Smartphones have become a critical component for many of the things we do in our lives. There are still plenty of bugs and weird little things that don't quite work right on our phones, but it's when they have to connect to other devices that many of the strangest behaviors start to crop up. For years, one particular issue has been plaguing users as they connect a phone to their car stereos, headphones, or other audio output devices. Moments after a connection is made, the phone will suddenly and unexpectedly begin playing music – and anecdotally, they're always quite loud. Google Play Music is often blamed for this behavior because it's the app most likely to respond, but there's now a toggle to prevent that from happening. Read More
As we close in on Google's October 4th launch event, a new beta release of the Google app itself is rolling out with hints about some of the things we may hear about during the presentation. In this update, we find further confirmation that one or both of the new Pixels will include pressure-sensitive sides that wake up Google Assistant. There are also clues about customizable search bars and interchangeable voices for the Google Assistant. And we can look forward to routines, which are basically shortcuts capable of taking multiple actions. Read More
Over the last few months, Google has been taking small steps to integrate Allo and Duo into different pieces of the phone. Most recently, Allo shortcuts were added to the Contacts app, but today's teardown is more closely related to Duo recording its video chats to the system call log. It looks like Google's next step may involve having its Phone app be a little more forward about Duo. Read More
The latest update to the Google app is rolling out to beta channel members right now. There aren't any immediately obvious changes on the surface, but as the tradition often goes, there are some things under the hood worthy of discussion in a teardown. This version brings a pretty good indicator that 8.1 will be the next version of Android. There are also signs that user-defined actions are going to get some changes in the future. We're also going to hit an option to turn off the built-in screenshot handler and a little bit more about Google's upcoming "Bisto" headphones.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
The latest Google Maps beta update began rolling out to users late last night, and it brings with it a feature some users have been requesting for years: User-selectable language and voices. Not only that, but there are a few things from the teardown that may be of interest. Some of them are more like follow-ups to older topics, but there are some new bits of information to check out with each one. Read More
Version 3.4 of Google Photos started rolling out earlier today, and like so many other recent app updates, you're probably not going to see much in the way of changes. This is a pretty common theme around this time of year as Google prepares to launch new hardware and services. But investigating the app updates themselves can still turn up clues about future enhancements. In this release, there are signs that users will be able to mark photos as "favorites" and quickly pull up a list for easy browsing. There's also going to be a new notification when you're on cellular networks to allow one-time passes for the backup system to use some of that data and get your photos and videos into the cloud ASAP. Read More