Wednesday was packed with an onslaught of app updates, many of which came with at least a few notable features. While a bit on the quiet side, the Play Movies & TV app came with some worthwhile new features of its own. Most of the new features are hidden under the Settings screen, including a toggle to finally shut off binge-watching on phones and tablets and a pair of options to enable notifications for new TV shows and when things on your Wishlist become available or drop in price. There are also a few other subtle differences behind the scenes.
Here's the official changelog for Play Movies & TV v3.10:
- Wishlist any movie that's not yet available for purchase and receive notifications when it's available to buy or rent
- More reliable playback
- Settings improvements
- Play Movies & TV channel in Android TV Live Channels app
An update back in early October brought binge-watching, which filled in a popular feature for serious TV watchers. Read More
Version 1.40 of YouTube Kids, Google's way of getting your children hooked on video clips from a young age, doesn't want any youngster missing out on what's going on outdoors. Encouraging them to look away from the screen would be too risky, so instead YouTube Kids now has a winter-themed homescreen. Look at the snow, and imagine the cold. Read More
Google is on an update spree for most of its apps, probably getting everything as ready as it could before the end of the year holidays. An update to Google+ rolled out yesterday, bringing the app up to version 6.9 and updating the look of the Notifications tab.
Previously, this tab was a slide-out from the right side of the screen, and it only covered about three quarters letting other content show beneath it. Read More
If you saw our post about last month's update to Maps, you may remember a teardown showed hotels would soon gain listings for amenities. Google didn't keep us waiting for long; amenities can now be viewed on many hotel listings and in search results. As usual, we've got the download links below if you don't want to wait for the slow rollout to hit your device. Read More
Chrome 47 is now in the Play Store. This stable build is the end result of all of the development we've watched over the past few months.
We detailed changes as they popped up, with one nice feature being the addition of a snackbar that appears at the bottom of the screen when you complete a download (pictured above). Read More
The Photos app saw a small bump to v1.10 yesterday (and a tiny bug fix today), but it seems most people will be hard pressed to find much in the way of changes. However, there seems to be one interesting feature popping up for a very small number of users. If the right circumstances are met, users will have an option to create a tiny floating shortcut to the Photos app over the screen of their camera apps. Yeah, it sounds pretty weird, but it would be useful for apps that don't offer a shortcut of their own.
Thanks, Dominic Witte. Read More
Google's Chrome development team regularly implements new APIs to extend the possibilities for web apps to behave more like their native counterparts. The most recent addition to the Chrome dev channel allows web developers to use Bluetooth to communicate with nearby hardware. This could be used for things like an online fitness tracker that gets data from a heart rate monitor or for a controller to drive a Sphero, all without installing a native app.
These things are possible with the new Web Bluetooth API. Still in the early stages of development, this allows a web application to query for Bluetooth devices based on their capabilities, then pass messages back and forth with little or no friction. Read More
A very long-awaited update to Google Fit began rolling out earlier this week, but it seemed to focus almost entirely on improvements to the Wear micro-app while the main app was all but ignored. As it turns out, that was a mistake. A fresh update to the app started rolling out yesterday and it brings the rest of the features that were intended for this release – and what a list of features they are.
Note: Everything here was about to be part of a teardown, but the update stole that thunder. Read More
A fresh update of Google Play Services is headed out to our Android hardware around the world. This brings the framework package up to v8.4 and actually carries a couple of user-facing changes for us to check out. There's nothing too big, which is pretty normal for a Play services update, but there are some nice visual touch-ups for Smart Lock and a new option in the Android Auto developer options. But that's not all, a teardown shows that we're getting much closer to family organization (yes, for family sharing) and app invites will finally become useful as they can finally be sent to the people that need them most – the people right next to us. Read More