When you take that metaphorical first step onto your Android homescreen, the Google search bar is the first thing you see. It floats atop the screen like a banner, saying to the world: "Google made this, also tap on me because I do stuff."
As it turns out, Google is experimenting with making the search bar do more such stuff. In addition to search results, some users are seeing extra options in the dropdown that appears when they perform a search.
There comes a time in every person's life when he or she needs to access a certain web page and doesn't have an internet connection. Those are troubling times that normally require the individual in question to stay strong and maintain composure until a connection is once again available, but thanks to a new experimental option in the Chrome Dev build for Android, that struggle may be coming to an end.
In the most recent build, there are a couple of new entries in Chrome://flags — Enhanced Bookmarks and Saved Pages — that will allow users to easily save pages for offline viewing, then make them quickly accessible via a new menu option called "Saved Pages" (makes sense, eh?).
Some major changes for the YouTube Android app appear to be coming down the pipeline. Several readers have reached out to us with screenshots and video documenting substantial tweaks they noticed when firing up the app.
The share button inside YouTube is unlike the icon used in virtually every other Android app. Rather than the usual set of three connected dots, we see a horizontally flipped version of the reply symbol in Gmail. Well, Google isn't yet changing the iconography, but it does seem to be testing out a new location.
In addition to the share button's usual home at the top-right corner of a video, we're also seeing it next to the like and dislike buttons.
If you're not seeing the new layout, try closing the YouTube app and opening it again. That works for some users.
The feature is still in development, but it's stable enough to use. Right now Chrome only displays icons for websites that have images large enough not to look blurry. Those that don't pass this bar show a gray block containing the first letter of the domain.
The first piece of software to sprout up in SwiftKey's new garden is the Clarity keyboard, an alternative to the company's main product that takes things back to basics. Aside from the ability to capitalize or access symbols using gestures, there's nothing in the way of fancy features here. There isn't even a prediction bar.
Chrome may be one of the most popular web browsers out there, but its new tab page still manages to look like an unfinished product much of time. That's because the browser takes screenshots of your most visited webpages and lists them in a 4 x 2 grid, only sometimes it doesn't have a screenshot to work with. In those cases, it leaves the square blank.
The Chromium team is currently working on a way to pretty things up. It has an experimental new tab page in the works that replaces these largely blank squares with high-quality icons. Here we see the feature on desktop, but presumably it will take effect on Android as well.
Geek.com is back with another round of leaked screenshots. We shared the reported experimental Gmail images last week, which showed a radically different interface from the one we've grown accustomed to. Those images, and these new ones, allegedly come from early test builds, so whether they reveal much about Google's future plans remains to be seen. Nevertheless, here are the new calendar screens, the last of which shows the name "Timely" at the top, apparently Google's internal name for the Calendar app that ships pre-installed on devices.
There's a new version of Gmail making the rounds at Google, if a couple of leaked screenshots from Geek.com can be believed. Those shots describe a radical user interface change and a handful of new features. Whether they're real and/or final or not is up for debate - even the report notes that the organizational features are mostly experimental at this point.
Aside from the new flat look to the user interface and Google+-style rounded profile pics, the biggest change comes in the form of a new inbox view, with a focus on organizing messages by content. Social, Finance, and Forum meta-tags seem to be automatically applied in this view, superseding standard messages and coming with their own unread counts.
The Xperia E, Sony's low-end Jelly Bean-powered smartphone which was announced back in December may have another trick up its sleeve yet. The manufacturer is offering owners of the device the chance to test out Mozilla's fledgling Firefox OS on the device via a downloadable ROM. Meant for "advanced developers," the ROM comes with a few warnings from Sony, chiefly that you should know what you're doing before you get started.
The ROM is thus far labeled "experimental," and comes with its own set of limitations: for starters, there's no radio connectivity. This means no cellular, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth capability. Additionally, the SD card "might be unstable" and touch screen sensitivity is not fully calibrated.