Whenever a service we use gets bought by another company, we're always filled with hope and anxiety over its fate. It could either be a case of growth and improvements or a slow dwindling descent into irrelevance. I'm afraid Allthecooks may start falling into the latter category if its new owners don't react swiftly to the criticism of their most loyal users.
Allthecooks has long been among the most beautiful and capable recipe and cookbook apps on Android. It got acquired by the Japanese-born Cookpad service toward the end of 2013 and since then, it got an interface redesign and a name change to Cookpad Recipes, but almost everything else remained the same up until a few days ago. Read More
Google Play's branded Music app has had Pandora-style thumbs up and thumbs down controls, applicable to your local and cloud music as well as streaming radio stations, for quite a while. But they're not all that easy to get to: aside from the "now playing" screen and the homescreen widget, the functionality isn't all that obvious. The latest update to the app puts those recommendation tools front and center, right on the notification and lockscreen controls.
We're actually looking at two Google Play Music updates here: version 6.2.2220U.2476962 and the slightly newer 6.2.2221U.2480853. Both of them are nearly identical with one notable exception. Read More
Google is busy this week updating most of its apps before the holidays and one update we were anticipating is Chrome Beta 48. The Chromium Blog had announced the update last week but we didn't see it on the Play Store until today.
So what does Beta 48 bring? A few interesting additions. Developers can now use the Presentation API to present to Google Cast devices, making it possible to send sites and their content to your Chromecast devices right from your mobile browser. The site notifications that were introduced with version 42 are getting an interesting update with actionable buttons so developers can add custom options that are easy to accomplish from the notification pop-up. Read More
Yahoo Mail received a pretty big update a couple of months ago with an interface revamp to Material Design (or Yahoo's interpretation of it), Account Key to sign in on your mobile device without having to input your password, and support for other mail providers like Outlook, Hotmail, and AOL. You may have noticed that Gmail wasn't present in that list, but that changes today.
Yahoo! is rolling out an update to version 5.1 of Mail that adds Gmail support so you can start checking your Googly inbox from Yahoo's app. I don't know why you'd want to do that, but I'm sure there are valid reasons why such a feature would be important. Read More
AmpMe is a make-shift surround speaker system based on your devices. It turns all of your phones and tablets (and your friends' phones and tablets) into speakers for the same song, synchronizes playback across all of them, and lets the party starter choose which tracks get streamed for everyone. When it was released in October, I reviewed the app and concluded that it was good, but that it was neck-to-neck with SoundSeeder, another alternative on Android. It all depended on what you wanted: AmpMe has SoundCloud support, a better interface, and an iOS app; SoundSeeder has local music and Google Play Music playback, queue management, and more options. Read More
A new version of YouTube's Gaming offspring has been rolling out on the Play Store with a long list of interface improvements and new features that's sure to make any gamer happy.
For new users, YouTube Gaming now has an on-boarding setup that first recommends six games to follow, probably based on your previous YouTube watching history, and then automatically imports the gaming channels you have subscribed to on YouTube. Read More
If you have more than a dozen friends on Facebook, odds are pretty good that at least one of them has started tagging every person on Earth with suspiciously misspelled advertisements for knockoff Ray-Ban sunglasses. Facebook would really prefer that this not happen, or at least not happen quite so often. To that end the company introduced the Security Checkup feature to the web version of the social network, and now it's available on Android as well. Maybe.
Security Checkup does a few things. First, it examines your password and suggests changing it if it's not strong enough. Second, it sends you alerts if someone logs in to your Facebook account from an unfamiliar or suspicious location. Read More
Pocket wants to be your reading home on the web and mobile. Whether it's the stories that you run across while browsing or checking social media, those that your friends share with you, or those that it thinks are interesting to you, Pocket serves them to you in their purest form, stripped of the superfluous ads, widgets, and stuff that you find on any web page. And now Pocket's recommendations, which it introduced in version 6, are getting more customizable and personal.
Instead of Pocket guessing what you might want to read, you can help it by following known story curators and friends. Read More
Sometimes I wonder if Google has an official Department of Whimsy where things like the never-ending doodles, Android mascots, and Santa Tracker are studiously maintained (and the inbox still overflows from bitter Google Reader fans). If so, then the DoW's biggest yearly project has just begun with the timely update to the Google Santa Tracker app. The latest version is now available for Android phones, tablets, and Android TV devices, complete with all kinds of kid-friendly goodies. Read More
Have you ever been so excited to watch Netflix's collection of movies, shows, and original content that you simply couldn't wait to get into the app itself before you start to browse? Apparently someone on the development team thinks so, because the latest version of the Android app (posted to APK Mirror earlier this evening) includes a homescreen widget. It's similar to the Play Store widgets, in that its only real purpose is to highlight some of the content on the service.
The widget is 5x5 in its unmodified state, though it reformats its triple-pane display with surprising grace as you enlarge or shrink it with your launcher's resizing tools. Read More