Setting up and using 2-factor authentication on a Google account used to be a fairly miserable affair. The sign-in process lurched from a native interface into a browser where users were expected to quickly enter codes, various apps weren't compatible and required special 1-time use passwords, and the app for generating codes felt completely unfinished. These days, all of those problems have been solved, and now Google's Authenticator app is even taking steps to further improve its look and usefulness. The latest update brings a great looking refresh to the UI, adds a dark mode, and finally adds its own built-in scanner functionality. Read More
Hangouts v12 came out last month and we took an opportunity to have a couple laughs at its expense over what appeared to be the only actual new feature: a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ emote, accessible by typing /shruggie into a message box. With this update, that little guy brought all of his friends. Yes, the rest of the emote list is now accessible in Hangouts v13. There is also a new option to open web links with an in-app browser, though it may not be available to everybody just yet. And finally, the teardown shows Hangouts will have its own launcher shortcuts when Android 7.1 comes out. Read More
There's a new version of Pokémon GO hitting the Play Store, but prepare to be disappointed if you were expecting big changes. We do at least get the capture locations back, but they aren't as good as before. Those of you with the Pokémon GO Plus accessory will be able to use it a little more often too. Read More
The YouTube Gaming app received an update yesterday, taking it to v1.7. Google has already posted the changelog and this release appears to be mostly about fixing up the chat experience. There are improvements to both the chat interface and the underlying code that drives it. There are supposed to be changes to better support Android 7.0 Nougat, although it's unclear what they are, and the typical assortment of bug fixes and performance improvements. Of course, with each new version comes a new easter egg. Read More
Users pay Google not in dollars, but in data. In exchange for handing over all of our private information, we get cool stuff like Google Trips. This travel app culls your Gmail account for hotel reservations, flight bookings, travel times, addresses, and other information you could possibly need for your next trip. Read More
Google Photos just made the jump to v2.0. Hurray! Oddly, it doesn't look like very much has changed, but there is one feature people have been looking forward to for a long time: permanent sorting for the contents of an album. That isn't the only difference we've seen, but most of the other details would be more easily described as fit-and-finish changes – basically polishing up the interface. However, the Photos team posted a changelog for the iOS version last week that also describes the addition of Live Photo support (which is exclusive to iOS since the movies are shared in another format) and the ability to change the thumbnail for detected faces. Read More
It's a Friday afternoon and wouldn't you know it, Google set loose an update to the Maps app just in time for the weekend to begin. (Not like some of us didn't have plans...) Like so many recent updates to Maps, this one has some pretty notable changes worth checking out. There's a new settings screen for controlling how your personal content shows up in the app and the notification settings have been organized into sub-groups for easier browsing. A shortcut has been added to get into your timeline quickly, and it looks like level 3 Local Guides can now work with some of the recently added features for making contributions to places nearby. Read More
Project Fi is an ambitious effort to give customers an experience devoid of the problems endemic to cellular carriers in the United States. It's low-cost, easy to manage with a simple app, and it even breaks new ground with intrinsic support for multi-network connectivity. However, in some ways, Fi wasn't really finished at launch. It spent many months as an invite-only service and lacked a few things many people would consider integral to their cellular service. One of the top requests from current and potential customers is the addition of group plans. It's an important feature for both families and businesses, especially as the number of lines grows. Read More
Google is imbuing the Street View app with some clever new features in its latest update. This version adds automatic face detection for 360 photos for quick blurring, groups together unpublished 360 photos by place or time, and adds a share link to user profiles. Additionally, a teardown shows that there's a new feature on the way that will clue in ambitious users about nearby places that should be photographed.
- Unpublished 360 photos will now group together based on place or time.
- Automatically detect faces for blurs in 360 photos.
- You can now share links to user profiles.