Chrome 54 was just released, bringing a substantial amount of changes for both users and developers. Now the first Chrome 55 Beta has been released for all platforms, and there is a fair number of changes for both users and developers.
Media player changes
Chrome 55 brings a few changes to the browser's HTML5 video/audio player. First, on some pages with video or audio content, a new download icon is visible. Tapping said icon starts downloading the media file. This is part of Chrome's download manager, which has to be enabled with the flag #enable-downloads-ui.
Google Chrome has traditionally been available in four 'channels' - Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. Beta and Dev are progressively buggier and unfinished than Stable, and Canary is the definition of bleeding-edge. Canary builds are released automatically every day, with no manual testing, and are prone to more bugs than all the other channels.
Until now, the Canary channel has only been available for Windows and Mac (not even desktop Linux). Google has just published Chrome Canary onto the Play Store, starting with build 56.0.2891.8. There aren't any noticeable changes here as opposed to Dev, but in the future, this should be the first place to spot new features. Read More
There was a great deal of consternation earlier this month when it was revealed the Pixel phones would ship with Android 7.1, but Nexus phones were going to lag behind. Today, there's a little less reason to be upset with the announcement of the Android 7.1 developer preview. It's coming later this month, but not to all the same devices we saw in the last preview. Read More
A few days ago, we posted a teardown of the latest Google Maps beta. Another minor, but much appreciated, change in this beta version is that distances now appear alongside results in search.
This is a very minor feature, but definitely one worth mentioning. Most of the time when I searched for locations, I had to look at the map myself and figure out which was the closest. As you would expect, it shows the distance in either Imperial 'Murican or Metric units, depending on your preference.
If you want to try out the beta release, you can download the APK from APKMirror. Read More
It's a Friday afternoon and wouldn't you know it, Google set loose an update to the Maps app just in time for the weekend to begin. (Not like some of us didn't have plans...) Like so many recent updates to Maps, this one has some pretty notable changes worth checking out. There's a new settings screen for controlling how your personal content shows up in the app and the notification settings have been organized into sub-groups for easier browsing. A shortcut has been added to get into your timeline quickly, and it looks like level 3 Local Guides can now work with some of the recently added features for making contributions to places nearby. Read More
You might have received notifications from Google Maps for the last few months, asking you some information about places you've visited. For example, after I left McDonalds a few days ago Google Maps asked me if it was a "good place for parties" (I guess?). Answering those questions gets you points on Google Maps' Local Guide program, and after accumulating enough points, you can level up.
I myself am just a Level 2 'Local Guide', but Google has released new features to Level 4+ guides. Numerous people have sent us tips about a new 'Improve the map near you' section on the Contribute tab. Read More
The Vulkan graphics API is a big deal for mobile developers, since its direct GPU access allows for complex graphics to be rendered with a considerably lower hit to the processor, and thus a lower overhead on the hardware and battery life. A few devices like the SHIELD family and Samsung's 7 series already supported Vulkan several months ago, but Nougat now features full support for all updated Android 7.0 devices. Developer Super Evil Megacorp, which turned heads last year with its Vainglory mobile MOBA, now has a beta version that uses the Vulkan API. Read More
Last week, CodeWeavers announced that after three years of development, a preview version of CrossOver for Android would be released. Why was I so excited? Because CrossOver allows you to run Windows programs on Mac and Linux, and they brought their expertise over to Android. After trying out the Preview version for a week (which you can sign up for here), I'm extremely impressed by its capabilities, despite some major limitations.