In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.
For those who may not know, Google Maps has an offline feature. It's not all that useful (it doesn't allow saved locations to be searched nor does it provide directions/navigation - it's essentially a paper map on a small screen), but it's still a thing that may be useful to someone at some point. Assuming you think ahead and actually save a map of the location in which you may need for it to be offline, of course.
Just minutes ago we posted about the discovery of an Android 4.4.3 changelog in AOSP and we've already found some interesting information. Among the individual project repositories, there are a few dedicated to Google-supported devices, mostly those in the Nexus family. In particular, we came across new references to an HTC device codenamed "Flounder," and another device belonging to Google with the name "Molly." This is the first time that these names have appeared in AOSP.
A Google Search update is usually an occasion to celebrate – not only do we get new Google Now cards, but the Google Now Launcher can also be augmented with new features and tweaks. But all was not well when Google Search 3.4 rolled out. Users of the popular Xposed GEL Settings Module (XGELS) found that it no longer worked. The developer was pessimistic at first, but now it's back.
Google has begun rolling out an update to the Play Services package we all know and love. Details about version 4.4 have already been posted to the Android Developers blog, and it features updates and new features to the APIs for Maps, Mobile Ads, Activity Recognition, plus a few minor fixes for Games Services and Wallet. Aside from general bug fixes, it looks like this update is mostly about giving new tools to developers.
Time to check your email – Google is sending out some deals to an unknown number of users. If you get the magic email, Google will let you buy up to five new-ish albums for $1.99 each. This is attached to specific accounts, so there's no way to get access to the deal unless you are selected by the all-powerful Google computer.
Sprint got on the Google Voice train early – about when Google got bored and started ignoring the product. At any rate, things have been fine for users on Sprint, who get tight integration with Google Voice on their Sprint number. Well, except this last weekend. There's a pretty big thread going over at the Google Product Forums of Sprint users reporting strange behavior with GV.
Google is sneaking one more update in this week, and it's an odd one. After pushing out the new Docs and Sheets apps, Google is now updating the main Drive app and actually removing some functionality. You will now be prompted to install Docs or Sheets if you want to edit, but it's not as bad as it sounds at first.