It's time for another update to Google Maps. Like so many other version bumps, this one includes a couple of great gifts to get users where they want to go. The focus of this release appears to be directed at parking. There are now indicators to show if there is on-site parking and whether it's free or paid. The theme continues into the teardown with a feature that will help drivers plan to find parking near their destination before getting there. Read More
The Maps team made quite a few people happy with the launch of a long-awaited location sharing feature that actually meets the rigorous expectations of even the most demanding users. However, around the same time that location sharing was added, v9.42 rolled out to some users and mysteriously removed the ability to save your parking location that was added only a couple of weeks ago. Version 9.50 just started rolling out this morning and it brings back the parking marker and associated features. Read More
It's always good to see useful new features in the apps we use often, and Google Maps rarely fails to bring something new with every update. The latest bump to v9.49 is no different. This release adds a few new toys for users to enjoy. There's a new capability to manually save your parking location so it's easier to get back to your car, weather predictions for your destinations while setting up navigation, and more. There's even a quick teardown that shows search results will soon support sorting. Read More
Current Android standards have changed massively in the last few years, going from the days of no real design language in Gingerbread, to Holo in Ice Cream Sandwich, to material in Lollipop. It's startling, then, to see an app that has been languishing in the dark ages get a big update. PayByPhone, a leading pay-with-phone parking app, has just been updated with a major redesign and Android Pay support, giving it a much needed boost into this era of app design. Read More
The Google Maps app is back again with a fresh update, and this one is certainly interesting. As far as live features go, there are some changes related to navigation that will help keep maps oriented north, even with accidental swipes. A teardown also shows that Google is planning to give advice about parking at different locations, and Local Guides can look forward to status indicators for edits. And finally, there's evidence suggesting the return of Launcher Shortcuts.
- New 'Keep map north up' setting
- Accidental swipe protection for North-up mode in Navigation
Keep map north up
Left: previous version with tilt map toggle. Read More
Google faces many interesting challenges with Android Auto. It seems like a simple task to build an interface that is less messy and more enjoyable than existing in-car systems. Given the low bar set by most existing platforms, this doesn't sound very difficult. However, Google is taking advantage of more advanced technology and clever design so Auto isn't just another small iterative step forward. A teardown of the latest update shows some interesting progress on new input methods that don't require as much attention and a parking assistant feature that remembers where you left your vehicle.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Looking for a parking spot can get frustrating regardless of where you live, but it's particularly annoying in the heart of urban areas where not just parking spots, but parking lots, are difficult to come by. The new CitySpot app for Google Glass can help with this. Without taking their eyes off the road, drivers can turn to it to find nearby parking.
CitySpot starts by pulling up your location before looking for the nearest parking lot and running it by you. The app then displays how far away the destination is and shows how much the lot costs to use. Read More
We've reported on several Google Now-related rumors recently. If our information is accurate, Google Now will soon be able to help you remember and pay for bills, automatically infer events from your communications, and serve you reminders depending on who is near you. Today, we've got another one. This time, Google wants to help you remember where you left your car.
: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.
We do not have possession of any APKs we can distribute or unreleased devices, so please don't ask for them.
It's been a busy month in the Android app world, particularly if you want useful tools or visual tweaks. There's one big app that we're not featuring in this roundup: the Google Now Launcher, AKA the Google Experience Launcher. We're omitting it from the main list because it's only compatible with Nexus and GPE devices - even the few standard Android devices that have been upgraded to KitKat can't play with it unmodified.
If you want a truly secure device, you need either a PIN code or a password. If even that isn't enough, then you need to check out TimePIN, a way of constantly changing your PIN code based on your phone's clock time. Read More
The expansive parking lots of your local mall can be a nightmare as you scan the sea of metal and glass to find your car. There are plenty of apps that will set a GPS marker to help you find it, but you have to actually remember to use them. Auto Finder takes care of things for you all on its own, though. Just install the app, and it always knows where you left the car.