The fine engineers at Google have been hard at work with some cool new features to both the WebView package and Chrome for Android. Recent updates to the Chromium project have extended Contextual Search to tablets, and there is now partial support for the new text selection features introduced with Android M. Even the T-Rex easter egg game got a little bit better.
Contextual Search for tablets
If you've tried selecting text in Chrome on a phone recently, you've probably noticed a cool little popup at the bottom of the screen that acts as a shortcut to search for the selected term.
Music will generally sound better coming through the Sonos speaker system in your home than your phone or computer, so it's a no brainer that Spotify subscribers want to stream albums this way. Fortunately new features have found their way into the beta version of the Android app that make this a better experience.
A number of these additions help you find new content. Spotify Premium subscribers can now start radio stations from any artist or track and get recommendations based on the time of day. The app will also do its part to help you discover newly released albums, and access to charts lets you see what music is trending in various parts of the world.
Simple is a bank from the future (or the past, I guess), one that lacks physical branches and expects you to handle all of your transactions over the web from a PC or mobile device. After quite a wait, the Portland-based company has pushed out an update to its Android app that comes with enough visual tweaks to make the experience look Lollipop-friendly.
The previous version—which was already clean and, dare I say, simple—looked like a KitKat holdover.
An app called File Expert is probably going to be an expert at managing files. One would hope, anyway, and in this case, one probably wouldn't be disappointed. File Expert can move your files around, measure your storage space, organize content automatically, and keep track of apps. Now it can do all of these things while looking up-to-date. That's right, in version 7, File Expert goes material.
The user interface is now turquoise and white all over the place.
Last year, Google released an open-source web project called Topeka. The project demoed the power of Polymer and material design on the web, and aimed to give developers some direction on how to execute material design in their own projects.
You can swap out pretty much all of the default apps on your phone for something else, including the one that manages your contacts. Addappt (yes, that's with one too many d's and p's) is an alternative that saves you the hassle of messaging all of your friends whenever your number changes or accidentally sending an email to an address that has been deleted. With this app, users automatically update one another whenever they make changes, so everyone is always current.
Version 2.0 has hit the Play Store, and it brings with it a number of changes. There's a new interface that, while not a fully material experience, looks more modern.
SoundCloud version 15.06.09 is now rolling out to devices, but its visual changes aren't immediately apparent. Here's where you need to look. When you go to record audio, you're in for a much whiter experience. And no, I'm not talking about anyone's lyrics.
Left: Old, Right: New
Rather than changing everything all at once, SoundCloud has introduced material elements bit by bit. The most pressing ones came at the beginning of this year, but the recording interface went untouched. Now it better fits in with the app's new current look and feel.
The same can be said for SoundCloud's playback widget.
Yesterday, we took a look at the upcoming Hangouts 4.0, a yet unreleased update that promises to clean up the Hangouts interface in many ways. But there was one thing we didn't cover in that post - the Android Wear app that will apparently come with the update to 4.0. Since yesterday we've been playing with the app and thought it would be good to follow up with a quick overview of what it does.
Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
Some updates get everyone excited. Others appeal to a select few. Google 5.7 is more of the latter. There are a few tweaks here, and while they're not going to drastically alter your Google+ing all that much, they're still worth a peek. So here's a look.
You know the floating action button that hovers in the bottom right corner? Usually it's red, and there's a white pencil inside. Tapping it allows you to quickly make a post.
Now when you're browsing a community, that button turns gray.
Left: Gray FAB in communities, Right: Spinning loading indicator for profiles
Another change makes Google+ come off as a tad less flaky.
The updates came rolling in quickly this morning. Among them was a fresh bump to Google's Inbox app – the email app for people without time for email. This release was a little light on truly new features as far as the main interface is concerned, but it finally brought a feature to light we've been expecting for a few months: home screen shortcuts to jump straight into writing a new email or scheduling reminders.