Android has supported app shortcuts since 2016, but some popular apps still haven't implemented the feature yet. We found evidence that Instagram was about to change that in October 2019, though it took the company until now to finally roll out shortcuts widely. Most people should now be able to tap and hold the Instagram icon on their home screen to quickly access the camera, create a new post, view their activity, and open direct messages. Additionally, Instagram has quietly reworked the Stories archive, which is now organized in three sections. Read More
Most updates to the Google+ app tend to fit the "bug fixes and performance improvements" theme, but last month's release of v9.20 did bring custom notification channels for Android 8.0 Oreo – but maybe not the ones we needed. Today's bump to v9.23 makes a similarly subtle addition with support for a slightly older OS feature: App Shortcuts. If you're running on 7.1 Nougat or above, or using a custom launcher with support for static app shortcuts, you'll now have the option to quickly start a few different types of Google+ posts directly from your launcher. Read More
It took nearly a year, but WhatsApp has just added launcher app shortcuts on Android Nougat (or Marshmallow if you use a compatible launcher like Nova and Action). Thing is, the functions that WhatsApp decided to elevate to shortcut status are... kind of useless.
You get a shortcut to launch the Camera, because WhatsApp is all about the new Status feature even though out of my 500+ contacts, I only see 12 new status shares every day. Read More
Since the official launch of App Shortcuts, most of Google's popular apps have been updated to include at least one or two convenient ways to jump to your preferred screens. Play Newsstand was just added to the list with a few shortcuts of its own. There are four new shortcuts including: For You, Library Digest, Magazines, and Read Later. This mostly matches the pages accessible through the bottom nav bar added in v4.0, but trades out the Explore tab for Magazines. Read More
eBay is a service with a huge amount of different options and things to do - search, buy, sell, add to watch list, message a seller, etc - so the new 184.108.40.206 update, adding app shortcuts, is very useful indeed. Read More
Odds are you have the Play Store on your home screen for easy accessibility, but have you ever considered not having it? I don't mean you should dig into the app drawer every time you need to open the store, but perhaps the regular Play Store link isn't the most efficient. If you're on Android 7.1, maybe you ought to replace it with the My Apps shortcut. Read More
Earlier this year Google's VP of Communications, Nick Fox, declared Hangouts would be refocused on the enterprise market where it had found much more adoption. Ironically, the couple of updates since that statement haven't exactly screamed professionalism, or even added much of anything particularly relevant to the workplace. That changes with v14, which cleans up and improves various aspects of group chats. This version also enables app shortcuts (formerly Launcher Shortcuts) for use on Android 7.1 and makes a few other tweaks, as well. Read More
Allo received a mixed response when it was released a little over a month ago. Trying to switch your friends and family to yet another messaging client, especially one lacking in features (even compared to Google's other services), is difficult. Not long after its introduction, Allo's ranking tanked on the Play Store and App Store.
Can the first major update, version 2.0, be enough to convince people to switch? I doubt it, but I have to give Google some credit for trying. Read More