Google would be very happy if you used its Chat application, so pleased that it's pushing it beyond the boundaries of its actual app. Last month the tool became available to regular users (who don't pay for access to Google Workspace), and now its integration with Gmail is available to them, too. But it isn't turned on by default, so if you'd like to use it, you have to go digging in the settings menu. Read More
Google has been on a roll recently with its digital wellbeing initiatives, releasing Family Link for parental controls, various apps to view and manage your usage, and a Focus Mode for pausing apps you find distracting. Now it's continuing the trend by releasing 3 new apps, the most notable of which asks that you literally put your phone in an envelope so you can't use it. Read More
Choosing which songs to listen to can be a bit of a hassle. You might enjoy a certain song, but listen to it too much and you'll get tired of it. Spotify's new experimental app, dubbed 'Stations by Spotify,' is a way to just sit back and listen to music without any fuss. It's supposed to be exclusive to Australia, but we've got the APK and it runs just fine here in the US. Read More
When you take that metaphorical first step onto your Android homescreen, the Google search bar is the first thing you see. It floats atop the screen like a banner, saying to the world: "Google made this, also tap on me because I do stuff."
As it turns out, Google is experimenting with making the search bar do more such stuff. In addition to search results, some users are seeing extra options in the dropdown that appears when they perform a search. Read More
There comes a time in every person's life when he or she needs to access a certain web page and doesn't have an internet connection. Those are troubling times that normally require the individual in question to stay strong and maintain composure until a connection is once again available, but thanks to a new experimental option in the Chrome Dev build for Android, that struggle may be coming to an end.
In the most recent build, there are a couple of new entries in Chrome://flags — Enhanced Bookmarks and Saved Pages — that will allow users to easily save pages for offline viewing, then make them quickly accessible via a new menu option called "Saved Pages" (makes sense, eh?). Read More
Some major changes for the YouTube Android app appear to be coming down the pipeline. Several readers have reached out to us with screenshots and video documenting substantial tweaks they noticed when firing up the app. Read More
The share button inside YouTube is unlike the icon used in virtually every other Android app. Rather than the usual set of three connected dots, we see a horizontally flipped version of the reply symbol in Gmail. Well, Google isn't yet changing the iconography, but it does seem to be testing out a new location.
In addition to the share button's usual home at the top-right corner of a video, we're also seeing it next to the like and dislike buttons.
If you're not seeing the new layout, try closing the YouTube app and opening it again. That works for some users. Read More
In March we covered work the Chromium team has been up to that changes the way most visited websites appear on Chrome's new tab page. Instead of a grid of (largely blank) thumbnails, the browser can display large icons instead. At the time, users had to force the feature while running Chrome Canary. Now you just have to toggle "Enable large icons on the New Tab page" at chrome://flags/#enable-icon-ntp.
The feature is still in development, but it's stable enough to use. Right now Chrome only displays icons for websites that have images large enough not to look blurry. Those that don't pass this bar show a gray block containing the first letter of the domain. Read More
The SwiftKey folks regularly inject new features into their popular third-party keyboard, but there are only so many changes they can make without alienating existing users. So the company has created a new space where it can conduct experiments safely. It's calling this initiative SwiftKey Greenhouse.
The first piece of software to sprout up in SwiftKey's new garden is the Clarity keyboard, an alternative to the company's main product that takes things back to basics. Aside from the ability to capitalize or access symbols using gestures, there's nothing in the way of fancy features here. There isn't even a prediction bar. Read More
Chrome may be one of the most popular web browsers out there, but its new tab page still manages to look like an unfinished product much of time. That's because the browser takes screenshots of your most visited webpages and lists them in a 4 x 2 grid, only sometimes it doesn't have a screenshot to work with. In those cases, it leaves the square blank.
The Chromium team is currently working on a way to pretty things up. It has an experimental new tab page in the works that replaces these largely blank squares with high-quality icons. Here we see the feature on desktop, but presumably it will take effect on Android as well. Read More