Tools: Updated Daily

Hold on while I load this rock up.

Tools have been an important part of human society since…well, at least 3.4 million years ago, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature. The researchers discovered marks in animal bones, found in Ethiopia, that could only have been made by sharp cutting utensils; though it’s unclear if our progenitors hewed these out of stone, or just looked for naturally edged rocks to act as knives and hammers. Said Zeresenay Alemseged, California Academy of Sciences, lead researcher, of the findings: “These developments had a huge impact on the story of humanity.”

If you think that’s good, Zeresenay, just check out what Google launched today, tool-wise, after the jump.

Anyone with a T-Mobile My-Touch Slide has encountered the Genius button – a tool built into the frame of the phone that allows you to dictate searches and correspondences.

Not only does it listen - it does so better than most men.

Well, Google’s taken it one step further and released on Android 2.2 an expanded Google Voice Actions app. It does everything you see above as well as search the web for music, provide turn-by-turn navigation, pull-up maps populated with whatever data you want (i.e. “map of natural history museums, New York.”). It’s not hardware and sports expanded features to the Genius button, but again, is only available on Froyo-enabled phones (Nexus One, Droid 2; and the new Evo, eventually).

Jefferson Graham of USA Today tested out the new app and he had nothing but nice things to say about the service. The app is supposedly quite accurate, like all software from Google it’s free, and Voice Actions are a great alternative to texting while driving.

Google’s also released a new extension for Chrome called Chrome to Phone. Again, built for those running Android 2.2, this tack-on to the Chrome browser allows a push of information (links, videos, directions) from the browser to the phone. Released this morning, Google hasn’t tabulated and released how many times it was downloaded yet – but as of the writing of this article, 55 people have commented on the extension’s page, mostly with positive reviews. The primary annoyance seems to be from people in non-English speaking countries who don’t have access to the official version. The beta is still available to them.


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Filed under Nature, News, Science, Technology

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