YouTube's update to v5 introduced its floating in-app video player, giving users an easier way to browse for a new video while finishing up whatever they were just watching. While the YouTube developers are known for experimenting heavily with interface adjustments, the floating video player has gone basically unchanged over the last four years. That is until a few weeks ago when some users found themselves looking at a new bottom bar layout equipped with player controls. But that's not the only thing YouTube is considering, there is also evidence that users will have the option to shut off the floating video player altogether, or only leave it on while connected to Wi-Fi. Read More
Android Pay may not have had a massive launch, or has been as aggressively rolled out as Samsung Pay, but it is steadily setting up shop in more countries around the globe. If you don't happen to find yourself in one of the dozen countries that have either already seen a launch or at least have an official promise of one coming soon, you might be interested to know that Google has at least set its sights on a few other countries. Text in the latest update of the Android Pay app hints at four previously unannounced markets. There are also obvious signs Google is merging the recently closed Hands Free experiment into Android Pay and expanding it significantly. Read More
The Play Store has just been updated to version 7.8 as of this morning, at least for some people. This release brings a couple of small changes to the interface and a few bigger changes in preparation for the future. Google has added a little reminder note to get people back on track with automatic updates, meanwhile it has also removed a toggle on some devices that gave users a choice about whether icons should be added to the home screen for newly installed apps. (But don't worry, that's conditional.) On the teardown front, we can see big signs of progress for Instant Apps, a move toward branding the malware scanner, and a clue that pre-registering for apps may finally be worth something besides a reminder notification. Read More
When the Photos app launched in 2015, Google had already been working on computer vision for many years. It was no surprise that object recognition was a major draw for the app, and automatic sorting of pictures by person with the use of facial recognition became a must-have feature. Google is now looking to leverage this technology to make the Photos app a bit more social. A teardown of the latest Photos update reveals the service will soon offer additional features based around facial recognition, and even encourage users to share pictures with the people detected in them. Read More
US retailer Walmart has just added another app to its burgeoning selection on the Google Play Store. The oft-maligned company already has several Android apps available with varying degrees of success. With Walmart Grocery, food shopping could be a whole lot easier. The new app allows you to select your items, make a payment, and organize delivery or collection. A similar experience can already be had at its regular, non-grocery stores with the Walmart app. Read More
The Google app is responsible for a pretty staggering number of features ranging from the standard search interface, a voice assistant, and even a fully functional launcher. The latest update coming through the beta channel doesn't seem to have any new features going live quite yet, but there are a lot of changes to text and other resources, including the removal of all references to Bisto from the last teardown. Most of them are minor tweaks to features we've covered in the past, but a couple point to things we haven't explored yet. Users can look forward to pollen counts with their local weather and possibly a search bar located right in the notification shade. Read More
Google Fit stands as one of Google's only flagship apps on Android Wear, and may be the only one of its apps that matters more on a watch than it does on a phone. There's a new version of the app available on the Play Store for both watches and phones, but this update is all about adding a big feature for Wear. There's a new mode for recording strength training and similar activities that involve counting reps.
This update is for Wear 2.0 only, so quite a few people will have to wait until the rollout is complete before testing this out, but it works on the last developer preview as well as any watch that already has the official 2.0 firmware. Read More