Things are heating up for Android Wear lately. Earlier this week, a new version of the Android Wear companion app began rolling out to make preparations for the next OS update. There's now an update to the Google app in the Beta channel which follows up with some interesting changes of its own: a new Wear-specific app that places the Google Now stream into a distinct card on watches. A teardown also shows some interesting new experiments for continuous queries and text-to-speech. There's even a small tweak for the Google Now Launcher.
The Google Now Card
Views of the new Google Now card and the first page to the right. Read More
The Google app now has its own beta channel, and the first official version dropped last week. Of course there are a number of bug fixes and probably some fine tuning for performance, but no notable features seemed to turn up between the two releases. However, like most other updates, there are new clues about features we've yet to see. This time around, there is evidence of Chrome's Custom Tab feature coming to search results, a new event card for concert tickets, and a pair of new cards for system status toggles.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence.
You could say that Google Now on Tab has had an on-again-off-again relationship of sorts with the Android M developer preview. Back when version 5.3 of the Google app rolled out a few weeks ago, it enabled the functionality we saw detailed during Google I/O. If you tried to use Now on Tap a few days after that, it didn't work. Eventually you would see a pop up window saying, "Now on Tap is coming soon! Stay tuned..." Read More
If you've been following the Google Now On Tap saga in recent days, you'll be happy to know we've come full circle. A new version of the Google app last week enabled On Tap for the third dev preview, but it stopped working soon after. Now it's back to displaying a cheerful "coming soon" message. Why do you taunt us, Google? Read More
Update Wednesday isn't over yet, and this is a big one. Google is rolling out v5.3 of the search app and it enables Google Now On Tap for M preview 3. The app will install on Android 4.4 and higher, but it won't add On Tap functionality, obviously. Read More
Google's new logo is just the beginning. Naturally, given how many of the company's apps populate most of our Android devices, the change affects the experience we'll have on our smartphones and tablets. Google's new branding will obviously appear when you access the search engine in a mobile browser, but that's just the beginning. The changes are also finding their way into Android's dedicated Search app and Google Now cards. Read More
Google announced a new feature of Google Now at I/O this year called Now on Tap. It hasn't been available in any of the Android M developer previews, but it looks like one of the more exciting things to happen to Now since its introduction in 2012. Most of the original Google Now developers won't be around to see it, though. According to Re/code, many engineers that helped make Google Now a reality left in the months before I/O. Read More
One of the nice things about sending traditional SMS messages is the option not to type them. Using the Google app (or an Android Wear device), you can just say "OK Google, send a text to Mom: Look Ma, no hands!" You can do the same through Hangouts and email. The feature is a life saver while driving, when messages would otherwise go unanswered.
Now you're able to use third-party messengers as well. Google has announced support for WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram, and NextPlus. Just say "send a Viber message" or "send a Telegram message" in place of text or email. Read More
YouTube's Offline Playback feature was first introduced alongside Music Key back in November, finally giving people a way to store a (limited) selection of videos for trips into areas with poor connectivity, or just to avoid using up capped data plans. While it has remained mostly unchanged in the last 8 months, the latest update finally brings a few modifications. The interface is now a bit more informative and uniform, and there's a new low-quality option (which is actually a good thing). A teardown also revealed some big improvements to the voice command interface that has been in the works for a while. Read More