There's this thing Google does with app updates. Or rather, maybe I should say doesn't do. And that's tell us what has actually changed.
You see, Google likes to roll updates out in stages. This makes sense. If there's a problem with an update, the company can halt the rollout without impacting as many people.
The thing is, Google doesn't typically update the changelog until the rollout is complete and everyone has received the latest version. This is a process that can take a couple of weeks.
Users who receive the update early on have to guess what's new, or come to us and hope that we've already done so (which we often do using the help of our readers—it's a very circular process). Read More
The idea of contactless payments has turned out to be an unusually divisive topic. Some people are certain that we're only a couple of years away from abandoning physical credit cards in favor of using smartphones at the checkout line, while others see it as an obnoxious novelty that slows down everything and should be ignored. Whatever the case, it's interesting to watch the progress of mobile payment methods as they grow and evolve in an effort to capture consumer interest. The latest update to Android Pay v1.3 doesn't appear to bring any immediately available new features, but a teardown reveals that we will soon have the option to use certain types of cards without unlocking our phones. Read More
Many of Google's apps are in extremely active development, some are even on weekly update schedules, but there are others that seem practically abandoned until they get that one random update every 6 months or so. With an average of about once per year (so far), Authenticator is easily one of the best examples of the latter group. Given the infrequency of new versions, it's a little disheartening to see that there are no discernable new features in the latest release; but it's actually worse than that, one was even taken away. But don't let this get you down, it looks like this little app may be due for some new tricks soon as it may be entering wireless territory. Read More
Update Wednesday went by a bit quietly with relatively few rollouts. However, the tail end of the day brought a bump to the Photos app with a lot of unusual and interesting changes. There are plenty of visual tweaks throughout the app, not to mention a couple of new features. Auto-generated movies now support custom music and there are some improvements to folder management and SD card support, such as it is. As always, hit the bottom of the post for download links.
Official Changelog: (summarized from Google's post)
- Provide your own music for automatically generated movies
- Folder renaming and partial SD card support
- Replaced the FAB that launched Search with a search bar
- New search interface
- Many other small visual tweaks
Substitute Your Own Music in Generated Movies
Photos, like many other apps and services that have cropped up over recent years, is pretty awesome at stitching together short videos from our pictures and movies, then adding background music to give them some extra punch. Read More
Shortly after Firefox 46 went stable, the beta for version 47 is now available. As is typical for browser updates, the changes are minor and eclectic, but a few this time around can decrease the amount of mobile data you consume by a hair or two. Read More
Developers usually use version numbers to convey the amount of change an app has gone through from one release to the next. But what does it mean when Google Maps not only jumps over v9.24 entirely, but also skips forward a patch release to give us v9.25.1? Let's assume it's a sign that there are a lot of new features and not too many bugs. This version certainly doesn't disappoint on new features. There are a bunch of additions to be seen, so let's get right into it.
Unofficial Changelog: (there may be more)
- Contact addresses appear in Your places screen and on maps.
Google has deemed Chrome 50 ready for public consumption. Read More
For the designers in our audience, I'm back with another quick Sketch resource to download - this time, it's a sticker sheet for N-style notifications. There are eight variations, plus a simple frame to stick your sample notifications in.
Android N's notifications actually follow a very predictable style so far. There's a header line, which usually has an icon, app name, some secondary identifying info, time, and an expand/collapse toggle, and then there are two lines of text. The top line is primary messaging or identifying info (like a message-sender's name) and the second line is a secondary message, explanation, or text preview. Read More
There are many ways to go about building your own smart home. The easy approach is to buy a hub and look for products that are compatible. Logitech makes one of those hubs.
If you've embraced the Logitech Harmony approach to controlling your home, you now have one more way to manage everything. Logitech has released an Android TV app into the Play Store. Read More
Today Gmail is getting Exchange support—
Yes, I know, Gmail has been handling Exchange accounts for quite a while. Users have been able to sign in to corporate email addresses since Gmail hit version 5.0. In case you haven't been counting, we're now at 6.4.
So what's going on? Read More