We first saw custom tiles in an Android N Developer Preview a few months back, but unfortunately, not many apps have added this feature. It's a shame, really; custom tiles are easy to use and can add a lot of speed and functionality to frequently-used apps. Now, Shazam has added one called "Auto Shazam," and it might come in handy if you're a big music listener. I don't personally use Shazam anymore (Google does the same thing if you start a voice search, FYI), but I can certainly see the merits of this for people who are invested in it. Read More
Google is certainly no stranger to testing new features slowly. Most recently, it released an update to YouTube's UI that's been in testing for at least four months. And for Google, this is a good thing. Testing new features with limited samples of users helps get data not only on their usefulness, but also on how they augment user experience and engagement.
That brings us to the Play Store, an app where nothing is more important than engagement. Google appears to be testing a new feature called "Related Interests," which lists off various categories with round chips similar to the chips used for artists on Google Play Music's web interface. Read More
Heads up or "peeking" notifications, the little miniature pop-ups that appear in Android Lollipop if a notification comes in when you happen to be actually using your device, aren't for everyone. That's why Google will include the option to disable them on a per-app basis in the upcoming Android M release. (See Settings>Sound & Notification>App notifications in the Developer Preview.) It's also why apps like HeadsOff have sprung up to cater to those who want them to go away even sooner.
Unfortunately, it looks like Google isn't all that interested in bringing back the pre-Lollipop equivalent, Ticker Text. Ticker Text is that scrolling text you see across the notation bar when a new alert pops up while you're using your phone, but it's gone as of Android 5.0. Read More
It seems that while Google hasn't actually released the official announcement yet (it's expected this morning), the Collections feature we've heard so much about in recent days now appears to be going live for some users.
Google is just about ready to introduce Collections to Google+ publicly, according to sources.
Evidently, Collections is expected to launch tomorrow, May 4th, in the morning (Pacific Time), with an announcement coming from the official Google+ page of ... Google+. After its announcement, the feature will activate for web and Android users on a rollout that's expected to last a day or so. There's no word yet on when Collections will come to iOS.
The new feature, which we got a sneak peek at recently (followed by pretty strong code-based clues of an impending launch), will allow users to curate "collections" of their content for others to share and follow. Read More