You might just be seeing a new version of Google Maps in your Play Store downloads today - Google has updated the app from version 7.3 to 7.4. There's not a whole lot of new stuff going on inside, certainly not compared to the cavalcade of UI changes that happened earlier this year. A few tuned gestures, a few refreshed UI elements, and that's about it. APK downloads below.
If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed.
An updated version of Google Keyboard has made its way into the Play Store, taking most of the previously Nexus 5-exclusive features and expanding them out to other devices. We've covered the improvements in-depth before (and provided an APK), but in short, the swiping trail is now white, emoji are built-in, and users can swipe multiple words without having to lift up their finger. Unfortunately, some features still require KitKat, such as full-color emoji.
The SwiftKey team just rolled out a massive update to their popular Android keyboard, introducing various layouts suitable for a wide range of screen sizes. Now they're moving on to tackle other long-awaited, user-requested features. Two responses on the app's idea suggestion page show that the developers are currently working on adding support for emojis and the ability to enable a dedicated number row.
Neither of these features are particularly groundbreaking in the grand scheme of things, but that is precisely what makes the demand for them so strong.
We've been eagerly awaiting the new version of Google Hangouts since it was announced at the Google+ event in October, and while a version pulled from the Nexus 5 is mostly working on most devices, its had its fair share of issues with crashing and video chat.
Now the update has finally landed on the Play Store, and with a slightly newer version number. Hangouts v2.0.122 (as opposed to 2.0.012 on the N5) is presumably beginning its slow and steady staged rollout, but you can get it right now.
There are many thousands of worthy apps in Google Play, but not all of them are on sale. If you're going to spend money, you might as well do it when there's a sale on, right? Better jump on these before they're gone.
Remember the kinder, gentler YouTube comments powered by Google+? Well, they're finally rolling out across the internet, and the Android app is no exception. Like it or not, Google+ is all up in your YouTube.
Text-to-speech engines read text aloud, saving users from having to read it themselves. Google's TTS offering comes pre-installed on numerous Android devices, and like much of the software previously shipped as part of Android, it's now ready to spread its wings in the Play Store. Here it's available to far more users, as it can now be installed on devices that don't come with the software pre-installed (pictured below -left). In contrast, on the Nexus 5, Google TTS is apparently already installed and unremovable (pictured below - right).
Don't let anyone ever tell you that your opinion isn't worth anything. In fact, your thoughts are so valuable that Google is willing to pay you for them. Well, there are two caveats - you must live in the US, and you have to be fine with being paid in Google Play credit. But hey, when it comes to Android, that stuff is as good as cash.
Users can spend Google Play credit on digital content in the Play Store, including apps, games, music, books, magazines, and videos.
The Chameleon Launcher turned some heads when it more than doubled its goal on Kickstarter last year. The final product wasn't quite as amazing as we hoped it would be, but Teknision did at least deliver the app to Google Play. It appears that Teknision is moving on now – it has been acquired by a company called Synacor. Never heard of it? Don't feel bad – you are not alone.
Swype may have just gained new split and mini keyboard options, but the SwiftKey folks have been sitting on something even more visionary for quite a while now. Their "Layouts for Living" program adds many layout options - split keyboards, movable pop-up keyboards, etc. - to what is already one of the most popular Android keyboards out there.
The video above highlights thumb, compact, and full layout options.