Microsoft Launcher Update Brings More Customizations

Microsoft Launcher for Android

Another new update is rolling out to Microsoft Launcher, bringing with it more customizations as well as full support for Android Oreo.  The update is version 4.12 for those keeping score at home and that version has been in beta for a few weeks now.  If you have been running that beta build, there isn’t anything new for you but if you are in the stable channel, there’s lots to talk about.

First, folders and app icon gestures are now a thing.  You can now setup folders on your Home screen or apps to open when you swipe them.  This is done by long pressing the folder or icon, tapping the edit icon (the pencil) and the enabling swipe.

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Gboard for Android Update Brings Support for 28 New Languages

Google GBoard for Anrdoid

Gboard for Android has another update rolling out, bringing the ability to make GIFs from text as well as support for 28 new languages.  The update is version 7.4.19 for those keeping score at home and is out in the Play Store now.

First up in this update is the ability to make a GIF from Text.  Gboard has had the ability for users to make their own GIFs for some time now but it was always photo based.  Now you can make one from text as well.

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Starbucks App Update Brings Support for Adding Funds from Google Pay

Add Funds to Your Starbucks Card From Google Pay

The Starbucks app for Android has been updated this morning and it brings the ability to do a one time adding of funds to your account from Google Pay.  The update is version 4.11.1 for those keeping score at home and should be out to everyone who has the app installed by now.

Once you have updated, you can go to the FAB (Floating Action Button) which has your current account balance and tap it and then go to the Add money option.  There you will see your credit card information you normally use to top up your card but if you use change the Payment type, you will see that Google Pay is an option.

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Google Clock Adding Spotify Integration for Music Alarms This Week

Spotify Integration with Google Clock

In a surprise announcement today, Google stated that the Google Clock app for Android will be updated this week to support a new Spotify integration.  That integration will allow you to set the Clock app to play music as your alarm instead of the range of tones already available.

The news is surprising for two main reasons.  First, Google has had a clock app for years and the decision to put in this somewhat basic feature now is a bit of a mystery.  Second, why Spotify?  The feature works for both free and premium subscribers to the service but why not use their own Google Play Music?  The feature, as it appears, only supports Spotify for the integration.

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ARCore Update Brings Support for The Pixel 3 Lineup – And a Chromebook

ARCore Logo

Google has begun rolling out the latest update to ARCore for Android, the system level app that brings Augmented Reality to your devices.  The new update is version 1.4.180716066 for those keeping score at home.  The update brings support for the upcoming Google Pixel 3, codename Blueline, as well as the Pixel 3 XL, codename Crosshatch.  Given that the AR Core app is updated every 4-6 weeks and that this is the first reference to the new Pixels, it likely means that we getting close to launch.

Having the two new Pixel 3’s in the mix isn’t surprising but there was a surprise in that the first Chromebook is now listed as supporting ARCore.  That is the new Acer Chromebook Tab 10.

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YouTube for Android Dark Mode Slowly Rolling Out to Everyone

YouTube Full Width Thumbnails

After a bit of teasing and a roll out to the web, the YouTube for Android app is finally starting to get a Dark Mode.  The update is a cloud-side update which means as long as you have the latest version of the Android app on your phone, you will have the update pushed to you behind the scenes and not have to update your app.  For those that are curious, the latest build is version 13.28.54.

The YouTube team at Google appears to be slow rolling this update out so not everyone is seeing it just yet, me included.  This isn’t uncommon for these cloud-side pushes so if you aren’t seeing it yet, chances are good you will see it today or tomorrow.  You’ll know you got the update when you see a pop up in the YouTube for Android app letting you know it is available.

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OneDrive for Android Update Brings Fingerprint Authentication Support

Fingerprint Authentication in OneDrive for Android

Microsoft has rolled out a new update to the OneDrive for Android app, bringing with it fingerprint authentication support.  The new update is version 5.14 for those keeping score at home and has been released to the Google Play Store.

When you update to this new version, under the app settings, you will have the option to enable a PIN code as you have been able to do for some time in OneDrive.  Once you enter that PIN, you will be prompted for your fingerprint.  You can either tap your fingerprint sensor or skip this if you want to continue to use your PIN to log in and not your fingerprint.

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Skype for Android Update Brings End-to-End Encryption for Private Conversations

Microsoft Skype for Android

A new update to the Skype for Android app is rolling out, bringing end-to-end encryption for conversations and other improvements.  The update is version 8.26.0.70 for those keeping score at home and should be available to everyone in the Play Store by now.

The big new feature in this update is what Microsoft is calling Private conversations.  It is end-to-end encryption for your conversations that you have within the message app.  By encrypting it, you don’t have to worry about your text or video conversations being intercepted.  If they are, they are encrypted and protected.  It is a key feature that is important in this day and age for messaging apps.

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