Digital Wellbeing is one of the bigger features with landed with Android 9 Pie—though it seems like Google is keeping it separate and distinct in the Pixel-only public beta. I've spent the last week using it to analyze my use patterns and place restrictions on how I use my phone, and while the tool brings together a lot of options for precise configuration, I've found the data it actually provides is a bit lackluster. But I think there are ways it can be improved. Read More
Google Play's branded Music app has had Pandora-style thumbs up and thumbs down controls, applicable to your local and cloud music as well as streaming radio stations, for quite a while. But they're not all that easy to get to: aside from the "now playing" screen and the homescreen widget, the functionality isn't all that obvious. The latest update to the app puts those recommendation tools front and center, right on the notification and lockscreen controls.
We're actually looking at two Google Play Music updates here: version 6.2.2220U.2476962 and the slightly newer 6.2.2221U.2480853. Both of them are nearly identical with one notable exception. Read More
While Spotify has likely seen a fairly dramatic drop in subscribers since the launch of Play Music All Access, the all-you-can-eat streaming audio service hasn't quite given up on its Android users just yet. The last significant update finally brought landscape support (which, honestly, should've been baked in from the beginning), and today's version bump brings another feature long missed by Android users: notification controls for Jelly Bean devices (4.1+).
That's actually the icing on the cake for many users – as far as the app is concerned, it's essentially on par with Play Music at this point (some may even prefer it). Read More