About four months ago, Google added Auto Awesome Stories to the Google+ Android app. This feature groups photos taken at roughly the same place and time when you're traveling away from your home area into a nifty slideshow or "travelogue." It looks like someone at Facebook really digs the idea, because we've been alerted by multiple users who say they've seen pretty much the same thing in the Facebook app over the last few days.
For a long time now, Google's Search app has had a new, more rounded launcher icon and a simple label in your app drawer: Google. The app's Play Store listing, however, has stubbornly clung to the name "Google Search," while retaining the old boxy icon of yore. Without a word, it looks like Google has cleaned up its Play Store listing at long last with the refreshed icon and simplified name.
Considering the competitive nature of the mobile market, it's actually pretty surprising that Microsoft supports Android as well as it does, at least for its own services. The company has released over 30 apps for Android, including a free and official version of Microsoft Remote Desktop, the official RDP client for Windows. Today's update brings support for KitKat's handy immersive mode, which makes a lot of sense for a remote computer viewer...
Vine, the video equivalent of Twitter, has received an app update that brings in a number of tools that should make getting content onto the site a better experience. The update drops a new icon at the bottom left that lets users pull up videos from their gallery (referred to annoyingly in the app as a camera roll), preview videos of any length, and trim footage down into a 6-second version that probably doesn't do the original any justice (ahem, I mean, make them Vine-ready).
There's a great deal of convenience that comes with using Automatic, just so long as you're fine with beaming every trip you take up to the company's servers. The app can tell you what routes you've taken, where you're parked, how you dive, and what you need to work on in order to save gas. It's a nifty tool, and while there are some significantly more affordable alternatives such as Dash out there, Automatic is the best option for someone who doesn't want to deal with picking out their own OBD-II device or wrestling with a less polished interface.
Unified Remote is one of those apps that lets you control everything. Everything? Everything. This app lets you control everything... that's on your PC. You can use it to toggle volume, handle videos, pause music, move the mouse, and jam on the keyboard. It's a universal remote for your computer that runs on your phone, and with the beta, it now runs on your wrist as well. Developer Unified Intents has managed to move much of the functionality over onto Android Wear.
Pocket Casts is one of the more attractive mobile podcast managers out there, and it's pretty accessible too. The Android app is easy to use, and with a cloud sync account, you can keep up with shows across numerous devices. Now the team is expanding functionality to the desktop as well. A web version of Pocket Casts is on its way, and it's currently available in a private beta.
You have to get permission to use the beta, but once in, here's what you see.
You might be familiar with the MyScript Calculator, which lets you jot down math problems and solves them on the spot. It's creepy accurate, and now that same technology has been applied to note taking with MyScript Smart Note (for tablets only). It works best if you've got a stylus, but even a finger is accurate enough for this app to figure it out.
Google's Chrome browser is our go-to web tool on Android, but there are plenty of reasons not to like it, like the way the latest version hides the refresh button in a drop-down menu. For those users who aren't happy with the status quo, one of the more refreshing alternatives is Javelin, and independent browser made with a unique interface and Material Design visual elements. The latest update (4.1.3) includes some more advanced bookmarks and syncing features.