What is this? Update Monday? Google's updates are becoming so prolific they cannot be contained by a single day of the week. Today the slow rollout of Google Play Music v5.6 has started, but before you get your hopes up, it's not a huge update. And no, it's not #materialyolo. There are still some notable changes, though.
The new Google keyboard in Android L brings the Material Design aesthetic to text input, but the APK pulled from L doesn't work quite right on other Android builds. It actually breaks the keyboard for most devices. No worries, though. An XDA user has tweaked it to work correctly on (probably) all Android 4.0 and higher devices. There is one method that requires root (it's actually a ZIP file) and one that might not work on all devices that's an APK.
With all that excitement (sort of) around the announcement of the Fire Phone, you might have forgotten it was update Wednesday. Well Google didn't forget. Google never forgets anything... ever. The Drive app is hitting version 184.108.40.206 today with a few little UI tweaks of note.
- Google-colored refresh animation (was plain blue before)
- Multi-user switcher now expands in-line instead of opens a drop-down
- Doc creation shortcuts at the bottom of the screen in floating bar
- Settings now links Program Policies
That's what we've got so far.
When Gmail hit 1 billion downloads early last month, it was a pretty safe bet some of the other Google apps would follow closely behind. The next entrant to the exclusive club came only a few weeks later, and this time it's Maps taking the spotlight. Even if it occasionally sends us through winding mountain roads and quiet neighborhoods during cross-country trips, we should give a round of applause for the app that always got us where we needed to go!
Google hasn't completely forgotten about Voice – after nine months with nary a peep, the Google Voice app has suddenly woken up in the Play Store. The new version comes with version number 0.4.3.8, which isn't even a big jump from the last one (v0.4.2.82). Actually, the fact that the app has been updated at all is the most remarkable thing about this. There's almost nothing new here.
The selector isn't new, but the popup is
Next month will be the two-year anniversary of Gmail becoming the most widely used email service on the planet. While it remains the uncontested champion, the Gmail app for Android struck its own accomplishment last week as it became the first conventional app in the Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads. Technically, the Google Play services package crossed the same mark back in January, but it is automatically installed on any device equipped with the Play Store and running Android 2.2 or higher.
HTC's upcoming flagship is leaking left and right in all sorts of ways. We've seen press images from numerous carriers, and there was that long video "review" as well. Now we've got something you can enjoy on your own device. The wallpapers and sounds from the M8 have appeared online, and you can grab them now.
The wallpapers have a mix of geometric and nature themes – close-ups of flowers, plants, and abstract lines.
The goodies from Android 4.4 continue to trickle out even before the Nexus 5 reaches buyers. This time it's the updated Google Keyboard (v2.0), and you can install it right now over top of the old version. This updated keyboard adds a feature that will be familiar to anyone who has spent time with SwiftKey recently.
The first thing you'll notice with the new keyboard is that the swiping trail is now white instead of Holo-blue.
Several days ago, I started a series of rumor posts on my personal Google+ account discussing some Android rumors I felt were interesting enough to share, but didn't feel confident enough yet to do so here on the site. The posts were heavily prefixed with disclaimers that none of them may turn out to be true but that I had a certain level of confidence to talk about them in public unofficially.