There are about a half-dozen countries that have enacted some form of official "do not call" registry and many others that have signed in laws to prevent various types of spammy behavior from running rampant over the telephone system. Unfortunately, little to nothing is done to enforce these laws and the penalties usually aren't steep enough to discourage bad behavior. Google is taking matters into its own hands and giving users a way to fight back. Starting today, a new version of the Phone app is rolling out to Nexus and Android One devices with built-in spam warnings.
The warning feature comes as a part of the phone app's existing Caller ID capability, which already maintains a very thorough directory about various businesses. Read More
Google is in the process or rolling out cleaner maps to Google Maps in an attempt to show more relevant information to users without overcrowding. You'll notice certain elements going away, but there is one new thing coming to your maps—areas of interest. If Google thinks there's some cool stuff in a particular area, you'll see it highlighted on the map. Read More
Wire is one in a growing number of messaging services that promise to keep their users' correspondence private. In this case, the service offers encrypted text, voice, and video calls. And now it's open source. Read More
Google Camera v4.1, which has shipped with Android N (Nougat is still a little tough to say) dev preview 5, has been a treasure trove of new features. It introduced UI tweaks and new animations with plenty of little changes, then we also discovered that it has the much requested feature to pause video recording. But now we're finding another very hidden option of the camera: a twist gesture.
When you've got your viewfinder up, you can twist your phone away from you and then back on its vertical axis for a couple of times — think twist gesture on Moto devices — and that will switch between the front and back camera. Read More
Photo editor app Prisma has been a surprising hit on Android ever since people got wind of the limited beta test and grabbed the leaked APK, then lamented the shut down of the servers when the developers decided the beta test was over, and up until its official release a day or two ago. Even now, the servers often continue to be overloaded with plenty of requests to apply filters on top of images from everyone wanting to give this artsy app a try. Actually, part of the reason Prisma is so good is that its filters aren't simple layers and adjustments, instead there's lots of processing going on to get the result, which is why the app relies on its servers and why it has been overloaded. Read More
Prisma, a new photo app that's been quite popular over on iOS, was in beta on Android and then transitioned to a non-functional state before we could even report on it. But that's okay: it's out of beta now and on the Play Store. The app applies a series of "artistic" filters to users' photos, then allows them to share on Facebook, Instagram, or the other usual suspects via the Android share menu. Prisma is free and available on Android 4.1 and up. Read More
A couple of very useful features have started rolling out to a few lucky Google Maps users in the last couple of days. If you've been following along with our APK Teardowns, you might remember sections covering notifications for mass transit delays and an option to restrict data usage to Wi-Fi only. If you've been eager to see either of these, now might be a good time to open up Maps and poke around. But it looks like both features are launching as staged rollouts, so don't be too surprised if you're not in the opening group. Read More
In the latest series of updates to Microsoft's Office apps for Android, the headlining feature is inking support with a couple of other minor additions. Of those, the one most likely to affect your day-to-day use is that each app now allows for saving to SD cards.
Still, the most exciting part of these updates is inking. As the name suggests, this is digital ink. You can draw with your finger or stylus, as I did in the image below. If you have a phone or tablet with an active digitizer like the Samsung Note series, they will support those pressure-sensitive features as well. Read More
Google has been on a roll this week with app updates and there have been some pretty cool new features, not the least of which makes comic books more awesome. One of the latest arrivals to the list is a beta update to the titular app. Known originally as "Search," the Google app now encompasses a custom launcher, the Now stream, Now on Tap, voice commands, and more. The recently announced Google assistant is on course to join the party, promising to bring many of these technologies together to deliver something not unlike the computer from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Read More