31
Oct
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The day is finally upon us - the Gmail 5.0 APK has landed, and we have it for your (production-signed) downloading pleasure.

As we've expected since we first saw the app more than a week ago, the new Gmail is very... "material." It's got a FAB, the beautiful thread interface we've come to know and love from Inbox, and a drawer that complies with guidelines.

Screenshot_2014-10-31-17-18-11 Screenshot_2014-10-31-17-17-41 Screenshot_2014-10-31-17-11-23

But Gmail's beauty isn't only skin deep - the app holds some new features, too.

31
Oct
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Update 10/17/14: Play Store 5.0.32, a small bump over 5.0.31, is now available for download.

Update 10/31/14: Play Store 5.0.37, a bump over 5.0.32, is now available for download. It comes with at least one new change - a new permission bucket called Wearable sensors/activity data to help explain permissions for apps that can grab data from wearables, such as heart rate monitors.

Of course, as I have to pick up my son from daycare, breaking news had to hit, and Google had to start pushing out the Play Store 5.0 update (5.0.31, to be exact).

31
Oct
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Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun.

30
Oct
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Google Admin has recently received its first update of the year. If you aren't the administrator for a Google for Work account, then there's nothing here for you to sink your teeth into. But there are a few new features here for people on the management side of things.

What's new

Administrators can now implement a 4-digit PIN that works on numerous devices. This way you could have all of the spare tablets in a college IT department, for example, secured with the same code that gets changed every week or so.

30
Oct
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It goes without saying for most Android enthusiasts that the side-navigation drawer is a hot point of contention right now. With the introduction of material design, Google emphasized information hierarchy heavily, giving advice in its design specifications on how to arrange just about everything, including side navigation. According to the specifications (and Googler Roman Nurik), the "correct" behavior for the side drawer is to slide in as a sheet of paper over the entire canvas, including the app bar or toolbar.

29
Oct
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We've been seeing bits and pieces (and fully functional prototypes) of Google Stars for a long time now. The tool, which for now acts as a replacement for Chrome's bookmark manager, has been in development even longer, but it looks like the Chrome extension might finally be ready to roll (assuming it doesn't get pulled again) as Google released "Bookmark Manager" to the Chrome Web Store earlier today.

Despite the new name, the extension takes over chrome://bookmarks just as before, with options to organize bookmarks into folders, give those folders descriptions, and even share folders with others.

29
Oct
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Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have all received some love today, though the visual changes here are minor. For the most part, these apps were already all material-ed up, and while this update does dot some i's and cross some t's, it doesn't quite leave us satisfied. Fortunately that's not all there is to see here.

What's New

Let's get the biggest visual tweak out of the way first. Yes, Google has changed the hamburger menu icon in the action bar.

29
Oct
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Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.

29
Oct
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Primer: Marketing for Startups isn't like most of Google's other Android apps. For starters, it's the first to appear in the Play Store under the publisher "Google Learn." The app also happens to be such a niche product that only a specific target demographic will benefit from it.

As the name says, Primer is aimed at helping startups manage their marketing efforts. A great deal of work and knowledge goes into getting a new brand in front of consumers and establishing awareness.

29
Oct
Screenshot 2014-10-29 at 1.23.11 PM

Project Ara stirred up plenty of excitement when it was first announced, and it continues to entice people with its promise of a modular and upgradeable phone. We recently learned that users will be able to hot-swap modules (excluding the CPU and screen) while the device is on thanks to a modified version of Android Lollipop.

Now Phonebloks has shared a video of Ara's porgress at NK Labs, a Massachusetts-based contractor doing a great deal of work on the project.

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