Man, this Twitch thing - I still find it intriguing that people like to watch other people play video games instead of actually playing themselves. I mean, there's nothing wrong with it (I'm actually guilty of getting caught up in watching other people's games when I open the app, too), it's just something I never thought would be a thing, you know?
Anyway, that's not the point. This is about Twitch 4.4, which brings a couple of new features to the app. First and foremost, it brings push notifications for broadcasters that you're already following, so you'll know when something's going down.
Now that Niantic Labs has left Google behind, we've all been wondering what its next big game will be. Ingress has managed more than 12 million downloads, but dare I say the just announced Pokémon GO will have even more. This game (coming in 2016) will have a similar augmented reality premise to Ingress, but instead of capturing portals you're capturing Pokémon.
It seems like all hands are on deck to get Google's apps to conform on the new workmark. In all of the rush, a minor snafu occurred yesterday. A dogfood version (generally intended for internal testing) of the News & Weather app was uploaded to the Play Store, adorned with the cute little paw print badge. Well, the accident has been cleaned up and the proper version has been uploaded to the Play Store today. Let's just hope nobody had their noses rubbed anywhere.
Left: Old launcher icon. Center: Dogfood icon. Right: New launcher icon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence.
We know that Android Pay is going to drop any day now, and that means Google Wallet is changing too. The Wallet app will no longer be used for paying in stores, but it will be used to send money. The new Wallet app is now live in the Play Store as a different listing than the existing Wallet app.
There's a new version of Hangouts rolling out to devices today, and it's a big jump from 4.0 to 4.2. I know that you're wondering. Does it fix that thing that you personally hate about Hangouts? Nope, that thing (whatever it is) is unaffected. This update is laying the groundwork for Android 6.0.
YouTube Kids is like YouTube... but for kids. Okay, it's not the most difficult concept in the world. Neither is the urge to take a video streaming to your tablet and make it bigger. With the latest version of YouTube Kids, your little one now has that option. Chromecast support has arrived.
Minecraft Pocket Edition updates are often filled with minute changes that you have to be familiar with the game to understand. Version 0.12.1's changelog includes a number of these tweaks. For example, there's "Ocelots! Try taming one with a fish" and "Golems. We recommend you approach with caution." Also, "Sneaking and sprinting! Express yourself through movement!"
Since arriving on Android the HERE app has been a solid alternative to Google Maps. Each update brings something new, and as usual, beta users get the goods first. Today's new feature is the ability to share your route with other people.