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Today, Google released a complete refresh of its Google Maps for Android app. The company says that the new app brings forth an entirely new mapping experience that makes exploring the world and getting to the places that matter to you a lot faster and easier.
Google says that the new Google maps for mobile builds on the design that was released last year for iPhone and improves on it with new search and navigation features. Additionally, this is the very first dedicated Google Maps for Android tablets and iPads.
The new app brings forth an explore feature that the company says is a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. Users must simply tap the search box and you'll see cards that show great places to eat, drink, sleep, and shop.
Pandora has just pushed out a new update to their iOS app that brings it more inline with other streaming services. The update brings forth an AutoPause feature that will pause the service if headphones come unplugged and also improves buffering to make things more efficient.
This update is not just for user comfort; Pandora pays out over half of its revenue to music labels due to an antiquated licensing system that was enacted by congress. The new AutoPause feature is expected to help reduce the number of songs that are played when nobody is around to hear them, thus reducing royalty fees.
Facebook Home appears to be nothing more than a novelty for most Android users, with many reverting back to their stock Android skins just after a few hours after installing the service. One of the biggest gripes I have heard is the lack of folders for the home screen.
Today, Facebook has answered the cries echoed by so many in an update that was pushed out to the Google Play Store. The new update brings folder support which allows smartphone owners to drag one app on top of another to start a folder. Folders can be named, moved, and added to a person's application drawer for even faster access.
"An improved launcher is the most requested item Facebook has received since the launch of Home, and the team continues to make updates to Home in order to provide consumers with the best experience," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. "For example, last month, Facebook added a dock to the Home launcher and the team is currently working on widget support that will put Home's launcher on par with stock Android launchers."
Twitter updated their iOS app this morning and added a syncing feature for Direct Messages. This is a feature that has long been asked for from users who heavily rely on Twitter's direct message system to stay in contact with other Tweeters. The update is live and can be downloaded from Apple's App Store now.
Twitter says that from now on when you read a direct message on one of it's clients such as Tweetdeck, Twitter for Mac, Twitter for Android, or the Twitter website, it will be marked as read across all devices. In the past, this became an issue for heavy users who viewed DMs on different application as it would still appear as unread on iOS devices.
Spotify for Windows Phone 8 gets refreshed, drops beta, adds track scrubbing, and installs more languages
This morning, Spotify released an updated version of its app for Windows Phone 8 which removes the service from beta testing and moves it into full production. This latest update not only includes the removal of the beta version, but it improves offline playlist and builds in more support for different languages.
The announcement comes from Windows Phone Product Design Manager Joe Belifore via Twitter. In an attempt to go heads up with Xbox Music and Nokia's free streaming service, Nokia Music, Spotify has added in track scrubbing which was missing from the first version of the Windows Phone 8 app. The update is around 2MB and users can push it through their phone, or head to Source # 2 below for the full download.
Kim Dotcom's secure cloud storage MEGA, has been available for a while, but not on mobile. Today, it has launched on Android, and is available for download from the Google Play Store. We can expect MEGA for Android to include the following features:
- Browse your MEGA cloud storage account
- Fast upload and downloads on the move
- Camera sync: automatically upload photos and videos to the MEGA cloud
- Export and send file and folder links
- Image thumbnails
- Create, delete, rename and move files and folders
MEGA for Android works on all Android devices, so you're not just limited to your Android-powered smartphone. You can grab MEGA for Android from the Google Play Store right here.
Instagram for iOS has been updated, which now includes the ability to use landscape mode for both video and pictures. Instagram for iOS is now sitting at version 4.0.2.
Instagram for iOS v4.0.2 also includes Cinema stabilization support for front-facing cameras. You can grab the updated Instagram for iOS from the App Store right here, or you can do the update manually on your iOS-based device.
RumorTT: Android 4.3 might include notification listening service, would let third-party apps take control of notifications
Google kept the chains on Android 4.3 during their Google I/O conference a few weeks back, but that hasn't stopped the news from flowing about the next iteration of their mobile OS.
Kevin from TeslaCoil Software might have found one of Android 4.3's big features, where he noticed that there's a notification listening service buried in Android 4.3. This feature would allow third-party apps read notifications and perform common notification-level tasks.
We won't know how it will exactly work until Google officially take the wraps off of Android 4.3, but for now, it's a nice feature that we should expect in the coming months when Android 4.3 finally arrives.
It was not even a week ago that we reported that Microsoft were reaching the edge of 100,000 apps on their Windows Store, but they've announced through Twitter that they've now broken through this milestone.
Microsoft don't have the most apps, or the best apps, but they got there the quickest - in just 8 months. Comparing them to Apple, who saw 18 months go past before the App Store got there, and Google's Play Store took over two years. But, the Windows Store is here to stay and with Windows 8.1 coming soon, Microsoft are putting themselves in a better position with each day that passes.
Skype for Android has been updated today, a major release by the looks of things as we're hitting version 4.0 with a major redesign. Skype has passed 100 million downloads on Android, and has now been totally redesigned to look like other platforms' versions.
Skype 4.0 for Android includes a cleaner "conversation-first" UI, which shows the instant messaging part of Skype in a brighter light. It's no longer thrown to the side like previous versions of the app. You can now tab through different parts of the app, and change tabs using swipe gestures. Skype have said that underneath, it has been "rebuilt from the ground up" in order to be more reliable, and most of all, faster.