The Google app was treated to an update late yesterday, bringing the version number up to 5.4. This bump seems to be mostly dedicated to bug fixes, but a couple of changes deserve to be mentioned. A previously screwy animation has been restored to its original beauty, and we now have a more convenient way to set Home and Work locations. Evidence also turned up that suggests the Google app will play host to its own mini-app for Android Wear.
Fixed Card Swipe Animation
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
Last month's v5.3 update introduced a very unsightly bug into the Google Now stream. Read More
The Google app is an interesting beast within the Android Ecosystem. It provides speech recognition, Google Now, multiple APIs, and even a launcher. Next to Google Play Services, the Google app is by far the most multi-faceted apk most of us have on our phones and tablets. The latest couple of updates teased users of the Android M Developer Preview 3 with brief access to Now On Tap before it was quickly taken away with a promise that it was still "coming soon". There were also a few other smaller details waiting to be found in a teardown, including the likely return of rotation support on the Google Now Launcher and some more forward motion for offline voice commands. Read More
It has been nearly a year since YouTube launched its own music-focused subscription service called Music Key. In the meantime, Google quietly renamed Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Unlimited. Now it looks like Google is about to bestow a similar rebranding on Music Key, turning it into "YouTube Red."
An update to the YouTube app includes text that describes a product called YouTube Red as the service that enables background playback, a feature that has long been restricted to Music Key (and Music Unlimited) subscribers. Read More
Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases. Read More
After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
In a rare twist, Google was quick to update a changelog on the Play Store, and this one is definitely worth it. Some big improvements have been made to the Chromecast (Google Cast) support in the latest update to Play Music, including some stability improvements, gapless playback, and continuous playback after a caster leaves the area. On top of that, a look inside turned up evidence that Google may soon allow users to "gift" subscriptions to other people. If you just can't wait to get the goods, we've got a download link at the bottom.
It's highly unusual, but a changelog was posted right away with the release of the latest update. Read More
The app updates hit quickly yesterday as about a dozen Google apps were given new versions. Among them, Gmail made an incremental bump to v5.6. There aren't any new features to speak of, but a look inside the apk gave up the goods on a couple of interesting additions we can look forward to in the future. Users will soon have the option to send email with richly formatted text. On top of that, there are signs that we'll soon have deep calendar integration, which should make for smarter and more intuitive auto-suggest results. Read More
On the last episode of Android Police Teardowns, Google's plans for Smart Burst were revealed. Soon, Creations are going to become an innate part of the Camera app, giving users their own collages, animations, group pictures with the best possible smiles, and even pictures styled as if they were taken in a photo booth. Many questions remain. Will Google finally make the most out of the Camera 2 API? Will there be slow motion and HDR modes? And will readers get that this intro is just a goofy bit modeled after old TV shows that awkwardly explain the whole previous episode in 30 seconds before continuing with the story? Read More
We're just two weeks away from the anticipated launch date for Android 6.0, up to two Nexus phones, and possibly many other surprises. As we all know, secrets are rarely well-kept as the clock counts down on big new products, and that means bits and pieces occasionally escape. We've got an early look at the resources belonging to Google Camera v3.0, which we expect to see included with the upcoming Nexus handsets and rolling out to the Play Store.
Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
Android Pay is finally here and it's pretty much everything we expected it to be. While there are plenty of questions about where we can use it, which credit cards can be set up, and why it's so aggressive with brightness even when barcodes aren't on screen, the actual act of spending money is about as straight-forward as it could be. As it turns out, there's one feature Google hasn't really discussed yet, but it could become the best thing about using a phone to buy things. Android Pay can automatically redeem special offers, submit account details for loyalty programs, and make a payment in just one tap to a payment terminal. Read More