Google introduced Chrome custom tabs five years ago, and most apps use them these days. Instead of creating their own custom browsers, developers can just hand over websites to a Chrome tab without the added bulk of a regular browser interface. The advantage is that devs don't have to spend resources on creating their own webview implementations and that users can quickly open these custom tabs in proper Chrome without reloading or losing their scroll position. It's a great system. But Google wouldn't be Google if it stuck with a great system (looking at you, YouTube Music). The company is experimenting with a custom browser for its Google Search app, and while it looks snazzy, it comes with more downsides than upsides. Read More
Variable playback speed is an invaluable feature for those of us who want to consume the most content in the littlest time possible. Many podcast players and video players support it, and now Netflix is joining the fray. The service is testing playback speed controls on Android. Read More
During I/O 2019, Google announced changes to the Assistant that would see significant speed improvements thanks to on-device transcription and operation. These changes were said to come "later this year," which likely meant around the same time as the Pixel 4 launch. In the meantime, Google has been testing changes to the Assistant interface, including a Holo-esque design and now, a compact look. Read More
You've been able to ask the Google Home for all kinds of information since its launch, but historically, it hasn't offered much of anything without a specific request. According to some users, though, it's been divulging additional relevant tidbits on its own during some responses. Read More
It was only a few weeks ago that we spotted a small change in the Play Store's tab layout that would completely separate apps and games. The modification we are seeing today takes a page out of that book, but feels more like a regression than an improvement. Read More
On days like this, I start wondering whether Instagram is actively trying to sabotage itself. Or, more accurately, if Facebook is actively trying to sabotage Instagram. The photo and video sharing service has been "experimenting" with varied feed content for a long time, sprinkling in sponsored posts and stories and IGTV videos, but the latest server-side test takes the proverbial cake (and smashes it on the face of a puppy — yes, that's how infuriating this is).
When you scroll back enough to see the "You're all caught up" message, you might get two tabs if you're part of the test. Read More
During its F8 2018 conference in May, Facebook previewed a major redesign to Messenger that it had teased earlier in the year, saying it would simplify the experience, remove some of the unnecessary interface elements, and put emphasis on the features most users want to get to quickly. Oh, and it should have a dark mode too. While the company said the new look would come soon, it took a bit over four months for us to see the first sign of it. Read More