Google is busy this week updating most of its apps before the holidays and one update we were anticipating is Chrome Beta 48. The Chromium Blog had announced the update last week but we didn't see it on the Play Store until today.
So what does Beta 48 bring? A few interesting additions. Developers can now use the Presentation API to present to Google Cast devices, making it possible to send sites and their content to your Chromecast devices right from your mobile browser.
Yahoo Mail received a pretty big update a couple of months ago with an interface revamp to Material Design (or Yahoo's interpretation of it), Account Key to sign in on your mobile device without having to input your password, and support for other mail providers like Outlook, Hotmail, and AOL. You may have noticed that Gmail wasn't present in that list, but that changes today.
Yahoo! is rolling out an update to version 5.1 of Mail that adds Gmail support so you can start checking your Googly inbox from Yahoo's app. I don't know why you'd want to do that, but I'm sure there are valid reasons why such a feature would be important.
AmpMe is a make-shift surround speaker system based on your devices. It turns all of your phones and tablets (and your friends' phones and tablets) into speakers for the same song, synchronizes playback across all of them, and lets the party starter choose which tracks get streamed for everyone. When it was released in October, I reviewed the app and concluded that it was good, but that it was neck-to-neck with SoundSeeder, another alternative on Android. It all depended on what you wanted: AmpMe has SoundCloud support, a better interface, and an iOS app; SoundSeeder has local music and Google Play Music playback, queue management, and more options.
A new version of YouTube's Gaming offspring has been rolling out on the Play Store with a long list of interface improvements and new features that's sure to make any gamer happy.
For new users, YouTube Gaming now has an on-boarding setup that first recommends six games to follow, probably based on your previous YouTube watching history, and then automatically imports the gaming channels you have subscribed to on YouTube.
Wednesday was packed with an onslaught of app updates, many of which came with at least a few notable features. While a bit on the quiet side, the Play Movies & TV app came with some worthwhile new features of its own. Most of the new features are hidden under the Settings screen, including a toggle to finally shut off binge-watching on phones and tablets and a pair of options to enable notifications for new TV shows and when things on your Wishlist become available or drop in price. There are also a few other subtle differences behind the scenes.
Here's the official changelog for Play Movies & TV v3.10:
Wishlist any movie that's not yet available for purchase and receive notifications when it's available to buy or rent
More reliable playback
Play Movies & TV channel in Android TV Live Channels app
An update back in early October brought binge-watching, which filled in a popular feature for serious TV watchers.
Google removed the watch battery stats from the Wear app some time ago, but it wasn't really much of a loss. They were borderline useless at the time anyway. In the latest version of Wear (126.96.36.1990307.gms), the battery stats appear to have returned. As to whether or not they're still junk, I cannot say yet.
Remember cable? It sucked. You had to deal with commercials, and you could only watch what the network decided you should watch. It was a nightmare that many of us couldn't wait to — oh, some of you still have it? Oh, you like it? But... but why?
Anyways, times have greatly improved for cord cutters. There's YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, HBO Now, Showtime, Google Play, Watch ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, PBS, and so many other options for streaming video.
The downside? We have to keep up with what's available where. This conundrum has led to the proliferation of TV guide-ish apps that will tell you what's playing on which services (oh how things have come full circle).
Yesterday was such a big update Wednesday that it's bleeding into Thursday with the likes of Snapseed. The v2.2 update is rolling out, and proponents of RAW photography on mobile will be happy to hear (and see) that it improves the editing process. There are a few other tweaks too.
Google announced that multi-room audio is finally available for the Chromecast Audio dongle today, after several months of waiting. The new feature allows you to simultaneously cast the same audio to as many CC Audios as you have on your network. You can create groups of dongles specifically, too, which then appear on the Chromecast app for any compatible device.
The update also adds support for 96KHz/24-bit lossless audio playback, which is important for those in the audio community concerned with larger, higher numbers that are ostensibly significant in terms of quality. If you don't know what those numbers really mean, trust me - you don't need to care.
The Google Photos app had some cool sharing features when it was released back in May, but now it's getting even better at sharing. Google has announced the addition of shared albums to Photos (announced a few months ago), and it's available today on Android, iOS, and web.