This last spring, a couple of trolls took to Google Map Maker and created a park that looked like a bugdroid peeing on an Apple logo. Google's reaction to this was removing the ability to make edits using Map Maker altogether, and the community was told that the feature would be added in at a later time. A couple of weeks ago the service came back to life in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, the Philippines, and Ukraine.
WhatsApp has been going through multiple iterations in its "beta" channel, which gets distributed on the service's website, while its official Play Store version was stuck for several months on the same number. That changed in the past few days as WhatsApp has finally updated its Play Store listing to 2.12.250 with all of the goodies that we've been anxiously tracking over the past months. This means that all of your friends and relatives who never manually grabbed apks are now on the same page as you when it comes to WhatsApp's features.
Koush makes a lot of neat Android apps like Helium Backup and AllCast, but what's next? It's a thing called Vysor that will let you easily control your phone from Chrome. An early beta of the app is available in the Chrome web store, and it's already surprisingly solid for something that isn't even done yet.
Filed in the category of "things we just noticed" is a pretty strange interface element discovered in the "help" interface of Google Settings. When opening an article, users can tap a "full screen exit" icon in the toolbar to trigger the little floating window seen above.
The window is reminiscent of the one found in YouTube, where users can collapse a video and keep browsing, but this window can be moved up to the top of the screen as well. Sliding it to either side will dismiss the mini-window. Here's a quick video demo:
There's no doubt this element seems a little out of place in Google Settings, but my first guess is that, functionally, it would serve a similar purpose to YouTube's mini player - if a user is following step-by-step instructions in a help article, they may want a fast way to switch between the steps and the app that they're dealing with.
There's always more than one way to approach the creation of an app and in the case of note-taking, it's very easy to make things too simple or too complex. From a design standpoint, powerful Android apps can sometimes leave intuitiveness and beauty aside (see Titanium Backup for more details).
neutriNote is a new app, currently in beta, that combines a simple and attractive front-end with a litany of features that can and should appeal to power users, especially of the academic type.
The app comes from the developer behind Minutes Text Notes, a very similar set of free and paid apps.
Just because you have an Android device, that doesn't mean you have to commit to using Google Now. Maybe you don't trust el Goog with that much information. Maybe, for some reason, you rather give that data to Microsoft instead. In such a case, you're welcome to use Cortana as your digital voice assistant.
tinyCam recently made the big leap to version six dot oh, dragging along a new icon and material design. On the functionality front, we saw the introduction of 24/7 background video recording. This allowed users to keep recording long after they've switched their attention to another app.
With version 6.2, the developer has added in an internal web server that lets users record video on one device and remotely access them from another. For someone who already has multiple Android phones and tablets lying around, this is a cheap way to make an NVR.
This may be the primary new feature, but the lengthy changelogs include a few other noteworthy additions.
Floatify has been around for a little over a year now. It's an app that presents an alternate way to display notifications, specifically the Heads Up (AKA Peeking) notifications that were hidden in Android 4.4 and fleshed out in 5.0. The app has been continuously updated even as Lollipop has become public, and now it's a full-fledged alternative to most of Android's built-in notification systems. The latest update is something really special - we kind of wish Google would steal some of developer Jawomo's ideas.