Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
It's been a few days, but Google just posted the changelog to Newsstand 3.4, and it looks like a lot of algorithm changes. Read More
Frequent travelers know Google Maps all too well. It's one of the most widely used apps on Android for a reason. A brand new update to version 9.8 just turned up, and there are a few notable changes to take a look at. This release appears to be dedicated to fine-tuning different parts of the interface, so there aren't any big changes here. Maps now gives users the option to upload multiple photos simultaneously, hide reservations from location cards, and more. As usual, we've got a download link at the bottom of the page if you'd rather jump straight to the apk. Read More
Google Keep was one of the first apps to add support for the Android Wear platform, giving users a quick, simple, and mostly effortless way to record short notes without reaching for a smartphone. Since then, the main application has seen several updates, but the Wear-specific companion app has gone mostly unchanged. With the latest update, the tables have been turned, and it's time for the Wear app to go through a moderately sizeable refresh.
In earlier versions of Keep's micro apk, the app only served as a target for voice commands and a way to browse existing notes. Read More
Now that Project Fi has come out into the open, we can expect to see integration for the new service popping up in a handful of Google's apps over the coming weeks. The first app to received custom support is Hangouts, which began rolling out just hours after the Project Fi website went live. This update doesn't make any changes to parts of the app we care about, but just adds some elements that come alive when a device is hooked to Google's new service. The apk is exclusively for devices running Android 5.1, and I wouldn't expect to see another variant with support for lower versions since every Nexus 6, Project Fi's sole supported phone, should theoretically be 5.1 (unless your current carrier is evil). Read More
Roman Nurik, a Design Advocate at Google, launched the DashClock Widget back in early 2013. It's an extremely versatile, modular widget that - by default - supports things like time, weather, unread Gmail messages, and alarms. But its modular nature is the real selling point. Users can add extensions for apps they're already using, allowing a lot of information from disparate and unrelated apps to be displayed in one handy widget.
After an update in December 2013, though, it seemed that DashClock had gone on a break. Happily, version 1.7 is currently in beta mode and its refreshed (materialized) interface is ready to try out now. Read More
Google Play services made a rather lofty jump from 7.0 to 7.3 a few days ago. While there don't appear to be any big API changes for developers, a couple of pretty obnoxious issues were cleared up for regular users. It looks like the Home address in Trusted Places is not only working again, but there may be an improved UI that makes it even easier to set up safe zones (if you didn't already have it). Android Wear owners will also be pleased to say goodbye to the persistent notification. Read More
Check out Google My Business (no, that sentence doesn't contain two verbs). The mobile app business owners can use to track their company's Google+ page insights and connect with customers has received a material overhaul for version 2.0. The app should now fit in with Google's other work thanks to a bright action bar, top-level navigation menu, and plenty of animations.
The appearance isn't all that's new. This update will also let you set custom date ranges when viewing stats on the number of clicks, views, and followers your page amasses.
If the Play Store hasn't yet sent the new version your way, you can download it manually from the link below. Read More
Do you get a lot of work done using Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides from your smartphone? Probably not, but it's pretty easy to keep tabs on other people being productive using those three apps. That's the idea behind one of the latest changes to hit Google's office suite.
In the latest version of Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you now have the option to approve or reject changes that other people make to your documents. If you share a file with someone and give them "can comment" access, Google says any changes they make will pop up in the app for your to accept, reject, or comment on. Read More