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
Today has been pretty slow for updates, so far, but sometimes that's just how Google rolls. There is at least one notable feature from this morning's release of Photos v1.16, and it brings a neat little improvement to the built-in video player: fast forward and rewind buttons. There are also a couple of odd UI tweaks related to album sharing. A new bug also snuck into this version, so be wary. As always, we've got a link to the download at the bottom. Oh, and stay tuned for a teardown with even more stuff from this version.
Fast Forward and Rewind
The app may be called Photos, but it handles videos, as well. Read More
Earlier today, Google let us know that a tab for ride sharing would soon find a prominent place in the route planning screen. It looks like Maps v9.22 is responsible for bringing that feature... Sorta. Google is doing a staged rollout of the ride sharing tab with a server-side switch, so you may or may not see it after updating to the latest version. Read More
It's time to get out your Cardboard viewers, there's an update to Google's demo app for the lil' VR platform that could. Version 1.8 came out yesterday with a brand new demo called Arctic Journey. It's a brief tour through some of the experiences we can have in VR, set in the frozen landscape of the very, very far north. As you might expect, words are inadequate to describe the scenery, so here's some idea of what you might encounter on a trip to the North Pole.
Image source: Google Cardboard (G+)
The tour starts with a cute arctic fox and continues through different scenes as it introduces themes like flight, playing, learning, creating, and relaxation. Read More
Netflix is filled to the brim with shows people want to watch, including children. Thing is, the default experience is pretty dark, and that remains the case if you sign into the kid portion. The little ones may be flipping through pictures of Curious George and The Land Before Time, but they're doing so against a dark backdrop of black and red. Read More
Nest products are attractive because of their brains. They're not bad-looking, don't get me wrong, but its the smart things they do that keep people interested. The company's latest inclusion gets Nest interacting with your entire family.
The products now support family accounts, which can manage up to ten people. This way anyone in the house can change the temperature or receive notifications without needing the master password. Each person can interact with a Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect, or Nest Cam. Read More