The Google app now has its own beta channel, and the first official version dropped last week. Of course there are a number of bug fixes and probably some fine tuning for performance, but no notable features seemed to turn up between the two releases. However, like most other updates, there are new clues about features we've yet to see. This time around, there is evidence of Chrome's Custom Tab feature coming to search results, a new event card for concert tickets, and a pair of new cards for system status toggles.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence.
Google held a press event last month and talked about a few of the interesting new features planned for the Photos app. We're still waiting for collaborative albums to be turned on, but we've already seen other features come to life, like Chromecast support and setting labels for matched faces. This version doesn't appear to unlock collaborative albums – that may be waiting for a server-side switch – but it does add another feature to the facial matching feature: the ability to hide somebody.
Google's changelog is up
Google posted an official changelog for Photos v1.8:
- Now in more countries: Finding the perfect photo of your best friend or family member just got easier.
Remember that time you were super jazzed about Hangouts 4.0, and when it finally came out, it wasn't that great? How about when v5.0 began its rollout, and it was basically the same thing, but with working animated GIFs? Version 5.1 is now making its way out into the world, but if you weren't happy with the previous releases, you're probably not going to be too thrilled with this one. It looks like a relatively light bug fix update, and nothing more.
It's probably no coincidence that a v5.1 update was also just released on the iOS App Store with a very sparse changelog. Read More
It has been a busy month for Google. Marshmallow was officially released, YouTube finally has the subscription service we've been asking for, and some new Nexus phones are shipping. Also on the docket for this month was a new version of the Play services apk. A couple of weeks ago, v8.2.98 began rolling out to a short list of handsets. It was followed a few days later by a .99 release, and then another minor bug fix pushed it up to v8.3.00. There hasn't been a blog post to discuss new features or APIs, which is a bit unusual, but there are a few interesting bits in the apk waiting to be seen. Read More
Google Keep received a seemingly minor update this week, bringing the version number up from v3.2.354 to v3.2.415. There aren't any visible new features or even any particularly notable changes, but that doesn't mean the only changes are bug fixes. A teardown shows that Keep is due to receive its own built-in drawing mode so users can easily record their own doodles, scribbles, and sketches. Additionally, users will be able to annotate imported images like photos and screenshots. Read More
Google wants to be the undisputed leader in live streaming video games. With the announcement of YouTube Gaming, Google declared its intention to do battle with Twitch over an industry that may eventually amass a mind-blowing number of viewers. Read More
Hangouts for Android version 5.0 is rolling out to some users now, and it brings... nothing new in the way of features that we can find, actually. We do know this version is supposed to fix the broken animated GIF support that was an annoyance in Hangouts 4 (confirmed: they're fixed), but otherwise, you probably aren't going to notice much. There appear to be some very slight animation changes here and there, as well as a brief splash screen that pops up when the app opens to the main conversation view that wasn't present in the previous version (4.2).
It's possible you might spot some other subtle changes - for example, I noticed at least one checkbox toggle was a brighter shade of green, hooray - but this particular release of Hangouts seems to be mostly about under-the-hood adjustments. Read More
The Google app was treated to an update late yesterday, bringing the version number up to 5.4. This bump seems to be mostly dedicated to bug fixes, but a couple of changes deserve to be mentioned. A previously screwy animation has been restored to its original beauty, and we now have a more convenient way to set Home and Work locations. Evidence also turned up that suggests the Google app will play host to its own mini-app for Android Wear.
Fixed Card Swipe Animation
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
Last month's v5.3 update introduced a very unsightly bug into the Google Now stream. Read More
Here's a little secret about people who run YouTube channels: a lot of them are obsessed with analytics. There's just something about having numbers that compels them to track, analyze, and obsess over every detail. This is the one thing they definitely have in common with website operators and certain types of sports fans. If you happen to be among this crowd, you're probably going to love the latest update to YouTube Creator Studio. It is now absolutely packed with new analytics about your channels, individual videos, audience, earnings, and more. Along the way, it also saw a little bit of restyling to clean up the interface and make it just a little more consistent and easier to read. Read More