18
Jul
maps-thumb

Yesterday’s update to Google Maps was certainly no slouch for new features; it came packing some great improvements for cyclists, new voice commands during navigation, and a few other interface tweaks. In addition to these public changes, there are also two brand new features buried within the code which are not active yet, but they may point to some exciting stuff on the horizon.

Teardown

"I Am Here"

Google Maps is pretty good at figuring out where we've gone; between GPS, Wi-Fi, and even things like BLE-based iBeacons, it's possible to pinpoint our locations just about everywhere, even inside of buildings.

18
Jul
LevelUp-Thumb

LevelUp lets customers pay using their mobile phones at thousands of businesses across the country. The company's app simply opens up a barcode that, once scanned, handles the transaction. To make things even easier for users, an update is rolling out that adds support for Android Wear. So instead of scanning their phones, Wear device owners can have establishments scan their wrists instead.

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The Wear app can shoot out a notification when wearers enter a place where they frequently pay with LevelUp, and, with a swipe and a tap, lets users open up the payment screen.

18
Jul
kindle

We've heard rumblings about a possible Netflix-like service for books provided by Amazon, and now that service has come to fruition. It's called Kindle Unlimited, and it essentially offers customers access to over 600,000 titles from the Kindle Library and 2,000 on Audible, with unlimited reading or listening on both for roughly $10 a month.

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Of course, Amazon isn't the only one offering a service like this, as Oyster just launched its all-you-can-read book buffet last month for the same price.

18
Jul
MapsEngine-Thumb

When the Google Maps Engine app hit Android in late 2013, it enabled users to view and share custom maps. Now an update has landed that empowers them to create and edit such maps as well. Users can spawn new ones, add layers, and move points around as needed. They can then go back and rename aspects as they wish.

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The update has also introduced some UI changes, so while it may look largely the same, it's a little cleaner around the edges.

18
Jul
task

Tasker is right up there with our lord Matias Duarte in the amount of love it gets from the Android community. There's really no other way to get anywhere close to the same kind of automation running on your device. The new v4.4 update adds even more functionality to this already robust app. Heck, you almost don't have to touch the phone anymore. That doesn't really sound as fun, though.

18
Jul
FacebookPagesManager-Thumb

A month ago Facebook Pages Manager hit the big 2.0 and brought in a white, new UI to celebrate. It looks like the app had so much fun growing old that it's changing its number again. But what good is skipping up one number when it can do three? So the app has now hit 5.0. Say hello.

18
Jul
AutoVoice-Thumb

In the future, people will not only be surrounded by gadgets, they will be able to control everything by speaking. In this distant time roughly six or seven years from now, the basic voice commands we've grown accustomed to thus far will look like adorable relics of a bygone era. It looks like it may already be possible to get a taste of this promising way of life by configuring the latest version of AutoVoice.

18
Jul
nexusae0_ww_thumb.png

One of the first applications I installed on my LG G Watch is Wear Mini Launcher. I know it is not the Google-approved way of launching apps on Android Wear, but I don't see myself talking to my watch in public or scrolling through a long list of commands to get to the Start menu. This third-party app offers a quick way to launch Wear apps and is being updated regularly to add more features.

17
Jul
mm

It's not update Wednesday anymore, but Google can do whatever it wants with its apps. That's how things work. Today Mountain View has started rolling out an update to Google Maps with some stuff to make cyclists very happy. Not to leave everyone else out, there's now conversational voice actions while in navigation.

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17
Jul
SproutNow-Thumb

NBC Universal has launched Sprout Now into the Play Store, giving parents all over the country the option to let their kids stream a full episode of their favorite series and get a couple moments' rest. The app comes with a full program guide, plenty of shows, and enough content to occupy children for up to four, five minutes tops.

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Of course, there are caveats. Parents need to have a TV subscription of some kind in order to get access to the shows.

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