Piper's home security and automation unit has been improving year over year. Since my initial review, it has overhauled its app and enhanced many of its features, but it also recently released an IFTTT channel that enabled Amazon Alexa integration and let you schedule and automate a couple of actions.
Now Piper is improving its IFTTT channel with more triggers and actions. You can now control your Piper-connected lights with Alexa, get a tweet when Piper detects smoke via a connected sensor, and set dimmer levels or lights when events are detected while you're away.
The best new recipe though, in my opinion, is the one to upload videos recorded by Piper to Dropbox or Google Drive. Read More
Sonos and Spotify may not be exclusive, but they are in a relationship. Last year we watched a Sonos app update gain Spotify radio integration. Soon Spotify will add the ability to manage Sonos speakers from inside the Spotify mobile app. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. That's how some relationships work. Read More
The next time you do a search on your phone, you may notice something unusual—the search history drop down has a new look. Well, it's new for some people. It's more compact with search terms in a series of blocks. This appears to be the default for a few users, but everyone can try it with a little keyboard trickery. Read More
App deals are great, so it's good to see two available for €0.10 (or the equivalent in countries running the deal). One is an alarm clock, the other a popular game that has 50,000 downloads. As usual these are not available in the US - countries that do have the cheaper price include the UK, Germany, Russia, France, Spain, Italy, and Australia. If there are other countries joining in on the fun, let us know in the comments.
Alarm Clock Extreme & Timer is a smart alarm clock that prevents you from sleeping too long. It has some nifty features, such as decreasing the length of time between each snooze and having a maximum number of snoozes. Read More
Back in November last year, Google rolled out a new-look Google+ and deemed it a 'preview' of what was to come. It was generally assumed that at some point this would replace what has become known as 'Google+ Classic,' and that day has now arrived, with the announcement that the Web preview will be the default look from today onwards.
This isn't entirely a surprise: last week Google issued a reminder saying that today was the day, so we were prepared for this eventuality. That said, I personally find the Web preview better than the Classic interface - I much prefer the material look over the somewhat out-of-place design and general jankiness of Google+ Classic. Read More
SwiftKey is getting back to normal. It all started with a bug that led to people receiving personalized suggestions for other users, which caused SwiftKey to temporarily shut down its sync servers. While sync came back pretty quickly, it only provided predictions for regular words, not more complex items like email addresses and phone numbers. A final fix with support for emails and phone numbers hit SwiftKey Beta last week and today it has made its way to the stable. Read More
Microsoft has long since abandoned the strategy of keeping its apps and services confined to its own platform. Windows Phone didn't really work out, so it's not like there's another option. Microsoft's Word, PowerPoint, and Excel apps are getting a nice update today on Android that makes them better at handling shared content. PowerPoint also gets some UI tweaks. Read More
Another day, another A/B test has come our way at Android Police. This time, Google is testing out a new Inbox search UI, replacing the dropdown search menu that's been ever-present since Inbox launched.
The UI shows three categories: contacts, businesses, and refinements. Contacts and businesses show people or companies that you regularly contact, while refinements highlights other options you may be likely to search for, such as 'sent emails from last week,' or 'attachments.' These are side-scrolling, with what looks like six options in each row, although it could be more. It's possible this is the first indication of the "Assistant" feature Cody unearthed in a recent teardown, but we can't really be sure. Read More
Google Contacts is a great way to keep your contacts organized, but the Android version always lacked some features from the web app. The Android app has always been simplistic in nature, with the UI consisting of just a constant stream of contacts and an Add button. Google Contacts 1.5 is a welcome improvement, so let's dive in!
User interface changes
The hamburger menu in action.
Previously, the Google Contacts app used just two tabs, Favorites and All. This has been replaced by a hamburger menu with more options. There are options for viewing contacts and duplicates (which we will get to later), as well as filtering by labels and accounts. Read More
Hiding your root status from apps that refuse to work when you are rooted—like Android Pay—is a cat and mouse game that enthusiasts have been losing lately. Chainfire, the developer who has become the main source of advances in rooting, announced today a new way to work around Android apps' ability to detect the root status of a device. The app, called suhide, works but comes with a number of caveats. Read More