A fresh beta update just started rolling out for the Google app, popping the version number up to 6.1. There aren't many immediately obvious changes with this release, but it does contain a switch that will allow users to turn off trending searches in their area. But if you're looking for some potentially exciting new things, a teardown reveals the first physical pieces of the recently announced Google Assistant. There are also a couple bits related to deep search for apps and background retry for failed searches. Read More
The update to Google Maps v9.31 brought a couple of fixes for users on Android N developer previews, not to mention some other small changes for everybody. But the most interesting things about this version are still buried below the surface. Yesterday, I covered support for offline maps to be installed on an SD card, and now it's time to dig into the rest of the teardown. If SD card support weren't enough, there are a couple of other features here that have been hotly requested for some time, so it's pretty clearly the Maps team is working hard to fill out the feature set for users. Read More
If the presentations at Google I/O last month were any indication, Android Pay is growing quite quickly. Several new features were announced, but most were still only demos, not available to the public. A fresh update to the Android Pay app came out yesterday and a teardown reveals a few of those key features are either ready to launch or getting closer. There's also work being done on a map that will show merchants in close proximity that accept Android Pay, and a shortcut already showing up that will direct users to apps with Android Pay integration. Read More
Last week brought a rush of new app updates from both the Play Store and the Android N developer preview. There were surprisingly few new features to discuss, and not much for teardowns; but the Google Keep app does have at least one notable addition in store for us. It looks like Keep is going to give users the ability to pin important notes so they remain readily available and won't get lost as new items are added.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Google dropped the news last week that Nearby was about to get a whole lot more interesting. With the use of Bluetooth and a special blend of tricks collectively known as Location Services, Google will enable Android devices to learn about all manner of things in close proximity, whether they be Eddystone beacons, Chromecasts, or even Android Wear watches waiting to be set up. In the announcement, it was mentioned that an update to Google Play services would be rolling out shortly that adds support for all of these new features, and this is the one. While most of the features have already been disclosed, there's one in the teardown that wasn't mentioned. Read More
Anytime there's a big version jump, there's almost always something pretty big to be found. The Google app just leapt from v5.14 to v6.0, but those big new features don't seem to be showing up quite yet. That doesn't mean there isn't still something to see. A teardown shows that there are at least a few things to look out for, either now or in the future. This version appears to be rolling out through the beta channel, so if you want to check it out without signing up to the beta, or if it hasn't rolled out to you yet, there's a download link at the bottom. Read More
The YouTube Gaming app is still young, but each version brings little bits of fine tuning. It's progressively catching up with the main YouTube app while also adding little features that are unique to its focus on gaming and live-streamed events. The latest update to v1.4.41 continues this forward motion with some more subtle adjustments to the interface and a couple of new features. The easter egg count has also gone up by one, and there's even a little bit for a teardown. As always, a link to the download is available at the end.
Unofficial Changelog: (things we found)
- Recommended videos now have a 'Not interested' option in the overflow menu
- "Go Live" has been removed from the main overflow menu
- New "Event notifications" toggle in Settings –> General
- Easter egg count went from 4 to 5
YouTube's recommendation engine isn't perfect, but once it has had time to learn our viewing habits, the results can be very good. Read More
For many of us, the Street View name is linked to a convenient way to look around at places we haven't been, whether it's just an address we're about to drive to or one of the world's greatest mountains. We don't usually associate it with making money, but a lot of businesses have started investing in virtual tours to attract more customers. For a few years, Google has been working to help businesses pair up with independent photographers and agencies to capture scenery for potential visitors. The interface for this was entirely web based, but now it looks like some of the operations will soon become available through the Street View app itself. Read More
Google Maps is now accepting beta testers through the Play Store, and it's probably no coincidence that there's already an update to v9.27 to go along with the news. The latest version doesn't appear to have any mind-blowing features, but it's not without a few changes to be found on the screen and buried in the apk. There are new notification settings, a new splash screen for Android Wear, and a few hints from a teardown. We're still looking around for more, so let us know if you stumble across any cool changes.
Unofficial Changelog: (stuff we found)
- New Notification Settings: "Show pending contributions notification" and "Driving notifications"
- Splash screen on Android Wear
More Notification Settings
Just a few days ago I commented on how the Notifications screen had grown quite a bit over the last few months, and with the brand new beta, two more settings join the list. Read More