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.
It's still Update Wednesday here in San Francisco, and just when I thought I was done for the day, Google decided to upload yet another new version of one of its core apps - Calendar v201404011. And it's a big one, folks.
Location suggestions of nearby places
The main change in this update finally addresses (no pun intended) what I consider the most requested feature missing from Calendar for Android, which is actually present in Calendar on the web - location suggestions for places known to Google Maps.
Google blew a lot of minds with its Android Wear announcement yesterday. The ambitious project, which aims to put a specialized version of Android on as many wearables (for now watches) as possible, has been talked about, analyzed, and previewed heavily for the past 24 hours, but there's still more to discuss.
Today, we've got the Android Wear launcher (extracted from the emulator) as it currently exists. This is an early version of the home launcher that you'll see on the Moto 360 and likely other wearable devices coming in the near future.
We learned yesterday that the Chromecast would finally make its grand entrance to our friends in the UK on March 19. While the recently finalized Google Cast SDK should leave them with plenty of ways to start using it right away, there's one app that definitely needed to take the plunge and add support: BBC's iPlayer. Well, it looks like the BBC had the same thought, because a recent update gives us solid evidence that Chromecast streaming is coming very soon.
One more app that took part in Update Wednesday yesterday is the official Chromecast app, which helps users set up their new Chromecasts to work with their phone or tablet. The app got bumped from 1.3.10 to 1.5.3 and while Google has published its own short change log, we of course couldn't resist doing a quick teardown to see if there were any other goodies. First though, here's what Google says is new.
The Galaxy S5 is coming to store shelves in April, and it's bringing with it a new version of TouchWiz along with a full suite of Samsung apps. These aren't typically the pieces of software Android enthusiasts foam at the mouth to get, but with all the bajillions of devices Samsung pushes each year, we know there are many of you who get a kick out of some of them.
I love Update Wednesdays, and today we've already seen pretty decent updates to several Google apps. As you've already seen, Google Play Games was updated to v1.5, but the one I'm excited about the most is, without a doubt, Google TTS v3.0, which made a jump today from v2.4.
So, what's so cool about TTS 3.0?
First and foremost, Text-to-Speech 3.0 adds support for high quality voices.
It's time for another Google+ update, and this one's all about photos. Don't use Google+ for pictures? Tough. Let's dive in.
Google+ now supports non-destructive photo editing across multiple devices, so if you start an edit on one device, you can tweak it again or start over using another. And if you don't like what you see, you can still revert back to the original image at any time.
As a Glass Explorer, I'm always excited to see new apps, especially if they improve Glass' user experience. Developer Matthew Pierce delivered one such app recently, making Glass Master Control available to the public via Dropbox.
Essentially, Master Control allows users to change Glass settings in a new, more fine-grained way. It controls volume, brightness, and radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AutoSync). Until now, Glass hasn't had manual brightness controls, and volume control was buried in a settings card at the very left end of the timeline.