Welcome to the 187th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the headlines from the last week:
Google Earth is getting a massive overhaul on April 18th. An invite went out to some websites to attend the event. Typically, updates don’t get this much attention. Thus, we assume that this is no normal update. Google Earth has been around since 2005. It also existed as EarthViewer 3D since 2001. It’s been around for a while and Google thinks it’s finally time for a major overhaul. We’ll tell you more when we learn more.
Burger King released a new ad this week. It was only about 20 seconds long, but it was highly effective. The actor on camera used the “Okay, Google” hotword to activate Google Assistant or Google Home. Then the actor asked it to search for Burger King’s signature food, the Whopper. Google shut it down a few hours later with a back-end update. It made a lot of people angry. However, I thought it was hilarious.
Google is making another attempt to clean up fake news. It’s essentially integration with a variety of fact checking sites. Now when you Google Search something, the fact checking feature will kick in to let you know if it’s false. Thankfully, Snopes and Politico have decent track records. The only downside is if fact checking sites have conflicting conclusions. They will report the results to be inconclusive. Facts potentially being blurred based on political loyalty is also a little worrisome. Thus, the system may not be perfect. Still, it’s progress.
As it turns out, Pokemon Go still has 65 million active monthly players. That’s actually incredibly impressive considering how many sites have tried to convince all of us that the game is functionally dead. Niantic also announced that new co-op features were coming to the game. The new co-op social features could be available as early as late spring of this year.
Google updated Google Chrome for Android this week. Usually updates aren’t too special but this one is. The update fixes the pesky issue that we’ve all had where websites make jumps when advertising shows up. The update fixes that problem and lets you continue scrolling along as you once did. Good job, Google. And thank you.
For even more Android apps and games news, updates, and releases, check out this week’s newsletter by clicking here. There you can find all sorts of news that we didn’t have time for here. That includes Google’s game designer calling it quits, some potential app issues with Android O, and a new trailer for Modern Combat Versus. You can sign up for the newsletter by filling out the form below and we’ll send it to you every Sunday! Also, you can download the Android Authority app for up to the minute mobile news coverage!
Anycrate is a fun little local-multiplayer game. There are two modes to play through. The first is PvP where you and a friend go head-to-head. The second is a co-op mode where you and a friend work together to achieve the goal. It features a variety of levels with various objectives although the mechanics stay the same throughout. It won't shatter any world records, but it's a fun little activity to do if you're bored. You can download the game for free and get the full version for $1.99.
Libby is an ebook and audiobook platform. It allows you to use your library card from your local library to borrow books for free. All you have to do is enter that info and the entire library is free to borrow. You can also sample books to see if they're up your alley. It's not the most powerful ebooks platform ever, but the fact that it's free certainly helps shore up its shortcomings. The reading features are light, but effective. It's not a bad platform for some free entertainment.
Lumino City is a unique puzzle adventure game. The graphics are fantastic because they're from real life. A team photographed and filmed the game in its entirety after building it out of various materials, motors, and lights. The game itself has you moving around levels and solving puzzles to proceed further. The developers estimate that it should take you about eight to ten hours to finish the quest. It's $4.99 ($2.99 on sale for a limited time) with no in-app purchases or advertising. Do beware, though, as the game requires that your device have at least 2GB of RAM and decent specs to run right.
Runtasty is a new recipes app from the makers of Runtastic. It features a collection of recipes that are intended to be part of a balanced diet. They include recipes for meals, desserts, and even selections for vegans, those with gluten preferences, etc. The app even includes some basic tutorial videos like how to peel ginger or properly cut onions. It's new so there isn't a whole bunch of recipes yet. However, it's free to use (for now) and we anticipate updates to improve content over time.
Planescape: Torment EE is a remake of the classic PC game of the same name. It was originally released back in 1999 to critical acclaim. The game itself is a fantasy RPG that should take you around 50 hours to finish. It includes complex controls, decent graphics, and plenty of content to play through. This game is not for the feint of heart so prepare for longer than usual playing sessions. In other words, this one isn't generally for casual gaming types. It's $9.99 with no in-app purchases. However, if Beamdog stays consistent, you'll eventually be able to buy non-important extras like skins or voice packs eventually.