Android Messages just hit version 3.0. While hitting a new major version number might be an occasion for big things in some apps, this one appears to be a simple incremental step up from version 2.9. While there aren't any immediately obvious changes on the surface of this update, there are some things happening under the hood. It looks like support for KitKat has been dropped with this update, leaving behind about 12% of previously supported Android devices. There are also clues about changes to notifications about pictures and videos, enhanced chat features, and making purchases.
Google has begun rolling out the latest update to its signature search app to the beta channel. Version 7.22 appears to be a bit less ambitious than most recent updates, as existing features don't seem to be changing and most of the upcoming features aren't getting any major changes. Actually, most of the teardown is about follow-ups to things we've already known about. Nevertheless, there are new topics to discuss, so let's get right into it.
Word Lens, the sometimes jittery but generally impressive visual language translator, is getting in the Olympic spirit. For a limited time, the language packs—which are acquired via in-app purchases to unlock full translation support—are being offered for $2.99 per pack, which is $2 off the normal price of $4.99. Huzzah!
It comes at a particularly poignant time. As the Olympic games get underway and the world remembers there's more that the nations of earth do together than wage war and make gadgets, Word Lens can be helpful in breaking down the language barrier and acting as a catalyst for that type of international camaraderie.
Break out your Dr. Evil jokes, if you've got any left. Facebook just announced that it will be acquiring Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app and recent addition to the Play Store family, for a cool billion dollars. You read that right. With a "b". Billion. To answer all the critics who were wondering what's so cool about Instagram: a billion dollars.
Instagram assures us in a blog post on the subject that the app will stay the exact same as it always has been. Except better. But still the same. It remains to be seen just what Facebook will do with Instagram.