Category: App Update

Google+ Quietly Removes Menu Link to Google Spaces

In the latest update to the Google+ app for Android, Google has quietly removed the menu link to Google Spaces.  It could be the first indicator that the carcass of yet another social networking attempt by Google is about to be thrown on the pile.  And frankly, it wouldn’t be all that shocking.  The change can be found in the 9.6.0 build of Google+ for Android and if you open up the menu using the hamburger menu or a swipe from the left side of your screen, you’ll see that there is no link to Spaces.

The idea behind Spaces was never fully articulated.  It was somewhat like Circles in the original Google+ but it was also aimed to allow you to create a “space”, invite friends so that you could discuss the space’s defined topic.  You could also share videos, images, texts and other media.  In theory, a pretty cool idea but Spaces never really took off.

Google Sheets Update Brings Formatting Improvements and Mouse Support to Android

Big changes are coming in the latest update to Google Sheets for Android, web and iOS.  There are some nice formatting options that are coming to the app but probably the bigger news is that the Android app will have mouse support for the new breed of Chromebooks that run Android apps.

From a formatting perspective, Sheets will now have the ability to rotate text (this is found under Format>Text rotation) to make your spreadsheet cleaner and more visually appealing.  For example, you could rotate column headers 90-degrees so that they are vertical instead of wide across the column top.  This means you can make those columns more narrow.  Add to that, finally, the ability to format numbers in Accounting style.  This is one of those “why wasn’t it there before?” features but hey, it’s here now.  Under Format>Number>Accounting, you can change your numbers into this format for easier and more consistent reports on budgets and other financial spreadsheets.

 

 

Rounding out the formatting updates are new border styles.  There are several new border styles in the app that have various thicknesses and double borders.  These are all found under Toolbar>Borders>Border styles.

The big changes though and probably the more exciting ones for most are the changes to the Android (and iOS app) app for Sheets.

Google Play Music Brings Back Recents to The Menu

A small dot release of Google Play Music is hitting the Play Store that brings back a menu option and other small improvements.  The updated build is version 7.4 for those keeping score and with it you will find that the Recents option has returned to the main menu or navigation drawer of the app.  This feature disappeared late last year when Google started injecting machine learning into the app so it could better learn your listening preferences.  Since then, your Recents appeared as a button on the main display of the app (but it only shows your downloaded music if you are in offline mode)

The return of Recent to the menu should clean things up a bit whether you are online or offline and make it easier to find the music you have recently listened to in chronological order.

Instagram Update Allows Multiple Photos in A Single Post

Instagram has rolled out an update to their Android app that brings a long wanted feature to the social sharing app.  Now you can select multiple photos or videos from your phone and have them in a single post.  Up to this point, you were limited to one photo or video per post.  Most people got around this by creating collages but that doesn’t always have the desired effect as it shrinks the photos down considerably.

To use the new feature, you have to have version 10.9 of the Instagram app for Android.  That build is rolling out in the Play Store now so it may be a day or two before everyone sees it hit their phones.  Once you have it and you start a new post, you will see a new “select multiple” feature.  Tap it and then tap all the photos you want to add to your post.  You can have up to 10 and you can mix pictures and video.  After you have selected your photos, you can apply filters to one or all of the photos and the post it as normal.  Once your post is done, those who see it can swipe through your photos to see all of them.

Google Camera Update Allows For Shutter Sound Disabling

If you are a Google Pixel or Nexus 5X/6P user, there is a minor update to the Google Camera app rolling out for you.  The update, version 4.3 for those keeping score at home, fundamentally brings one feature to the table:  The ability to silence the shutter sound.  This may not seem like a big deal but it is something many other camera apps have offered for a long time and when you are in a museum or other quiet place, having the shutter sound fire off each time you take a photo can be a bit annoying.

This new setting is found in Settings>General in the app under “camera sounds”.  Toggle this off and there will be no more sounds from the app.  Keep in mind, this also means that the self timer feature will also go silent too.  It completely shuts the sounds off in the app.

