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.
We've been waiting on a big update to Google's search app, having seen screenshots here and there that hinted at an updated design. With today's new Lollipop developer preview, the Google app's 4.0 incarnation was made available. We've got a download at the bottom of the post, but be sure to read the instructions first as getting this up and running on pre-L devices requires some extra fiddling. Also, you'll need to be rooted.
Lollipop brings in significant changes to the way Android switches back and forth between recent apps. In KitKat, this feature worked the same way it did in Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. In short, you clicked the third icon in the navigation bar at the bottom, and the recent apps appeared as a list of thumbnails and app icons arranged into a column.
With Android 5.0, the entire look and feel changes.
Say it with me now: piracy is bad. There are ways to get free copies of just about everything online, but even setting aside the legal and moral aspects of it, doing so can come with the risk of infecting your computer with something icky or falling victim to a phishing attempt. People who know their way around the woods will continue to be able to take advantage of things, but Google's working on reducing the likelihood that the average user will end up in a place they don't want to be.
Netflix version 3.8 for Android is now available, and it has some considerable improvements over the previous edition. The one you'll probably notice first is that the search function has been revamped: instead of a standard vertical list of movies, television shows, and actors/directors/what have you, you'll now see a grid of results. This mirrors Netflix on the web, though it might be a little slower, since the preview images tend to be a little pokey when they're loading up.
A few users have been reporting a new Google quirk today, but it might not be all that new. An icon has started showing up in search results next to links for mobile-optimized pages. Something like this was in testing as far back as 2012, but this seems to be part of a separate occurrence.
For a long time now, Google's Search app has had a new, more rounded launcher icon and a simple label in your app drawer: Google. The app's Play Store listing, however, has stubbornly clung to the name "Google Search," while retaining the old boxy icon of yore. Without a word, it looks like Google has cleaned up its Play Store listing at long last with the refreshed icon and simplified name.
WhoSampled - it's easy enough to guess what the service is about from its name. Touting the "world's largest and richest database of music DNA" and an apparent one million users, WhoSampled sends users on a "journey of musical discovery" starting from a single song that contains a sample from another song.
The service (which began as a website before launching on iOS) gives users detailed sample information, including where in a song a sample appears, what type of sample it is, and what part of the original song is being sampled.