Thursday, June 30, 2016

Google Docs, Sheets & Slides gets improved comment notifications on Android and web.

Google Docs, Sheets and Slides received an update today that makes it easier to interact with comment notifications made by colleagues or friends on your documents. Prior to this update, notifications were sent as emails. This update, which works on Android devices and web browsers, will let you respond quickly. These notifications will appear based on your settings on the device and Drive settings for the browser.

Check out the updates in Google Play store:

Inbox by Gmail gets direct share to frequently emailed contacts.

Direct Share is a feature that Google made available as an API recently that makes sharing stuff to individuals easier. Let me explain. Before Direct Share, the sharing experience on Android and other mobile platforms, consisted of tapping Share, then pick an app before selecting a person or group. With Direct Share, people you email the most or send messages to very often shows up first in the sharing options, right above the standard list of apps that we are accustomed to. Many apps in the store have already taken advantage of this API, namely WhatsApp and Outlook, at least on my device.

Google today released an update to Inbox by Gmail that includes the direct share feature for devices running Android Marshmallow and above. People that you email the most will now be listed at the top of the sharing list so you can quickly send them stuff without first opening the Inbox app. Again, a very nice feature that will likely find its way in other apps as well and may bring a crowd to the sharing list. Only time will tell.

Download the update for Inbox by Gmail in Google Play Store.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Microsoft adds viewing IRM-protected Word and PowerPoint files on Android devices.

Microsoft today published an update to Word and PowerPoint for Android bringing Information Rights Management (IRM) support, allowing users to view IRM protected documents on their devices. If you're not familiar with IRM, it is a way to protect documents from being copied, forwarded or printed by unauthorized users. Once enforced, the document is protected no matter its location because the protection is stored in the file itself.

This update also lets users add a shortcut to their Word and PowerPoint file to the start screen for quick access. Word is also capable of handling "files that were saved in plain text (.txt) format." Microsoft also added a format background feature into PowerPoint that will let users "customize a slide by adding the background color of their choice."

Download: Word PowerPoint

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pocket Casts updated with new features & Shifty Jelly engages in reality distortion field...

Pocket Casts, my favorite podcast app on Android - and Windows Phone - was updated today. The last one was posted in April in which the team laid the groundwork for a "tastier future" and that may well be the beginning of a series of updates to bring the app to another level considering the wit they put in the change log:

Build 324! Our most exciting build yet. Chamfered edges. Thinner. Lighter. Less Ports. Improved Camera. Comes in one new colour (yeah you spell it with a 'u' America). Now hand over your money, plz. K thx bye. [Engages Reality Distortion Field].

Unfortunately, their plan to get your money did not work out as planned:

What...that didn't work? Odd it works for Apple all the time! Honestly though we fixed a truck load of things in this build, and we hope you like that it's now the best build of Pocket Casts ever, marketing be damned :)

Pocket Casts is an excellent podcast app with some nice features like the ability to sync your podcasts among your devices, whether they run Android, Windows and iOS; Add to that support for playback sync. You start listening or watching a podcast on one device and pick up where you stopped on another device. Pocket Cast is sold at $3.99 in the Google Play Store and is money well spent. Too bad they don't offer a trial.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Microsoft OneNote for Android gets new notebar and core code base change for faster features addition.

With 50 millions download on Android alone, you will agree that Microsoft OneNote is a success. Today Microsoft published an update for the popular note taking app. For me, this is a great update. Finally Microsoft managed to fix an issue I was having with OneNote ever since I installed the first preview of Android N. The app was cashing shortly after I entered my Microsoft account. It took them three updates to get there, but I'm gad to get OneNote working again on my Nexus 6 and make peace with Android N. 

The update itself adds some new features to OneNote with a change to the code base that will allow Microsoft to add new features "at a faster rate". The second noteworthy addition is this bar at the bottom of the screen which offers a new way to takes notes.

Here's what's new in this update for OneNote for Android:

We have changed the core code base of OneNote for Android which gives us the ability to add features at a faster rate. We have also added the following features:
1. Adding notebar: a new way to create notes
2. Ability to create or delete sections while in offline mode
3. Sync improvements
4. Bug fixes and performance improvements

Download Microsoft OneNote in Google Play Store for free.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Microsoft adds new improved sharing sheet to OneDrive for Android.

No doubt Microsoft is doing an awesome job pursuing their "mobile first" strategy on competing platforms. Take this update to their OneDrive app for Android as an example. The update was published on June 10 and I missed it since it did not show on my Nexus 6 running Android N; but it did on my Nexus 7 (2013) and it is a long awaited update, albeit a simple one.

Before that update, sharing a file on Onedrive was limited to sharing a link, sending file or inviting people to view the file. There was nothing that permitted sharing to the popular social network platforms we're so accustomed to, as shown in the screenshot below.

Thankfully, Microsoft took note of this limitation and updated their OneDrive app on Android to give users more option for sharing stuff. The screenshot below is quite self explanatory. Tapping the sharing icon will bring up the screen below with more options for sharing your file. It is no more limited to just the three options I've highlighted above, and Android users will get to choose among the apps they have installed on their devices plus the tree options I've already mentioned. You can see the difference after the upgrade with the screenshot below.

In the event you missed the update, get it in the Google Play Store for free.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Google Docs gets content editing in Print Layout view and Sheets gets conditional formatting.

Google Docs and Sheets picked up two new useful updates today. Google Docs users will be able from now on to edit documents while in Print layout view. Tap the edit pencil when viewing a document and users will be able to make changes to it without leaving that mode. That 'novelty' has me confused, as the experience is different in Microsoft Office where after launching Word you go directly in Print layout view, unless you've deliberately switched to another view previously. But I guess Google Docs first opens in Edit mode or something like that. The information to retain here is that tapping on the pencil in Print Layout mode will let you edit a document without switching views.

Google Sheets for its part is getting conditional formatting. A tool that allows you to apply formats to cells or a range of cells, rows and columns based on certain conditions. The formatting change depends on the value of cells or formula. For example, a cell may have its content become red or green if it contains a particular word or number, like green if there is a profit or red in case of loss in a balance sheet. Conditional Formatting is an excellent tool to highlight sheet content for quick viewing. Note that you'll be able to create new and edit existing conditional formatting rules.

Google made the announcement of the release of these features on its blog today, but they may not appear in the store yet because it is a gradual update. But rest assured it is coming. 


This update is also available on iOS.

Source: Google

Saturday, June 11, 2016

WhatsApp brings inline replies to messages in latest update.

WhatsApp is offering a useful update today. Users of the popular messaging app will now be able to reply to specific messages in a conversation. Say you want to quote a specific message in a conversation, first you will need to select that message by a tap and hold. Doing so will make a Reply, Forward and Delete options appear at the top of the app. Select the Reply icon and a text field will appear right underneath the selected message for you to type your message and press send. The quoted message and the reply will then appear in the thread with the name of the recipient. This is a very nice feature which is currently available in the latest version of WhatsApp in Google Play store for download.