For Google Talk users, Product Manager Mayur Kamat has some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the chat service's desktop client for Windows will be deprecated on February 23, 2015 as the team continues to focus on making Hangouts better.
Of course that leaves the question of third-party clients like Pidgin, Trillian, etc. The good news is, as Kamat notes, that compatible apps will still continue to work.
If you’re not ready to make the switch to Hangouts quite yet, you can continue using Google Talk on Windows with a range of compatible third-party chat apps (http://goo.gl/FSbCX5).
In the dead of night (for those in the US, anyway), Microsoft has released its Outlook Preview app to the Play Store.
Built for Android phones and tablets alike, Microsoft promises that Outlook will help you "get more done from anywhere," handling all your email accounts and attempting to automatically triage your inbox based on what seems most relevant.
For manual triage, the app offers swipe gestures for quickly deleting, archiving, or "scheduling" messages (essentially like snoozing in Google's Inbox). Read More
SoundSeeder takes a bunch of Android devices lying around and turns them into a poor man's sound system by syncing audio playback across all of the phones and tablets so that they pump out tunes in unison. The app hit the Play Store in two parts last year, but now everything's bundled up into a single package. Not only that, it's now ready to shed its beta tag.
As you can see in the screenshots above, this release gets the app ready for Android Lollipop. Read More
Update: Even more stuff! Mayur Kamat posted yet another Hangouts for Chrome update, this time showing off the new link to the Hangouts phone dialer. You can see the phone icon on the top ribbon of the main interface, accessible by pressing the green quote icon. From there you can make domestic calls for free, just like on Android, or make international calls if you have available credit. If you don't see it right away, try disabling and then re-enabling the app in Chrome's extension menu. Read More
From a recent teardown of Google+ 4.8, it seemed like Google was preparing to offer bandwidth optimizations in the app, with the option to switch on a data conservation option. It looks like that feature has cropped up (thanks David) now, along with a new gender identity setting brought over from the web.
A few days ago, the Google+ team announced that the service would now accommodate those of any gender, not just male or female, by opening up a "custom" option, as well as a method of indicating one's preferred pronoun (the selection includes male, female, and other). Read More
It's Update Wednesday again, and Google is firing on all cylinders. We've seen updates for both Android Wear and the companion app, Chromecast, Cardboard (who saw that coming?), and many more. Google Wallet also found its way onto the list with a few changes to its organization and styling. It started rolling out today, but we've got the latest version ready to download right now.
A post on Google+ earlier today calls out the most significant change for this version, which brings together gift cards, loyalty programs, and offers into a single link on the navigation drawer. Read More
Back when we first took a look at the design initiative that would become "material design," we noted that Google planned to update apps incrementally, with changes happening over an unspecified period of time, until they'd evolved to full compliance. A couple of months ago Hangouts began its journey, but to many the app still doesn't feel quite up to par. A messy, improperly-layered drawer, lack of some familiar actions from the app's previous iteration, and of course no revised launcher icon are a few complaints begging for resolution. Read More
A few months ago Google purchased the developer of the impressive WordLens app, which translates text and signs from another language into your own simply by pointing your camera at it. The text appears in your language through the lens, as if you had super-powered Translate-O-Vision. As with Waze and Google Maps, it looks like Google's own Translate app will soon see the benefit of that acquisition. Check out the screenshots below, taken from an upcoming version of Google Translate. Read More
Something I loved after signing up with Simple Bank was that the app offered super quick account access - once you signed in with a pass phrase, you needed only to enter a PIN to get to your account. It seems that Chase has (at last) found a way to provide at least a quick glimpse into your account.
While it doesn't provide full account access, Chase's latest update does give users the option to opt in to a pre-login account summary, where a simple gesture will give an overview of your account, without needing to enter your password and wait for the login to compete. Read More
Since the recent update to MX Player, many users are running into a new problem: there's no sound in certain videos. It turns out the latest release of the popular video player removed support for two audio codecs: AC3 and MLP. Unfortunately, it seems this is a result of licensing issues, meaning MX Player will no longer ship with built-in support to play these audio formats. However, there is a simple workaround that will get things working again with relatively little hassle. Read More