The idea of contactless payments has turned out to be an unusually divisive topic. Some people are certain that we're only a couple of years away from abandoning physical credit cards in favor of using smartphones at the checkout line, while others see it as an obnoxious novelty that slows down everything and should be ignored. Whatever the case, it's interesting to watch the progress of mobile payment methods as they grow and evolve in an effort to capture consumer interest. The latest update to Android Pay v1.3 doesn't appear to bring any immediately available new features, but a teardown reveals that we will soon have the option to use certain types of cards without unlocking our phones. Read More
Many of Google's apps are in extremely active development, some are even on weekly update schedules, but there are others that seem practically abandoned until they get that one random update every 6 months or so. With an average of about once per year (so far), Authenticator is easily one of the best examples of the latter group. Given the infrequency of new versions, it's a little disheartening to see that there are no discernable new features in the latest release; but it's actually worse than that, one was even taken away. But don't let this get you down, it looks like this little app may be due for some new tricks soon as it may be entering wireless territory. Read More
Account management apps aren't the most exciting pieces of software. Reading about one is liable to be even less interesting when you can't even get the service in your area. I understand. Having to write about Google Fiber when I can't get it doesn't feel much better.
But those of you in Fiber cities deserve coverage too. Read More
Update Wednesday went by a bit quietly with relatively few rollouts. However, the tail end of the day brought a bump to the Photos app with a lot of unusual and interesting changes. There are plenty of visual tweaks throughout the app, not to mention a couple of new features. Auto-generated movies now support custom music and there are some improvements to folder management and SD card support, such as it is. As always, hit the bottom of the post for download links.
Official Changelog: (summarized from Google's post)
- Provide your own music for automatically generated movies
- Folder renaming and partial SD card support
- Replaced the FAB that launched Search with a search bar
- New search interface
- Many other small visual tweaks
Substitute Your Own Music in Generated Movies
Photos, like many other apps and services that have cropped up over recent years, is pretty awesome at stitching together short videos from our pictures and movies, then adding background music to give them some extra punch. Read More
Developers usually use version numbers to convey the amount of change an app has gone through from one release to the next. But what does it mean when Google Maps not only jumps over v9.24 entirely, but also skips forward a patch release to give us v9.25.1? Let's assume it's a sign that there are a lot of new features and not too many bugs. This version certainly doesn't disappoint on new features. There are a bunch of additions to be seen, so let's get right into it.
Unofficial Changelog: (there may be more)
- Contact addresses appear in Your places screen and on maps.
Another Firefox update is making its way out to devices. Unless they're running Honeycomb, that is. This version of Mozilla's open source browser does not work on tablets running Android 3.0 - 3.2.
Considering less than 0.1% of Android users were on Honeycomb two years ago, only four or five people will be saddened by this news.
Everyone else will see popular websites such as Facebook and YouTube show up in the Top Sites panel at first launch. Notifications about tabs opened in the background now list URLs. Firefox 46 will also request permissions as needed instead of when first installed, thanks to Android 6.0. Read More
The default dialer app that comes with the latest Android N Developer Preview has a small but significant change.
When you fire up the Google Phone app, an indicator now appears alongside the middle tab showing how many calls you've missed. Read More
If you haven't had Google turn your spreadsheet into a chart before, go to the overflow menu and tap Explore. It's this nifty part of the app that's getting attention in the latest update. Read More
While Google has been pushing out a ton of OS and app updates, the Drive team got out one of its own. This is a perfectly good update on its own, but it also includes clues to some upcoming features, too. In this update, you'll find a newly revised look and operation for uploading files, and there's even a color picker for folders. (Yey!) On the teardown side, we can look forward to recommendations for files, a shortcut to "Team Drives," and possibly even another form of device backup. Oh yeah, and the FAB changes color. Read More