This upcoming feature on Google Keep may finally sway me away from Apple Notes for good

Google Keep is a popular task management and note-taking tool integrated with Google Suite so you can create and tick off to-do lists as you work on your computer or phone. The mobile version of Google Keep could be about to get a new feature that may tempt people away from their other note-taking apps – lock screen access to your notes.

According to 9to5Google, the team behind Google Keep has been pushing to become the default note-taking app on Android devices. In the same way, Apple Notes is the default note-taking app on every iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If Google Keep does become the de facto note-taking app of choice on Android devices, this opens the door to the app having more features that can be integrated more intimately into your phone. 

Alongside lock screen access to recent notes, we could also see improved stylus support so you can jot down your thoughts quickly and do fun doodles with a bit more control of your strokes. In version 5.24 of the app, there’s a new section of the settings menu that lists the lock screen access as ‘coming soon’, which gives me hope that we’ll see the feature sooner rather than later. 

I have no memory, I need lock screen access, please

As an extremely forgetful person who needs to make lists for everything, I am so excited about the possibility of being able to look at my lock screen and see all my important to-dos at a glance, especially if the feature becomes available to non-Android users too. 

You can have shopping lists, reminders, positive affirmations, and reflections all on your lock screen and tick them off as you go through them without even needing to unlock your phone. I currently use Google Keep on my work computer exclusively to tick things off as I go through the day. If I can have my professional to-do list not just on a mobile app but very visible on my lock screen, I can keep tabs on what needs to be done while on my commute to work, and jot down tasks to carry over to the next day on the way back home. 

Apple Notes has been my default note-taking app mostly because I’m an iPhone user, and while it has had a few improvements here and there (like adding grids, text formatting options, and being able to drop in photos into the app) it’s ultimately nothing special in the world of note-taking apps. If Google Keep can implement lock screen access outside of just Android phones, you’d better believe I’m shifting all my shopping list reminders over immediately and saying goodbye to Apple Notes for good. 

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Microsoft Edge on Android could soon get extensions to tempt you away from Chrome

Will browser extension support be enough to tempt Android users away from Google Chrome to the welcoming arms of Microsoft Edge? We might soon find out, as it looks like Edge is now prepping extension support for its mobile app.

This comes from some digging into the Edge for Android code by tipster @Leopeva64 (via 9to5Google). For now the functionality is hidden behind a flag in the early testing versions of the app, but it could reach the main app as early as March.

Certain extensions – for switching to dark mode, for blocking ads, and for changing the speed of media playback – are already showing up on a rudimentary extensions page, which is another sign that the feature is launching soon.

From the screenshots that have been posted so far, it looks as though a new Extensions button will be added to the menu that pops up when you tap the three horizontal lines, down in the lower-right corner of the Edge for Android interface.

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Extended features

Firefox extensions

Firefox recently added extension support to its Android app (Image credit: Future)

You may well know how useful third-party extensions can be on a desktop browser, adding all kinds of additional tools and features to your browser of choice – from changing the way tabs are arranged, to letting you annotate webpages, to managing website volume.

While there are a huge number of extensions available for Chrome on the desktop, Chrome and other browsers have typically shied away from adding extension support on mobile, for a host of different reasons: the screens are smaller, there are fewer system resources available, the interface is simpler, and so on.

Now though, the situation is changing. Firefox recently reintroduced extension support in its Android app, and now it looks as though Edge will follow suit – in an attempt to try and chip away at Chrome's market share. Chrome is the default on around two-thirds of mobile devices worldwide, though that includes iPhones as well as Android devices.

You won't be able to use all the existing Edge extensions on Android – clearly not all of them will work, and the developers will have to adapt them for the different platform – but watch this space for these add-ons arriving on Microsoft's browser.

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The latest Meta Quest 3 update brings 4 useful upgrades, and takes away a feature

‘Tis season for a Meta Quest update, with new features, and even a performance boost, coming to your Oculus Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, and Meta Quest Pro VR headsets via update v60. Unfortunately, the update also means the removal of a feature – so long, phone notifications.

