As the resident teardown guy, Update Wednesday was a huge letdown this week. After slicing and dicing a dozen or so apks, all I saw were bug fixes, minor adjustments, and updates with full changelogs. Come on Google, I can't write about the neat stuff if none of the secrets are allowed to leave Mountain View. Fortunately, I did get to look at an unreleased version of Play Services, and there are a few interesting things to take away from it.
Android Auto hasn't arrived in vehicles yet, but interested parties are already getting their ducks in a row. We've seen car manufacturers announce support and a handful of aftermarket radio makers show off their products (Parrot, Kenwood, Pioneer), all stuff to get excited about. But for any of this to be good, app developers have to get behind the platform as well. So it's good to see iHeartRadio add Android Auto support in the latest app update.
The term "chivalry" has somehow become conflated with being gentlemanly over the years, but chivalry was mostly about who to stab with your sword and how to go about it. There's certainly a lot of that in Broadsword: Age of Chivalry. This game has just arrived on Android with Tegra-optimized graphics, but other Android devices can play with somewhat simplified graphics.
Coming with the latest Google Maps update is Local Guides, a new program meant to increase the number of reviews original to Google and highlight the best of them. It is both a feature addition to Maps and something that exists independently of it. Guides are people who will be rewarded for their reviews, while you benefit by having them as a more credible source of information.
This looks similar to Yelp's Elite Reviewers, which is...well, similar.
There were many real world ramifications from World War II, but one of the more relevant to our coverage on Android Police is that it gave developers material for no fewer than a zillion games. HandyGames saw success with its last WWII title, 1941 Frozen Front, and now the sequel known as 1942 Pacific Front is available for download. It's essentially the same thing but with less snow.
Swype, the keyboard that made gesture-based typing famous, is still alive and kicking. The company has just crammed enough new features into its Android app to bump things up to version 1.8.
What's on the changelog? Cool stuff, that's what. Stuff like new Lollipop-friendly themes that even stock Android lovers will be able to install without holding their nose. There's a dark one, a light one, and a third theme called Bumblebee because why not?
Google may not want managing apps to be a primary part of the Android Wear experience, but that doesn't mean all users must agree. Wear Mini Launcher shrinks a traditional app drawer onto that tiny display, where you can access your petite apps with just a swipe.
Today version 3 has hit Google Play, and while it does a number of things to streamline the watch experience, the big item on the changelog deals with the companion app.
Development of the popular Timely alarm clock slowed to a crawl when Google acquired the company just over a year ago, but there have been a few small updates since then. Today is a big one, though. Timely v1.3 adds some new features, fixes some bugs, and even adopts a few Lollipop UI elements.
If you plan on hitting the slopes this winter, it appears that Google Now may be able to help you prepare. A reader sent in this screenshot of a Google Now card providing him with an overview of the weather and snow conditions at a nearby ski resort.
A new flag added to Chrome v41, currently in beta, reduces the information about referring websites shared with others as you browse the web. The default behavior, without the flag enabled, is to pass along the website you clicked from when you browse to a new page. This feature will make the referring information sent along to websites less specific when you go from one domain to another.
Knowing your referring website can reveal a fair amount of information about you.