Twitter looks to be in the process of rolling out a handy feature in its official app, but you probably don't have it yet. A number of users in the Twitter beta program report they now have a built-in browser for viewing links. This appears to be a server-side change, so you can't just install an APK to enable it.
Search, as the foundational product Google is known for, is obviously something the company is very thoughtful of when it comes to design. Even small changes can cause a big impact on user experience and engagements, so Google is careful about how design tweaks are implemented.
One common method of testing and easing into (or out of) design tweaks is A/B testing (something we recently saw Google experimenting with in the Google+ app). Today, it looks like Google has begun an experiment on its search engine results page when users search from Chrome on mobile devices. Rather than show results in a lineup, separated by gray lines, Google is playing with a layout that puts each result on its own card, underscored by a line colored to match one of Google's four primary brand colors - blue, green, yellow, and red. Read More
From time to time, Google engages in A/B testing with its live products. Flipping switches from somewhere deep in its Mountain View HQ, Google will turn on new design tweaks or feature changes for small groups of users, and measure their impact on engagement. This is generally a helpful process for validating design decisions, and occasionally we catch them in the act and get a peek at what might be around the corner.
Today, reports started popping up that Google might be testing some UI tweaks with its Google+ app for Android. Before you get excited, these tweaks don't include a hamburger menu. Read More
Twitter can be an intimidating place for newcomers. The site's timeline is only as good as the content that appears inside it, and until you start following profiles, it's pretty spartan. But the social network knows it has a problem, and it's trying to do something about it.
Twitter already makes recommendations during the setup process that points us towards friends along with popular sources of news and entertainment. Now, according to a report by The New York Times, the site is testing out a new "Instant Timeline" feature that automatically populates a new user's feed until they've figured out how to fill it up themselves. Read More
A number of our readers have witnessed a change after opening up the Facebook app. The social network is apparently testing out an updated version of the user interface that sports a flatter look and more colorful, circular icons. We wouldn't call it a big Material redesign, but it does show signs of trying to better fit in. Read More
Microsoft has acquired HockeyApp, a service that helps developers test their apps and get feedback from users. The company plans to use the platform, akin to Apple's TestFlight (purchased early this year), to attract app creators to its development tools. The folks at Redmond intend to integrate HockeyApp with the Application Insights service in Visual Studio Online to improve support for Android and iOS.
HockeyApp offers developers integrated crash reporting, information on beta distribution, and a built-in user feedback system. It supports Windows Phone in addition to Apple and Google's mobile operating systems.
Developers can continue to use HockeyApp in its current form, but Microsoft is starting the integration right away, and it plans to release an updated Application Insights SDK for Android and iOS within the coming months. Read More
Getting OTA updates out the door is no easy task, especially with carriers standing between the OEM and users. That's why Motorola has long used soak tests with small groups of users to hammer out bugs before the final certification. HTC has just posted details of its own "HTC Preview" program that does essentially the same thing.
People talk on Twitter, they crack jokes, they share pictures, and they even try to sell things. Just as users used to have to link out to images before the service started offering that service natively, users will soon be able to make purchases without having to hop out to another site. Twitter is currently testing a feature that will embed a buy button directly into tweets.
When a user decides they want to buy something, Twitter will prompt them for their shipping and payment information. After that, it will send the order to the merchant, encrypt the data, and store it for use again later. Read More