with reactions. What’s more, Skype allows you to send Highlights from your day. Use funny emoticons or send a private message about the highlights, which stay visible for 7 days to your followers.
3. Google Duo
If I were to pick an app that can challenge the supremacy of Facebook Messenger and Skype, I would pick Google Duo. The prime reason why I rate this video-calling app from the search giant so highly is the top-notch video quality.
Its user-interface is pretty neat, and the features are easy-to-use. The one feature, which I have liked a lot in this app, is “Knock Knock.” It allows another person you are calling to see your live video when the phone is ringing.
4. ZOOM Cloud Meetings
Very few video-conferencing apps are as feature-rich as ZOOM – across platforms. So, if you are after a FaceTime substitute to let you stay connected with your colleagues or collaborate with them, you should give it a shot.
What makes it so handy is the ability to invite up to 100 people for video-conferencing. Perfect for the times when you want to hold a long discussion with all of your buddies. Besides, it allows screen sharing as well so that you can guide your colleagues.
Another feature worth taking note of is Siri Shortcuts which lets you customize voice commands to kickstart or join a meeting with ease. Considering these notable features, you would be hard-pressed to find a better alternative to it.
To me, Facebook Messenger is by far the best messaging app across all platforms. What puts it ahead of its counterparts is the availability of the plethora of features. Apart from letting you make audio, video calling, the app also allows you to send money, use Apple Music chatbot to instantly access and play the song while chatting with your friends.
Besides, you can send instant video and also play instant games. Group chats are fun and easy to use as you can message the whole group at once. Make the most of tons of different emojis to express your emotions just the way you want.
As far as popularity is concerned, imo can’t match with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or even Viber. However, if you talk about functionality and the required features that are known to be the indispensable ingredients for communication, imo is designed to be up to the task on all fronts.
Talking about its video calling feature, I have found it quite decent. The video quality is adorable, and so is its easy-to-use interface. Additionally, it allows you to send messages, photos, and videos to ensure you have a fun-loving conversation.
WeChat is what I prefer when I want to chat with my friends and family for free! You can make high-quality free calls to anywhere in the world, without compromising on high video quality. With over 500 people to chat, share video, photos, and images, in a group, you can always find enough for social butterflies — an ample number of options for funny, animated stickers to express your feelings, while you chat.
You can find new friends with “Friend Radar,” “People Nearby” on the app. Supported by 20 different languages and can translate messages to any language. So let’s start chatting on WeChat.
8. Viber Messenger
With over 900 million users, Viber is one of the most popular messaging apps. Packed in with all the features including video and audio calling to let you communicate with desired freedom. I have always enjoyed video calling with this app thanks to the HD sound quality.
You can also capture the moment with 30-second videos and send them to your friends. The app lets you create groups with up to 250 participants.
There is also an option to hide chats and access them later with a PIN. It protects all of your messages and calls with end-to-end encryption for enhanced privacy.
9. Signal – Private Messenger
If privacy and security are your top priorities, Signal is the best FaceTime alternative that you should try. You can send and receive high-fidelity messages, make HD voice/video calls, and never worry about your data being collected or shared with third parties.
What’s your favorite?
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Tasker is a popular Android automation tool that allows you to automate various tasks based on virtually any trigger on your device. The app has had support for Google Assistant for a while now but it always required you to create a specific profile for each task or scenario which could be quite cumbersome. Thankfully, the latest update to Tasker has introduced native support for Google Assistant which now allows you to trigger any task using voice commands. Let’s take a look at how you can make use of this latest feature.
Run Tasker with Google Assistant
Tasker app v5.11.14 or higher: Play Store Link
Region and language set to English (United States)
Note: Currently Tasker only supports the English language. The dev has promised to introduce support for other languages in future versions. Additionally, we recommend setting your region and language to English (US) as other localized versions of English with Google seem to be a hit or miss for now.
Let’s start by ensuring the proper permissions and language have been set for your Google Assistant. If you have already granted the necessary permissions and changed your region then you can skip the guide below and move to the next one.
1. Grant permissions and change locale for Google Assistant
Open the Settings app and tap on ‘Google’.
Tap on ‘Account Services’.
Now select ‘Search, Assistant and voice’.
Tap on ‘Language and region’.
Tap on ‘Search Language’.
Select ‘English (US)’ and go back to the previous screen.
Tap on ‘Search Region’.
Select ‘United States’ and go back to the previous screen.
Go back again and tap on ‘Google Assistant’ this time.
