Back in September, Hangouts switched from gray to green in its 2.3 update, ostensibly making the first baby steps on its journey toward joining Google's material design parade. Then in December we first spied a slightly more material version of the app. Now, users are running version 3.3 and many aren't satisfied with the app's layouts or structure. Things like the seemingly unnecessary contacts tab, the somewhat messy drawer, and the non-standard toolbar are common complaints.
It looks like Google is working on fixing a lot of issues with an upcoming update to Hangouts 4.0 though. We've heard rumblings from Reddit of the new update, and now we've got an early look at the app.
Android Auto is starting to finally show up in cars and third-party head units, but there are still a handful of compatibility issues to work out, it seems. The latest update to the Android Auto app includes compatibility for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5 on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
Google made some big changes to Gmail when it retired the stock email app. You have the ability to manage non-Google email accounts in the app these days, but here comes something new. Today's Gmail app update has improved matters further by adding Oauth support for Yahoo and Microsoft accounts.
Google's Camera app isn't exactly feature-rich, at least not when it is compared to alternatives offered by OEMs and many independent developers. Of course, that may be one of the reasons it is fairly popular – the interface remains simple and the features that did make it in, like Photospheres, are pretty cool. After looking through the latest update, it looks like Google is working toward another major feature addition called Smart Burst, and it might just become the best way to take photos of your friends.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
Last week, Google added several long-wanted features to Inbox by Gmail, like signatures and swipe-to-delete. That server-side update also brought along trip bundles, which will group all the emails you get about a single stretch of travel into one place to help you keep track of things. Today, Google was kind enough to give a formal walk-through for those of us who haven't received any qualifying emails since the update rolled out.
The featured image of this post shows how a trip bundle will look from the default view of your inbox. And as the time for your flight (if there is one) approaches, it will change to give you Google Now-esque updates on flight times:
When you tap on the bundle card, it expands into a list of emails just like any other category of emails.
There are a lot of choices for weather apps on Android - you can see the best in Rita El Khoury's roundup from yesterday. But if you prefer to have as few apps on your phone as possible (because Windows RAM-saving behavior dies hard), Google has just improved the built-in weather function of its mobile search. Specifically, the Knowledge Graph function that shows you weather for a specific location now extends for ten days.
It's not a huge change, but it makes it easier to figure out the long-range forecast at a glance. The Search function even allows you to break down the day-by-day forecast by hour with a handy slider.
Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
Google Maps' support document has been updated to add Chile as well as Colombia to the list of countries with turn-by-turn navigation. Whether that means the feature is already activated in the two Latin American nations or is about to be, we're not sure. If you're a resident or happen to be there now, you can open your Maps application and check for yourself.
Google took the somewhat unprecedented step of lowering the price of the Nexus 6 in the Google Store earlier today. It rarely put things on sale when hardware was in the Play Store. Now Amazon has followed suit and matched the new price. The company is now asking $499.99 for the 32GB Nexus 6 and $549 for the 64GB.
A few days ago, we wrote about Google's new My Account interface, which had its material design debut coinciding with Google I/O. The new interface makes checking and adjusting your security and privacy settings both beautiful and easy.
The My Account page wasn't the only account management tool that got some material love though - Google's account history interface has also received a facelift. The account history page now ties together all your history from various Google services - history is broken into Web & App, Voice & Audio, Device info, Location, YouTube Watch, and YouTube Search, along with a general heading to turn on or off history for each of the above sections.