A fresh update of Google Play Services is headed out to our Android hardware around the world. This brings the framework package up to v8.4 and actually carries a couple of user-facing changes for us to check out. There's nothing too big, which is pretty normal for a Play services update, but there are some nice visual touch-ups for Smart Lock and a new option in the Android Auto developer options. But that's not all, a teardown shows that we're getting much closer to family organization (yes, for family sharing) and app invites will finally become useful as they can finally be sent to the people that need them most – the people right next to us. Read More
Google Street View hit 2.0 back in September, and everyone who captures, uploads, and manages photo spheres cheered in unison. Performing any of these actions became easier after the app separated from Google Maps, but there is always room for improvement. Today, Google released a new version that adds a few features that will make life a little easier for doing certain things.
• Import photo spheres from your device
• Expanded support for linked spherical cameras
• Bulk actions
Importing photo spheres has been on my wish list since the app was first launched. In the past, I have taken photo spheres using the Google Camera, which were stuck outside of Street View. Read More
So far Samsung's plus-sized Galaxy View tablet has been given a custom CNN news app and a sort of bulletin board photo app, both of which are exclusive to the device. But Samsung isn't finished yet. Today they published a third app that, if not exclusive to the 18.4-inch tablet itself, is certainly meant to be used exclusively with it. It's a remote control app that lets you operate pretty much every input on the device via a Bluetooth-connected Android phone. Read More
Google announced a badge to make users aware of ad-supported apps in the "Designed for Families" program at I/O this year (see what that looks like above). Now, all apps will be subject to the same requirement going forward. Developers are getting email notifications of the change right now, and they have until January 11th to log in and state whether or not an app has ads. Read More
Hey you! Yes, you, the Android fan who spent $650 to get a Nexus 6 the moment it became available, then felt somewhat disheartened when it started popping up for $300 or less, then heroically resisted the siren song of new devices from Huawei and LG! To reward your frugal self-control, Google is now allowing you to play with the camera user interface featured on the new Nexus phones without spending any money whatsoever! Ain't that great? Just don't ask about slow motion video or burst mode for stills, because your puny camera module can't handle it. Read More
The Google+ app has gone through more UI revisions than Android itself, and the latest one is starting to roll out now. Version 6.8 of Google+ is starting to show up in the Play Store, and of course, we've got the APK below if you don't want to wait. Be aware, installing this APK won't immediately kick you over to the new design. It looks like this is a server-side switch that's only active for some users.
Google does things—a lot of things. For two years now, the company has been indexing the content inside of apps. This way it can point you to other Android apps when they can better provide answers to your query than a general website. Google says 40% of searches done on Android bring up app content.
But there remained two issues with this approach. One, Google could only display information from apps that had matching content available on the web. Two, opening results required installing said app if you hadn't done so already.
Now Google will begin showing content that exists only in apps, and it will start offering you the option to stream apps that you don't have installed. Read More
Microsoft isn't wavering in its laudable multi-platform support - at this point the company is beating out both Apple and Google in its support for customers on all mobile operating systems. The free mobile version of Outlook first came to the Play Store earlier this year. It's advanced to version 2.0 after a few months, and the developers have added... actually, not much. Certainly not that Sunrise Calendar integration that users of the abandoned app are probably looking for. But we do get a new UI. Read More
During the keynote address yesterday for this year's Chrome Dev Summit, VP of Chrome Darin Fisher shared some numbers about the mobile web browser's rate of adoption. tl;dr, people are flocking to Chrome, and fast. Over the past year, the number of 30 day active users has doubled from 400 million to 800 million. Read More
This isn't the first time we've reported about Google's deplorable policies for removing apps from the Play Store. One day you're the developer of an extremely popular app, distributing it to thousands of users, the next it's poof gone with no warning, no explanation, and no way to easily communicate with the team to understand what has gone wrong.
The latest victim is the famous and ridiculously powerful Tasker app. Tasker has been available on Android since time immemorial and has made many a user extremely happy with its extensive featureset. Want to turn on the popcorn machine when you yell "movie time!" at your phone? Read More