The latest update to the Google app is rolling out to beta channel members right now. There aren't any immediately obvious changes on the surface, but as the tradition often goes, there are some things under the hood worthy of discussion in a teardown. This version brings a pretty good indicator that 8.1 will be the next version of Android. There are also signs that user-defined actions are going to get some changes in the future. We're also going to hit an option to turn off the built-in screenshot handler and a little bit more about Google's upcoming "Bisto" headphones.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
The September 2017 Android security update is here, and the bulletin contains the usual details about vulnerabilities that could be affecting various Android devices. Images and OTAs that include the September patches should protect against any possible issues, but so far they're only available for the Nexus 9 on Android 7.1.1. There are no Android 8.0 Oreo images with September patches for Pixel or Nexus devices live yet, but it shouldn't be too long before they are added. Read More
To US readers, WhatsApp may not seem like much of a big deal. Things are different elsewhere, however, and with more than 1 billion daily active users it's easy to understand why Facebook paid so much money to acquire the messaging service. After a number of rumors and clues, business accounts similar to what you can already find in the Facebook Messenger app are now coming to WhatsApp. Read More
I've come to expect great things from every new Telegram update. Each one seems to enhance the quality-of-life for the users, and the latest brings some of those. Version 4.3 adds a much better group mentions and reply system, an overhauled UI for inviting contacts to join Telegram, and other minor improvements. Read More
The update to version 2.0 ushered in some major changes to YouTube for Android TV. Many of them were superficial, but there were also useful things like being able to turn off autoplay. It also got a fair amount of criticism for essentially just being a web wrapper and having some things missing. The biggest disappointment for many was that you could no longer sign in with a brand account or switch channels as you could in the previous release. Google said they would be brought back soon and has just made good on that promise with a new update. Read More
The latest Google Maps beta update began rolling out to users late last night, and it brings with it a feature some users have been requesting for years: User-selectable language and voices. Not only that, but there are a few things from the teardown that may be of interest. Some of them are more like follow-ups to older topics, but there are some new bits of information to check out with each one. Read More
Version 3.4 of Google Photos started rolling out earlier today, and like so many other recent app updates, you're probably not going to see much in the way of changes. This is a pretty common theme around this time of year as Google prepares to launch new hardware and services. But investigating the app updates themselves can still turn up clues about future enhancements. In this release, there are signs that users will be able to mark photos as "favorites" and quickly pull up a list for easy browsing. There's also going to be a new notification when you're on cellular networks to allow one-time passes for the backup system to use some of that data and get your photos and videos into the cloud ASAP. Read More
Android 8.0 Oreo made its official debut a little over a week ago, but since then, only devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program have received an official OTA to 8.0. Verizon Pixel phones began receiving the official version earlier today, but it looks like other devices haven't been as fortunate. Luckily, Google has just uploaded factory images and OTAs for Nexus and Pixel devices to their respective pages. Read More