Towards the end of 2016, Google introduced an API called App Preview Messaging. It debuted with Allo, where it lets you message anyone regardless of whether they have the app installed. They receive a preview message, handled by Google Play Services, which they can respond to as though they do have the app.
Duo recently added support for this, too, so you could receive and answer a video call from a contact even if you've never heard of the app. Next to add the feature is Google Photos, which now lets you share media with friends or family members who don't have the app via their phone number. Read More
Lately, YouTube has been pushing a ton of server-side changes to users. In just the span of a few weeks, the comments section has been tweaked, the bottom nav bar test returned, and expanded replies were improved upon. The video-sharing service isn't stopping there; today, it seems that YouTube has begun displaying to a few users little snapshots of the video you're watching when you seek through it. Read More
Google Home is good at a lot of stuff, but it's also missing some very basic features. After nearly a year on the market, this smart speaker still can't set a reminder. Maybe it'll be able to do that soon, though. There's a new preview program rolling out if you want to try the latest software updates a little early. Read More
Google's Local Guides program for Google Maps has proven to be quite successful, with tons of people offering additional feedback and providing photos about various destinations. Part of this is due to the rewards that Google gives to Local Guides; for instance, Google is currently offering me three months of free Play Music and 75% off a movie rental. The latest reward is kind of a double whammy for Google - an opportunity to preview new Google Maps features before the public does. Read More
ZTE managed to get Android 7.1.1 rolled out to the Azon 7 a few weeks ago, making it one of the few phones to have the latest build of Android. Now, it's the Axon 7 Mini's turn. Well... sort of. ZTE is starting up a preview program for the Nougat update, but not everyone will get access. Read More
Google Calendar covers most of the basics for synced calendar users, but anyone who wants something more robust needs to go on a bit of a hunt. Titanium Track, the indie developer team behind the power user favorite Titanium Backup, is on the job. Their latest project is EvGenie, an advanced calendar designed for seamless backup across multiple devices and sharing with family members or coworkers. It's currently on the Play Store in an open preview. It's free to download. Read More
Not too long ago, Google began offering users the chance to test unfinished Chromecast firmware. The first preview firmware, version 1.21.72444, began rolling out to users recently. Google's release notes for the update only state, "General bug fixes and stability improvements." Really helpful, Google.
Thankfully, tipster Rafael sent us the screenshots above and below. They indicate that all references to the word 'Chrome' have been removed. The current public firmware shows the Chrome logo when the device starts up, which is now replaced by a Google logo. Read More
Honest companies are expected to retain their users by offering the best service they can provide and not by actively locking them in and making it hard to switch to a competitor. Read More
Before today, only Google devices, the Sony Xperia Z3, and the Sony Xperia X Performance had Android 7.0 previews built for them. Now, another Android has joined the Nougat ranks—the LG G5. Whether you like the G5 or not (David sure didn't), it's getting a Nougat preview right now, albeit with more than a few catches. Read More