Google I/O has taken its toll. At least that's the way it looks based on the fairly quiet week we've seen for app updates thus far. The biggest update to arrive was for Snapseed, which gained some fairly useful improvements for editing. The focus on images continued with an update to the Photos app, but it didn't appear to bring any notable new features, rather just a bug fix. However, a teardown of the app reveals quite a bit more. Google is lining up some cool improvements to the app, including new sorting methods for albums, new editing controls, and a pretty amazing promo for Nexus devices. Read More
The Google Cast app doesn't get much attention these days. It's the type of software that remains installed on our phones, but rarely opened since it is rarely needed any time other than to set up Wi-Fi on a Chromecast. Otherwise, it stays out of the way and doesn't need a lot of updates. Still, a seemingly minor version bump occurred last week and it might be giving away a couple of pretty interesting details about future plans for our favorite streaming dongles.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
As most of our readers know, an update to the Play Store rolled out a couple of days ago with a feature many of us have been requesting for nearly three years: the ability to join and leave beta test groups from within the Play Store. For reasons we can only speculate about, the join/leave capability was disabled about 24 hours later. While the headlining feature was covered in our original post, there are still a couple of interesting tidbits waiting for the teardown treatment. Read More
Alarm.com sounds like a website whose sole purpose is starting your day with a broken laptop. Turns out it's a home automation service. The site can manage your security alarm systems, locks, lights, thermostats, and garage doors. Using "scenes," it can manage multiples at once with a single button press.
With the latest update, this functionality has come to the Android app. Read More
There comes a moment when you're making a recording where you wish you could zoom in. Well, you can, and now Snapchat has made that something that only requires one hand. Read More
Many YouTube Red subscribers aren't making use of the dedicated YouTube Music app yet, but it remains one of the somewhat unique perks of the program. Since launch, the app hasn't seen all that many changes, but updates have been coming out pretty regularly with little tweaks and adjustments. Last week, an unexpected jump from v1.20 to v1.25 suggested some big changes were afoot. A teardown didn't reveal anything of substance – just some minor visual tweaks – but a new changelog has come out since the release of v1.26 this week, and gives us something a little more meaningful.
- New: Listen to your YouTube playlists in the YouTube Music app!
Google's Camera app isn't the most advanced tool for taking photos. It completely avoids manual controls and generally lags behind OEMs for most major features. Where it's lacking in advanced features, the Camera app tries to make up for with a simple interface and clever techniques to intelligently deliver better photos without putting the burden on users. This means it works pretty well for simple point-and-shoot purposes, but skilled and professional photographers aren't likely to give it a second look. A teardown of a recent Camera update shows that Google is testing an option to save both RAW and JPEG files with each picture, a popular feature on many dedicated cameras and high-end smartphones. Read More
Evernote is a place for storing notes, and not just the ones you've typed up. You're welcome to scan documents and upload them to the service. Alternatively, you can whip out your phone, open the app, and take a picture.
With the latest update, Evernote has enhanced the photo-capturing experience. Read More
Pocket began as a way to save a website and read it later. But like any company providing a free service, Pocket started using the information it gathered on users to make recommendations. Then it introduced a way to follow friends and interesting strangers in order to keep up with what they're reading and read their comments. What began as a useful web utility has turned into a social network. Read More
There are a few ways to enable 2-factor authentication. One common approach is to send a text message to your phone containing an authentication token. Another option is to have an app installed that will generate that string of numbers without making you wait.
There are a few apps out there that will do the job. Google Authenticator is one. Another is Authy, which was acquired by Twilio a year ago. The latest version of the latter adds support for six, seven, and eight digit authentication tokens. Not only that, it makes those digits significantly easier to read. Read More