Google Contacts Update Expands to More Android Phones

Google Contacts for Android

Google has begun rolling out an update to Google Contacts for Android that brings it to non-Google devices.  The update, version 2.1 for those keeping score at home, will allow users running Android Lollipop or later to install the app and use it as your contacts app on your phone.  Like many other Google apps, Contacts was limited to the Nexus and Pixel lineup to a large extent but Google has been relaxing this as of late.

If you have Google Contacts installed, the OTA update to this new version should be on your phone in the next few days.  For those who want to download it and have a compatible device, you can get it in the Play Store.

Along with the support for more devices, there are also some new features in this update.

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Latest Microsoft To-Do Update Improves In-App Searches

Microsoft To-Do for Android

Microsoft has released a significant update to the task management app, Microsoft To-Do, for Android.  The updated build is version 1.11.29 for those keeping score at home and brings some nice improvements and new features.

First, and for those who have managed accounts (like Office 365) you can now add those accounts to To-Do.  Previously, the app would only work with @Outlook.com or @Hotmail.com accounts which was fine, but if you want to have all of your information within your Office 365 account, you couldn’t do it.  In order for this feature to work, you must have To-Do enabled on your account which is something that your administrator will need to do if you can’t sign in with your managed account credentials.  Also keep in mind that if you are adding a managed account, permissions to your Contacts will be required for it to work properly.

The ability to integrate with Office 365 accounts was something that the company said would be coming when the announced the original preview of Microsoft To-Do back in April.

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Google Docs Update Brings Big Collaboration Changes

Google Docs for Android

Google has begun the rollout of several big changes to the G Suite of apps, Google Docs, Sheets & Slides.  The updates are rolling out to the web-based versions of the apps currently but you can expect some of this functionality to eventually make it to the mobile apps.

According to the announcement from Google, there are four improvements that are rolling out now.

  1. Name versions of a Doc, Sheet or Slide. Being able to assign custom names to versions of your document is a great way to keep a historical record of your team’s progress. It’s also helpful for communicating when a document is actually final. You can organize and track your team’s changes in one place under “Version history” (formerly known as “Revision history”) on the web. Select File > Version history > Name current version. For even quicker recall, there’s an option to select “Only show named versions” in Docs, Sheets or Slides.
  2. Preview “clean versions” of Docs to see what your Doc looks like without comments or suggested edits. Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Preview accept all OR Preview reject all.
  3. Accept or reject all edit suggestions at once in your Doc so your team doesn’t have to review every single punctuation mark or formatting update. Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Accept all OR Reject all.
  4. Suggest changes in a Doc from an Android, iPhone or iPad device. Click the three dots menu in the bottom right of your Doc screen to suggest edits on-the-go. Turn on the “Suggest changes” toggle and start typing in “suggestion mode.”

All of these changes are aimed at making it quicker and easier for you to collaborate on documents and work through the change process on them.

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Google Camera Update Brings Double-Tap Zooming

Google Camera for Android

There is a new update to the Google Camera app rolling out in the Play Store that brings a new double-tap to zoom feature.  The update is version 4.4 for those keeping score at home and it works on the Google Pixel lineup as well as the Nexus and Android One devices.  The update brings features that were actually in the app during the Android O beta cycle (Developer Preview 3) but it has now been ported out to all devices running Marshmallow or higher.

The primary new feature is the ability to double-tap the screen while you are in viewfinder mode to zoom.  If you double-tap, it will zoom in 50% and will return to the normal wide angle when you double-tap once more.  The new tapping works in both photo as well as video mode.

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Starbucks App Adds Fingerprint Support in Latest Update

Starbucks App for Android

If you use the Starbucks app on your Android phone, there is a new update rolling out that you will want to get as soon as you can.  Version 4.4.0.1 brings a lot of updates and improvements to the app with the headline new feature being fingerprint scanner support.

The support for fingerprint scanning allows you to log in, reload, transfer balances and purchases eGifts within the app by using your fingerprint for authentication.  All of these functions were in the app prior, it just required your password each time you wanted to do one of these things.  You can still have it use your account’s password but if you have a phone with a fingerprint scanner, you can enable it to get things done quicker within the Starbucks app.

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Google Clock App Updated With New Dark Theme and Android O Support

Google Clock for Android

The Google Clock app for Android has an update rolling out to the Play Store that brings a new dark theme, icon and support for Android O.  The update doesn’t bring any new features overall.

The new dark theme replaces the default blue/white theme that was in the app prior to this release.  There is no way to return to the old theme if you liked it as theme changing is not an option in the app.  Personally, I find this new theme a lot easier to read and easier on my eyes, especially in dark situations.

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Microsoft Cortana for Android Gets a Major Update

Microsoft Cortana for Android

Microsoft Cortana, the company’s personal assistant, has a major update rolling out for the Android version of the app.  Version 2.9 brings a major revamp of the user experience of the app, improved controls and settings and, frankly, is nearly an entirely new look and feel.

Microsoft has aimed the app to be much more streamlined with an emphasis on users being able to get to content more quickly.  Microsoft is referring to this as being more “hands-on” for things like reminders.  You can now, for example, pin your reminder to the top right corner of the page to make it easier to get to later.  You can also adjust contents, time, date and delete them from your reminders list.

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