Earlier this year Google's VP of Communications, Nick Fox, declared Hangouts would be refocused on the enterprise market where it had found much more adoption. Ironically, the couple of updates since that statement haven't exactly screamed professionalism, or even added much of anything particularly relevant to the workplace. That changes with v14, which cleans up and improves various aspects of group chats. This version also enables app shortcuts (formerly Launcher Shortcuts) for use on Android 7.1 and makes a few other tweaks, as well. Read More
Microsoft has a treat for you power users this Halloween. Their automated actions service, Microsoft Flow, is finally out of beta. Flow is part of Microsoft's new "power trio," combined with the company's PowerApps and Power BI tools. While those are mostly only useful to companies, Flow has definite use for normal people. In fact, after just an hour of playing with it, I'm convinced it's better than the popular IFTTT service.
With Microsoft Flow, you can make Buttons (a user-triggered set of tasks) or Flows (automated set of tasks, much like IFTTT recipes). As far as I can tell, you can only create new Flows and Buttons from scratch on the desktop site - on mobile you have to start from a template. Read More
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
DigiCal Calendar Agenda
Today's roundup is presented by DigiCal Calendar & Widgets from Digibites. DigiCal is the full-featured calendar app that offers a ton of features that aren't available in Google Calendar, like seven different calendar views, light and dark themes, multiple widgets, integrated weather forecasts, an invitation management system, and over fifty thousand public calendars for integration with personal or corporate planning. Read More
Project Fi subscribers are getting a new tool to track data usage today. A post in the Fi sub-Reddit by the verified Google community manager account says data tracking will now update live, and that usage will be broken out by app. It's all live right now—just open the app and check it out. Read More
A new raft of banks have been added to Android Pay today, which is always nice. There are a couple dozen this time. There's First Flight FCU, Bristol County Savings Bank, oh and look at that... Capital One. Sweet Christmas. Only a year after it was listed as "coming soon." Read More
We've all seen it—an app with just a few too many suspicious five-star reviews or an unlikely high number of installs in a short period of time. Google cites these attempts to manipulate the Play Store as a hindrance to its recommendation system, and ultimately to the experience of end users. Today, it's implementing a new filtering system to spot these apps. Read More
If you're not familiar with VPNs, a Virtual Private Network allows users to access the internet as if they were on another network. VPNs are often used to access services only available in another country, access content blocked on a restricted network, or avoid privacy concerns that come with using free Wi-Fi.
Opera Max has been available on Android for a while now, allowing users to save data usage through apps like YouTube and Netflix. For this to work, your device is connected to the Opera Max VPN, which compresses data like Netflix streams and YouTube videos before it reaches your device. The result is less data usage on your end. Read More
It's Halloween, so that means we've got some spooky app and game sales from the haunted Play Store. OoooOOOoooo, scary. The cursed deals below will only be available for a limited time. Don't be afraid, grab your goody bag and come on in. Certainly nothing terrifying will happen to you!
In a world of large phones, it makes sense to move commonly-used actions to the bottom of the screen. A new flag in Chrome Dev and Canary, only described as 'Chrome Home,' moves Chrome's address bar to the bottom of the screen when enabled. Read More
Walmart (the parent company of Sam's Club) has been testing a service called Shop & Go for several years now. The idea is that you shop normally, scan in items with a barcode app, pay from the app via a credit card/debit card/store payment system, then just walk out the door - no need to go through a checkout line at all. Previously the program was limited to only a few hundred stores and it only worked on the iPhone, but it looks like the company is ready to put a more widespread version out for the Sam's Club bulk retailer stores. Read More