Googler Kirill Grouchnikov likes to show off the little UI flourishes in the Play Store, sometimes even before they are live for users. We like the small stuff, and you probably do too. So you'll be happy to know there are two subtle UI tweaks incoming with the next Play Store update. One is in the kids "character" section and the other is in the What's New box we all know and love.
If you've been wondering of late why exactly your cached and stored-for-offline-playback music in the Google Play Music app is disappearing every time you turn your phone off or reboot it, good news: Google knows that (now). And if you are experiencing that problem, I bet I can guess a feature of your smartphone: it has a microSD slot. And you probably have microSD storage enabled in the Play Music app.
Alaska Airlines doesn't handle all of the flights to Alaska, but if you're heading to the state, there's a decent chance you will consider riding one of the company's planes. The airline offers an Android app that you can use throughout every step of the process—booking a trip, checking in, boarding, and the like. Only now, it will look much less ugly as you do so. With version 3.0, Alaska Airlines will no longer cause Lollipop devices, and their owners, to involuntarily vomit.
I'm going to assume that most of our readers have used Pushbullet, or at least have a general idea how it works. Hooks is a new app that offers a more configurable version of Pushbullet channels so you can get notifications when any number of things happens on the internet. So take Pushbullet, add a dash of IFTTT, and you've got Hooks.
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.