From the beginning the Chromecast has been able to handle the basics such as Netflix and YouTube. More compatibility trickled in, with services like Hulu jumping on board, and apps like BeyondPod and Flex throwing in their support. Now Chromecast icons can be found all over the place. But the offering is still weak in one area - sports. Today Chromecast is knocking that issue out of the park (at least for baseball fans) by finding its way into the MLB.com At Bat app.
House hunting can be tedious, but the tools you use on your search don't have to be. The Homesnap app lets users look up information about homes and neighborhoods just by snapping photos of locations of interest. When it came to Android nearly a year ago, it arrived with an interface stuck somewhere between Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich. Now, with version 3.0, the app is ready for life on KitKat.
Talon was one of the more attractive and full featured Twitter clients available right out of the gate, and it has been getting updates frequently ever since. Today it's being updated with support for multiple images, kind of like the official client is going to do soon. That's just the start, though.
Music discovery app Shazam has always been a bit stylish by Android standards, but today's update adds both some more modern visual polish and notable usability upgrades. In particular, the auto-scrolling lyric function has been improved in version 2.6: it now supports a more natural portrait layout and much more readable text, doing away with the funky word art. Auto-scroll isn't universal, but when it works it's pretty neat. That should be a boon to your impromptu karaoke sessions.
Time keeps marching forward, and Google keeps improving the mobile version of its Chrome browser. Those who want to see the new goodies before everyone else can check out the official Chrome for Android Beta, which updates to version 35 today. The official changelog mentions some interesting additions, including at least one that was there already: support for Chromecast on HTML5 videos.
Videos on your device have gotten better too, with better HTML5 controls and subtitle support (for those clips that include them).
Late last year, Gmail started showing images by default in a way that Google says doesn't compromise general security. Now Yahoo has released an update for its Android mail app that does precisely the opposite. Now those pesky images are blocked by default (or is the story here... that they weren't already?).
The option to toggle this is tucked away in the app settings, so there's nothing stopping users from going back to living wild and free.
The Lyft community consists of people in need of rides and people ready to provide them, with all of this interaction going through a mobile app. Okay, not all of it. Before now, users have not been able to enter their desired destinations while requesting a ride, but the latest update addresses this by tucking the functionality in. This lets users tell the driver where they want to go before they arrive, getting the ride started faster and saving everyone time.
If you use Pocket for your "read it later" needs, you'll want to check the Play Store for an update. Today, Pocket announced version 5.4 of its Android app, and it includes several new features that are sure to be of interest to users. Here's the official changelog:
Mirroring Android notifications to a desktop is far from a new feature for Pushbullet, but now the app displays the full images that go with each message. This makes glancing at a pop-up and deciding whether it needs immediate attention even easier.
PayPal's Here direct sale and money transfer service is an admirable rival to the similar Square, and before today its standard Android app was perfectly fine. But you can't deny that it looked a little... iPhoney. Thankfully the second release of the PayPal Here app brings the user interface more in line with other polished Android apps, and throws a little expanded functionality in for good measure.
The whole app has been simplified and streamlined, according to the change log, and customers should now be able to swipe their credit or debit cards at any time during the purchasing process.