The update to Google Maps v9.31 brought a couple of fixes for users on Android N developer previews, not to mention some other small changes for everybody. But the most interesting things about this version are still buried below the surface. Yesterday, I covered support for offline maps to be installed on an SD card, and now it's time to dig into the rest of the teardown. If SD card support weren't enough, there are a couple of other features here that have been hotly requested for some time, so it's pretty clearly the Maps team is working hard to fill out the feature set for users. Read More
If the presentations at Google I/O last month were any indication, Android Pay is growing quite quickly. Several new features were announced, but most were still only demos, not available to the public. A fresh update to the Android Pay app came out yesterday and a teardown reveals a few of those key features are either ready to launch or getting closer. There's also work being done on a map that will show merchants in close proximity that accept Android Pay, and a shortcut already showing up that will direct users to apps with Android Pay integration. Read More
A few small tweaks to the YouTube player UI for Android have caused a few issues of late - digital issues. And by digital, I mean digits, as in fingers. In summary: it's hard to touch stuff right.
You see, the YouTube app for Android has been experimenting with this new player UI for some time now, but as it rolls out to more and more users, some issues are cropping up. Specifically? Well, for one, the progress bar is now a little too responsive given the placement of the "full-screen" button in the portrait UI. The newer YouTube UI places the "full-screen" button directly above the progress bar for the video, whereas previously this button sat to the right of the bar, as below. Read More
Last week brought a rush of new app updates from both the Play Store and the Android N developer preview. There were surprisingly few new features to discuss, and not much for teardowns; but the Google Keep app does have at least one notable addition in store for us. It looks like Keep is going to give users the ability to pin important notes so they remain readily available and won't get lost as new items are added.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
If you have tried the Play Movies & TV app on Android TV and weren't in love with its player controls, it might be time to give it a new try. A fresh update to v3.15 started rolling out to set-top boxes and televisions yesterday. There are a couple of cosmetic changes, most notably the banner on the launcher screen, but the big change comes in the form of updated player controls that are faster and easier to use.
- New launcher banner
- Updated player controls
New Launcher Banner
Left: old. Right: new.
After the latest visual rebranding of Google Play, most of the primary apps were updated to the new icons within about a week. Read More
Google dropped the news last week that Nearby was about to get a whole lot more interesting. With the use of Bluetooth and a special blend of tricks collectively known as Location Services, Google will enable Android devices to learn about all manner of things in close proximity, whether they be Eddystone beacons, Chromecasts, or even Android Wear watches waiting to be set up. In the announcement, it was mentioned that an update to Google Play services would be rolling out shortly that adds support for all of these new features, and this is the one. While most of the features have already been disclosed, there's one in the teardown that wasn't mentioned. Read More
Anytime there's a big version jump, there's almost always something pretty big to be found. The Google app just leapt from v5.14 to v6.0, but those big new features don't seem to be showing up quite yet. That doesn't mean there isn't still something to see. A teardown shows that there are at least a few things to look out for, either now or in the future. This version appears to be rolling out through the beta channel, so if you want to check it out without signing up to the beta, or if it hasn't rolled out to you yet, there's a download link at the bottom. Read More
The YouTube Gaming app is still young, but each version brings little bits of fine tuning. It's progressively catching up with the main YouTube app while also adding little features that are unique to its focus on gaming and live-streamed events. The latest update to v1.4.41 continues this forward motion with some more subtle adjustments to the interface and a couple of new features. The easter egg count has also gone up by one, and there's even a little bit for a teardown. As always, a link to the download is available at the end.
Unofficial Changelog: (things we found)
- Recommended videos now have a 'Not interested' option in the overflow menu
- "Go Live" has been removed from the main overflow menu
- New "Event notifications" toggle in Settings –> General
- Easter egg count went from 4 to 5
YouTube's recommendation engine isn't perfect, but once it has had time to learn our viewing habits, the results can be very good. Read More
For many of us, the Street View name is linked to a convenient way to look around at places we haven't been, whether it's just an address we're about to drive to or one of the world's greatest mountains. We don't usually associate it with making money, but a lot of businesses have started investing in virtual tours to attract more customers. For a few years, Google has been working to help businesses pair up with independent photographers and agencies to capture scenery for potential visitors. The interface for this was entirely web based, but now it looks like some of the operations will soon become available through the Street View app itself. Read More