Since the Nvidia SHIELD TV added Google Assistant support last year, it's been slowly catching up with other Assistant-enabled devices by adding new functionality. It looks like a couple more capabilities are now available. At least we think so, as Assistant features across different devices are so inconsistent that it's sometimes hard to tell what's new and what's not.
According to Nvidia, broadcasting messages and the ability to summon your security camera stream on your TV via the Assistant are both new additions. Apparently, if you tell the Assistant on the SHIELD TV to "broadcast that it’s time to watch TV," it will relay the messages to Google Home devices around the house.
With the introduction of the Home Mini and Home Max, there are now three types of Assistant-powered hardware from Google. The Assistant is already very capable, but that isn't stopping the team from continuing to add useful features. At Google's event earlier in the month we learned that Google Home can now easily find your phone, and it also recently added the ability to turn off your Chromecast-connected TV.
The latest addition to Google Home's feature set is a new type of timer. It's already possible to set timers for things like cooking or game time, but we can now also set a sleep timer that will stop your music playing at a given point in time.
Any.do is a to-do list manager, so it makes sense that version 3.0 places an emphasis on managing to-dos. The team has added a grid view that gives you a broader look at all of your lists at once. Picture one for shopping, another for work, and a third for household chores. When you're ready for specifics, you can tap to zoom in and see the items or tasks under each one.
There are now three views available to sort each of these lists: time, list, and priority. The first one can be useful for tracking a project over several weeks, while the latter comes in when you have something important to get done right away.
Google has pushed out a number of tweaks to its suite of mobile office apps: Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Even Drive, the place where edited documents are stored, hasn't gone untouched. Some of these features are nice to see, so let's dive in.
Update: Docs, Sheets, and Slides all have full hamburger menu icons now.
In Docs, an option to select line spacing has appeared in the "Paragraph" section of the app. Users can select single spacing, double spacing, or a couple of decimals in between (1.15 and 1.50). You switch between them using arrows, and since you can't manually input a number, you're limited to the options present.
Version 3.6 of Google Play Movies and TV has hit the Play Store, and it shakes a few things up a bit. I'm not going to waste your time with introductions here. Let's just jump right in.
Out of the box, a new set of slides are there to introduce you to the app.
The Managed Downloads screen has received a refresh, and it's not just about looks. Content is now separated into My Movies and My Episodes. Items are also arranged into a list rather than cards. Lastly, the storage bar now located at the top shows how much space your videos are taking up and how much is still free.
MX Player is now ready for Android Lollipop. No, it's not any prettier than it was before. There's no Material Design to drool over, no bright colors, nor a floating action button to make us feel like we're living at the end of 2014. This video player is largely the same app as before. Its developer has just removed the restriction that prevented it from running on 5.0 devices. Now people who rely on MX Player don't have to do without when upgrading to Lollipop.
While this isn't the big redesign you may have hoped for, there are some new features to take in.
Motorola isn't wasting its time pushing out Android Lollipop to a number of its devices, and it needs to keep its apps current as well if it wants to deliver a cohesive experience to users. So the company has pushed out updates to a handful of its apps, primarily Camera and Gallery.
The camera has been flattened and given an extra dose of color. Functionality-wise, Motorola has added a new timer mode and a twist gesture to switch between the front and rear shooter, with the latter only available for the Moto X, Droid Ultra, and Droid Turbo.
Convenient Timer mode
Twist to switch to front camera * only available on Moto X, Droid Ultra, and Droid Turbo
New Material design
As for the gallery, it's brighter and more colorful, even if it isn't fully Materialized just yet.
There's a certain permanence to most instant messaging apps. The second you hit send, that's it, the message is out of your hands. You better hope you sent it to the right contact, fixed those embarrassing typos, or spelled their name correctly. Unless you're using the latest version of BBM, in which case you can call take backsies.
Now when you send a message by mistake, you can simply tap the retract button. This works both before or after the text has been viewed, so even if you weren't able to prevent your ex from seeing that kissy face emoticon you intended for your new significant other, you can at least strike it from the record.
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.
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. To turn this feature on, look for the "Ask for pin" option under Settings.