Just because there's a big announcement tomorrow, it doesn't mean the app updates have to take a break. Version 1.5 of Google's Messenger app popped up today, bringing with it a cool treat for users on the Android M Developer Preview 3. This update brings an implementation of the new Direct Share API in Android 6.0, allowing Messenger to add multiple contacts right to the share menu and saving us all a few taps when we want to send a link to our favorite friends.
Left: share menu before without targets. Center: new conversation pop-up. Right: Share menu with group and single targets.
The Google app is an interesting beast within the Android Ecosystem. It provides speech recognition, Google Now, multiple APIs, and even a launcher. Next to Google Play Services, the Google app is by far the most multi-faceted apk most of us have on our phones and tablets. The latest couple of updates teased users of the Android M Developer Preview 3 with brief access to Now On Tap before it was quickly taken away with a promise that it was still "coming soon". There were also a few other smaller details waiting to be found in a teardown, including the likely return of rotation support on the Google Now Launcher and some more forward motion for offline voice commands.
In short, version 32 is eager to sprinkle shortcuts to your favorite sites all over your homescreen. No having to open the browser first and type in URLs. No searching through a list of bookmarks. Just tap on a website's icon as though it were an app, like you would when clicking on a bookmark widget from Chrome or your phone's default browser.
Boom! The Woot app is finally, officially, available on Android. How 'bout that? Boom! It's all about the website's exclusive offers and daily deals, in a sweet material design. Boom! There's even a cool navigation drawer and scrolling. Scrolling, you guys. Boom! If you're wondering about the explosion sound effects, you should watch the app's promo video below. Boom!
For a first legit try at an Android app, Woot really nailed most of the design and interactions.
Just like with paper mail, some senders can't help but screw with a good thing. Alongside letters from sweethearts and loved ones, you have unsolicited offers from who knows what. And you seemingly run the risk of getting added to a mailing list every time you sign up for a new site.
To keep users from giving up and walking away from their webmail for good, Gmail has made a strong effort to filter out spam and help users keep only the mail they want to see in their inbox. Now Gmail is going to provide even more control. Users will soon have the option to block users they never want to receive messages from again.
Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases.
After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
In a rare twist, Google was quick to update a changelog on the Play Store, and this one is definitely worth it. Some big improvements have been made to the Chromecast (Google Cast) support in the latest update to Play Music, including some stability improvements, gapless playback, and continuous playback after a caster leaves the area. On top of that, a look inside turned up evidence that Google may soon allow users to "gift" subscriptions to other people. If you just can't wait to get the goods, we've got a download link at the bottom.
It's highly unusual, but a changelog was posted right away with the release of the latest update.
There's a certain stage of your life where owning a car is cool, but that feeling eventually wears off. Then it's not having a car that's impressive, it's what you can do with it. Viber's SmartStart app lets anyone who equips their vehicle with the appropriate hardware start, lock, and track their ride using their Android device.
The app updates hit quickly yesterday as about a dozen Google apps were given new versions. Among them, Gmail made an incremental bump to v5.6. There aren't any new features to speak of, but a look inside the apk gave up the goods on a couple of interesting additions we can look forward to in the future. Users will soon have the option to send email with richly formatted text. On top of that, there are signs that we'll soon have deep calendar integration, which should make for smarter and more intuitive auto-suggest results.