The Google Maps app is back again with a fresh update, and this one is certainly interesting. As far as live features go, there are some changes related to navigation that will help keep maps oriented north, even with accidental swipes. A teardown also shows that Google is planning to give advice about parking at different locations, and Local Guides can look forward to status indicators for edits. And finally, there's evidence suggesting the return of Launcher Shortcuts.
- New 'Keep map north up' setting
- Accidental swipe protection for North-up mode in Navigation
Keep map north up
Left: previous version with tilt map toggle. Read More
When the Google Maps Engine app hit Android in late 2013, it enabled users to view and share custom maps. Now an update has landed that empowers them to create and edit such maps as well. Users can spawn new ones, add layers, and move points around as needed. They can then go back and rename aspects as they wish.
The update has also introduced some UI changes, so while it may look largely the same, it's a little cleaner around the edges. This should improve the quality of the experience overall, though users may still want to hop over to a desktop to really have at things (especially people working for businesses). Read More
For the relentless proof-readers among us, we've got a quick tip pointed out today by Reddit user SuperNanoCat. When writing in an editable text box on Android, users can highlight a word or chunk of text, then press and hold to drag it around.
This feature has actually been around for quite some time, possibly as far back as Ice Cream Sandwich, but it's a feature most users have only used accidentally. Read More
Good things come to those who wait. Android users didn't get an official Wikipedia app until January 2012, and it was a relatively bare bones release at that. Over two years later, it's really starting to show its age, as those Gingerbread screenshots sitting on its Play Store page aren't impressing anyone. But now we see a new version of the Wikipedia Beta app that finally seems poised to give us the native experience we've been waiting for.
That's right, the app has gone native, offering a faster experience and a UI that looks much better on anything released since Ice Cream Sandwich. Read More
Retrica's popularity can be summed up in one word: selfies. If somebody - let's call her Sue - needs a picture of herself right this moment, she needs an app with a minimalist interface that doesn't get in the way. And since Sue Somebody is working with less than optimal circumstances and a mobile phone with a crappy front-facing camera, she wants a wide range of filters that could mask how bad of a photo she's about to take. Retrica fits that bill. She's seen her friend using the app on iOS for a while now, but now it's available in the Play Store for her to download as well. Read More
The Google Play Store, as always, was abuzz with new apps last month. More than just new apps, though, the Play Store gained plenty of well-crafted, quality apps. The kind that have spurred the market's recent growth spurt, and which allow users to discover functionalities they never knew they needed. As always, we've sifted through all last month's new apps and selected our top five picks – a kind of short list for those looking to get the most out of their device with awesome apps.
Pixlr Express, despite its name, is an impressively powerful tool for on-the-go photo editing. Read More
When I first covered Pixlr Express a few days ago, I noted that the presence of a photo editing app was odd in Autodesk's lineup of powerful tools. Having developed apps like ForceEffect, 360 Mobile, and AutoCAD WS, you'd think Autodesk was marketing to power users who want to design, edit, animate, and engineer from the palm of their hand. Still, Autodesk's first foray into the mobile photo editing world – Pixlr-o-matic – was a hit. So much so, it appears, that Autodesk brought to market Pixlr Express.
Despite its name, the only thing "express" about Autodesk's new tool is the speed with which users can edit, manipulate, and overlay photos using a wide library of tools (when I say "wide," I refer to its selection of 600+ effects). Read More
UPDATE: We've updated the links below with an install package that lets you capture and view Photo Spheres right on your handset.
One of the most popular features introduced Monday with Android 4.2 was a revamped camera/gallery app (that we got a peek at early). The camera introduces a new focus/settings UI (popping up with an "options ring" only when you need it), a refreshed gallery interface, and of course – Photo Sphere.
Photo Sphere, for those who missed it, allows users to capture 360° images of their surroundings a la Google Maps, using XML data in concert with an enormous JPG file to help you save an immersive photo experience of where you've been. Read More
You may remember a couple of weeks ago when we covered an app by Scalado called Remove that, well, removes strangers from your mobile photos. The app is officially scheduled to debut to the public at this years Mobile World Congress, but ABC News' This Could Be Big segment gave the software a quick hands-on ahead of time:
Remove, as explained in the video above, works by taking multiple photos of a scene and highlighting unnecessary foot traffic/unwanted objects, wiping them out quickly and easily, and patching them with the background your photo was supposed to have.
It's still not clear when we can expect to see the app distributed to individual users, or when we may see the software preloaded on devices, but we'll be here to cover all the details as they roll out next week. Read More