Update: As commenters have pointed out, the undo close tab option has been available before now - it's just the look that has changed. I've updated the screenshots to reflect this.
The beta edition of Chrome for Android is getting a small update before the changes go into the primary release. The biggest new addition in version 39.0.2171.37 is an "undo closed tab" option. When you swipe away a tab on the "all tabs" page, a contextual menu will appear at the bottom allowing you to instantly bring it back. This is standard behavior for desktop browsers - on Chrome for Windows, the Ctrl-Shift-T command does the same thing.
Android includes tools to follow the state of your battery, but not Android Wear. Seems like an oversight on Google's part, but developers are trying to fill in the gaps. The first such app showed up just recently, but now there's a new Wear battery tracker from the developer of the fantastic Wear Mini Launcher. Wear Battery Stats can be used on the phone or watch to see how the battery has been doing and identify potential issues.
It has been a little quiet on the app front today, but it is in fact Update Wednesday. There's a new version of Hangouts available for download right now, and it has at least one useful tweak. Presumably there are also some bug fixes and other under-the-hood changes.
Today, Google officially announced Gmail Blue Inbox, a service we posted about just last night. Previously codenamed Bigtop, Inbox by Gmail is a full reimagining of how an email product should work, and how users should interact with their email.
It is really rare for a product to come out that actually reimagines something rather than just claiming it does, but Inbox is really a fresh take on... the inbox. Though the product is just in its first release (and doesn't handle all your email services as we thought it would - a feature that ended up in Gmail), it already looks promising.
Now that you can put widgets on your lockscreen, there's a whole host of things you can do even before unlocking your phone. and if that's not enough, there are afewalternativelockscreens that will let you do even more. Today we're getting another one from a slightly surprising source: Microsoft. Say hello to the Next Lock Screen, an app from the company's Microsoft Garage internal team.
I say it's only slightly surprising because Microsoft has been releasing a staggering amount of Android apps of late. But I digress: Next Lock Screen attempts to combine an agenda view sourced from your phone's calendar with a quick launcher system, accessible with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
Google is rolling out a big update to the Google Earth app, and as usual it's a staged deployment. Never fear, we are here with an APK download. In this new version (8.0) you'll find better 3D images, cleaner maps, KML import, and more.
Google hasn't updated the changelog on the Play Store yet, but there's a whole blog post about Google Earth v8.0. The gist of it is that 3D images will look much better now with the new rendering engine. Roads will also get nicer labels and updated data at the same time as Google Maps going forward.
Google has just launched a new email system, but you can only get on in by requesting an invitation or being sent one from a friend. No, it's not 2004, it's Google's new Inbox system, an alternative to Gmail and a new way to look at electronic messaging in general. We've highlighted the new system before its official release, but now you can get it for yourself... if you're lucky enough to get through the invitation system.
Google has been working on Inbox as "Project Bigtop" for years. In the new system, messages are treated like tasks in a to-do list: the system automatically groups messages into "bundles" based on their content and your own filters.
Microsoft released a remote desktop app for Android just over a year ago, but now there's a new separate beta version of the app listed in the Play Store, and it makes some big changes. Of course, this still uses the RDP protocol, so you'll need a Pre version of Windows to use it. It's pretty robust if you've got the support built-in.
When it comes to technology, all devices slow down over time. As things like RAM and storage get used, the OS has a harder time trudging through all the data compared to when the device was brand spankin' new out of the box. While Android does a great job of making the most of the hardware it's given, sometimes a little help is needed to give it that extra push. That could mean something simple like cleaning out cached files to open up more storage, deleting old text and picture messages, or just getting rid of applications that haven't been used recently.
Microsoft's employees have a lot of free time on their hands, what with taking forever between each update to their Windows Phone platform and other priority stalling operations. They like to use this free time in the Garage, developing apps for Android, just 'cause y'know, it's fun to imagine yourself working on cool projects for once. After Bing Torque, this Journeys & Notes app seems like a mash-up of some features from Foursquare, Field Trip, and The Traveler.
You check in to a trip, not a specific place. The app will recognize the path you're traveling and let you leave interesting (and anonymous) thoughts along the road or check the ones that were shared by others before you.