Android has supported app shortcuts since 2016, but some popular apps still haven't implemented the feature yet. We found evidence that Instagram was about to change that in October 2019, though it took the company until now to finally roll out shortcuts widely. Most people should now be able to tap and hold the Instagram icon on their home screen to quickly access the camera, create a new post, view their activity, and open direct messages. Additionally, Instagram has quietly reworked the Stories archive, which is now organized in three sections. Read More
A few years ago, a YouTube update changed the video player's progress bar, extending it over the full width of the display. Ever since, it's been easy to miss the fullscreen button and hit the end of the seek bar just below it instead, often making for a frustrating experience. A YouTube app update tries to remedy that problem by preventing the bar from responding to single taps at all — you now need to hold and slide your finger to seek. Read More
Google Play Music is on the way out (the desktop Music Manager has just been discontinued), and it looks like the company is polishing up YouTube Music as much as it can ahead of the full shutdown. Just a few days ago, Spotify-like personalized mixes popped up for a few people, and now some topical top tabs have appeared that sure seem inspired by the regular YouTube app. A few personalized mixes have also resurfaced in these tabs. Read More
YouTube Music has had an official mix of new releases and showed you a few selected recent records in their own section since last year, but until now, you couldn't see more than ten new albums or singles there. With version 3.49 of the streaming service, first published mid-January, this has started to change for some lucky people who have seen a vastly expanded version of the new releases section. Judging from reports on Reddit, this refinement is rolling out widely now. Read More
It's incredible how feature-packed Gboard has become over the years with integrated stickers, GIFs, Google Search, clipboard management, and much more, so Google is trying to make some options more accessible. At the moment, the company is testing a function that gives people GIF and sticker suggestions when they add emoji through the keyboard. Read More
The Google Search app has been getting a lot of love from its developers lately. The beta version is currently testing an incomplete dark mode while the stable release has seen the addition of the account switcher we see in many other Google apps. Recently, another new feature has rolled out to many users – the app now includes an incognito mode, depicted in the screenshot above as "Use without an account." Read More
Google Photos started as part of Google+ until it became a full-fledged service of its own. The decision proved to be right for the service: while Google's social network departed this life earlier this month, Photos is alive and well, and remains one of the company's most beloved products on Android and iOS alike. However, your Google+ cover photos live on in some apps' sidebars, including Photos. This is changing now, though, as users are reporting the demise of their colorful profile picture backgrounds in the app. Read More
Google likes to adjust the Play Store more or less continuously, changing things in big or small ways for a small subset of users before rolling things out (or not) to Android at large. The latest updates to the app seem to be appearing for only a few people, presumably via server-side changes. It's nothing particularly huge - you might not even notice them if you're not looking for them - but it's the sort of tweak we live for. Read More
It seems everywhere I look, user interfaces are becoming less colorful - iOS and Windows 10 are especially guilty of this. That's why I've always loved Material Design, because it encourages apps to have an eye-catching color palette. Unfortunately, some of Google's recent redesigns (like the all-white YouTube UI in testing) are following the trend of removing colors.
Rita here at Android Police shares my frustration, so she wasn't happy when she received a new search UI that does away with all colors. Take a look: Read More
Google Photos is great (speaking personally, it's one of my favorite Google products), but there's always been one thing wrong with it: albums were not included in search results. Say I search for "cats" (I have a lot of photos of my cats). The photos in the albums would be included, as well as items found by object recognition, but the album with my cat photos would not be included. Google has now fixed this anomaly, causing the album itself to be included.
After force closing the Photos app and clearing data, this comes up on my Nexus 6P. It's pretty much that - if you search, Google will bring up relevant albums as well as relevant photos. Read More