You've decorated your house, you've put on a festive watch face, you can't help but see red and green Christmas stuff everywhere you go, so what about decorating your phone's messenger app? After all, this is probably the thing you look at most during the day, so adding some jolly good spirit would go a long way in making the holiday charm follow you all the time. Facebook agrees and so it has updated its Messenger application with lots of customization options and some end-of-year themed options.
Behance's website is a way for creative professionals (photographers, artists, designers) to showcase their work online in a neat and accessible portfolio that also brings them together with a community of similar folks. For an app that's focused on showcasing design, Behance was slacking, but not a lot. It looked good, but there were a few refinements and different approaches in Material Design that weren't yet implemented in it. Today, those little improvements have gone live in the latest version 3.0.
Don't expect the ground to shift below your feet when you open the app for the first time after the update.
When Microsoft Translator was released a few months ago, I went through an extensive comparison between it and Google Translate and came out impressed by Microsoft's efforts, but not completely swayed. At the time, Translator had a major advantage in its Android Wear support (a gap that Google has since closed) but lacked many other features like offline functionality, camera view, and most importantly the live conversation mode. Well, Translator has now jumped that last hurdle and added natural conversation support in its app.
The mode works for a few select languages already: Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more promised to be added in the future.
The ugly Christmas sweater phenomenon seems to be yet another case of public trends where the fundamentally undesirable is somehow turned into a nouveau fashion statement, like Uggs or Hummers. While an intense examination of the psychology behind their resurgence would be an interesting application of our time, I'm not paid to write about wooly jumpers. If all you want for Christmas is an Android avatar with a tasteless sweater, then check your Androidify app for the latest update.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.