MLB at Bat Gets Updated for Spring Training

The 2017 Major League Baseball season starts in just 40 days and all thirty teams have already reported for Spring Training.  To get you ready for the season and Spring Training, the MLB at Bat app has been updated to keep you in-the-know.  The update is rolling out now so if you already have the app installed, expect the OTA update over the course of the next day or so.  Once you have it, At Bat will give you news, information and the Spring Training schedule for your favorite MLB team.

As is the case every Spring Training, the highlights for your team may be limited as not every game is televised.  But you will be able to keep up with stats and the rosters which always change this time of the year.

Microsoft Groove Music App Gets A Healthy Update

Microsoft has rolled out a sizable update to the Microsoft Groove app, their music streaming and subscription service.  The update brings a lot of changes to the app that frankly, catches it up to other services that are out there.  This update is rolling out now so if you have the app installed, expect the OTA today or tomorrow.

The biggest new edition is that you can explore relevant artists, albums and songs for a particular genre.  This not only allows you to see your favorite artists but also expose you to some that you may not have heard of before.  It is a great way to discover new artists in your favorite kind of music.

Angry Birds 2 Gets A Big Pig-Popping Update

Rovio, the developer team behind the Angry Birds franchise, has pushed out a big update to Angry Birds 2 for Android.  The update brings 80 new levels to the game, Hamsterdam and Mississpiggy River chapters.  There are also improved treasures with bigger awards for players.  Perhaps the most noticeable change is the completely new home screen in the game.

The new home screen completely changes from the old, world map view that has been in the game since its initial release.  Now you see all of the birds in your flock in the center of the screen.  The world map, the arena and the daily quest are all large icons on the right side of the display.  It is a much cleaner and simpler design.

Google Fit Update Fixes Low Distance Estimates

Google’s health and activity tracking app, Google Fit, saw a minor update yesterday but it contains a big fix for users.  To be clear, this is not the update that brings a lot of new features to the app to support Android Wear 2.0 devices.  That update is expected once the 2.0 devices get out there, which starts on Friday, February 10th.  So for those of you who have Fit installed, don’t expect to see a lot of changes visually.

The big change is a bug fix that had to do with mileage estimates from the app.  When you were on a walk, run, biking or I’ve found it even in skiing, there were times that the mileage estimates were off.  Sometimes they were off by a little bit, sometimes by a lot.  This update appears to address those issues based on an evening walk I made last night after updating.

Google Photos Update Re-Enables Casting

There is an update to Google Photos for Android that is now in the Play Store that addresses a bug with Casting your photos.  Late last week, the photo app was updated but users began experiencing a problem with it continually prompting for Google Cast credentials and a PIN, even for users who didn’t have a Cast nearby.  On Monday a small patch went out that disabled Casting in Google Photos and the update today fixes that bug and re-enables the feature.

If you were one of the users impacted by the Casting bug, you certainly need to download this update as soon as it is available on your account.

Microsoft Teams App Update Brings Single Sign-On for Office 365

Microsoft has rolled out an update to the Microsoft Teams app that has a lot of new features and improvements for organizations who use it for collaboration.  The update’s biggest improvement is Single Sign-On (SSO) so that users of Office 365 will be able to sign in easier to Teams if they are already signed into other apps on their phone.

OneNote files can now also be shared in Teams.  If a OneNote file is being shared, it can be viewed in conversations.  Previously OneNote files couldn’t be viewed in Teams.

YouTube Update Brings 10-Second Advance Gesture

A new version of the YouTube app for Android is rolling out in the Play Store, bringing a new double-tap gesture to rewind or advance the video you are watching by 10 seconds.  The new gesture works exactly as you would expect.  If you double-tap the right side of the video you are watching, you will advance 10 seconds into the video.  Double-tap the left side and you go back 10 seconds.  No more having to use the seek bar to try to go forward or get back on a video.

The new feature is something that should make video viewing a bit easier and faster to navigate.