Before bits and pieces of Google+ departed from Google's web toolbar earlier this month, the bar's notification panel began labeling notifications according to their origin. G+ notifications for example got a Google+ icon, while notifications about a user's photo library got the Google Photos badge.
Tonight it looks like Google is rolling out another change to the panel, adding a settings button which allows users to filter out G+, Photos, or YouTube notifications individually.
Interestingly, not all sources appear for all users - it's unclear exactly how the panel knows which options to show, but it appears that the presence of Photos or YouTube options partially depends on whether you've opted to receive those notifications in the Google+ settings.
The fine engineers at Google have been hard at work with some cool new features to both the WebView package and Chrome for Android. Recent updates to the Chromium project have extended Contextual Search to tablets, and there is now partial support for the new text selection features introduced with Android M. Even the T-Rex easter egg game got a little bit better.
Contextual Search for tablets
If you've tried selecting text in Chrome on a phone recently, you've probably noticed a cool little popup at the bottom of the screen that acts as a shortcut to search for the selected term.
Music will generally sound better coming through the Sonos speaker system in your home than your phone or computer, so it's a no brainer that Spotify subscribers want to stream albums this way. Fortunately new features have found their way into the beta version of the Android app that make this a better experience.
A number of these additions help you find new content. Spotify Premium subscribers can now start radio stations from any artist or track and get recommendations based on the time of day. The app will also do its part to help you discover newly released albums, and access to charts lets you see what music is trending in various parts of the world.
Simple is a bank from the future (or the past, I guess), one that lacks physical branches and expects you to handle all of your transactions over the web from a PC or mobile device. After quite a wait, the Portland-based company has pushed out an update to its Android app that comes with enough visual tweaks to make the experience look Lollipop-friendly.
The previous version—which was already clean and, dare I say, simple—looked like a KitKat holdover. With 2.2, the designers have slid the hamburger button from the edge of the screen and tossed a floating action button into the bottom right corner.
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn has been trying to dissect its social network into several parts that it builds dedicated apps for. Luckily, these apps are usually non-essential, so you can skip them if you want to or use them if you find their features handy. Pulse is one such example. Think of it as Flipboard for LinkedIn, ie a news reader that focuses on your industry and your interests, and lets you discover relevant articles and people.
Android Wear 5.1 is a substantial update. It has rolled out to pretty much all of the current smartwatches, except for the Moto 360. Motorola's smartwatch has been hampered by issues and delays. Fortunately, it looks like that is about to change. Googler Wayne Piekarski announced via Google+ that an over-the-air update will start hitting devices today.
Why are we excited about this update? It brings Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud sync, always on apps, and a number of other useful features. I regularly activate my own Moto 360 by accident, so the inclusion of a built-in lockscreen is reason enough to want the latest version.
An app called File Expert is probably going to be an expert at managing files. One would hope, anyway, and in this case, one probably wouldn't be disappointed. File Expert can move your files around, measure your storage space, organize content automatically, and keep track of apps. Now it can do all of these things while looking up-to-date. That's right, in version 7, File Expert goes material.
The user interface is now turquoise and white all over the place. Brightly-colored, square-shaped icons accompany each item. The experience is still very tab heavy, but it has transitioned in a way that looks more at home on Lollipop.
Veteran Android users, particularly those who stick to Nexus devices, are well aware of the fact that you can usually flash OTA updates manually once someone pulls a link to the actual update file. This normally provides a much better option than waiting for your device to get the update sent to it, which could take weeks. Android Wear has this functionality as well, but each watch is a little different in terms of proper procedures for doing so. We're going to run a series of posts on how to manually flash updates to each Android Wear device that supports it (sorry, Moto 360 users) in the hopes of providing some clarity on the issue.
You can swap out pretty much all of the default apps on your phone for something else, including the one that manages your contacts. Addappt (yes, that's with one too many d's and p's) is an alternative that saves you the hassle of messaging all of your friends whenever your number changes or accidentally sending an email to an address that has been deleted. With this app, users automatically update one another whenever they make changes, so everyone is always current.
Version 2.0 has hit the Play Store, and it brings with it a number of changes. There's a new interface that, while not a fully material experience, looks more modern.