Update Wednesdays are always exciting, but particularly so when Google releases a new app. Today, Google has hit "publish" on Google Handwriting Input, a new keyboard option that - as the name implies - allows users to type by handwriting text in 82 languages.
Google says the app supports print and cursive, written with or without a stylus. If you draw a smiley face, Handwriting Input will even suggest emojis.
Of course the input method is styled to resemble Google's other input methods, using the same light grey and teal (or dark blue-grey and teal if you choose the dark theme) colors found in Google's main Keyboard app. Read More
Google often makes small improvements to the Play Store without any announcements or fanfare, and this appears to be happening with the latest update to the mobile Play Store search engine. Some (but certainly not all) users are seeing quick links to category pages when they make relevant searches on Android, complete with easy-to-spot icons right in the drop-down field. The icons are showing up both for straight searches and for popular related apps.
The Play Store search has had integration with categories for a while now, so expect the interface tweak to appear for you sometime in the next few weeks. Read More
Yesterday, something odd happened...the 2013 Nexus 7 LTE got an OTA before its Wi-Fi counterpart. Thankfully, it appears that it was only a day early, as Google is now rolling out its latest Android build to the Wi-Fi only variant as well.
The OTA is build LMY47O, just like the LTE model, and weighs in at roughly 170 MB. If the update isn't available for you, fret not. We've got you covered. See below for a link to download the OTA file for manual sideloading.
razor LMY47O from LRX22G (5.0.2 -> 5.1): http://android.clients.google.com/packages/ota/google_razor/d8aa77dd9fdbd05160be70093d0fa4c847b06911.signed-razor-LMY47O-from-LRX22G.d8aa77dd.zip
We're naturally big fans of Google here at Android Police. But living in Google's world as we do, it's easy for us to see the flaws in the enormous company, and it's also our duty to point them out. One of the biggest problems with Google is that it's often terrible at providing customer service to its hundreds of millions of active users. So it is with the first major problem to pop up for Music Key, YouTube's new music subscription service.
To put it bluntly, some paying Music Key users can't access the ad-free music, background playback, and the rest of the bonus features that come with the subscription. Read More
After a five year investigation of the search giant, European regulators are expected to launch an official antitrust case against Google tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal reports EU Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager will make the announcement tomorrow (Wednesday the 15th). Google will then be served with a "statement of objection" and charge sheet. At that point, the lawyers will begin legal wrangling that is sure to last years.
Back in November, Google updated its new design guidelines for the first time, adding guidance on the navigation drawer and launcher icons, and - happily - a "what's new" section, which it said would serve as a place to explain future updates to the guidelines.
Yesterday, Google gave the guidelines another sizable update, adding an entire section to guide devs and designers on when and how to use floating action buttons, along with new guidelines for data tables, overall app structure, and guidance on important units and measurements, plus a lot more. Here's Google's full list of changes.
The April 2015 release of the material design spec includes the following new sections:
Additional significant content updates include:
- Typography adds further guidance on style and line height for dense and tall languages
- Cards includes more specs for laying out actions and content
- Dialogs contains additional layout guidance
- Tabs adds guidance around label content and more complete sizing specs
- Scrolling techniques adds guidance for overlapping content
Where Google's last update to the guidelines seemed to be about filling holes, this update is positioned as a response to the community, giving more specific guidance on things that seem to have arisen as points of interest in material design. Read More
Large companies have a hard time keeping secrets, especially when multiple partners and countless employees become involved. Bits and pieces are bound to leak out, both intentionally and accidentally, and sometimes a wealth of information can be discovered about unannounced plans. It appears that an app designed for Google's much anticipated MVNO has turned up in an unofficial Nexus 6 firmware image. If legitimate, the app not only confirms the service, but it may reveal some details about service plans, billing, and even a previously unheard-of name, "Project Fi."
Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
YouTube isn't the only Google web property getting some A/B testing right now. Apparently Maps is under the microscope as well, with Google testing a new nav drawer menu and refreshed biking and traffic elements.
The nav drawer icon, as you might expect, is embedded in the search bar, a pattern introduced with the new nav drawer icon and material design.
There's also a "road sign" navigation icon embedded in the same bar.
As mentioned, biking and traffic legends have been refreshed in the new design, too. The information panels have been broken out of the search interface, centered at the bottom of the UI. Read More