Just because you have an Android device, that doesn't mean you have to commit to using Google Now. Maybe you don't trust el Goog with that much information. Maybe, for some reason, you rather give that data to Microsoft instead. In such a case, you're welcome to use Cortana as your digital voice assistant.
tinyCam recently made the big leap to version six dot oh, dragging along a new icon and material design. On the functionality front, we saw the introduction of 24/7 background video recording. This allowed users to keep recording long after they've switched their attention to another app.
With version 6.2, the developer has added in an internal web server that lets users record video on one device and remotely access them from another. For someone who already has multiple Android phones and tablets lying around, this is a cheap way to make an NVR.
This may be the primary new feature, but the lengthy changelogs include a few other noteworthy additions.
If you felt like Google clubbed you over the head with tons of announcements and releases last week, you're not alone. Between giving out the codename for Android M, a new preview release, an Android Wear update, and about a dozen other things, it was a huge week. Toward the end of the onslaught, a fairly innocuous update to Google Maps bumped the version up to 9.13 and it has a couple of useful shortcuts that deserve a look. There's also a new Google app, but it's not in the Play Store, and that deserves a Teardown-style discussion of its own.
Something interesting is happening on the Play Store this evening. Users are reporting mysterious "Play Daily" and "Dogfood Apps" buttons appearing on the store's home and apps pages, respectively.
The Play Daily button - at the time of writing - leads to an error page (the app gets a 500 error trying to reach https://android.clients.google.com/fdfe/daily), while the "Dogfood Apps" button leads somewhat predictably to a special apps collection called "Google Apps for Googlers." Inside the collection is, well, a bunch of Google apps including apps from Google Samples like Pie Noon and VoltAir. Worth noting is that the Play Store is not dispensing actual dogfood apps from this collection, just the normal variants that are always exposed to the public.
Most people don't enjoy the thought of using a mobile device to fill in data on a spreadsheet, but it has to happen from time to time. We want an application that knows how to make the process as quick and painless as possible. The latest update to Google Sheets takes a couple of big steps in that direction with a smart auto-fill feature for quickly adding information based on patterns. There is also a new keyboard selector that automatically picks a keyboard mode based on the contents of the current cell. A quick look under the hood also reveals that comment support isn't far off.
As a recent (and mostly happy) convert to Google's Project Fi carrier experiment, I've taken up the task of covering Fi news for AP including updates to the Fi app, Google's super simple app for managing your account and keeping tabs on data use.
Today, the app got an update to E.1.3 that brings a few small improvements and one big one - cross-device account management. Basically, Fi users can now install the app on their other devices and manage their accounts from any of them, rather than being stuck to just the Nexus 6.
The update also brings an improved experience for initial setup/activation.
Are you in good hands? Is your insurance agency on your side? Is it like a good neighbor? If you answered yes to that last one, then you might want to check out your company's Android app. State Farm has given its Pocket Agent software a material makeover in the latest release.
The newest version of SoundCloud, which rolled out in the past week, has added a way to get independently created music streaming through your television sets. Now when you fire up the app, Chromecast-owning users will see the familiar icon located in the action bar. Or it will appear in the bottom left-hand corner if music is already playing.
A small update to Skype today (version 5.10) adds two new features to the app, in the form of custom ringtones and a sort of in-app photo "forwarding" feature.
Custom ringtones can now be accessed by tapping in the lower-right area of a conversation and selecting "ringtone options," where you'll now find an entry to add a custom ringtone for a given contact. Skype should detect all of your phone's installed ringtones.
As to the photo forwarding, it's actually a pretty handy feature. Have you ever received or sent a photo to someone, only to then think "you know, I should send this to [X], too" and find yourself slightly annoyed at the thought of having to go through the full sharing process a second time, or download a received photo and then go through the sharing process?