Android Auto users were given a pleasant surprise when v6.9 of the Google app enabled the 'OK Google' activation phrase while driving (for many people). We haven't spotted any other visible changes with this release, but there are some interesting things buried in the apk that are also worth checking out. It looks like the search bar's autocomplete is about to gain some new tricks and there's a new (or at least improved) native image viewer in development that appears to have custom support for some of Google's custom search results. Read More
A couple of very useful features have started rolling out to a few lucky Google Maps users in the last couple of days. If you've been following along with our APK Teardowns, you might remember sections covering notifications for mass transit delays and an option to restrict data usage to Wi-Fi only. If you've been eager to see either of these, now might be a good time to open up Maps and poke around. But it looks like both features are launching as staged rollouts, so don't be too surprised if you're not in the opening group. Read More
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.
With the recent redesign and release of Maps 8.0, Google changed the way offline maps are saved, as well as how they're managed once available for offline use. Read More