Today's Hangouts update was a bit of a surprise. Besides landing on Monday, the update was a fairly large one. Users of the latest version of Hangouts are already enjoying merged SMS/Hangouts threads, improved status markers, a new home screen widget, new sound effects, the ability to share contact cards, and other touches. But - as with any Google update - it's worth looking a little deeper in the app to see what may be hiding in the code.
Google's messaging situation has been a mess. When Hangouts first appeared, it replaced Google+ Messenger and Google Talk, bringing the company's list of similarly-named Android apps from four down to three. Once Hangouts gained SMS support and replaced Messenger, that dropped the number down to two. Voice is all that remains, and if a report by 9to5 Google is to be believed, we only have a handful of months to wait for it to kick the bucket, with a possible Google I/O announcement seeming increasingly likely.
Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.
As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions.
Handy volume control app Silence got a nice update today to version 2.0. The update, besides introducing a new (holo) interface, adds a ton of new functionality. So much, in fact, that the app's functionality now overshadows its simple name.
For starters, the update adds Google Calendar integration (for Android 4.0+), and support for recurring events, each with their own volume profile. Users can configure the events to repeat until a given date, and the app can control notification, media, and alarm volumes with individual levels for each.
Code Sector (the name behind popular speedometer app SpeedView) recently brought to market a highly customizable car home app, introducing InDrive: Custom Car Home to the Play Store.
InDrive's primary features are neatly contained in its three swipe-able screens: Apps, GPS, and Music. The Apps screen allows you to create a set of custom app shortcuts. The screen comes preloaded with shortcuts to Navigation and Phone, but there are sixteen more slots waiting to be customized.
Skitch, a popular annotation and sharing app, received an update to version 2.0 today with a redesigned interface, a handful of useful markup tools, and improved Evernote integration.
For those unaware, Skitch is an app that allows users to "communicate visually with friends, co-workers, or anyone." Essentially, it can draw in resources like notes, photos, screenshots, or maps, and then add markup to convey ideas or highlight important aspects of the document for later reference or sharing.
In the modern world, watching TV shows isn't what it used to be. Back in the old days (or the present for some), shows simply existed at a certain time and you tuned in when they aired, and then they were cancelled and then you never heard from them again. Today, though, it's not uncommon for most viewers to discover a show a few seasons in and then find their way through the backlog of episodes.