In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.
|Liam Spradlin||Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.|
We've recently seen plenty of rumors related to Google's future plans for its Search app, from automatically remembering where you parked to reminding you of things when you're with another person, to reminding you to pay bills, down to something as simple as setting a proper timer. Clearly, Google's got plenty of plans for what will happen inside Search. But today, we've got something a little different - this time, it relates to how Google's voice assistant will break out of Search, entering other Google apps to help you do more with your voice and perform more actions with Search in general.
Back when Hangouts first debuted, it was quickly discovered that Google's messaging app included several easter eggs, ranging from ponies prancing across the screen, to a weird dinosaur hiding behind a house, to changing your chat's background color at random. Until yesterday, though, these bonus features weren't available for those using Hangouts on Android. As of the 2.1 update, users can make use of three easter eggs - one that will stream an infinite line of ponies across your screen, one that will send just one pony across, and one that will send an angry mob across, pitchforks and torches included.
Today's Hangouts update was a bit of a surprise. Besides landing on Monday, the update was a fairly large one. Users of the latest version of Hangouts are already enjoying merged SMS/Hangouts threads, improved status markers, a new home screen widget, new sound effects, the ability to share contact cards, and other touches. But - as with any Google update - it's worth looking a little deeper in the app to see what may be hiding in the code.
Photo Sphere product manager Evan Rapoport, who also manages Maps, Street View, Views, and Panoramio, had one more tidbit of Google Camera-related news to convey today. In a post to Google+, Rapoport announced that photo spheres had gotten a major boost to 50MP (about 11776x5884 pixels). This is up from around 8MP in the previous app, and the results are beautiful.
Most of the time, we execute APK teardowns by comparing the code of older app versions to an updated version. Newly released apps can hold juicy information too, though. We've quickly taken apart Google's newly released camera app and discovered a few tidbits worth mentioning.
Our primary target for this teardown is the strings file. This file holds a wealth of strings not yet revealed in the interface that look like they'll bring missing features back and add some new ones, too.
There have been a lot of leaks lately, and they don't show any sign of slowing down - Yoel Kaseb (via Google+) has shared screenshots of what he claims to be a test build of a redesigned Google+ app. According to his post, the build is unstable and probably unfinished, and he has since been locked out from accessing or using the APK. But what we can see from the screenshots Kaseb managed to capture is both compelling and in line with some of the other leaks we've seen recently.
After much wringing of hands, it looks like Google Glass is back on its update track, with a long-awaited bump to KitKat imminent. Announced in a post to Glass' Google+ page earlier, the update is a big one. Obviously the headlining feature of the update is a move to Android 4.4, but Glass will soon be able to bundle photos, videos, and vignettes from each day (to free up precious timeline space), reply with photos in Hangouts, and send feedback directly from Glass.
According to Chainfire, the night mode and color adjustment features from Chainfire3D and the original CF.lumen Gingerbread apps are frequently requested. So frequent, in fact, that they're back for KitKat+ devices as CF.lumen on the Play Store.
If you've ever used f.lux for your PC, you know basically what to expect here - color temperature adjustments based on the time of day, bringing tones more in line with your eyes' expectations when the sun goes down.