Switch to the ‘Assistant’ tab at the top of your screen.
Tap on ‘Languages’.
Tap and select your current language and change it to ‘English (US)’.
You can now close the current window. Open your app drawer and tap and hold on the Google app this time.
Tap on the ‘information’ icon at the top.
Tap on ‘Advanced’.
Tap on ‘Display over other apps’.
Now turn on the toggle for display over other apps. Once you are done go back to the previous page.
Tap on ‘Modify system settings’.
Turn on the toggle for ‘Allow modifying system settings’.
You can now close the app. Open the Settings app again and this time, tap on ‘Apps and notifications’.
Tap on ‘Advanced’.
Select ‘Special app access’.
Scroll down and tap on ‘Usage access’.
Ensure that usage access is allowed for the Google app.
If not, tap on the listing and turn on the toggle for ‘Permit usage access’.
And that’s it! Google Assistant is now all set up to trigger tasks within Tasker.
2. Trigger Tasker tasks via the Google Assistant
An existing task in Tasker that you can trigger.
The name of the task you wish to trigger.
Launch the Google Assistant on your device. You can either use ‘Hey Google’ or trigger it by holding down the home button.
Note: Launching Google Assistant could be different on your device depending on your OEM skew of Android.
Google Assistant should now automatically trigger the tasker task on your device.
Tasker Commands you can use with Google Assistant
Apart from ‘Run’, you can also prefix your task name with the following phrases to trigger tasks in Tasker.
And that’s it! You should now be able to trigger virtually any task using the Google Assistant.
Few examples of Tasker Tasks that you can use with Google Assistant
You can access the entire library using this link.
Note: Some of the profiles and tasks in this library are quite ancient and will not work with the latest version of Tasker. It would be a good idea to take the upload date into account before downloading a profile.
Google Assistant not working Tasker?
Well, make sure that you have language, region, and permissions set as required. See the guide above to set the region and language for Google Assistant and device first, and then be sure to provide proper permissions to the tasker app. That’s all. shall do it.
If you want to test or run Google Play Store Android apps on Windows 11, here is how you can do that on your computer. Although some apps may not run as they do on mobile, you can install almost any app and game available on the Google Play Store.
Let’s assume that you are using an iPhone, but you want to try some Android apps. Instead of buying an Android mobile, you can follow this tutorial to install and run Android apps on Windows 11 computer. Whether you want to play Candy Crush or use Facebook Lite, you can do everything on your computer.
For your information, you can use Android apps on Windows 11 using Windows Subsystem for Android. However, if you do not have the WSA, you do not need to install it now. Nonetheless, if you have installed Windows Subsystem for Android on your computer, you need to uninstall it before getting started.How to run Google Play Store Android apps on Windows 11
To run Google Play Store Android apps on Windows 11, follow these steps:
Enable Developer Mode in Windows Settings
Download kernel and WsaPackage
Copy kernel file in WsaPackage_xxxx_x64_Release-Nightly folder
Use commands in elevated Windows PowerShell window
Enable Developer mode in Windows Subsystem for Android
Open the Files app
Open Google Play Store from Start Menu
To learn more about these steps, continue reading.
To get started, you need to enable Developer Mode in Windows Settings. It is probably the most crucial step. Without allowing the Developer Mode, you cannot install apps from other sources.
To enable Developer Mode in Windows 11, do the following:
Press Win+I to open Windows Settings.
Toggle the Developer Mode button.
Restart your computer.
If it asks you to replace the new kernel file with the existing one, you need to do that.cd [WsaPackage-folder-path]
Then, enter this command:Add-AppxPackage -Register .AppxManifest.xml
Now, you can find some notifications regarding Google Play Store and Google Play Protect on your screen. If so, you have successfully installed Google Play Store on Windows 11.
After that, you need to open Windows Subsystem for Android on your computer and toggle the Developer mode button to turn it on.
Next, you can search for Google Play Store in the Taskbar search box or Start Menu and open it from there.How to fix sign in problem in Google Play Store on Windows 11
After opening the Google Play Store app on Windows 11, you need to sign in to your Google account in order to install the apps. However, you might find some issues signing into your account.
To fix sign in problem in Google Play Store on Windows 11, follow these steps:
Download SDK Platform Tools from the official website.
Open Windows Subsystem for Android and copy the IP address.
Extract the downloaded ZIP file.
Enter this command: adb connect [IP-address]
Enter this command: adb shell
Type the following commands: su and setenforce 0
Restart Windows Subsystem for Android if it is running and sign in to your account.
