Google has always been at least somewhat mindful of moviegoers using its primary search tool to get information about recent and upcoming movies. The current Knowledge Graph that you see when searching for movies, actors, directors and so on is pretty good. But if you search using the official Google Search app for Android or search in Chrome for Android starting today, you might see something altogether more interesting. Check out the animation below, straight from the official Google+ account for Search:
Neat, huh? The results for relevant queries are now displayed in a gallery that's not unlike the Google Play Store or similar apps. Read More
When one of your app's core features is built around the camera, your camera interface had better be up to snuff. Take Expensify for example: this expense report app just released an update that overhauls its camera feature, which is designed to save and automate your receipt reporting. The updated "beta" camera adds a ton of useful stuff, none more so than the capability to use your phone's LED flash module, which was apparently missing before.
Users can also add receipt photos directly from the gallery (local storage), so putting a new receipt into your report doesn't necessitate an immediate snapshot. Read More
If you've noticed a few changes around the Play Store on a desktop browser, you're not alone. Some Chrome users spotted a new layout for app pages on Google Play starting this yesterday evening. It isn't universal, and it seems to be a minority for the moment - only one Android Police staff member saw the updated layout, and even then, only in the latest beta for Chrome (40.0.2214.45).
The change modifies the full-width view that we've grown used to into a more narrow, three-column view. The "Similar" and "More from developer" sections of the Play Store now occupy the right-most column in a vertical layout. Read More
A number of our readers have witnessed a change after opening up the Facebook app. The social network is apparently testing out an updated version of the user interface that sports a flatter look and more colorful, circular icons. We wouldn't call it a big Material redesign, but it does show signs of trying to better fit in. Read More
Root Checker is a simple little tool that does what it says on the box: it checks whether your phone or tablet (or game console, or set-top-box, or e-reader, or robotic toaster) has root permissions. Those that use it probably only do so for a few seconds once or twice a month. That being the case, it's not a big deal if the app doesn't look good. But that doesn't mean that it can't, right?
The latest version of Root Checker, or at least a version that's rolling out to some users on the Play Store, gives the app a visual makeover. Read More
Chrome users love to try out new features in the beta version of the Android browser, and fans of Opera's long-running software have been able to do the same since March. Now you can try out the new goodies in the pipeline early for the Opera Mini browser as well: the company just published a beta app on the Play Store. And what's more, the very first release of the beta version is making it count with a fresh new user interface.
Opera Mini on the left, Opera Mini Beta on the right.
The new version of Opera Mini looks considerably more modern, even if it isn't adhering to broad Holo or Material Design standards. Read More
Update: Some commenters say that the test link works on other phones. Based on the devices that are allowed in thus far, it may be dependent on a 1920x1080 resolution.
Update 2: Wow, that was fast. One of the Android Police staff already has at least some of the Material Design changes enabled for searching from Chrome for Android, and others are reporting that they can see them as well. This isn't active for everyone - even my Nexus 5 with the latest KitKat firmware is showing the old interface.
We've seen a handful of official Google apps get a visual refresh in the lead-up to the release of Android 5.0, but Google's primary money-maker is still mostly clean of the new Material Design UI language. Read More
Though Google officially announced Android Auto back at Google I/O, we didn't get to see much of the car initiative at the show itself. A recent update to the Developer.Android.com page shows off a lot more of the system, primarily in how the usual Android apps on a phone interact with a dash unit in a car or truck. The updated page includes screenshots of the app launcher (such as it is), Google Play Music, and some basic menus.
The core idea behind Auto is simplicity: for safety's sake, you don't want the user to need to do more than glance at the car stereo screen to know what he or she is doing. Read More
Alarm.com is one of those ubiquitous home security companies that sells home safety packages, and like a lot of their competitors, they had an Android app simply as a check mark for comparison shoppers. Before today, the previous version of the security system's mobile component looked like it hadn't been touched since 2010. Yesterday's update fixed that primary problem with an extensive user interface refresh, granting easy access to all the security and automation features installed in a home.
New above, old below.
Yes, it's Holo, and yes, it works on tablets. A slide-out menu lets you access every subsystem independently: security, still images and video, automated locks and garage doors, plus the lights and thermostat. Read More
Releasing the L preview was an important leap forward for Android as an ecosystem, but, outside of a single almost meaningless update, we're probably not going to see any new builds up until the final L release. I can sort of see why the Android team doesn't want to put out builds with incremental fixes, saving all the improvements for a grand finale unveiling, so in the meantime, any glimpse at their progress is very interesting to us as well as developers working on porting their apps to adhere to the new Material Design guidelines.
Today, we have a photo showing a Nexus 5 running build LRW66E, posted to the Chrome bug tracker a few days ago and subsequently set to private. Read More