Google Home App Refresh 2022 1

Welcome to the 484th edition of Android Apps Weekly. This one is also a bit longer than most, thanks to Google I/O 2023. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Skyline, the Nintendo Switch emulator, was shut down this week. The developers received a DMCA takedown request from Nintendo. It’s not for the emulator itself but rather the method the developers use to dump security keys. You can read more about it at the link.
  • Google Play Store ads are apparently getting worse. The Play Store is now offering ads and limited-time events when you search for something. It only shows up after clicking on the search bar, but they are easy enough to ignore. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but you’ll definitely notice it.
  • Samsung and Google are working together to make background apps more reliable. In fact, Samsung promises that One UI 6.0 (built on Android 14) won’t kill your background tasks as frequently as it does right now. This is a big deal since Samsung’s penchant for shutting down background tasks is legendary.
  • Android’s Find My Device network will soon use Bluetooth proximity to help track your Android phone. It’ll also work with Tile, Chipolo, Pebblebee, and more trackers over time. In short, this brings Android’s Find My Device network in line with Apple’s by using every Android phone in the world to help find yours. That’s great news. Read more about it at the link.
  • Android 14 Beta 2 arrived for Pixel phones this week. The new update includes support for 10-bit HDR, lossless USB audio, and out-of-the-box support for Health Connect. Hit the link to learn more details, but we knew most of this stuff was coming already.
  • Google I/O 2023 had a number of app-related announcements. We’ll list them all briefly with links so you can learn about everything that happened. Google announced Magic Editor as part of Google Photos. It’s quite powerful, and it’s worth checking out. Google Bard got a host of updates, including AI art generation and an upgrade to Google’s PaLM 2. Google also opened Bard up to 180 countries in English, Korean, and Japanese.
  • Google announced that RCS is used by 800 million people, and none of them are Apple users. Google also added more AI experiences to Gmail via the Help Me Write feature, Google Maps via Immersive View for Routes, and Google Search. There was even an AI-driven notebook for students that is in active development. Hit all of the above links to learn more about each product.

Life Makeover

Price: Free to play

Life Makeover is a dress-up and social simulation game. Players create their avatars, dress them up in fancy clothes, build themselves dream houses, and socialize with other players. It’s a pretty chill game overall. The main attraction is the dress-up part of it. The game boasts thousands of fashion styles that you progressively unlock and use. There is no real gameplay loop here. It’s free to play, but you shouldn’t need to buy anything to enjoy yourself.

VoiceGPT

Price: Free / $3.99 per month

VoiceGPT screenshot 2023

VoiceGPT is another AI app, but this one includes a voice aspect to it where you can talk to the AI and have it answer you. It uses ChatGPT and Dall-E to provide AI text answers and images, respectively. The app has a host of other functions as well. It does require you to log in with your Open AI account, so you’ll need one of those if you want to use this app. There is also a $3.99 per month subscription, which is much lower than most AI apps. It’s not bad for what it does, and this one seems to be gaining traction.

Last Words: Beyond the Page

Price: Free / $5.99

Last Words: Beyond the Page is a narrative adventure game. It has some unique gameplay elements that we think are nifty. For instance, players are presented with a notebook as part of the story. You drag the word “open” to the door drawn there to open the door. There are other elements of gameplay as well, and it’s all put together surprisingly well. This is also a premium game, so you can pay once for the full experience, and it’s one of the more entertaining games we’ve seen recently.

Google Home screenshot 2022

Google Home’s full redesign was rolled out to everyone this week. It includes a Favorites View, better organization of smart home devices, and a camera timeline view for those with smart home cameras. In addition, there is a new Wear OS app that can quickly toggle devices on and off. The app otherwise works as normal aside from all of these new features. You can read about them more in-depth with our overview of the Google Home changes.

Peridot

Price: Free to play

Peridot is the second new game from Niantic Labs this year. The Pokemon Go developer takes a more fantasy-like approach with this game. It’s technically a pet simulator where you take care of your own little pet. You can take it on actual walks where your Dot can find hidden items, breed your Dots with other players, and there is a small story to play through as well. It hasn’t been as well received as well received as NBA All-World, but we think it’s just as good in a different way.


If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments.



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