We've known about Instagram's plans to add offline capabilities to its app for a couple of months, and yesterday the news was made official at the Facebook Developer Conference (F8). Instagram is testing offline mode in regions with limited bandwidth to make the app more approachable and adapted to the demands of users there. According to the company, 80% of its community is outside of the US and many of these users are on lesser optimized networks, so making sure the app works when there's slow or no connectivity became a crucial feature to implement.
The way this works is when you're offline, you can still view the preloaded content and several of the app's sections (feed, explore, personal profile, previously visited profiles, etc) and you can interact with them. Read More
A fresh beta update just started rolling out for the Google app, popping the version number up to 6.1. There aren't many immediately obvious changes with this release, but it does contain a switch that will allow users to turn off trending searches in their area. But if you're looking for some potentially exciting new things, a teardown reveals the first physical pieces of the recently announced Google Assistant. There are also a couple bits related to deep search for apps and background retry for failed searches. Read More
Most of us probably use the Google app for searching on our phones, rather than through Chrome or - *gasp* - another search engine. I've often found that on slow connections, the Google app can take ages to bring up results - think 2G or even 3G mobile networks. To combat this, it appears that Google is either testing or rolling out a notification to tell you when the app has completed searching and showing results.
Three Google Search notifications. Note: this is MIUI, which is why it looks a bit... iOS-y.
This may not be used only for slow connections, but will probably come in handy the most on a network where speed is hard to come by. Read More
We heard at Google I/O about Google's plans to help improve the experience of users on slow connections, especially in parts of the world where even 3G speeds are few and far between. They gave us a peek at how the search interface would change under those circumstances to improve those load times. Now, in select markets, the pages you click on will also be optimized to load much faster.
Google's estimates have you loading the page 4x as fast compared to the unaltered version when on a slow connection, with 80% less data. They claim, appealing to webmasters, that this results in 50% more pageviews due to the better experience and lower wait. Read More