The Android app engineers over in Mountain View have been pretty busy this week, as Google has released several big updates for some of its most important apps. Here’s what you need to know.
Gmail is now at version 4.8, and this latest update brings some elegant UI refreshes. For example, the pull-to-refresh animation that was introduced several versions ago now looks like the one in Google+, with Google’s colors (red, yellow, blue, and green) rolling across the thin bar. Settings now appears in the overflow menu, like some of Google’s other apps, and Google also added a nicer-looking profile switcher that displays your account profile pictures for your various Google accounts.
Furthermore, the messages that appear when you are lucky enough to have no spam, or when you have achieved inbox zero, have been replaced with happy faces and friendlier messages.
But perhaps the biggest new feature is the ability to save attachments directly to your Google Drive. There are a few other smaller, more hidden features floating around in there, too, so be sure to leave us a comment with what you find.
Download: Google Play
Google engineer Dave Besbris recently took to Google’s own social network to describe exactly what is new in the latest version of Google+ on Android.
- Auto Awesome Stories now combine your photos, videos and the places you visit into beautiful travelogues. You can read more at googleblog.blogspot.com.
- Auto Awesome Movies are now available on Android, iOS and the web, so lots more people will receive highlight reels of their photos and videos. Here’s one example: http://goo.gl/9ljcdj.
- You can now create animated GIFs and photobooth-style images on demand. Just tap the new plus button in Photos, and select either Motion or Mix.
- Really big photo libraries are now supported on Android, so you can access your many thousands of photos quickly and easily.
- You can now browse your entire photo library, as well as your highlights, by date. Just drag the new scroll bar to move forwards or backwards in time.
- Profiles now display total content views on both Android and the web. (You can choose to show or hide this number via settings.)
- A new navigation menu makes it easier to switch between your favorite circles and communities, as well as other places in the app.
- It’s a lot easier to share content from your phone or tablet. To give it a try, just tap the new pencil icon at the bottom right of the stream.
- The app menu now slides away as you move down the stream, letting posts fill the entire screen.
As you can see, this is definitely not an update you’ll want to miss. Admittedly, it will take a little getting used to (at least for me), but so far I like it a lot.
Download: Google Play
Chrome for Android
Chrome 35 has finally made its way to the stable channel of Chrome for Android, and there are some nice additions for power users. These include the ability to undo your tab closes, play fullscreen video with subtitles and standard HTML5 controls, support for many multi-window devices, and support for casting some video content through the browser to the Chromecast.
Download the update at the link below.
Download: Google Play[Android Police | Google+]