Normally I rip apart APKs looking for news-worthy items and unreleased features, but I've covered everything that's currently out, so this teardown session is going to be a little different. During my usual digging for features, I've stumbled across a surprising amount of unused files, movie references, and canceled beta assets. I've always thought it was a shame that no one knows about them, so today we'll be exploring all the crazy leftover files that ship on our phones and tablets.
After having successfully survived a thunder-snowicane and completed a black-ops mission into a post-apocalyptic New York City to pick up a Nexus 4, APK Teardown HQ is back up and running. We've accumulated a bit of a backlog, so today's entry is a 2 for 1 deal: Google Maps 6.14 and Google Search 2.1.
Maps is getting real-time traffic rerouting!
Now, you might be saying "But Maps already takes traffic into account, look at this blog post!" but let's take a look at what that blog post really says:
For years Nuance's Dragon served as a leader in the world of voice dictation and commands. More recently, though, as Google and Apple move in on the speech control world, the company has a more pressing need than ever to distinguish itself. Enter Dragon Mobile Assistant. This app aims to "expands the natural language understanding and artificial intelligence" of Dragon Go! and "[add] the most popular personal assistant features."
At this point, most of our readers are probably aware of how voice assistants work.
Many users - myself, Artem, and several other AP team members included - got an error just a bit ago stating that "There is a problem communicating with Google servers," but this issue seems to only be affecting Jelly Bean devices. Makes perfect sense, too - looks like Google Now is the only thing currently down, as Talk, Drive, GMail, Calendar, Movies, Music, Magazines, Books, Maps, the Play Store, and pretty much all other Google Services are currently fully functional.
I make no bones of the fact that I find 3rd party voice assistants to be increasingly redundant, especially with the arrival of Google Now on Jelly Bean.
But Google Now doesn't do certain things. One of those things has annoyed me since the early days of Google's Voice Actions: you can't make calendar events through voice input. And as a person that absolute despises digital calendars, this is something of a "must have" feature.
One of the coolest features in Jelly Bean, Google Now, just got its first major update since Android 4.1 was released. The update brings some oft-requested features:
- Movies - see movie showtimes and more
- Public alerts - receive emergency messages such as storm warnings and earthquake alerts
- Add favorite sports teams to follow in real time (from Settings)
- Support for Korea
Most of these features are the perfect use-case for Google Now, so it's great to see El Goog already bringing new and intuitive features to the table.
We non-Jelly Bean plebeians have been envious of those with access to Android 4.1 for some time now, and a recent video from JLishere provides yet another reason to be jealous. The video, a demo of the much-anticipated Google Now, shows off just how accurate JB's voice recognition can be - in fact, it was able to pick up on the subtle differences between words like 'Worcester' and 'Wooster.' It also exemplifies the impressive number of commands Now (in cooperation with the Knowledge Graph) can register - from "call the Drake Hotel" to "do a barrel roll."
Enough balderdash, though - watch the 47-question demo for yourself:
Update: 20 more questions:
One last note: as JLishere notes in the video description, the demo was performed on an early build of Jelly Bean - this, in other words, should be considered a beta feature that will only get better with time.
Google Now is a feature we've been eagerly anticipating for what seems like forever now. In fact, we've been seeing hints at something like it since 2010. When Apple announced Siri last year, an official counterpart from Google became not only inevitable, but necessary - iOS' speech service provided direct Apple competition to Google's mobile search engine. Today, in one of the most notable announcements at I/O, the Big G made official its answer to Siri: the aforementioned Google Now.
Over at Google I/O, the news about Android 4.1 - a.k.a. Jelly Bean, if you haven't heard - just broke.
Update: check out the Jelly Bean video:
The first announcement was Project Butter, a new processing framework for Android that should make it run much, much faster - up to 60fps, in fact. The CPU and graphics will now work together in harmony, with the latter being triple-buffered, meaning things like scrolling and transitions should be noticeably faster.