An update to Google's Messenger application rolled out yesterday afternoon. Like a lot of other updates lately, this one appears to be centered around clearing up bugs and issues rather than adding new features. For regular travelers or those that have some compatibility issues with their local carriers, there is now an option to override the automatic country detection the app currently performs. Those users on Android N can also look forward to a fix for a pretty critical bug that could cause Messenger to crash with a simple YouTube link.
Bug Fix: YouTube Links No Longer Crash Android N
For those people living on the edge with the Android N Developer Preview running on their primary (or only) phone, there can be some pretty critical bugs that tend to break things in really unexpected ways. Read More
The PDF format is a common and open standard that works with many programs, but many people still turn to Acrobat Reader when the time comes to open a document. Adobe has given such folks another reason to keep the app around. Reader now integrates with Dropbox accounts. Read More
An update to the Google Photos app just rolled out, bringing the current version number up to v1.17. This release is pretty straightforward with just one notable change: photos can now be edited in a non-destructive fashion. In other words, you can make changes to a picture and still return to the original version if you like. That feature alone is certainly enough to make this a worthy upgrade, but a teardown provides some good clues about features that are probably coming in the next couple of releases, assuming they're not already here. Read More
When Android 6.0 landed, it brought a big new battery-saving feature called Doze mode. While it was great at reining in known troublemakers like social network apps and misbehaving games, Doze had a bad habit of knocking out apps with genuinely important roles to play. One such app was Android Wear. Today, a new update to the Wear companion app adds awareness of Doze Mode and prompts users to add it to the protected list.
Doze Mode Support
When the Android Wear app starts up for the first time after updating to v1.5, it will have a bright blue notice on the screen to let you know that your watch may not remain connected unless the Wear app is allowed to run in the background. Read More
The Google Admin app is the go-to mobile tool for managing Google for Work accounts. This piece of software provides system administrators with the ability to add or remove users, change their passwords, and perform other puppet master-like tasks. If you're a person with such responsibilities, the latest update puts a few more tricks in that bag of yours. Read More
If you own an Android TV box or a television with it built in, there's a pretty good chance you've also taken the time to install Google's remote control app to go with it. It's not that the app is necessary, but it's a great backup in case your main remote is lost or the batteries die. All things considered, it's a pretty basic utility app; but it might not be quite so simple in the near future. A teardown shows that this little remote control is about to turn your phone into a full-fledged gamepad. There are also signs that it may soon take care of shutting off your TV for you and we might also gain control over the volume of voice responses. Read More
Files in Drive aren't actually stored on your device, but Google is continuing its effort to make the experience feel as though they were by giving you quicker access and more control.
The latest version of Drive lets you dive into editing a file straight from the preview screen. This is thanks to a new floating action button hovering in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Read More
The latest update to Photos was fairly light on new features, but that's not always what makes an update interesting. Sometimes the most exciting part about a new release is seeing the ingredients that will make up the next great iteration. This update is packed with clues about new things in the pipeline including support for comments, a new screen to manage shots taken in burst mode, and a feature on shared albums that will suggest links to locations around the world.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.
App Drawer Changes
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer. Read More