Per the announcement on Meta's blog, which change is the most impactful is a toss-up depending on which headset you own. For Meta Quest Pro users it’s likely going to be the mixed-reality performance boost that’s coming exclusively to your headset. Meta is enabling higher clock speeds for the Pro’s CPU and GPU that it says will result in a 34% and 19% increase in performance for these components respectively.

This boost won’t improve the passthrough video quality, just the rendering and responsiveness of the virtual objects in your MR space though – so it might not be enough to convince you to try more MR apps if you haven't already. 

If you don’t own a Quest Pro, the best upgrade coming in v60 is to the number of rooms your Quest device can remember. If you opt in to share your point cloud data, your VR headset will gain the ability to store information for more than one play space at a time – meaning you should be able to move your play space between rooms more easily, without having to redraw the boundaries every time.

Hamish interacting with objects in VR while wearing a Meta Quest 3. They stand in front of a plant while someone watches on.

You can now enjoy your Quest 3 in multiple rooms more easily (Image credit: Meta)

As we mentioned above, however, users are losing access to one feature – phone notifications will no longer show on your headset.

It’s not clear exactly why this tool is being taken away – our guess is that it has something to do with the feature not being popular enough – but those who do rely on it will notice a downgrade. You’ll now need to remove your headset every time you want to check why your phone has pinged, unless you have a Meta Quest 3; as we noted in our Meta Quest 3 review, this headset’s mixed-reality passthrough is a major leap forward, and it’s good enough for you to be able to make out what’s on a real-world screen. 

A new Horizon (Home)

A few other changes coming in v60 include new Meta Horizon Home environments – the Blue Hill Gold Mine, Storybook, and Lakeside Peak (which you can see in the GIF below). These visually distinct spaces will not only give you a nice space to load into when you boot up your headset, but a more personalized space that you can invite your VR friends to, to hang out and watch Meta Quest TV content together before jumping into a multiplayer experience.

The scene shifts between a pristine storybook world, a wild west saloon at night time, and a stunning mountain view

(Image credit: Meta)

Your profile is also getting a power-up. Now, unless you keep the info private by changing your account preferences, people who look at your profile can see more details about your shared VR interests, including the apps you both use and your mutual friends.

Neither is super-impactful right now, but as the metaverse becomes more social these sorts of minor tweaks will help to make the experience a lot more seamless, so they're certainly appreciated.

As with previous updates, v60 is gradually rolling out now, so if you don’t see the new features yet don’t panic – you shouldn’t have long to wait until the update installs and they unlock.

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Looking for Google Pixel 4 deals? These EE tariffs blow everything else away right now

The Google Pixel 4, the latest phone from the search engine giant, has been around for a good few months now. In that time we've seen prices shoot up, down, left, right and just about every direction imaginable but now, costs seem to have settled…at least for one network.

Currently, the EE network seems to have secured all of the cheapest Google Pixel 4 deals. That means currently there are options ranging from £23 a month (with lots of upfront costs, of course) through to free upfront plans on EE giving you plenty of choice.

However, when there is so much choice, picking the perfect plan can be daunting. That's why we've analysed a heap of Pixel 4 plans and picked out the top three available on EE right now.

We've listed these three plans below so you can find your perfect contract. And if you find them all lacking in the data department, try this 100GB data Three plan out for size.

The Google Pixel 4 offers a number of innovative features and major upgrades. It's the first phone to fully implement motion sense features, allowing you to use the phone with gestures.

The processor has gotten a major upgrade, finally bringing the Pixel range up to competitive standards of RAM, and the OLED screen has seen major improvements, now capable of 90HZ refresh rates and offering ambient EQ technology that lets you adjust the screen to your environment.

Read our full Google Pixel 4 review and Pixel 4 XL review

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