When Google Play services receives an update, there's almost always something interesting to discover. Many of our future experiences – good and bad – are shaped through the new features Google adds to this one framework. Google Play services 7.3 recently rolled out to users, and like previous versions, it contains some hints about new features and capabilities we can expect for the future. With this update, we've got signs of a built-in invitation system for apps, more forward progress on the long-rumored Nearby feature, and more.
After trying and failing to reinvent itself and move beyond the bad press, anonymous social networking app Secret is shutting down in the coming weeks. Co-founder David Byttow said in an announcement posted to Medium, "Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company." Rather than rethink what Secret is, they're walking away.
During this year's Microsoft I/O, excuse me, Microsoft Build Developer Conference, the Windows maker announced all sorts of new Office-related stuff across all kinds of platforms, Android included. Okay, there isn't much information on the Android front, but Microsoft did announce that it intends to bring add-in support to the Play Store's version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sometime later this year.
Unfortunately, the Android version won't come until Microsoft first gets everything working on the iPad.
Trendy and thrifty travelers have taken a real shine to sub-letting app Airbnb, and those of them with tablets have a good reason to celebrate today. Version 5.0 of the Android app introduces a new user interface specifically for tablets, and it's available in the Play Store now. The 5.0 update doesn't seem to be going out in batches, but if you're having trouble getting it, the APK is available for download on APK Mirror.
Messenger is Google's basic alternative to Hangouts for sending SMS messages, and today it has received an update bringing along a widely-requested feature. No reason to tease you about it. Let's jump in.
Quick Reply is the ability to respond to a message without having to switch to the full app. Now when the notification comes in and you hit the reply button, you can tap out a response and go about your day.
If you haven't heard, there's an Android version of the popular desktop file manager Total Commander. It has been around for years, and through all of that time, it hasn't been a particularly pretty piece of software. Okay, it started out somewhat fine by Gingerbread standards, but successive versions of Android have not been nice to it. If you go to the Play Store right now, here's one of the screenshots you will see.
In the midst of update Wednesday, Google has just pushed a brand new version of Chrome to the Play Store - Chrome Dev.
For those unaware, Google's browser comes in four main channels - Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. As you descend the list, you get closer to the bleeding edge. So while you can see some of what's next in Chrome Beta, the Dev channel shows what Google is working on "right now," giving a peek into "whatever code [Google's] got."
The Play Store listing of course warns that any new functionality in the Dev version of Chrome may be "rough around the edges," but Google says this release will be updated "on roughly the same schedule as other platform Dev channels."
Google's long awaited carrier play was announced recently as Project Fi, an MVNO running on Sprint and T-Mobile that will begin as a Nexus 6 exclusive. The official Project Fi app is now live in the Play Store—not that it will do you a lot of good without an invite, which no one seems to have yet.
It's Update Wednesday, and you know what that means. Yes, time to sideload some APKs, because staged rollouts are lame. First on your to-do list is the new My Tracks update, which runners will be happy to see has a new map option. You can now see your path with an "Earth" overlay.
You could say that using a custom ROM is akin to testing a beta product indefinitely, and in that case, using the beta version of CM Downloader previously available wasn't much of an issue. But for the more cautious ROMers among you, version 2.0 of CyanogenMod's automatic update-downloading and flashing app has gone stable.