Part 1 of this teardown broached the subject of a new set of circular launcher icons Google is creating for use on the homescreen, possibly just for the Pixel Launcher. It likely speaks to future plans for the look and feel of Android, but there's no denying that new icons are cosmetic – they don't actually do anything. Part 2 of this teardown switches over to the functional side as evidence shows Launcher Shortcuts will return with Android 7.1.
The Launcher Shortcuts API was introduced with the second Android N Developer Preview and quickly gained attention as a spiritual copy of the Home Screen Quick Actions introduced with iOS 9, and inspired many theories that pressure-sensitive screens would become a standard in Android. Read More
It's a Friday afternoon and wouldn't you know it, Google set loose an update to the Maps app just in time for the weekend to begin. (Not like some of us didn't have plans...) Like so many recent updates to Maps, this one has some pretty notable changes worth checking out. There's a new settings screen for controlling how your personal content shows up in the app and the notification settings have been organized into sub-groups for easier browsing. A shortcut has been added to get into your timeline quickly, and it looks like level 3 Local Guides can now work with some of the recently added features for making contributions to places nearby. Read More
You've probably heard the advice to not believe everything you read on the Internet. That wisdom applies to many things, but the most recent example is a silly news story circulating about code supposedly discovered in Whatsapp for Android. According to a post on Reddit, the text "FUCK APPLE" is used heavily throughout the compiled code of Whatsapp. Given the comical and slightly scandalous nature of the story, it spread quickly and few people bothered to question its validity. However, it's totally fake. Read More
Project Fi is an ambitious effort to give customers an experience devoid of the problems endemic to cellular carriers in the United States. It's low-cost, easy to manage with a simple app, and it even breaks new ground with intrinsic support for multi-network connectivity. However, in some ways, Fi wasn't really finished at launch. It spent many months as an invite-only service and lacked a few things many people would consider integral to their cellular service. One of the top requests from current and potential customers is the addition of group plans. It's an important feature for both families and businesses, especially as the number of lines grows. Read More
Google is imbuing the Street View app with some clever new features in its latest update. This version adds automatic face detection for 360 photos for quick blurring, groups together unpublished 360 photos by place or time, and adds a share link to user profiles. Additionally, a teardown shows that there's a new feature on the way that will clue in ambitious users about nearby places that should be photographed.
- Unpublished 360 photos will now group together based on place or time.
- Automatically detect faces for blurs in 360 photos.
- You can now share links to user profiles.
If you're a YouTube Red subscriber, it's well worth taking a moment to try out the YouTube Music app. It's still in the process of filling out its feature set, but each update fleshes out areas that really make it a very compelling way to consume music. The latest version bump adds one of the most needed features yet: streaming support for Chromecast Audio. It also brings a partial redesign to the player controls. There is also a subtle change that gives some hope that we may finally see YouTube Music make the jump to Android TV in the near future. Read More
Google Fit joined the long list of apps to get an update this week. There aren't a lot of major changes to spot if you're checking the app side-by-side with the previous version, but plenty of things are in the works. A teardown of the apk reveals a new and more detailed graph for viewing sleep habits, a great new way to correct incorrectly detected activities, a few new activity types, and more. Read More
There's a new update for Google Photos rolling out, but on the surface, it doesn't look like any notable changes have been made. However, we aren't just interested in the things that have gone live, but also improvements we can look forward to in the future. The latest version of Google Photos hints at printing capabilities for albums and a search suggestion for 360 photos. Some new information is also available for a previously teased interface that promised to be a faster way to share photos with friends. Of course, keep an eye out for anything we may not have seen. Read More
A new Google Maps update is rolling out today. For most people, this version might not have a big impact quite yet, but it's introducing a new feature for some high-level members of the Local Guides program. Those that qualify will be able to create custom lists of saved places. For the rest of us, there's a new notification for local traffic and voice commands to avoid toll roads, highways, and ferries. There are also a few new things to check out in a teardown, including integration with another service, another tease about ordering food, and more. Read More