There's a new version of Google Play Music rolling out today, bringing with it a couple of interesting new features. The first is plain to see at the top of the Listen Now and Radio sections, named "I'm feeling lucky radio," in an homage to Google's famous search button. The new radio channel picks stuff it think you'll like based on your past usage. Once you're in, "I'm feeling lucky" works just line any other radio list in Play Music — you can share it, save it, or save tracks to a playlist.
Secondly, there's been a UI tweak to make it easier to find music you've saved to your device — these items now show a little "pin" icon on the lower right of the card.
The update is rolling out through Google Play right now, though with any staged update everyone might not get the new version right away. If you've picked it up already, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on with the new "I'm feeling lucky" radio.
New 'thumb,' 'compact' and undocked modes make it easier to type on larger screens
The team behind popular third-party keyboard SwiftKey has announced a new version of the app today — SwiftKey 4.3. Dubbed "layouts for living," the new version of SwiftKey introduces a host of new layout options designed to make it easier to type on all kinds of Android devices, from smartphones to tablets and everything in between.
There are three main layout modes to choose from in SwiftKey 4.3, all accessible by pressing long-pressing the SwiftKey menu button. "Full" is the regular SwiftKey layout existing users will already be familiar with. "Compact" gives you a smaller keyboard aligned to the left or right side, depending on which hand you want to use. And "thumb" mode gives you a split keyboard for easier two-handed thumb-typing, best suited for tablet users.
Update brings performance boost, but profiles are still nowhere to be found
The latest Netflix update is rolling out hard and steady this evening, and we've had a chance to give it a spin. The app has a newly tweaked UI with the hamburger menu we all know and love (that's a nerdy term for the slide-out menu apps are adopting) and better lock screen controls when using the Chromecast feature. But that's not even the good part.
What this app brings that everyone will appreciate is a much smoother overall UI. No more janky, stuttery transitions between views, and everything seems nice and fluid while navigating through both your queue and the categories. Huzzah!
What we aren't seeing is the new profiles feature, that seems to have made its way to every platform except Android. Multi-user support for an app like Netflix, which is heavily influenced by user preference, is a big plus. Hopefully we see it soon for the world's most popular mobile platform.
You can try your luck getting the update via the Google Play link above, but as is usual for big updates to popular apps, Netflix is pushing on a controlled rollout. You'll get the new version eventually — just keep checking.
Cleaner, faster interface that's easier to navigate
Google's coupon and deals app, Google Offers, is getting a nice update today to modernize and improve the interface throughout the app. The new main screen of the app is separated into three tabs — Browse, Featured and My Offers — that can be navigated between simply with a slide. Each tab is scrollable, and the Featured tab will of course have the most content. Scroll down to the bottom and you can switch between offers displayed in your own location or a different city.
The new interface continues into the individual offers, which follow more of the modern "cards" UI that Google has been putting into many of its apps today. The offers are still information-rich, with details on the store, the coupon, and where the nearest store that accepts the coupon is. The latest update also lets you redeem offers without a network connection — something we're suprirsed wasn't included before.
New vehicles, female riders and a new game mode round out a very nice update
Vector Unit has sent the big update for Riptide GP2 that players have been waiting for, bringing a new multi-player game mode, a new high-end hydro-jet, female riders and some touch interface changes. They've been teasing the new features on their Google+ page, and the sizable fan base (including yours truly) has been looking forward to the changes.
The new Scorpion looks pretty awesome, the long-time-coming female character avatar looks like you would expect any female player in an action game to look (for better or worse) and the interface changes — including a new method for manual acceleration — are welcome. But the big news is the new VR Challenge game mode, where you can challenge your friends on 14 different tracks to see who gets the best time.
I've long been a fan of the Riptide GP series, and this update looks like a real winner so far. Grab it from the Google Play link above.
Storing your location and installed apps in plain text is at issue here, not collecting that data in the first place
A lot of fuss is being made about the Aviate launcher the past couple days, with things hitting a fever pitch today. Besides the endless requests for invite codes on every social media site known to modern man, it's come to light that the launcher is sharing the data it collects on you with the world. Sort of.
Let's back up a tad. Aviate is a launcher that reconfigures itself — the apps it thinks you need to see right this second — depending on where you are. It's been in private beta for a while, and opened up to more users this week.
The to-do is that your location and list of installed apps are available via a publicly accessible API — but only if you know your unique device identifier. That's not good, but it's not necessarily the end of the world, either.
The good news is that Aviate has said this is something they are fixing, and have made it a top priority. (Update: Looks like the web access has been killed, as promised.) In the meantime, here's what you need to know if you're going to use the app.
Big Ingress parties are happening in 35 cities right through to December
Last weekend Niantic started off a major series of events in their location-based game, Ingress. The mostly-autonomous branch of Google working on this (and who also brought us the Field Trip app) started a little something called Operation #13Magnus in L.A., San Jose, and Bangkok, and plans to have more events across the world all the way up to December 14.
Yet another bundle of games is going up for sale in a "pay what you want" system with the Humble Bundle with Android 7. This time around the games aren't mobile-specific, but they all come with Android versions alongside their Mac, Linux and Windows counterparts. As is always the case with the Humble Bundle, you pay whatever you would like, and receive four great games:
Ticket to Ride
And if you give over the average, you'll receive two more games as well:
The Bard's Tale
More games are on their way as well, which you'll receive at no extra cost if you donate over the average at the time of purchase — currently $6.81. Proceeds go to benefit charity along with the game developers, and over $70,000 has already been raised. If you want to check out this group of games, hit the source link below.
Hitting select countries today, worldwide launch on October 17
One of the world's most popular time-wasters, Candy Crush Saga, has made its way to the Amazon Appstore. Releasing today (October 15) for select countries, the title will be available everywhere starting October 17.
Besides the myriad of Android phone and tablets with the Amazon Appstore installed — which will all have access to Candy Crush Saga — the game will also be made available for all Kindle Fire tablets including the new Kindle Fire HDX line.
The game is free, and should be identical to it's Google Play and iOS counterparts. If you're looking to get a little tasty with your Kindle Fire, look for it in the Appstore. The full press release is after the break.
Your favorite Angry Birds characters, now on wheels
It's no secret that Rovio has a line of hits on its hands with the Angry Birds franchise, and the latest installment in the series is a downhill racing game. Any Birds Go! is not unlike kart racing games of the past like Mario Kart, with side-by-side racing taking you through difficult obstacles, collecting coins and taking out opponents along the way.
Rovio is also telling us up front that the game will be free-to-play, with several game modes and features included from the start. But we know there will be some kind of catch here, and can expect things such as kart customizations and unlocks to be managed through in-app purchases.
Ready to play? Rovio says that the game will be hitting Android (as well as other platforms) on December 11th.