Google has been teasing a dark theme for Maps for a year now, and after some code surfaced that pointed to traces of a dark mode in version 10.50 of the app, we got our first look at a proper, finished night-compatible theme in version 10.51.1 in September. That limited server-side update only affected a few users and was very quickly rolled back. The Maps team seems ready to share its dark mode again with the world as a few users have noticed it on their devices now.
You can already schedule messages in Gmail and Telegram (among others), and now Google's Messages app is joining the club. The functionality showed up for a few people as part of an a/b test at the beginning of November, and now it's starting to roll out much more widely, at least in the US. The option replaces the long-press shortcut for sending an MMS with a subject.
Google Photos is full of great memories constantly resurfacing in the Instagram Stories-like Recent Highlights that show up in the carousel at the top of your photos. The company has decided to tweak the collages consisting of multiple pictures that show up there with doodled backgrounds, making them more shareable on social media without further effort on your part.
Following half a year of limited a/b testing, Twitter has just formally announced its own version of Snapchat Stories called "Fleets" — because these days, any reputable social media platform needs a Stories copy of its own. The feature is starting to roll out internationally today.
After successfully cloning Snapchat's Stories, Instagram is pushing hard to break into the next market. Not too long ago, it introduced its TikTok copy Reels, which is currently rolling out to users worldwide. To put the new format front and center, Instagram has formally announced that it will now get a fixed place in the bottom bar along with a new Shop section.
Telegram and Signal have had disappearing messages for a long time, and even Facebook's own Messenger lets you set delete timers on messages in secrets chats. Now WhatsApp has announced that it's joining its competitors — ephemeral messages are rolling out to the stable version of WhatsApp today.
YouTube Music and YouTube are too interlinked for many people's tastes, and it appears that Google is finally taking more steps to decouple the services. The YouTube Music app has widely rolled out a (previously spotted) option that lets you hide liked music videos from YouTube (as noticed on Reddit). Unfortunately, the setting doesn't apply to liked songs in the video streaming service, and recommendations and the watch history are still sometimes bleeding over from one platform to the other.
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.