Google Maps received a fairly minor update last night, bumping it up to v9.15. There aren't any big visible changes, and even the teardown was pretty light, but there is one addition to the Settings screen that's worth mentioning. Under the Notifications section is a new checkbox titled "Traffic information." Obviously, it lets you shut off traffic notifications, which might be fairly handy if you already know they're coming or there tend to be a lot of false positives reported in your area. It's not the most exciting feature, but it will certainly matter to a few users.
This is the only noticeable change to the interface we've seen so far, but there may be some others lurking in a corner we haven't checked yet.
You could say that Google Now on Tab has had an on-again-off-again relationship of sorts with the Android M developer preview. Back when version 5.3 of the Google app rolled out a few weeks ago, it enabled the functionality we saw detailed during Google I/O. If you tried to use Now on Tap a few days after that, it didn't work. Eventually you would see a pop up window saying, "Now on Tap is coming soon! Stay tuned..."
A few weeks ago 9to5Google ran a report saying that Google probably intends to announce Spotify support alongside the new Chromecast at today's event. Now more evidence is out there that suggests this may be the case.
What do you do with something you want to save for later? You stick it in your Pocket. Simple. But what about when you're ready to share it with someone? Well, you could hand things out to one user at a time. Or, with the latest beta update, you can share things to your new public profile page for everyone to see.
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.