There's some interesting stuff going on down under, and it doesn't have anything to do with poisonous animals (for once). Google has added a new section to the Play Store there – Made in Australia. It contains all the best in apps and games from the land of oz.
Earlier this year, Mozilla introduced Firefox Accounts, an easier way to sync all the good stuff like your passwords, bookmarks, history, and open tabs across multiple devices. This is far from Firefox's first rodeo, as the browser has had support for syncing data since Chrome was a baby, but this introduces in a further degree of ease-of-use and consolidation that users have come to expect. Now the functionality has found its way into the latest version of the Firefox Beta Android app.
We're lucky to have capable mobile browsers on Android these days, but the experience of poking around on the web is still flawed in a number of ways. You're often stuck bouncing between two or three redirects because of apps, mobile sites, and link shorteners. Then there's the fundamentally modal experience of only having one thing up on the screen at a time. The result is lots of wasted seconds waiting for links to actually resolve at the final destination.
Motorola has a reputation of late for making relatively few changes to the stock Android experience, but taking photos is one of the areas where the company has applied some of its own tender loving care. The app, which can activate with just a flick of the wrist, encourages users to take pictures by touching anywhere on the screen. Now those who would prefer a more tactile approach have that option as well.
MarkAsRead for Gmail is a quintessential Android app. It does just one thing, and before you go hunting for an app description to figure it out, try giving its name another read. That's right, MarkAsRead for Gmail... lets you mark Gmail messages as read straight from the notification. In between the usual archive and reply buttons that Google provides out of the box, this app sneaks in that ever-so-useful (mark as) read option.
The core functionality of IFTTT is simple but powerful – if this certain thing happens, then do this other thing. You can use RSS feed updates, Facebook events, weather, and more as the 'if' part. The response is where things get interesting. There are 72 channels in IFTTT like Evernote, Gmail, Twitter, and more. As of today, Pushbullet is among them.
Assist is one of the core apps that Motorola has dropped into the Play Store, which means it can be updated as needed. It's gotten a few tweaks already, and today another update is rolling out. This time it should make the meeting mode more useful for users with more than one calendar.
The meeting mode in Assist will automatically silence the phone and auto-reply to messages (both optional) when you are in a meeting.
Last month YouTube for Google TV vanished from the Play Store like a vampire slain by Lincoln himself, quietly fading from public view, seen only by those who had previously downloaded it and already knew of its existence. But like the immortal being that it is, YouTube has risen back from the dead. Not only that, it's stronger, having now received a relatively minor update to version 1.7.5.