15
Apr
icon

For the first time in a million years, Google Voice got an actual update. While the changelog is, as usual, of no help whatsoever ("Improved the reliability of SMS delivery"), a teardown teases out an eyebrow-raising tidbit: Google Voice’s configuration settings can now be read by other apps.

The GV update comes packing a new service for handing out this info, called “GoogleVoiceConfiguration,” and a new permission, "com.google.android.apps.googlevoice.permission.FETCH_CONFIGURATION."

There’s an explanation of the permission in the strings file:

<string name="google_voice_fetch_configuration_permission_label">Read Google Voice configuration</string>
<string name="google_voice_fetch_configuration_permission_description">Allows applications to read the configuration of Google Voice, including your Google Voice phone number.</string>

That's about it for the cold, hard facts.

04
Apr
unnamed

Google Search teardowns are always a huge mess, because there's really no way of knowing what is or isn't implemented. I'm up against a scary combination of Now's entirely context-based UI and Voice Actions, which has absolutely no UI. Rather than try and guess at what does or doesn't work, I'll just post everything that Google neglected to add in the change log. If you manage to see something working, send in a screenshot and I'll add it.

01
Apr
icon_wakizashi

We've managed to score a system dump of the Facebook phone! There's nothing in it that's too earthshattering, and you could probably guess most of the features, but, since we've got it, we might as well take a look at it.

[This is not an April Fool's joke. I promise.]

Now, this being Facebook, nothing really works unless you sign in. The problem is, all of this is pre-release, so it's set up to only work for Facebook employee accounts.

19
Mar
ic_launcher_mail

Gmail 4.3 recently hit the streets, bringing with it a long-awaited (by me, at least) ability to archive email directly from the notification panel. It's awesome. But what else did Google sneak into our phones and tablets with this update? Let's find out.

Fair warning: this is going to be one of those teardown sessions that raises more questions than answers, so bring your speculation hat.

Experimental Preferences

Gmail has always had this wacky file in it called "experimental_preferences.xml." I've mostly ignored it, because it has only ever had two relatively-boring things in it: "full text search," which works already; and "Enable drag and drop contact chip," which would let you type a name into the "To:" field and move it to something like "CC:" by dragging it.

20
Feb
icon_white_backgound

Ok, here's a short and sweet edition of APK Teardown coming your way. Prepare yourself.

What's the one remaining thing a standalone GPS unit can do that Google Maps can't? (Besides work offline) Lane guidance.

lane-guidance-junction-view

Right now, Google Maps would best be described as "Turn guidance." It will tell you when to make a right turn, but that's about it. Lane guidance is a step further: Your next exit is coming up on the right, and a TomTom (pictured) will better prepare you to make the exit by directing you to the right hand lane in advance.

14
Feb
ic_gplus_red_32
Last Updated: February 26th, 2013

In the recent weeks, Google+ has had 2 pretty low-profile updates. The first one added a notification tray, and the most recent one was supposedly just a bug fix release, but they've both been adding new things, presumably for a coming update. Yes, it's teardown time.

These teardown sessions seems to get more and more mysterious and strange as time goes on, and frankly I'm really not sure what's going on with these updates.

13
Feb
nexusae0_search-logo_thumb

The Google Search app just got updated, so that means it's teardown time! I still rip into every interesting Google update, but I only write an article when I find something interesting. Things have been slim lately, I know, but today there's good news! I found stuff.

Google Search is the hardest app teardown to do. You can never really be sure if what you've found is in the app or not, because everything is so predictive and context heavy.

06
Dec
nexusae0_unnamed-1_thumb1

Ok - here's the deal. A Google Search update happened, which means it's teardown time. Normally I post about unreleased, work-in-progress stuff, but Google Now is so context dependent, that it's pretty much impossible for me to tell if something is implemented or not. The one thing I've learned from my months of using Now is that Google Now is in charge, and you're just along for the ride. So, for today's post, we're just going to shoot for "new things that didn't make it onto the 'What's New' list." If you can get them to show up, awesome.

03
Dec
redbeandroid

Normally I rip apart APKs looking for news-worthy items and unreleased features, but I've covered everything that's currently out, so this teardown session is going to be a little different. During my usual digging for features, I've stumbled across a surprising amount of unused files, movie references, and canceled beta assets. I've always thought it was a shame that no one knows about them, so today we'll be exploring all the crazy leftover files that ship on our phones and tablets.

19
Nov
Play-icon-large

Google has been on an update roll lately, with Voice, YouTube, Google+, Calendar, and Music all getting updates in the last week. I've been dutifully doing teardowns on all of them, but there's been no hidden goodies, and thus, no articles. There was a Play Store update this weekend, however, and that does have some interesting, new stuff in it, so we're back!

Google+ App Reviews

Android is quickly becoming the Google+ OS.

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