Every time I open the wallpaper picker on my phone, I wonder why it doesn't let me choose a local folder or a Google Photos album as a source of pics to cycle through on my homescreen. While that functionality has yet to be added, a new integration between Photos and Android's wallpapers is live now, but it only takes input from your Memories, leaving you at the mercy of Photos' AI algorithm and what it deemed worthy of being a "Memory."
Google Maps is an invaluable tool when you want to get around a city, and even if some additions to the service are questionable at best, it generally only improves with each update. That's also true for the latest beta, version 10.56.0. It adds an option for more accurate fee estimates for ride services. We've also spotted markers for crosswalks and building numbers in some places.
You can already schedule messages in Gmail and Telegram (among others), and now Google's Messages app is joining the club. The functionality showed up for a few people as part of an a/b test at the beginning of November, and now it's starting to roll out much more widely, at least in the US. The option replaces the long-press shortcut for sending an MMS with a subject.
Amazon Music is just one of many music streaming services out there, but the shopping giant has been pouring some resources into making its offer a viable alternative to Spotify, Apple Music, and Co. The Android app has only recently gained support for behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia about top songs, and no serious streaming service can go without podcast support these days. Now Amazon has decided to take on YouTube Music with its own catalog of music videos, rolling out to Unlimited subscribers.
Flipboard was one of the first AI-supported news aggregators, and it's still the first choice for many people. The company only recently tried to insert itself into the conversation by launching a paid video service with partners like Variety, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal, and now it's back with something many people have actually been asking for: A dark mode.
Twitter recently brought a custom share sheet to its iOS client that replaced the operating system's native solution, causing some disgruntled reactions. Now the social network's Android app is in for a similar treatment, though the two variations of a new UI are just replacing the application's already existing custom share sheet — and the new ones are definitely an improvement.
Google's Digital Wellbeing mostly focuses on helping people get a healthier relationship with their phones, warning them when they're staring on their screen for too long or subtly hinting when it's time to wind down for the night. It looks like Google might soon expand that to ensure your physical wellbeing, too. XDA Developers' Mishaal Rahman discovered that the company is working on a feature that warns you to stop using your phone while you're walking.
Last November, the Google Home app received a colorful card-based media control interface, which was quite an improvement over the previous one. But multi-room or multi-speaker playback is rather tricky to set up through this card-based interface, and Google seems to think the same. The company has introduced a much more intuitive UI for media controls in version 2.31 of the Home app that lets you cast to individual or multiple speakers and displays on the fly. And Assistant Routines can finally be triggered through the app again following the update.
When Mozilla launched its completely rewritten Firefox for Android, we found a lot of things to like, but where there is light, there's also shadow. Due to some unfinished APIs, add-on support is severely limited, so as of now, only nine hand-picked extensions are available for Mozilla's mobile browser. The situation is improving a bit with the lastet stable Firefox release, version 83. Ten more add-ons are making their way into the new version of the mobile browser.