Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.
Chrome 69 was a massive update, as it brought a brand new interface to both desktop and mobile. Now that v69 is on stable, the beta channel has been updated to version 70. This isn't as big of an update as the previous release, but it still has a few important improvements - particularly for security.
According to our frequent tipster Gurkanwal Singh, Twitter beta 7.12 has started showing a new night mode toggle and QR code icon. If you might remember, Twitter's night mode used to have a proper toggle in the side menu and the QR code display and scanner was hidden under the overflow menu when viewing your profile. The latter was really difficult to get to and nowhere regular users would guess.
Now, both have moved to the bottom of the side menu, under the Help center. They're simple icons with a crescent moon for night mode and a QR icon for the code scanner.
I love Opera Mini, not just because of its light size and data saving features, but also because the app keeps getting updated frequently with new things to check out.
This last update for example adds a QR reader and generator to the browser so that you can scan any QR code you might come across and immediately go to the linked page, or create codes to share with nearby users or online. I haven't been seeing lots of QR codes around me lately, but in the 1 or 2 instances where I came across them, I wished I could scan them easily.
There are no shortage of ways to get links from one device to another, but this often involves signing up for a service and leaving behind a record of what you're sharing. CaastMe is a new Android app that has an innovative way of getting around this, account-free.
The software relies on QR codes, but it uses them in the opposite of the way you would expect. Instead of prompting your device to open a URL, CaastMe tells the computer displaying the code where to go.
All you have to do is open the caast.me website on your computer, then click the share menu on your Android device, select CaastMe, and scan the QR code.
QR codes are finally starting to show up around town, but we've all known about them for some time, right? Well if you want to stay ahead of the curve and keep wowing regular people with your mobile expertise, why not start adding images to your QR codes? Esponce is a company that's in the business of selling QR code tracking and marketing, but part of the service is freely available, and you can use it to really spice up your QR codes.
The web tool provided by Esponce relies on the fact that some of the lines in a QR code don't actually contain the information needed to decode it.
Google just updated its Goggles app to version 1.3 and added three noteworthy features that make it even more desirable than it was before. First is the ability to scan QR codes without actually taking a picture; just hover your camera over the image and Goggles will automatically recognize it.
Second, Goggles now recognizes ads in major US newspapers and magazines. I couldn't get this to work, but Google claims it will work with any ads dated since August 2010.
The last feature is the one that has everybody talking - Google Goggles is now capable of scanning and solving Sudoku puzzles in a matter of seconds.
Update 2/9/11: Writing/transmitting via NFC is now possible thanks to the 2.3.3 update.
One thing that was very much anticipated in the Nexus S and Gingerbread in general was NFC (Near Field Communication) support, which is a feature we've never seen before on an Android device. In fact, the vast majority of us took it to mean that it will allow you to use your phone as a credit card, which would indeed be very exciting and insanely cool. Unfortunately, that's not the case here; rather, the technology will allow the Nexus S (and other NFC-capable Android phones) to act as a glorified barcode scanner of sorts.