An update to the Google Phone app came out a few days ago, but left many people wondering what the changes were. This version doesn't have a whole lot to show off, but a close examination does reveal a couple of interesting things both active and hidden inside the apk. Users now have the option to easily share voicemails as regular files, meaning you can email them to friends or easily stash them in cloud storage. From the perspective of a teardown, Google has also added the first signs of RCS support, meaning we can look forward to some new calling features to come along in the future. Read More
Facebook's had video for a while now, and while it doesn't yet rival YouTube for overall views, it's definitely seeing more and more people watching things as they browse. Accordingly, we're all used to scrolling through the Facebook News Feed and flicking a video's sound on. Everyone is going to have to get used to not having to do this anymore, as Facebook has announced sound will be on by default for any video as it's scrolled past.
Videos will play with sound as they're scrolled through in the News Feed, then stop once they've disappeared from view. This change is almost certainly going to be controversial. Read More
The Play Movies & TV app is sporting a new look with the rollout of v3.22, and this one won't blow out any corneas in a dark room. The new look brings a dark theme to the app and makes a few tweaks to the layout to increase density in scrolling lists. Hidden inside the apk are some hints that Google is also preparing to integrate with TV providers and streaming services to give users a better viewing experience. Read More
Google seems to be trying many new things in terms of content on YouTube, including video thumbnails once a video has been completed, cards at the top of searches, video recommendations as notifications, and numerous tweaks to the now playing screen. We've been made aware by multiple readers of a new video suggestion feature while watching a full-screen video.
In the most recent version of the YouTube app, 12.05, when watching a full-screen video, suggestions will pop up at the bottom, giving you ideas for what to watch next. These show up as a preview of a thumbnail, but can be tapped on to bring them into view. Presumably, this is an attempt by Google to get people watching something else if they're bored with what they're watching, which would seem to be a wise move, because ads. Read More
Last week was pretty busy with some big app updates and even bigger product announcements. One update that slipped through the cracks was Allo v6. There aren't any obvious new features, but there's plenty for a teardown. Some of the upcoming features will include a chat bot to enable voting among members of a group chat, Android Auto support, animated emoji, and some new drawing tools. Read More
Only four days ago, YouTube officially declared that the double-tap to seek gesture had become a part of the app, giving users the capability to quickly jump 10 seconds forward or backward in the timeline. Now the development team is topping their delivery with a little bit of user-configurability. The interval of the skip was originally locked to a strict 10 seconds, but you can now set your own from a handful of other durations. You'll need the latest update to the YouTube app, which began rolling out earlier this afternoon. Read More
Some users signed up to the Google app beta channel have been receiving an unusual "alpha" release of v6.13 update. It's not entirely clear if this was meant to find its way into the wild, and judging by many inoperable and buggy issues, I suspect it wasn't. All the same, it's out and contains some pretty interesting things. To begin with, this version enables some features that had previously been seen in testing like a page of recent search topics and lite mode. There is also a process to add payment information for use with Google Assistant. Diving into a teardown brings back some previously seen features and adds a couple of new ones to the list. Read More
It was a good seven months ago now that we saw evidence of a tweaked YouTube UI, exposing video buttons and rearranging things slightly. As of YouTube version 12.03, it appears this has now rolled out more widely, although it is vaguely different from the UI shown in August. Read More
After being tested in beta on Android, WhatsApp is rolling out 2-factor verification worldwide on both Android and iOS now, via a server-side update. Because WhatsApp is phone number-based, the way this works is different from other two-step processes for securing accounts. Read More
Android Wear 2.0 is finally here... sorta. The LG Watch Sport and Watch Style, the first devices to ship with the update, aren't on sale yet. And while many wearables are slated to get AW 2.0, it hasn't actually been pushed yet. Now the Android Wear companion phone app has been updated, with new features for both the app and connected watches. Read More