When Android 6.0 landed, it brought a big new battery-saving feature called Doze mode. While it was great at reining in known troublemakers like social network apps and misbehaving games, Doze had a bad habit of knocking out apps with genuinely important roles to play. One such app was Android Wear. Today, a new update to the Wear companion app adds awareness of Doze Mode and prompts users to add it to the protected list.
Doze Mode Support
When the Android Wear app starts up for the first time after updating to v1.5, it will have a bright blue notice on the screen to let you know that your watch may not remain connected unless the Wear app is allowed to run in the background. Read More
Google yesterday pushed out updates to the Sheets and Slides apps, bringing compatibility with more file formats and automatic titling for Slides. Together with these changes are the normal bug fixes and performance improvements which accompany any Google app update.
More File Format Support
Both apps have had a significant amount of file formats added for sharing and exporting your creations. For Slides, there is now the possibility of exporting presentation slides to .JPG, .PNG and .SVG, as well as the already-available .PPTX, .PDF, and .TXT. These can then be sent to others or downloaded to your device. Read More
Google+'s app redesign and changes might not be universally liked, but there's little doubt that the team is actively trying to add requested features, improve usability, and make the app and experience more enjoyable and less stressful with each update. With version 7.5, Google+ gets a lot of bug and issue fixes, improves the link preload feature that was introduced in version 7.3, and adds one new element.
As demonstrated in the screenshots above, there's a new notification when a post fails to send that takes you to a screen of pending posts where you can resend or delete any of them. Read More
A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.
App Drawer Changes
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer. Read More
Today has been pretty slow for updates, so far, but sometimes that's just how Google rolls. There is at least one notable feature from this morning's release of Photos v1.16, and it brings a neat little improvement to the built-in video player: fast forward and rewind buttons. There are also a couple of odd UI tweaks related to album sharing. A new bug also snuck into this version, so be wary. As always, we've got a link to the download at the bottom. Oh, and stay tuned for a teardown with even more stuff from this version.
Fast Forward and Rewind
The app may be called Photos, but it handles videos, as well. Read More
Earlier today, Google let us know that a tab for ride sharing would soon find a prominent place in the route planning screen. It looks like Maps v9.22 is responsible for bringing that feature... Sorta. Google is doing a staged rollout of the ride sharing tab with a server-side switch, so you may or may not see it after updating to the latest version. Read More
It's time to get out your Cardboard viewers, there's an update to Google's demo app for the lil' VR platform that could. Version 1.8 came out yesterday with a brand new demo called Arctic Journey. It's a brief tour through some of the experiences we can have in VR, set in the frozen landscape of the very, very far north. As you might expect, words are inadequate to describe the scenery, so here's some idea of what you might encounter on a trip to the North Pole.
Image source: Google Cardboard (G+)
The tour starts with a cute arctic fox and continues through different scenes as it introduces themes like flight, playing, learning, creating, and relaxation. Read More
We're deep in the woods with Android N news, but that doesn't mean everything else has stopped. This is still Update Wednesday and there are apks to be investigated. Earlier this morning a new version of Google+ turned up and it has at least a couple of changes worth looking at. The post pinning feature is back after a long hiatus, and the Circle Streams feature might be getting a few improvements of its own. If you're just looking for the update, a link is at the bottom of the post.
Pin to profile returns
The one definite feature of this release is the return of 'Pin to profile' for non-collection, non-community posts. Read More
A new Android release, a new default wallpaper. Do you have a device that isn't compatible with the Android N developer previews? Maybe you just have a very slow internet connection and can't wait for the new factory images to download. Whatever the reason, you want to make your device look a bit more like it's running Android N, and you don't want to wait around. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and download the new wallpapers from the links below. Read More
Inbox is all about convenience and efficiency. Every couple of updates bring some kind of feature that provides contextually relevant information or automates some action so it becomes fairly painless. The latest Inbox update to v1.18 contains some details that betray yet another one of these shortcuts: a direct method for modifying the sharing options of a file in Google Drive. Read More