Dead Zebra's Christmas-themed Android figurine is now available — with a catch. You can order up one Santa Claus-dressed bugdroid (sack of gifts and glassed included), but it won't actually ship until the week of Christmas, and it's guaranteed to arrive after the date itself. That gives you a full year to put it in the closet and get ready for next year.
COVID-19 may have thrown a wrench into people's holiday plans, but Google's Santa Tracker is back to keep us company while we're stuck at home. And this year, Google has given it a simple modification that makes it feel very 2020: gifting a pair of purple masks to Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Waze is picking up a little bit of Christmas fun to go with the upcoming holiday season. Until the end of the month, drivers can take advantage of a new holiday theme loaded with three fun features: Santa's voice for navigation, a "Santa Mood" you can share with other folks on the road, and you can even drive around maps as Santa's present-laden sleigh.
Google's Santa Tracker and Santa's Village are both making a return this year, with a couple of new additions. This year Santa has decided to enable location sharing in Google Maps, giving you another way to follow his location come Christmas. This year's app seems mostly the same as last year's, with a minor bump in version to 5.3.0 from 5.1.4, but it's available now for your kids (or your inner kid) to enjoy.
It's the most wonderful time of the year... the time when it's almost over. But it's also that turn in the calendar when a couple of billion people look forward to celebrating Christmas, and the youngest portions of that subset start improving their behavior in an avaricious desire for more presents. Google's taking part in its yearly ritual too, indulging whimsical parents and obsessive-compulsive children with its Santa Claus countdown-slash-tracker app.
Google Maps is one of those apps that will always have an enormous number of potential new features, so it's interesting to see the things Google is focusing on with each new release. We just saw an update to v9.2 with new navigation settings and auto-correct for searches, but there are plenty of other really interesting additions in the works. Let's take a look at some of the features we might have to look forward to. It's time for a teardown.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are, by their nature, speculative and based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
Yesterday we reported on the appearance of several redesigned emoji in the keyboard Google's rolling out with Android 5.0. In the piece, I concentrated on the improved consistency brought in by the tweaks. As it turns out, there was one more change hidden in plain sight among the others, and its importance shadows all others. Google has quietly addressed a bug report that has lingered for years.
Let's take a look at the issue at hand here. These are two of the images included in yesterday's post. On the left, we have the old set of emoji. On the right, we have the new ones included with Lollipop's version of Google Keyboard.
Have you been wondering how you'd keep up with Santa's comings and goings this year? I know I have been losing a lot of sleep over it, but fear not – Santa has a special place in Google Maps today only.
If you tap the search bar in Google Maps, there will be a "Where's Santa" banner. Tap on that, and Maps will take you to the sleigh's supposed coordinates. You can get the same thing by searching for "Where's Santa" in the app and on the desktop.
This is all separate from Google's Santa Tracker website and app, but it's relaying the same totally real data on the location of a magical dude who delivers billions of presents in one night.