There's an elite club among Android apps: those chosen few that have been consumed by enough people to surpass the 1 billion installs mark. Most of the names found on this list come from Mountain View. Gmail was the first to cross the threshold (discounting Google Play services, which comes pre-installed on every Android device with access to the Play Store), followed by Maps and YouTube. Facebook has also passed the milestone, though I'm not sure how many of our readers are particularly happy about that one.
The update everyone has been waiting for is finally here - YouTube has been updated with some material design goodness. The app's makeover is essentially what you'd expect - along with circular avatars (per Google's spec), it features a tall, tabbed toolbar in YouTube's signature vibrant red brand color, a full-height material nav drawer, and a clean white background.
Channels receive special attention, with Lollipop's Palette API pulling colors from the channel art to color the app's toolbar.
Google Now is never short on surprises. The personal assistant/wizard living in Google's Search app (technically it's Google's "Google" app now) can do some amazing tricks, and no matter how long you've used the app, there are always new features being discovered, added, or improved.
One such feature that's come to our attention is Google's ability to show you a countdown to important events based on your reminders. Basically, if you have a reminder related to an event Google knows about (like Christmas, for instance), Google will pick up on that and - on your reminder card - serve you a countdown.
Cross one more item off your list of Google apps in need of material facelifts! Next on this bountiful Update Wednesday, Google Keep is receiving a bump to version 3.0 with some new material-inspired touches, the most obvious one being its launcher icon. Instead of a realistic stack of sticky notes, we now have a single dog-eared sheet of paper with a lightbulb cutout sitting on top.
Once you're inside the app, there's plenty to look at.
The Google Search app is about to get the Material Design treatment. In a blog post today, Google has officially announced version 4.0 of Search, which we detailed (APK download included) nearly a month ago.
To refresh, the visual changes aren't all that drastic. Google Now already relied on cards, and swiping them away already felt pretty tangible. But now we have the extra layer of Lollipop-style flourish.
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
Amazon's Android app has received an update to 5.1 that's all about reducing how much typing you need to do to use the app. We've spotted changes to the search UI that make it possible to perform inquiries using your voice. We've also come across strings hinting that credit card scanning is either already included or on its way.
When you hit the magnifying glass in the action bar to begin a search, the screen that appears will now contain a microphone for voice searches.
When you search for certain artists, movies, or figures, Google sticks a card within the results that displays background information all in once place. This way you can potentially get what you need without having to click on a single link. Recently the company started giving video games this same treatment.
When you search for a particular title, Google will toss up such details as a brief history, the developer, release dates, and supported platforms.
If you live in an area where the sky will be darkened by a partial solar eclipse tomorrow (October 23rd), check out Google Now. You probably have a card with all the information you could ever need on what's going on in the sky and how to see it. While you're there, maybe you'll find out about what the police are up to in your area, which is another new card.