Google is sending out all kinds of things today. First it was Nexus factory images, then an Android Auto update some users can actually care about, and now a pretty full bump to the Maps app. There are plenty of live features to look at in this one, but there is some teardown material, as well. There's no point in wasting words, let's get straight into it.
Earlier today, Google let us know that a tab for ride sharing would soon find a prominent place in the route planning screen. It looks like Maps v9.22 is responsible for bringing that feature... Sorta. Google is doing a staged rollout of the ride sharing tab with a server-side switch, so you may or may not see it after updating to the latest version.
This week's updates are rolling out and Google Maps is among the first to bring something new to the screen. Version 9.20 doesn't seem to have any huge features, but there are some very notable improvements. A shortcut has been added to the Timeline to allow for quickly adding a place to your history, there's now a setting to control whether turn-by-turn instructions are given during voice calls, and Maps will now pair your reviews with any pictures you've submitted.
Google's developers are back to work now that the holidays (and CES) are over, and the first major app update is here. Maps v9.19 is out and it brings a host of pretty awesome new features. There is a new settings screen for your timeline that gives a bit more control over its operation and what is shown. A new audio toggle has been added to the navigation modes so it's a little easier to quickly shut off those over zealous turn-by-turn notifications. And there's a new driving mode that uses Google's knowledge of your habits and search history to predict where you're going during a drive and volunteer useful information as you drive—if you can get it enabled, that is.
The app updates from the last week seem to be all about where you are, where you've been, and where you're going. It has only been a few days since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out with a couple of location-related bits hidden inside, and now a new version of Maps is hitting the scene with a host of new features centered around our location history. We can now look back through the places we've visited, when we were last at certain spots, and the routes we've taken.
According to your grandmother, over 96% of kids these days don't know their history and will be doomed to repeat it. Also, no one learns cursive anymore. There's not a whole lot that Google can do about the latter, but with a new search tool, they may be working on the former. Chrome and Search enthusiast Florian Kiersch posted screenshots of a new Knowledge Graph tool that automatically generates timelines of broad historical topics based on content from Wikipedia. The tool appears to be in the early stages of testing, and isn't publicly available.
Search for something like "World War I" and you'll be presented with a layered timeline above your main search results.
Snapchat allows users to send and receive media that disappears after a recipient has opened it, laughed, and - if it's really good - taken a screenshot. It's a nice way to communicate and share content without having to deal with storing and organizing everything that you upload, but sometimes you may want to share a photo with all of your friends at once. Snapchat is rolling out a new feature that lets you share such content for up to 24 hours in a timeline that everyone can see. This timeline is your Story, and Snapchat has released a series of trailers to help you familiarize yourself with it.
No one ever accused Facebook of being swift or thorough with its app updates, but they're at least usually very welcome when they arrive. Back in 2011, the social network introduced 'Timeline', the now-mandatory profile layout that gives you one giant photo at the top, with a secondary profile picture in the bottom-left corner. Up until recently, you couldn't change your cover photo on mobile. Now, in version 2.2, you can.
If there are any other changes to this version, Facebook isn't letting on about it. Here's the entire changelog:
Hi, Android! Sorry your present is a little late, it took a while to wrap it. Five years ago yesterday, Google's then-CEO Eric Schmidt joined other members of the newly-formed Open Handset Alliance to announce the Android operating system. Back then, we were still nearly a year away from an actual Gphone (and yes, people really called it that) and Sprint and T-Mobile were the only US carriers even interested. Now, Android is installed on over 400 million devices, nearly every carrier in the world wants a piece of the action, and the platform as a whole is the single largest mobile OS ever.
Straight from the horse's mouth is always the best way to hear about updates, even if it's less-than-stellar news. Today, Sony confirmed its schedule for Jelly Bean updates on its line of phones. For starters, the recently-launched Xperia T and Xperia TX will be upgraded "from mid-Q1 2013." This will put the latest and greatest from Sony a solid six months behind Android 4.1's initial launch and, if our guess is correct, at least a few months behind the possible release of Android 4.2.
After that, the rest of Sony's 2012 lineup, including the Xperia S, Xperia acro S, Xperia ion, Xperia P, Xperia go and Xperia J will all be upgraded to Jelly Bean sometime next year.