A late-night update to the Play Store slipped out just before midnight. A close examination doesn't turn up any big visual changes or new features, but this version is begging for a teardown. I'm not going to beat around the bush, if you've read the title, you know why you're here. Yes, it's true, family sharing and gifting are on the way. No doubt about it. There's even a neat way to add credit cards if they have NFC. There's no point in teasing it out, just get to reading. If you want to jump straight to downloading the latest version, there's a link at the bottom of the post. Read More
The Google Wallet app just received a version bump, bringing it up to v11.0-R234-v13. (Seriously, what is up with this version number?) Like some of the other updates this week, there aren't any big changes, but the changes that are there will tighten up some of the oversights and issues that were left in the wake of Google splitting Wallet into two separate apps. The new version has a handful of minor visual tweaks and bug fixes, but more importantly it adds support for multiple bank accounts and a new button to quickly lock the app for security.
Multiple Bank Accounts
The Wallet app has always supported multiple credit and debit cards, but it strangely limited users to just one single bank account. Read More
The Android Auto companion app is generally one of those things you're probably only going to work with a couple of times before you're done setting things up, then it'll stay tucked away, never to be seen again. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't look good and be as useful as possible. An update to the Android Auto app began rolling out today and it's a near total refresh of the user interface. Granted, there's not a lot to change, but it now looks much more like the companion app for Android Wear. Read More
Google surprised everybody back in 2014 with an unusual project called Cardboard, a low cost and simple viewer that could work with a smartphone to create simple virtual reality environments. Cardboard has quickly grown into a very engaging tool and it has been adopted in many classrooms as a result. The latest update to the demo app polishes up the experience as well as makes it a bit easier to find new apps to play with. Sadly, Windy Day is no longer included.
The first time you launch Cardboard after the update, you'll be greeted immediately by one of the big changes: a brand new welcome video. Read More
Android Pay has been kicking around for a little while and it's time for an update. Version 1.1 just started rolling out and it seems to be focused on fixing bugs. There are a lot of little adjustments to text, but no major new features to be seen. Nevertheless, if you use Android Pay regularly, or if you've had issues in the past, you'll probably want to grab the update. As usual, we've got the download link below. Read More
Updates to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides tend to travel in groups. They're timid that way. Few of them are bold enough to jump out at you directly. But taken together, they're worth a look.
Sheets brings the bulk of the changes. Google's spreadsheet app will now show you more content when you zoom in and out of a spreadsheet. The toolbars will disappear and reappear as needed. And while you're taking a look at things, you can now view filters that were created on the web.
Then once you start tweaking a document, Sheets' paste special option will also let you copy content and paste only associated values, formula, data validation, and other formatting. Read More
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