Just because there's a big announcement tomorrow, it doesn't mean the app updates have to take a break. Version 1.5 of Google's Messenger app popped up today, bringing with it a cool treat for users on the Android M Developer Preview 3. This update brings an implementation of the new Direct Share API in Android 6.0, allowing Messenger to add multiple contacts right to the share menu and saving us all a few taps when we want to send a link to our favorite friends.
Left: share menu before without targets. Center: new conversation pop-up. Right: Share menu with group and single targets.
Since arriving on Android the HERE app has been a solid alternative to Google Maps. Each update brings something new, and as usual, beta users get the goods first. Today's new feature is the ability to share your route with other people.
There are no shortage of ways to get links from one device to another, but this often involves signing up for a service and leaving behind a record of what you're sharing. CaastMe is a new Android app that has an innovative way of getting around this, account-free.
The software relies on QR codes, but it uses them in the opposite of the way you would expect. Instead of prompting your device to open a URL, CaastMe tells the computer displaying the code where to go.
All you have to do is open the caast.me website on your computer, then click the share menu on your Android device, select CaastMe, and scan the QR code.
Remember Karma? It's OK if you don't - this data-only MVNO with a focus on sharing has been relying on Sprint's outdated WiMax network since 2012, and isn't actually all that useful in its present form. But Karma is getting upgraded to some sweet, sweet LTE data in just a couple of months. The upgraded Karma Go LTE WiFi hotspot is going on sale in December, but if you act quickly and pre-order you can score $50 off, for a cost of $99 plus whatever data you buy.
Karma uses a unique business model. The company's rechargeable Wi-Fi hotspot is its only hardware, and data is its only service.
Autodesk's mobile offerings for Android are almost always impressive or useful, often both. From SketchBook to Pixlr Express, the company has consistently provided Android users with great apps. Today, there's a new entry in Autodesk's catalog that lives up to that reputation - 123D Catch. In a nutshell, the app lets users create 3D models of real objects using just their smartphone camera.
To get started, the app suggests capturing 20-40 photos all around your chosen object, most at even level with the object, plus some from a top angle. The capture interface gives a handy ring guide to let you know how completely you've captured the object, and once you hit the check mark, the app will ask you to sign in in order to put together and share the finished model.
Google Glass, having recently received an update to version XE17.31, is making the leap straight up to version 18.1. The update will coincide with an update to the MyGlass app (coming "later this week," with the iOS app getting an update at an undisclosed time), and brings a few nifty new features.
First up, the MyGlass app for Android - when explorers take a photo through Glass, that photo will be instantly shared to the MyGlass app, where users can add filters or otherwise edit the photos before sharing them with the world. Breaking functionality for Glass out of Glass doesn't immediately seem like the most elegant solution, but certainly editing photos is easier on a larger, more accurate display.
Chromecast has apparently received support for Google Drive presentations, something that should drastically change just how useful the product is for offices and schools. This feature was previously visible to only a limited number of users while Google worked out the kinks, but now it looks like it may be ready for primetime. The option is visible to us, along with plenty of you as well.
To cast a presentation, hit the Present button in the top right corner. If, and only if, you have the Chromecast extension installed, you should see the option to Present on another device. From here, you can select which device to cast to.
There are a lot of ways to get text from your computer to your Android device, but perhaps none of them are quite so simple as the new Belt.io app and service. Simply install the app on your phone and you can send text and links from the web service after signing up. Naturally Belt.io also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, so you don't even have to go to the website to use the service.
The browser extensions also tie in with the Android app, sending any selected link or text directly to your Android phone and giving it an optional notification as well.
YouTube is awesome, but it's anti-social. You create a video in isolation, upload it to your personal channel, and wait for the inevitable flood of ego-shattering comments. If someone does happen to like your work, they will copy the link and share it on Facebook, Google+, or any other social network where good words are occasionally tolerated, and you may never hear their feedback. MixBit is a more social experience, one where friends can work on videos together from the comfort of their mobile devices.
MixBit was founded by YouTube co-founders Steven Chen and Chad Hurley, which makes this a service worth keeping an eye on.
Snapchat allows users to send and receive media that disappears after a recipient has opened it, laughed, and - if it's really good - taken a screenshot. It's a nice way to communicate and share content without having to deal with storing and organizing everything that you upload, but sometimes you may want to share a photo with all of your friends at once. Snapchat is rolling out a new feature that lets you share such content for up to 24 hours in a timeline that everyone can see. This timeline is your Story, and Snapchat has released a series of trailers to help you familiarize yourself with it.