Back in October of 2014, a new beta app called Snowball was released. Back then it was a chat head-style multi-messaging client of sorts, which was useful enough in its own right. Snowball 2.0 is out now, and the app has apparently gotten a full overhaul - it's essentially a completely different thing now. Instead of being a messaging client, Snowball is now a full-featured (and damn good-looking) notification center. Check it out:
If I said this didn't look pretty useful, I'd be lying.
Version 4.9 of the Google app began rolling out late yesterday, but it's not sporting a lot of obvious additions. The only immediately visible changes appear under Settings -> Now cards, where a new toggle has been added to enable or disable lock screen notifications based on cards. Some updated text also appears below the new toggle, if you care about that sort of thing.
Ever since Android added support for native screenshots way back in Ice Cream Sandwich, there's been a handy notification after the screenshot has been saved. In the new M preview the share button on that notification is joined by something else—a delete button. Fantastic.
I'm going to assume that most of our readers have used Pushbullet, or at least have a general idea how it works. Hooks is a new app that offers a more configurable version of Pushbullet channels so you can get notifications when any number of things happens on the internet. So take Pushbullet, add a dash of IFTTT, and you've got Hooks.
After the launch of Music Key in November, we've had good reason to expect quite a bit from YouTube. We've seen things like 60 fps live streaming, 360-degree videos with cardboard support, and big updates to the Kids and Creator Studio apps – and that's just some of the stuff from the last two months. We also know there's plenty still to come, particularly an ad-free subscription model. The latest update doesn't seem to deliver any new features, not unless Google is planning to flip a switch server-side, but it gives a few hints about what to expect in the future.
Before bits and pieces of Google+ departed from Google's web toolbar earlier this month, the bar's notification panel began labeling notifications according to their origin. G+ notifications for example got a Google+ icon, while notifications about a user's photo library got the Google Photos badge.
Tonight it looks like Google is rolling out another change to the panel, adding a settings button which allows users to filter out G+, Photos, or YouTube notifications individually.
Interestingly, not all sources appear for all users - it's unclear exactly how the panel knows which options to show, but it appears that the presence of Photos or YouTube options partially depends on whether you've opted to receive those notifications in the Google+ settings.
Fix for multi-column layouts
From a user-facing standpoint, the only directly relatable change came to multi-column layouts in Chrome.
The app info screens in Android M have become a repository, of sorts, for many of the cool new features brought to the latest OS. In previous versions of Android, I rarely found myself in need of going to an individual app's info screen. When I did, the actions I might have executed there were very limited. I don't know that Google necessarily wants you spending more time there in M, but they certainly built quite a bit more function into this interface.
Left: Android 5.1 Right: Android M Preview 1
Starting at the root level of app info, you can see some of the minor changes.
We already went over the gist of Android M's Do Not Disturb mode, but this isn't just a re-branding of priority interruptions. There are some cool new features in the settings that make DND on Android M quite appealing. It's easier to make DND work for your schedule without a ton of fiddling around.