Nearly two months after we first saw the in-progress Hangouts 4.0 update, we were starting to worry it would never make its official appearance on the Play Store. But recently our collective wish was granted and Hangouts got a big update. Google says this is Hangouts' update to material design, but what exactly does that mean for the app? There's more here than just a new FAB, so let's take a closer look at some of the notable design changes in Hangouts 4.0.
The journey to material
Despite what the change log may suggest, Hangouts didn't suddenly arrive at "material" with the 4.0 update.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a platformer with Asteroids DNA, a sequel to Game Studio Tycoon, a casual game about drilling, a Square-Enix surprise, and a blank screen. Without further ado:
Imagine moving around a standard platforming game with the look and movement mechanic of Asteroids.
Not every game needs to have dozens of quests, tiered objectives, and an hour of cut scenes before you get to the actual game. Gathering Sky is a simple adventure game with great music and a casual gameplay style. One thing it doesn't have is in-app purchases.
Android offers developers a great deal of freedom to experiment with apps and come up with (maybe) the next big thing. Now Google has launched a website where it plans to show off some of the most interesting projects on Android. It's called Android Experiments and there are already 20 apps and demos to check out.
Solitaire and sword-and-sorcery fantasy wouldn't seem like an obvious combination, but the rookie Android game from Arnold Rauers does just that. Card Crawl has you facing a giant troll in an oddball card game, mixing elements of solitaire, battle card games like Magic the Gathering, and roguelike dungeon crawlers. It's an interesting little game that lends itself towards more strategy than might be immediately apparent.
Here's the gist: your opponent is the "deck," and he gives you 54 random cards three at a time. Each card is either an item like a sword or shield, a monster that you have to kill, a potion that can heal you, or coins that can be saved up for purchases.
The time has come. Dear people who use Twitter as their instant messenger of choice, your direct messages are no longer limited to 140 characters. Twitter announced today that it has removed the restriction and will begin rolling out the change to both Android and iOS.
After a controversial edit or two appeared in Map Maker alongside an uptick in spam, Google decided to halt user submissions while it figured out a way to deal with things. Now the company is starting to open Map Maker back up to users. It's doing so gradually. The first phase announced includes the countries of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, Philippines, and Ukraine.
Previously Google automatically approved most submissions. A Googler would then review edits manually, especially if community members brought something to the company's attention. The hope was that users would police themselves.
Rather than develop new systems or allocate more employees, Google is increasing its reliance on the community to solve the problem.
Play Newsstand v3.4.3 has started making its way from the Play Store to avid readers, and it has a pair of features users have been asking for. Magazine subscribers will be happy to know auto-download has been added to give them convenient delivery of each new issue as it is released. Readers with a focus on current events will find the Unsubscribe option has been returned to the Read Now overflow menu where it is easily accessible but won't be tapped accidentally.
One of the best things about digital magazines is that they can be stored on a device and saved for occasions when little or no data connectivity is available.
Hey, game pirates: screw you. Seriously, you're part of the reason it's so hard to find a decent game that isn't packed with $100 in-app purchases. Of course, good old-fashioned greed on the part of game developers is a big part of that, but a demonstrable loss of revenue from relatively easy piracy (a problem on other platforms like Windows) is giving developers little incentive to release conventional premium games for a simple price. Prolific publisher Noodlecake recently looked at statistics for the excellent Wayward Souls action-RPG and found that only 11% of Android users (and possibly fewer) had actually paid for the app - the rest had pirated it from various Internet repositories.