A seemingly minor update to Google Calendar began rolling out earlier today, bumping the version number from 5.5.7 to 5.5.9. There aren't any apparent changes to the interface with this release, but it does come with some interesting things under the covers. A teardown reveals a new feature for the office that will allow people to schedule conference rooms, the return of reminders that can be snoozed, and possibly a "new api" for developers to work with. Read More
Last week, a fairly major update to Google Fit came with a fresh coat of paint for the interface and a few important feature enhancements. It now supports multiple goals with more options, weight tracking, new metrics, and quite a bit more. It wasn't a complete overhaul, but it certainly looks and feels like a whole new app. But that's not the whole story, there's actually quite a bit more in this update that hasn't emerged yet. A teardown reveals some other features that will either activate soon or turn up with the rollout of future updates. But before we get to that, there were actually a couple more things that popped up since the first post. Read More
YouTube is going to earn a reputation as a service that doesn't let anybody else stomp on its territory. In a story that sounds entirely too similar to the launch of YouTube Gaming to combat the success of Amazon-owned Twitch, rumors started circulating a few months ago with the suggestion YouTube had started preparing for a head-on fight with mobile livestreaming services like Periscope. It was no surprise when a formal announcement was made last week confirming YouTube would add live streaming to its flagship mobile app. The latest update to v11.25 contains evidence this is either ready to go, or at least in the works. Read More
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