Today's Hangouts update was a bit of a surprise. Besides landing on Monday, the update was a fairly large one. Users of the latest version of Hangouts are already enjoying merged SMS/Hangouts threads, improved status markers, a new home screen widget, new sound effects, the ability to share contact cards, and other touches. But - as with any Google update - it's worth looking a little deeper in the app to see what may be hiding in the code.
Most of the time, we execute APK teardowns by comparing the code of older app versions to an updated version. Newly released apps can hold juicy information too, though. We've quickly taken apart Google's newly released camera app and discovered a few tidbits worth mentioning.
Our primary target for this teardown is the strings file. This file holds a wealth of strings not yet revealed in the interface that look like they'll bring missing features back and add some new ones, too.
One more app that took part in Update Wednesday yesterday is the official Chromecast app, which helps users set up their new Chromecasts to work with their phone or tablet. The app got bumped from 1.3.10 to 1.5.3 and while Google has published its own short change log, we of course couldn't resist doing a quick teardown to see if there were any other goodies. First though, here's what Google says is new.
Google's begun rolling out an update to Maps, bumping it from version 7.5 to version 7.6 just after flipping the switch on dynamic rerouting. Officially, what's new in the update hasn't been laid out, but as usual we've managed to get the APK and take a quick peek inside. In this post, we'll outline some of the new, interesting bits we've found in the new app, and those who don't want to wait for the update can grab the APK themselves at the bottom of the post.
Today, Google finally opened the Chromecast up to developers in a meaningful way, releasing the Google Cast SDK and integrating the relevant Android API into Google Play Services, the ever-growing backbone of Google's Android-based offerings. The update has already begun its rollout. Of course, that means we're going to look inside and see what's new, and we've also got a download for those who just can't wait for Play Services 4.2 to hit their device.
I've been doing APK teardowns for a while now, and most of the time exciting updates end up being relatively boring under-the-hood, only rarely dropping really fascinating hints at future functionality. Today, I was pleasantly surprised, as the situation with YouTube 5.2.27 is exactly the opposite - the update itself couldn't be less boring, but the nugget we dig up inside will make a lot of you very happy.
So, without further ado, I'm glad to report that background audio should be finally coming to a YouTube app near you, if all goes well during testing.
Earlier this week, we posted the first look at the upcoming Android Play Store app v4.4. As it turns out, besides sporting a new look and a secret message to the teardown team, the updated Play Store is strongly hinting at another new arrival - one we've been waiting for since March. And now we have the updated name for it - Google Play Newsstand.
March 2013: Google Play News
But first, allow me to refresh your memory.
Well, folks, it finally happened - after numerous APK teardowns, Google has finally dropped a message to the Android Police teardown team inside one of the APKs - the Android Play Store v4.4 nonetheless.
The message reads: <string name="ap_teardown_notice">"These aren't the features you're looking for, officer"</string>.
Many of you have joked about this in past comments, so I've been wondering whether a Googler will actually do it one day.