Chrome’s Touch to Search is Awesome, But No, It Isn’t Google Now on Tap

Just over a week ago, Chrome for Android received an update to version 43.0.2357.78 that included a feature called Touch to Search. If you have used the Chrome Beta within the last several months, you know exactly what this feature is. If you haven’t, well, you have probably emailed us within the last couple of days thinking that Chrome is now capable of doing the recently announced Google Now on Tap magic that was introduced at Google I/O. We get why you would think that, because Touch to Search is quite awesome, but no, it’s not exactly Now on Tap.

Still, let’s talk about!  (more…)

Android M Feature: Quickly Uninstall Apps From Home Screens

This may seem like an incredibly minor change for Android M, one that probably doesn’t really deserve a write-up, but dammit, I appreciate the hell out of it. For far too long have I found myself annoyed at having to go find an app in the app drawer to then uninstall it through a long press-and-drag to the top of the screen, rather than use the shortcut to it that is already on a home screen. Others who uninstall apps often know exactly what I’m talking about.

Well, you can now quickly uninstall apps in Android M by using their shortcuts on home screens. Boom.  (more…)

Android M Feature: “Peeking” is the New Name for Heads-Up Notifications

A good word to describe Android M would be “control.” Android M may not give users the big, sweeping UI changes and feature introductions of Lollipop, yet instead focuses on giving users more control over their phones. From controlling app permissions to the way settings and quick toggles show, the Android team is really letting your Android phone be customized to your liking.

Another area that they are giving you additional control over can be found in the “Apps notifications” area in Sound & Notifications. Here, we’ll find a new option in addition to blocking and priority toggles that were first introduced in Lollipop. It’s listed as “Allow peeking,” with peeking as the new name for Lollipop’s heads-up notifications. That’s right, the new name for heads-up is “peeking.”  (more…)

Android M Feature: Light Colored Status Bar Could Mean Dark Notification Icons in Apps

I know I said we were done with the Android M features for today, but this one just popped up courtesy of Googler Roman Nurik. According to a post of his over on Google+, in Android M, we could see things like notification and system status icons flip from white to dark depending on the app and the color of the app’s status bar.  (more…)

Android M Feature: Apps Manager is Simpler, Yet Insanely More Powerful

One of those back-end sets of changes in Android M that I think you are going to really love has to do with the new App Manager or “Apps” section in Settings. In previous versions of Android, this section included three columns of “Downloaded,” “Running,” and “All” apps. These three columns could be navigated easily, but always seemed a bit convoluted. Now, the upfront interface of “Apps” is much simpler, but man, are there are all sorts of new tools and options to tweak should you really want to dive into how your phone runs.  (more…)

Android M Feature: New Vertically Scrolling App Drawer and Widget Picker are Greatly Improved

If you flash the Android M developer preview images (our tour!) on the Nexus 5, 6, or 9, one of the first things you will undoubtedly notice is the new app drawer. With a change in direction of how it scrolls, you might be thrown off at first, but trust me, it’s not as bad as others have made it out to be. Along with that new app drawer, we are also getting a greatly improved widget picker that makes it much easier to find the widget you intended to find. (more…)

Android M Feature: Do Not Disturb Mode Returns With Automatic Rules, Repeat Caller Settings

In the Android L developer preview, Google introduced a Do Not Disturb to Android for the first time, then randomly changed its name to “Interruptions” when it went stable as Lollipop. “Interruptions” never really made much sense as an adoptable or recognizable name, so now in the Android M preview, we are back to Do Not Disturb (hopefully, for good). And with that name change, we have new features and a different setup to it all, so let’s talk about it.  (more…)