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Articles Tagged:

server-side test


Google app starts rolling out podcast subscription and management

It must be a happy Cody day today. After Google Maps' Shortcuts, another feature he has been tracking for months in his teardowns is starting to go live: podcast subscription and management in the Google app.

Ever since 2016, when podcasts rolled out in Google Play Music, we have been able to search for a podcast and play an episode right from the Google app / Google Search. However, starting in May of last year, Cody started uncovering signs of better podcast support coming to the Google app and Assistant, and now we have the first look at what they may look like.

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Google Maps shortcuts are live for some users with 14 quick actions to choose from

In Cody's past teardowns of Google Maps, one option popped up a few times: Shortcuts. Until now, we hadn't seen the feature yet and hadn't received any tips about it, but it looks like it's starting to go live for some users. Our tipster has it in his Google Maps v9.72.2 but we can't replicate it on our versions yet so it seems to be a server-side update.

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[Update: Rolling out] Instagram is testing inline comments in the feed

We know Instagram is working on a lot of new and interesting things, some of which have already started surfacing, but this one is a minor yet welcome change. Some users are starting to see a new inline comment box while scrolling through the feed, which lets them quickly write down a comment and post it.

Initially, we'd thought that Instagram might be using some sort of algorithm to determine which posts this comment box would pop up in, but as one of you in the comments pointed out, it simply pops up after a few seconds of looking at any post (thanks, Yuric).

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Google has added text to the Pixel Launcher search box for some, and nobody wants it

Google is no stranger to testing both warranted and unwarranted design changes in its apps on normal users, so this comes as no surprise. This time Google is testing a small change to the Pixel Launcher, but it's one that nobody asked for, and seemingly nobody wants it either.

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Sliding 'People also view' card showing up when scrolling in Google app search result

Google's constantly adding little server-side updates to its app in an aim to make things just a little bit easier. The latest addition a reader has spotted is a card entitled 'People also view' that shows up while you're reading through a webpage that you've clicked on from the Google app.

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New, cleaner overflow menu design in Google app is rolling out more widely

Oh Google, you and your server-side tests. You cause so many people to have different interfaces on their Google apps and create mass confusion, yet we still love you. This latest server-side test involving the overflow menu popup in the Google app appears to be rolling out to many more people now, and it's overall a nice change.

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YouTube is testing autoplay videos on the home page, but you can turn them off

Autoplaying videos are the devil. I can't say how many times in a single week I have to turn off the "autoplay" toggle on YouTube's queue so it doesn't move from the video I'm watching to what it thinks I want to see next. (Why isn't this a universal setting, YouTube, why?!) And now it looks like YouTube is testing another way to annoy you with autoplaying videos on your home screen.

According to Android Central, the "feature" started showing up, though we don't have it on our devices despite running the latest YouTube version. It's one server-side test I'm not too brokenhearted about.

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YouTube is testing a new Activity bottom tab for Shared videos and Notifications

YouTube is one of Google's most server-side test prone apps. Every couple of weeks, sometimes even days, we spot a new layout somewhere that brings a little change to the table. The latest is a renamed 4th bottom tab to Activity.

Activity merges the previous Shared 4th tab (which has been official for all since August) with your Notifications (which until now are hidden under Library -> your profile picture -> Notifications). So there are now 2 top tabs under the 4th bottom tab, yay! The move does make sense though since you can see all your active YouTube shared video discussions with friends as well as catch up on all the recent uploads, live broadcasts, and activity from the channels you follow.

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Google app is testing "Saved" pages in the side menu and a new bookmark icon in Custom Tabs

In its perpetual move toward making our lives as Android journalists impossible, Google has started rolling out a new test in the Google app. As always, I'm calling it "new" because this is the first time that I recall seeing this among the thousands of tips we receive, but it could have been showing up for some users for a lot longer. This one involves Google's integration of its new "saved" images, places, and pages in the mobile Android app.

But first, let's clear a couple of things. The "Saved" icon started rolling out in Google's mobile site as part of a new sidemenu around the beginning of August.

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[Update: Likely region-specific] Latest Play Store test replaces star ratings with app sizes in results

Google has two apps that it most frequently performs server-side tests on: YouTube and the Play Store. The most recent test that's been spotted is on the latter, and it's an interesting one: the star ratings have been ditched for the app sizes: both useful metrics to see when you're installing an app.

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