I think the origin of the idea is probably Facebook's Android app where contacts are little icons floating on your screen. That use case was so-so and only really useful if you were messaging one or two people constantly. This takes that idea a step further - but it could be taken even further by making all asynchronous actions use the system by default. Maybe in Android 5? A good first step would be to generalize this into an easy to use library that app devs can include without fuss. Maybe if I get some time next week...
This was the feature of Android that got me really excited when Google first announced it. The whole idea of Intents is that you can have a stack of things you're doing; clicking a link will open a new Activity on the top of the stack and hitting Back will pop that Activity off the stack.
As Android was originally pitched, Applications shouldn't be the fundamental unit of navigating through your phone because you don't usually think in terms of "and now I want to open Chrome", but in terms of "I would now like to open this link". If you're reading an sms and click a link your buddy sent you, then from that webpage click another link that opens twitter you've found yourself in a "Task" with three separate Activities in it. You can then context switch to a different task and eventually back to this one with all your Activities waiting right where you left them.
But it seems Google has given up on that vision. Developers were given too much control over tasks and the "back stack" and too little education on thinking with Activities so they happily went along and tried to make monolithic applications. Like web browsers which tie all your tasks together into one app that has a bunch of tabs. What does the back button in Chrome do? Nobody ever knows. The back button in Chrome conflates your tab history with your Task history and makes them interact in convoluted ways. If it didn't expose tabs open in other tasks and treated every forward navigation like creating a new tab the Back button would be perfectly intuitive.
I mainly blame Google for never making your back stack explicit. To this day it's difficult to tell where the Back button will send you because Android never shows you (Also because some apps try to get smart and rewrite history at terribly inappropriate times, have I mentioned I hate Chrome?). The app switcher shouldn't be a list of the last Applications you've used but a list of your last few Tasks.
So, I don't agree that overlays should be part of Android 5. I think that the App Switcher should be given some real teeth, Intents should be overhauled, and all the default apps should rewritten to show developers how to think using Tasks.
The design needs a bit of polish, but the core concept is just so damn good it's blatantly going to be copied.
Chris Lacy (the author) delayed the release because he was encouraged to patent the idea. Looks to me like that was a good move.
(See Sections 7 and 8 of GPLv2, for an example.)
Yeah until a point that nobody will be able to innovate anymore, even being original and inventive, because of patents into nuclear ideas or generic ideas..
Its the difference of "everybody against everybody" to "everybody working for everybody"
I hope software patents became a thing of the past soon.. the concept of property and the concept of ideas do not belong to each other
It looks like a very good implementation for Android, and good implementations are valuable and important, but the concept itself isn't original.
Im a big fan of it and find it makes my phone faster to use than any other launcher without having to learn new ui concepts.
That's what people that make a living with the patents system will do.. they will convice you how patents are important, and make you fear to not have any patents..
I did'nt see any conceptual explanation for why he is filling for patents.. only that his moved by fear and bad advices from actors that have something to gain for making people like him, entering into this game
Also let my say that this is a bad strategy for a underdog..
because the base crowd for a underdog is the "green" folks.. hipsters, geeks, etc..
This crowd is very sensitive to this sort of things these days.. much more well-educated than the previous generations.. and they are the opinion leaders that can give a sustainable growth to a underdog..
Of course, there are curious people that will download it, and say "cool!!", but then, another app-dujour will beg for attention, and they will just move away..
The evangelizer type is very important, and they probably will move away once they are aware of the patent game.. unless of course instead of a cosmetic innovation you did a really important innovation.. something that everybody needs.. than people can just be arrogant and do whatever they want.. but for underdogs this is a risky game to play
In the end, I concluded that Loren Brichter's pull to refresh patent proved rather valuable, so I might as well not close the door on such an opportunity myself.
It really doesn't sound like he hates them to me.
If you mean he protects himself from people 'taking' his idea, then he clearly doesn't hate software patents because that's what they achieve. What do you hate about them if you want this protection?
If you mean he protects himself from someone else patenting the same idea, filing a patent doesn't do this. As long as he has his ducks in a row to demonstrate that his work constitutes prior art (which he might have to do anyways if, say facebook comes out and tries to patent what sounds like a similar idea). Realistically, the odds that, against a larger competitor, he wouldn't have to go through the same process either way (a legal battle and/or settlement) seem strikingly low to me.
If you mean he can play the defensive patent shell game and cross-license to settle, one patent won't really do that unless you pool in with an NPE that collects patents, and that also seems rather contrary to the idea of hating software patents.
Link Bubble behaves very similarly to Facebook Messenger in this way (the way the bubbles move, how you interact with them, close them, etc), and I can't help but think that Facebook was inspiration for the project.
This is actually a good thing because I always thought that the Chat Heads were a novel idea, though Link Bubble's implementation of the concept is rougher around the edges than Facebook (e.g. "laggier", not quite as clean in design).
I believe Holo in Paranoid Android's ROM was first, beating Facebook's app by a few months at least.
That was what got me to click the install button just now. And he used my least favorite example, Instagram out of Twitter with the t.co redirects and yada yada—I've always felt like that was super awkward.
The apps are :
izik - our tablet/mobile friendly search engine
rockzi - a discovery app that lets you browser or search within topics.
Video explaining Rockzi:
Quick question for chris_lacy:
Sometimes I open links on my phone to read them on the subway when I'm offline. However, Android Chrome often decides that the 3 tabs I opened yesterday are too much for it to handle and throws them away. I try to open them on the train, it shows me a greyed screenshot of the page and a "loading" bar, then replaces the page with "You are offline." Then I scream inside my head, "No shit! That's why I opened them earlier!"
Will Link Bubble have the same problem? If so, would it be hard to address, or worth it for most users?
Edit: Also, if someone is going to link me an offline article reader, that's okay and maybe appreciated, but understand that I know those are out there and don't think my browser should be throwing loaded websites away.
If you can't find anything let me know, it's about 15 minutes work to make something like that.
I tend to subscribe to Apple's philosophy of trying to avoid adding configurable options unless absolutely necessary, but frankly, that position can be a tough sell to early adopting Android users.
Anyway, again, this is a very awesome and useful app.
I'm trying use Link Bubble in incognito mode, but some sites aggressively check that they can set cookies and fail if they can't (e.g. nytimes.com). I'd like the option to directly kick those links to my main browser, rather than hoping I catch them in Link Bubble before they've redirected to the error page.
Just a few questions/suggestions:
1. It would be good to highlight in the tutorial that the free version only works for links from a single app (usually Chrome). I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how it worked - and when it didn't - before I found the correct setting. Perhaps I missed something?
2. Is there a way to close an individual bubble in a group?
3. Is there a way to move a bubble into a new group?
4. The contrast on the number indicator could be much higher; in any sort of outdoor setting it is completely unreadable. Would be great to just use white on black.
Cool app; keep going!
-- sent from my tabfull browser :)
But FWIW, I can promise you I don't transfer your browsing history. My policy on such data is I simply don't want to ever have a copy of it. If that means I can't sync your history between Link Bubble installs, so be it.
I find it a bit surprising that Chrome doesn't have something similar (or is the relevant sync code just too buried in Chromium?).
Any way for you to use Chromium as the engine instead of stock 4.4? Regarding the Apple approach as you referred to limiting user options to cut down on clutter, while that has its merits, I think your target audience with an app like this has a higher concentration of nerds than usual, so maybe reconsider.
Also, a setting to preload links in the background (very appropriately under Bandwidth Management).
Installed and already using it.
When is this coming to tablets, Chris?