11
Dec
hangouts

Update: Even more stuff! Mayur Kamat posted yet another Hangouts for Chrome update, this time showing off the new link to the Hangouts phone dialer. You can see the phone icon on the top ribbon of the main interface, accessible by pressing the green quote icon. From there you can make domestic calls for free, just like on Android, or make international calls if you have available credit. If you don't see it right away, try disabling and then re-enabling the app in Chrome's extension menu.

11
Dec
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From a recent teardown of Google+ 4.8, it seemed like Google was preparing to offer bandwidth optimizations in the app, with the option to switch on a data conservation option. It looks like that feature has cropped up (thanks David) now, along with a new gender identity setting brought over from the web.

A few days ago, the Google+ team announced that the service would now accommodate those of any gender, not just male or female, by opening up a "custom" option, as well as a method of indicating one's preferred pronoun (the selection includes male, female, and other).

10
Dec
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It's Update Wednesday again, and Google is firing on all cylinders. We've seen updates for both Android Wear and the companion app, Chromecast, Cardboard (who saw that coming?), and many more. Google Wallet also found its way onto the list with a few changes to its organization and styling. It started rolling out today, but we've got the latest version ready to download right now.

What's New

A post on Google+ earlier today calls out the most significant change for this version, which brings together gift cards, loyalty programs, and offers into a single link on the navigation drawer.

06
Dec
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Last Updated: December 8th, 2014

Back when we first took a look at the design initiative that would become "material design," we noted that Google planned to update apps incrementally, with changes happening over an unspecified period of time, until they'd evolved to full compliance. A couple of months ago Hangouts began its journey, but to many the app still doesn't feel quite up to par. A messy, improperly-layered drawer, lack of some familiar actions from the app's previous iteration, and of course no revised launcher icon are a few complaints begging for resolution.

06
Dec
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A few months ago Google purchased the developer of the impressive WordLens app, which translates text and signs from another language into your own simply by pointing your camera at it. The text appears in your language through the lens, as if you had super-powered Translate-O-Vision. As with Waze and Google Maps, it looks like Google's own Translate app will soon see the benefit of that acquisition. Check out the screenshots below, taken from an upcoming version of Google Translate.

29
Nov
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Since the recent update to MX Player, many users are running into a new problem: there's no sound in certain videos. It turns out the latest release of the popular video player removed support for two audio codecs: AC3 and MLP. Unfortunately, it seems this is a result of licensing issues, meaning MX Player will no longer ship with built-in support to play these audio formats. However, there is a simple workaround that will get things working again with relatively little hassle.

25
Nov
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Last Updated: November 27th, 2014

You may not be able to tell from the product icon (update: B&H has issued another update with a new icon, seen above) but B&H, purveyor of everything photo, video, and audio, has updated its app with tons of material-inspired elements.

Apparently inspired by Google's new design direction, the company's app is now jam-packed with illustrations, material-inspired transitions, vivid colors, and cards.

Screenshot_2014-11-25-19-20-07 Screenshot_2014-11-25-19-21-57

The app's approach to organizing information swings in both directions - the home page serves up a huge, colorful illustration, along with bright promotional cards and shortcuts (along with a search FAB).

24
Nov
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Update: The app has been removed from the Play Store. Good job, Google/Sony/users who flagged the app.

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Oh dear. The folks at XperiaBlog got a nasty shock when checking the My Apps section of the Play Store on an Xperia Z3: the Backup & Restore app (a default application pre-installed on the phone) seems to have been compromised. A Play Store page has been added for the app, and now shows "Nirav Patel Kanudo" as the publisher.

20
Nov
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Last Updated: November 22nd, 2014

Over the last few weeks, we've heard of a feature popping up for Google Play Music All Access users here and there (thanks for the tips!), whereby the app or web interface would link users to relevant music videos inside the app. When listening to or browsing music, the app would show a YouTube icon, sometimes in the center of the screen, sometimes weirdly positioned in the "now playing" bar. It was clear Google was still testing the feature but it looks like now, with the publication of an official change log for Play Music's latest update, Google may be flipping the switch on a wider basis.

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