Recent updates to both the Photos and Camera apps have included some really interesting clues, suggesting Google may be planning to put a lot of effort into upping its game with smartphone photographers. The latest update to Snapseed was no different; not only did it bring a few worthwhile new features, but some resources inside the apk also betray plans for the future. Snapseed will be adding enhanced controls for working with white balance in RAW mode and there's an effects randomizer coming to the editor.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Google I/O has taken its toll. At least that's the way it looks based on the fairly quiet week we've seen for app updates thus far. The biggest update to arrive was for Snapseed, which gained some fairly useful improvements for editing. The focus on images continued with an update to the Photos app, but it didn't appear to bring any notable new features, rather just a bug fix. However, a teardown of the app reveals quite a bit more. Google is lining up some cool improvements to the app, including new sorting methods for albums, new editing controls, and a pretty amazing promo for Nexus devices. Read More
Google Photos is constantly improving and quickly becoming one of my favorite Google services. From shared albums to automatic labeling of people and things, to an exhaustive search function, it's so easy to just upload thousands of photos and let Google take care of managing and organizing them for me. The big annoyance that I kept facing was that plenty of my old photos were tagged with the wrong date and time because they were taken with a standalone camera on which I'd never bothered to adjust the time settings. This resulted in hundreds of photos showing up in the years 1969 (this is not a pun, I swear) and 1980 for some random reason, even though I wasn't even born then. Read More
Everyone's favorite online Photo management tool, Google Photos, is pretty popular. At the company's annual developer conference, I/O, Google just announced that Photos has over 200 million monthly active users, with over 2 trillion labels automatically applied to a variety of different photos. CEO Sundar Pichai said a lot of these were labelling selfies, which is mind-boggling when you think just how many selfies must be taken every day.
These usage statistics are pretty cool, especially for a product which only launched at last year's I/O. I personally use Google Photos for all my photo management, and can attest to how well thought out I find the entire product. Read More
Cody found evidence of an improved smartburst for Google Photos in his v1.16 teardown, and on the v1.17 official changelog it listed 'Improved burst photo support' as one of the points. Now, just after the v1.19 update, it seems the new Smartburst is finally starting to rollout to general users via a server-side update. Read More
Update Wednesday went by a bit quietly with relatively few rollouts. However, the tail end of the day brought a bump to the Photos app with a lot of unusual and interesting changes. There are plenty of visual tweaks throughout the app, not to mention a couple of new features. Auto-generated movies now support custom music and there are some improvements to folder management and SD card support, such as it is. As always, hit the bottom of the post for download links.
Official Changelog: (summarized from Google's post)
- Provide your own music for automatically generated movies
- Folder renaming and partial SD card support
- Replaced the FAB that launched Search with a search bar
- New search interface
- Many other small visual tweaks
Substitute Your Own Music in Generated Movies
Photos, like many other apps and services that have cropped up over recent years, is pretty awesome at stitching together short videos from our pictures and movies, then adding background music to give them some extra punch. Read More
Developers usually use version numbers to convey the amount of change an app has gone through from one release to the next. But what does it mean when Google Maps not only jumps over v9.24 entirely, but also skips forward a patch release to give us v9.25.1? Let's assume it's a sign that there are a lot of new features and not too many bugs. This version certainly doesn't disappoint on new features. There are a bunch of additions to be seen, so let's get right into it.
Unofficial Changelog: (there may be more)
- Contact addresses appear in Your places screen and on maps.
Everything old is new again. If you'll recall, Motorola (before it was gobbled up by Google, then Lenovo) was one of the first Android manufacturers to use a fingerprint sensor. Oddly, they've now become one of the last hold-outs after more reliable technology has made mobile sensors much better. According to a few spy shots of what looks like a new Moto G redesign posted at NowhereElse.fr, Motorola thinks it's just about time to bring them back. Read More
Cloud storage is probably the greatest thing to happen to casual photography since manufacturers started putting decent shooters into smartphones. There's nothing like snapping a couple of group shots and throwing them up on Google Photos without the hassle of hooking a computer to a phone just to move them over first. The catch is that most of us choose not to sync pictures over cellular, instead waiting to get back within reach of Wi-Fi so our data plans don't feel too much abuse. However, there are times you still need to back up a few shots right away, and that's where the latest Google Photos update comes in. Read More