Version 5.3 of the Google Play Music app is flying out to Android devices right now, bringing with it... not a lot, actually. A quick look inside reveals bolded "Listen Now" text in the slide-out menu, a version update to 5.3.1316M, and not much else. But as usual, our hyper-intelligent cloud of futuristic swarming nanobots is pouring over the APK file, and there's plenty to be excited about.
Google has been building up to something big with YouTube, as indicated by our recent APK teardowns. It looks like yet another version of the YouTube app is rolling out to devices all over the world, and we've got the file for you to check out. It's not a huge update at first glance, but maybe there's something beneath the surface.
The first really obvious visual change is a slight reorganization of the slide-out navigation menu.
We've received an early look at an upcoming version of Facebook that introduces a brand new, flat UI. This is a change that competing social networks like Twitter and Pinterest made a long time ago, and given the direction Android, iOS, and Windows Phone have all moved in, it only makes sense. When considering Facebook Messenger's recent redesign, it's even less surprising. Yet this is pre-release software, so there's a decent chance none of these changes will make it into the stable version.
Many Google apps received a redesign in time for the launch of KitKat, but the Google Translate app was not one of them. Well, its day is fast approaching. The app is now receiving an update that introduces a new look and other tweaks.
The camera, microphone, and handwriting input options have been moved to the top, and results appear in a clean list below. This should make getting useful translations that much easier.
According to the official Drive Google+ page, the Android client for Google's cloud-based file and document manager will be receiving an update "over the next few days" adding new, richer editing features, as well as a few smaller feature tweaks. It looks like a lot of these features have already been available on the version of Drive that shipped with KitKat (1.2.403.9), though the one rolling out today is even newer.
Remember how the physical Google Wallet card showed up in some APK teardowns only to be removed without a word from Google? Well, it's back and you can place an order for it right now. Google says the card should be delivered to interested parties in 10-12 days.
The Wallet card will let you pay for items at any retailer, even those that don't have the little NFC kiosks Wallet has thus far relied upon.
Back on Halloween, Google promised that proprietary binaries and factory images for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 would arrive shortly after devices received their OTA updates. Even though some OTAs haven't even rolled out yet, as of a few minutes ago, all modern Nexus devices now have Android 4.4 KRT16O factory images and drivers available for download.
This means you can flash stock Android 4.4 onto any supported device, even if an OTA either wasn't available yet or wouldn't work for some reason.
- It officially brings Search version 3 (3.1.8 to be exact) that shipped in KitKat to all devices running 4.1+. This includes an updated UI, new refresh animation, among other things.
- Because Search houses the Google Experience Launcher (GEL) inside, this update also brings GEL to all devices running Android 4.1+. All you need to do after installing Search 3.1.8 is install the launcher app from here, and voila - GEL for all, not just KitKat devices.
Yesterday, Google announced the kickoff of the KitKat OTAs for the Nexus 7 and 10, though we haven't seen the update for the 2012 N7 actually pop up until a few minutes ago. (If you have a 2013 Nexus 7, head over here.)
2012 Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (not 3G yet) owners, listen up. You can now flash the 185MB KRT16O Android 4.4 build without waiting any longer, no matter what your rooting/bootloader situation is.
Now that the KitKat update has started rolling out to various Nexus devices, we're, unfortunately, seeing no traces of the Google Experience Launcher, which confirms an earlier report stating as much. No GEL means no transparency in the default and a pretty barebones boring AOSP launcher. It also means no Google Now integration and no "Ok Google" hotword support while on any home screen.
Boring Nexus 7 launcher
However, not all is lost.