A couple of days ago, Google fulfilled its obligation to prevent me from sleeping by releasing a stack of newly updated apps for me to examine. Some of them were pretty straight forward, like the latest version of Android Device Manager, and others turned out to be pretty mind-boggling. That's how the YouTube update turned out. The apk grew by 2 MB, and Google certainly packed in quite a bit, but many of the additions don't make much sense.
There should be no doubt, Google is getting ready to make a lot of announcements at I/O. If we've learned anything from past experiences, Google starts packing its apps full of surprises in the weeks leading up to the big show. The latest update to Play Services started rolling out yesterday and it has grown by a whopping 4 MB, almost 30% larger than the previous version. There's obviously a lot of stuff to look at, so let's just jump right in.
The latest version of Google Search rolled out yesterday with a couple of pretty great new features. We already know that 3.4 offers a new parking reminder, mall directories, and the start of voice commands for system settings. But there are still a few secrets worth exploring, so let's get to it!
See Your Friend's Photos
The content of Google Now tends to focus heavily on your current or future location, and as a close second, it tries to be helpful with reminders about TV shows and events.
If you're in the modding and theming community, your work is about to get a bit faster, because Smali v2.0 is now in beta and firing on all cylinders. The new version brings multithreaded processing and a few tweaks to the language that should result in cleaner-looking code.
It's time to go APK spelunking again. Today's target is Google Wallet!
Remember this Google Wallet Q&A? The Wallet team took to YouTube and fielded user-submitted questions ranging from "When will Wallet work on my carrier?" to "When will Wallet work in my country?" with the answer to just about everything being "we're looking into it." One exception in the non-committal answer-fest was person to person transactions, with the Walleteers saying to "stay tuned" and hinting that an announcement would be coming soon.
Hello and welcome to a new feature! I'm going to start calling this "What's Really New," the series where we do more than just post a change log with the canned screenshots when something important gets updated. We're going in-depth (as usual). We'll be ripping apart APKs, doing full side-by-side comparisons, and, hopefully, letting you know about all the cool new stuff before it comes out.
Previous experiments in this area have been a stunning success.
Multi-user support is one of the few remaining things a desktop OS can do that Android can't. The "coffee table tablet" use case would greatly benefit from a multi-user setup, as would an enterprise user who wants to keep work and home separate. It's been a top 20 item on the Android bug tracker since the debut of Honeycomb, so there is certainly demand for it.
As we've seen from my previous experiments in sticking my nose where it doesn't belong, Google likes to leave breadcrumbs in shipping products for the astute observer to find, and the multi-user situation is no different.
Google recently decided to make my life a lot easier by releasing the changelog for Jelly Bean. Cool!
While, of course, I take issue with its thoroughness, it also wasn't all that accurate when it was first published. It's since been corrected, but the internet never forgets. Check out this Google listing:
Yeah... There isn't actually a ringtone editor in Jelly Bean. Google seems to agree, because, after the initial posting, the mention of the editor was completely removed from the changelog.
If you haven't heard, Google+ is getting an events feature. "Party at Ron's house, 9pm on Friday, who's coming?" - that sort of thing. News of G+ Events leaked, surprisingly, through Google Calendar. Someone discovered G+ Events code in GCal - Apparently there will be some integration. Sounds plausible.
The Android app, of course, is going to need to support the fancy new events feature too. The other day in our AP chat, Eric pointed out a hidden section in the G+ App's navigation list.
So Google Maps hit version 6.8 yesterday, bringing with it the crazy Zagat/Google+ mashup that was detailed earlier. The "What's New" section in the Play Store lists "See reviews from experts and people you know," "Find just the right places with Zagat scores and summaries," "Get directions directly from map bubbles," but they left out the most interesting new change: "Unreleased feature assets buried in the APK."
For starters, we've got some brand new image files.