Protecting your online accounts is important, and 2-factor authentication is the best way to do that. The default method of getting 2-factor codes for most services is SMS, but authenticator apps can be more convenient. Google's own authenticator has been on the Play Store for years, but it's been very ugly until today. This app has finally gotten a material design makeover and a few new features too.
Adobe has a complicated relationship with Android. Most of its apps come to our beloved platform long after they've launched on iOS, and the updates tend to be slower to arrive thereafter. Keeping that in mind, Lightroom got a big update on iOS back in October that removed the requirement for a paid Creative Cloud subscription. Now Android is getting the same. As of today, Lightroom is free on Android.
Chrome's URL bar is so fast that I generally don't even bother with bookmarks anymore, but those who do might have noticed that they look a little different lately. In the latest version of the Chrome stable build for Android, there's a new user-selectable flag that can enable or disable a different interface for the Bookmarks manager. It can be enabled (or disabled, if you prefer) in the Flags settings page: chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment.
500px is the home of a great deal of lovely photography, and the app has been updated today to be a bit more lovely itself. At least this is the assertion made by 500px. The new v4.3.0 is live in the Play Store with a completely revamped UI and a few small feature additions. However, Chainfire's 500px wallpaper app 500 Firepaper got an update too, and it's a much sadder story.
If you saw our post about last month's update to Maps, you may remember a teardown showed hotels would soon gain listings for amenities. Google didn't keep us waiting for long; amenities can now be viewed on many hotel listings and in search results. As usual, we've got the download links below if you don't want to wait for the slow rollout to hit your device.
If you pay for cable, you probably pay for ESPN. Disney's sports empire is practically inescapable, especially if you watch college sports, and it's essentially impossible to pay for conventional television without getting ESPN thrown into the package, whether you want it or not. So if you're paying for it, you might as well get it on your phone too, right? ESPN's live streaming service WatchESPN is now available within the primary ESPN app itself. Previously WatchESPN was a separate Android app.
As a former student of archaeology, Machu Picchu is a place that has always fascinated me. As someone direly afraid of heights, Machu Picchu is a place I will almost certainly never go, barring the invention of personal air transport. As such, today I was quite pleased to learn that Google's globetrotting street view team has mapped the ancient city-temple-palace-agrarian-center with a backpack of many, many cameras.
Machu Picchu sits nearly 8000 feet above sea level, and its real purpose still largely eludes archaeologists and ancient historians to this day. While it's clear it housed royalty and peasants alike, was used for religious purposes, commerce, and extensive agriculture, exactly why it made sense to the Inca to build what essentially amounted to a mountaintop city remains unclear.
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD, is one of the most ambitious 3D mobile RPGs in memory. It also had nary an in-app purchase, something that has become sadly uncommon in this day and age of freemium. After two-and-a-half years, Crescent Moon Games has released the sequel. Meet Aralon: Forge and Flame.
Visuals look very substantially improved from the original, which is probably to be expected given how far mobile graphics have come since early 2013. The game promises a "massive" world to explore, three races and four classes to choose from, real-time shadows, first and third-person views, and dynamic day and night cycles.
This may come as a surprise, but some people really hate spending money on apps. They're willing to deal with banner ads, pop-ups, videos, and any number of intrusions before approaching a button in the Play Store with the letters b, u, or y. Amazon figures there's money to be made off these folks, and Amazon Underground is its effort to do so. Now the retailer is expanding the service to Italy, Spain, and fourteen other parts of Europe.
There's a surprisingly wide variety of content available for Google's dirt-cheap Cardboard VR system, but not many ways for end users to make use of it for their personal media. Enter Cardboard Camera, a new Google app that allows you to take a series of photos and automatically format them for the stereoscopic, 360-degree headset. (You don't need the headset to take the photos, but you'll need one to view the results in VR.) The app even records a little of the ambient sound in the area while you're taking all the necessary photos, so you can create a complete scene.