It's been a pretty big year for Instagram. So far, it has released several big new features including video and people tagging. To end 2013 on a high note, Instagram announced today that it is launching Instagram Direct - a new private sharing feature. Highlights include:
Android's lock screen hasn't really changed since 4.2, but app developers keep coming up with new ways to wow us. Case in point: Cover. This alternative lockscreen replaces the default screen with a selection of quick-launch app icons, not unlike some of the manufacturer skins out there. But unlike TouchWiz or Sense, Cover automatically learns which apps you use at what times, and it comes with a ton of impressive UI features.
Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.
As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions.
How often do you find that words simply cannot convey what you need to say? Probably all the time, right? Just send an emoji instead with the new SwiftKey beta. As promised, this early version is available for download and includes over 500 emoji images. On the more conventional side, there is also an optional number row, finally.
The emoji are spread across various categories like nature, people, and symbols.
People didn't always hate Zagat, but Google's new vision for the iconic restaurant review guide has not been widely accepted. The service became free, but Google also revamped it and limited the number of cities it tracked. The new update makes some tweaks to the app and expands the supported cities, but it's probably not going to do much to improve the app's 2.4 star rating.
Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.
Spotify made news earlier today by lowering its barrier to entry, allowing users to stream music to their phone or tablets for free. Yet it isn't the only music-streaming service in town, and competitor Rdio has expanded access to 20 additional countries. This brings the total number of supported territories up to 51, which this handy map illustrates.
The most obvious new addition to Gmail 4.7 is the Vacation Responder. You can set start and end dates, enter a subject and some text, and check a toggle to only send the vacation response to your contacts.
Google rolled out the Android Device Manager a few months ago, but for whatever reason, there was no matching Android app. That changes today as Google has finally gotten around to releasing one. The app contains all the functionality from the website in a mobile-friendly package and it is, of course, free.