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
Google Street View launched as a true standalone app just last month, becoming something of a shared gallery for the world's most awesome locales. People can easily look through and contribute to a vast selection of great photographs and photospheres from around the globe. But if you were looking for the truly immersive experience, the app was still somewhat lacking. That is, until now. The latest update adds Google Cardboard support, so everybody can take a trip without leaving their home.
To switch modes, just tap on the new Cardboard icon in the top-right corner of the screen on any 360-degree photo. Read More
The Asus ZenWatch 2 is going to be shipping in a few days, and the company has updated the ZenWatch Manager app to get ready. The new version is basically a completely new app. The interface, features, and selection of watch faces have been completely revamped. This update boosts the number of available watch faces to a total of 50 and adds new options to almost all of them. Yes, there are 50 customizable watch faces for the ZenWatches now.
Google Maps received a fairly minor update last night, bumping it up to v9.15. There aren't any big visible changes, and even the teardown was pretty light, but there is one addition to the Settings screen that's worth mentioning. Under the Notifications section is a new checkbox titled "Traffic information." Obviously, it lets you shut off traffic notifications, which might be fairly handy if you already know they're coming or there tend to be a lot of false positives reported in your area. It's not the most exciting feature, but it will certainly matter to a few users.
This is the only noticeable change to the interface we've seen so far, but there may be some others lurking in a corner we haven't checked yet. Read More