From poorly-executed "leaks" to potential legitimate sightings, there's been a lot of hubbub about Google's supposed unified messaging service, likely called Babel. This isn't necessarily surprising. After all, if you asked most Android enthusiasts what feature they most wanted from the platform in its next iteration, you'd hear a lot about unified messaging. We've tried to stay clear of covering every flurry of Babel-related murmurings so far, but today we saw something new – Google+ user Patric Dhawaan posted a screenshot of what he says is a notification in Gmail, triggered when "pruning" his inbox.
Gmail 4.3 recently hit the streets, bringing with it a long-awaited (by me, at least) ability to archive email directly from the notification panel. It's awesome. But what else did Google sneak into our phones and tablets with this update? Let's find out.
Fair warning: this is going to be one of those teardown sessions that raises more questions than answers, so bring your speculation hat.
Gmail has always had this wacky file in it called "experimental_preferences.xml." I've mostly ignored it, because it has only ever had two relatively-boring things in it: "full text search," which works already; and "Enable drag and drop contact chip," which would let you type a name into the "To:" field and move it to something like "CC:" by dragging it.
If you use Google Voice, or simply make the occasional outgoing call via Gmail, Google's got some great news for you. The service is going to continue to be free throughout 2013 for users in the U.S. and Canada! International callers will still have the same rates applied. In short, nothing is really changing, and that's a good thing.
When Google first introduced the ability to make phone calls in Gmail, it said the service would be free through at least the end of 2010.
This is why it's great that Google unbundles core apps from the OS. While it might take a considerable amount of time before the newest version of Jelly Bean rolls out to your device, current Android 4.1 users can upgrade Google Search right now and get access to the latest improvements to Google Now. The list of fun new features includes additional cards (like Stocks, News, Concerts, and Packages), as well as voice actions, including the glorious ability to add events to your calendar with via speech.
Ok, guys. Start your engines - here's the download and instructions you need to get the leaked Gmail 4.2 up and running on your device. Keep in mind that this is an unreleased version so some things may be buggy or broken, though I haven't run into any problems.
If you somehow don't know what I'm talking about, we have the next, unreleased version of Gmail, and we're finally allowed to share it with you.
Today, we are thrilled to share some exciting news about the next version of Gmail for Android. We may or may not be in possession of an unreleased version of Gmail, which may or may not have come from an LG Nexus system dump. One thing I am sure of is we definitely have video of it, which is just one short paragraph away.
Update: You can download the new Gmail here: [Exclusive] Download: The Unreleased Gmail 4.2 APK With Pinch-To-Zoom And More.
Folks, I can't believe it myself, but this day has finally come - Google seems to have finally sorted out all its backend and frontend issues with Google contact sync. Jelly Bean's 720x720 hi-res contact support was surely a nice addition, but ended up almost completely useless in our earlier tests: Jelly Bean Bumps Contact Photos To Hi-Res 720x720 But Google Sync Continues To Clobber It With Low-Res Mush.
As of today, all the problems I ran into before are resolved.