Most updates to the Google+ app tend to fit the "bug fixes and performance improvements" theme, but last month's release of v9.20 did bring custom notification channels for Android 8.0 Oreo – but maybe not the ones we needed. Today's bump to v9.23 makes a similarly subtle addition with support for a slightly older OS feature: App Shortcuts. If you're running on 7.1 Nougat or above, or using a custom launcher with support for static app shortcuts, you'll now have the option to quickly start a few different types of Google+ posts directly from your launcher. Read More
It took nearly a year, but WhatsApp has just added launcher app shortcuts on Android Nougat (or Marshmallow if you use a compatible launcher like Nova and Action). Thing is, the functions that WhatsApp decided to elevate to shortcut status are... kind of useless.
You get a shortcut to launch the Camera, because WhatsApp is all about the new Status feature even though out of my 500+ contacts, I only see 12 new status shares every day. Read More
Chris Lacy's Action Launcher got a massive update recently, introducing new branding, more free features, an animated Android O style clock widget, and more. Together with its already useful feature set, including shutters and covers, it's cemented its place as one of Android's best launchers. The latest Beta is now available, as announced by Lacy on his blog, and it includes a number of features that Google has added to the Pixel Launcher in Android O, such as notification dots and a new UI for app shortcuts and widgets. Read More
An update to Google Fit began rolling out to both phones and Android Wear this week. In terms of changes, watches took the lead on this release with a short list of fairly significant additions, including audio alerts during runs, updates to the workout mode, a new screen for workout history, and even automatic heart rate tracking for some recent models. While phones weren't left out entirely, the only notable addition is a new app shortcut for handsets running Nougat and above. Read More
If you are into home security as well as technology, Alarm.com is a popular choice to fill that niche. It is a smart home solution that, as you would expect, allows you to control your security system as well as things like cameras, lights, doors, and thermostats. It even supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Think home automation with a security slant, and you've basically got what Alarm.com is about. Initially, this post only set out to talk about the new features in the most recent update, but one of the changes was so incredibly well done that we couldn't help but diverge in our discussion of it. Read More
Since the official launch of App Shortcuts, most of Google's popular apps have been updated to include at least one or two convenient ways to jump to your preferred screens. Play Newsstand was just added to the list with a few shortcuts of its own. There are four new shortcuts including: For You, Library Digest, Magazines, and Read Later. This mostly matches the pages accessible through the bottom nav bar added in v4.0, but trades out the Explore tab for Magazines. Read More
A new version of Gmail started rolling out recently, but there were no obvious changes. However, Google just posted an updated changelog that reveals the addition of account links in the app shortcut menu. This could be really handy if you have multiple accounts. Read More