After that, enter the following commands one after one:adb connect [IP-address]
Don’t forget to replace the [IP-address] with the original IP address you copied from the Windows Subsystem for Android window.adb shell su setenforce 0
Now, you should not get any problem logging in to your account.Can Windows 11 run Google Play apps?
Yes, Windows 11 can run Google Play Store apps or Android apps. There is no need to connect any phone or use third-party emulator to run them on your computer. You can download the WSA Package from the official website and install it using PowerShell. Following that, you need to use the Windows System for Linux to run them on your PC.How do I install Google Play apps on Windows 11?
For that, you need to enable the Developer Mode in Windows Settings and download the Kernel and WsaPackage. Then, copy the Kernel file in the WsaPackage folder and open an elevated window of PowerShell. Following that, enable the Developer Mode in Windows Subsystem for Android and open the Files app. Next, you can open the Google Play Store from the Start and install the desired app accordingly.
That’s all! Hope this tutorial helped you install Google Play Store and run Android apps on Windows 11.
Read next: How to sideload Android apps using WSA on Windows 11.
Google Clips available now – but AI camera isn’t impressing reviewers [Updated]
Google Clips, the company’s smart camera, is finally shipping, though whether it’s worth spending $249 on an AI to take your photos seems to be questionable. Announced last year alongside the Pixel 2, the standalone camera promises to use the same smarts that power Google Photos to snap stills and short videos of the entertaining things that kids and pets do to earn their keep, allowing you to stay in the moment in the process.
To do that, the deceptively simple Clips hardware calls upon some clever AI technology. The camera itself is little more than a small teal and white box with a lens on the front – which you twist to turn the whole thing on or off – and a button underneath it. You can manually trigger a photo, but the idea is that Clips makes those decisions itself.
The camera can either figure out what’s important itself: Google says it’ll prioritize smiles and action, and gradually learn to take more photos of the people it sees frequently. Alternatively, given access to some of the face metadata from your existing Google Photos account, you can jump-start the process by showing it who you think is most important. Clips can’t actually upload directly to the gallery service itself, mind; it needs to transfer shots to the companion app on your iPhone, Pixel, or Galaxy S7/S8 via Bluetooth and WiFi Direct first.
That process sounds moderately clunky, but serviceable, and does at least allow for some editing first. It’s also the first opportunity to see what Clips has captured, since the camera itself has no screen or even a way to frame the scene. That would presumably have sapped the 3-4 hours of active battery life even more.
The seven-second videos Clips captures are actually strings of photos, linked together into GIFs, short video files, or iOS Live Photos. You can extract a single frame from them as a regular image, or alternatively trim them down. There’s no sound, as Clips lacks a microphone, but the editing process has generally been well received.
What hasn’t gone down so well is the results of Clips’ efforts. For a start, while it packs 12-megapixels it uses a fixed-focus lens to ensure as much of the action is in focus as possible, The 130-degree lens is similarly broad-minded, which will have an impact on framing, and is f/2.4. Unfortunately, the photos and videos Clips actually captures aren’t exactly impressing reviewers.
“Your subjects also have to be within roughly 10 feet of the camera, lest they be tiny in the resulting image,” The Verge points out. “But the Clips’ fixed-focus lens has a range of about three feet to infinity, so nothing close to the camera is ever sharp.” The limitations of the sensor and lens because of that attempt to suit every situation are clear: “Images come back grainy and motion is blurry,” TechCrunch complains.
Trying to work around its foibles ends up becoming a chore in itself, indeed. “It’s designed to be used in such a specific way that it was difficult to find moments when using Clips was better than just pulling out my phone and snapping a photo,” TIME concludes, fairly damningly.
The positive thing about Clips is that, just as Google Photos has improved over time, Google could presumably also improve the AI at the controls of its tiny standalone camera. Whether that would ever be enough to justify the lackluster optics, however, remains to be seen. If you’re willing to take the chance, you can order Clips for $249 today.
Update: Google has reached out, eager that we recognize that not everybody had a middling experience with Clips. Sure enough, Wired describes the short video loops as “fun” and “easy to share” though wishes they were smoother, and ZDNet praises the battery life and, though the resolution and tendency to blur motion still come in for criticism, reports that they did get some video which they were pleased with the content of in the end. In short, Clips sounds like it could be fun though probably isn’t going to replace any other camera you have (nor, really, does Google suggest it will) and it’s down to you to decide if that’s worth the $249 sticker price.
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