Yesterday's teardown of Gmail brought news that the app would soon include some of the useful sorting methods over from the web client, giving users a way to see messages that might be the most important to them. Not to be left out of the fun, the latest update to Inbox reveals it has a couple new tricks of its own. Of course, we're talking about Inbox, so these upcoming features are driven by artificial intelligence and mountains of data about the types of messages that matter most to users.
The Gmail team put artificial intelligence to task with Inbox. Its usefulness as an email client is punctuated by how effective it is at organizing and determining the importance of incoming mail. Of course, there's always room to add more clever features, whether they are designed to cut down cognitive load or just save a couple taps. A teardown of the latest Inbox update reveals two more features are coming soon to do exactly that. The first is a simple button to sort your messages, and the second is an option that uses a little computer intelligence to pick the best text from each message to show in previews.
Over the last several months, most of the changes to the Play Store have been on the smaller side, usually part of A/B tests to determine if individual tweaks to the interface would work better than others. An update began rolling out to users yesterday, bringing the current version up to 7.4. No significant changes seem to be turning up yet, but there are bits and pieces that hint at future plans. In this teardown, we'll be looking at a new version of the My Apps screen, statistics about reviews over recent history, remote authorization for family purchases, and even a strange requirement to install the Play Games app before taking some actions.
Google Photos just made the jump to v2.0. Hurray! Oddly, it doesn't look like very much has changed, but there is one feature people have been looking forward to for a long time: permanent sorting for the contents of an album. That isn't the only difference we've seen, but most of the other details would be more easily described as fit-and-finish changes – basically polishing up the interface. However, the Photos team posted a changelog for the iOS version last week that also describes the addition of Live Photo support (which is exclusive to iOS since the movies are shared in another format) and the ability to change the thumbnail for detected faces.
An update to Google Photos hit late yesterday, taking the version up to 1.24. This update doesn't make any major changes, but there are a couple of notable improvements. The cropping tool has been redesigned and upgraded in a few good ways and albums can now be sorted. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom of the post if you'd like to pick up the apk before Google rolls it out to everybody.
Casually browsing YouTube on a mobile device is a pretty good experience, or at least it's about as good as anything we've seen on a phone or tablet so far. However, many of us aren't going to YouTube just to poke around at the latest trending videos and subscriptions, we're actually looking for something specific, and that's when the search UI comes in. Mobile search is pretty comparable to the web experience too–in fact, they are almost in feature parity–but there are still a few things missing from mobile. But a teardown reveals one of those missing features will be there soon: sorting options in search results.
Google I/O has taken its toll. At least that's the way it looks based on the fairly quiet week we've seen for app updates thus far. The biggest update to arrive was for Snapseed, which gained some fairly useful improvements for editing. The focus on images continued with an update to the Photos app, but it didn't appear to bring any notable new features, rather just a bug fix. However, a teardown of the app reveals quite a bit more. Google is lining up some cool improvements to the app, including new sorting methods for albums, new editing controls, and a pretty amazing promo for Nexus devices.
When you think of the intersection between America Online and email, you probably think of the phrase "you've got mail," septuagenarians forwarding politically-charged but factually lacking messages, and/or Meg Ryan. But AOL Mail is still going strong, and it looks like the company is actually trying to branch out into mobile software. Take Alto Mail, for example: it's a new stand-alone mail client just published in the Play Store alongside more antiquated options like AIM and AOL On.
The Play Store's web market has come quite a long way since it was first announced back in February of 2011. Still, that doesn't mean it's perfect - among others, there are quite a few filter options still on the request list. For example, many users want to separate their free and paid apps in the My Apps interface. Thanks to a Greasemonkey script Artem just stumbled across, now you can.
That's not all this ingenious script does, either: it also lets you see all of your apps on one page by adding a resizable handle to the bottom right corner of each box.
With somewhere around 200 apps on my phone at any given time, it can be a pain to scroll through all of them to find what I'm looking for. Categorizing apps into handy folders can also be time-consuming. Fazik Logic takes the concept of sorting your apps one step further however with LiveSorter, a new app that automatically sorts installed applications into appropriate categories.
Adding to the list of LiveSorter's benefits, it has relatively no resource drain as it only wakes when a new app is installed and needs to be sorted. At the moment the app only recognizes apps from the Android Market.