Action Launcher is getting an update as we speak with a completely new feature. It's called the Quickbar, and it finally puts that search bar on the home screen to good use. In v3.5 you can add your own shortcuts and custom actions to the bar for easy access.
Google really wants you to know that voice searches are a thing, so it's taken to rolling suggestions out to some users in the home screen search bar. We covered that the other day, but since then we've gotten a few tips that similar messages are appearing inside the Google app itself. See for yourself.
Mapping and navigation app Waze is trying something new, and as with many new things, you need to start small. So the Google-owned company is starting with commuters in the Gush Dan region of Israel. If you need a lift to work, just grab the new RideWith app and another Waze user can pick you up on the way.
It's easy to hate on Instagram. It's not just that most of the photos have user-applied filters. The photo-centric social network has capped images at 640 by 640. Even if your phone can take a decent shot, it only gets scaled down when you share it with the world.
But now the site is rolling out support for sharper photos on both Android and iOS. Users will be able to upload and view images at a resolution of 1080x1080.
If you subscribe to a channel (or channels) on YouTube, chances are you find the experience of simply going through a list of that channel's videos incredibly annoying in the official Android app.
That is because it is something of a process to do this:open YouTube, hit the hamburger menu, scroll down to your subscriptions, pick the one you want, tap the "videos" tab, and then start looking. This is a needlessly multi-step process if you just want to watch the latest video from a channel you subscribe to and nothing else.
Amex Mobile, the Android app for American Express cardholders, has received an update to v5.0 that includes a major redesign. Substantively speaking, this adds focus to benefits and rewards along with making statements viewable as an activity timeline.
While a new look is always welcome, for many it might be a bit of a letdown. Amex is marching to the beat of their own drum, with an interface that is both too big and too small at the same time, somewhat unintuitive, and at the least very out of place in comparison to the typical Android UI.
Good news this morning for anyone who finds Maps' use of UI space in map view wasteful on Android: you can now tap to dismiss most of the UI elements in the Maps app in version 9.11, an APK for which you can grab right here. Here's what that new feature looks like.
Left: UI showing, right: UI hidden. Simply tap on an empty part of the map UI to switch it on or off.
There are millions of smartphones out there with the processing power to get real work done, but they spend most of their time idle. That's what you want for battery life, of course, but Folding@Home offers a way to contribute some of those unused cycles for the greater good while your phone is on the charger. [insert Snapdragon 810 overheating joke here]
Microsoft is striving to be more experimental and branch out to other platforms with the Microsoft Garage project, which means we get some interesting stuff on Android. Not all of it is probably going to last, but hey, some good short-term fun. The latest app from the garage is Tossup, which can be used to gather opinions from your friends so you can make plans quickly and easily.
Anyone who's used the Internet for a few days knows that Google (and all the other search engines at this point) will suggest alternative search terms if the algorithm determines that you've made a typo or a mistake. At least one user is now seeing this behaviour on the Android app version of Google Search, and seeing it before you would expect to: right in the drop-down search results that appear before you actually press Enter.