Welcome to the 317th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- A developer showed off some fun AR tricks this last week. Cyril Diagne created an app that lets you take a picture of something and paste it into Photoshop. The idea is pretty neat. You simply take a picture of something and the app keeps that picture in the foreground as you move the camera back to your Photoshop window on your computer. It then pastes the image where it appears on the camera. It’s a little hard to explain, but you can check out the demo video at the link above.
- Google and Apple’s tracking API for COVID-19 got some fresh rules this week. A few of them include the direct oversight of a government official or public health authority, it can only be used for the COVID-19 pandemic, and there can only be one app per country. The only exception is that last one where some countries can do regional apps instead of a whole country. It may be useful for larger countries with a lot of area. In any case, hit the link to learn more.
- Zoom finally rolled out some new security measures in response to criticism. The new measures include better encryption and the ability to turn off meeting IDs to prevent “Zoombombing”. A few other changes include password protected meetings, a waiting room by default, and screen sharing to be host-only be default. It took the company a bit, but it seems to be turning things around.
- WhatsApp has a new bot for COVID-19 information. The bot debunks bad information by cross-checking it with over 100 fact checking sites. It should work across all platforms and it’s easy enough to add to chat rooms. Hit the link to learn more and learn how to add the bot to your chat.
- Google Lens received a new trick this week. The trick lets you copy and paste text from hand-written notes directly to your computer. It’s an extension of the existing functionality where you can copy it from paper directly to your phone. Lens also has an improved guide for difficult words and concepts. For instance, you can highlight a word and find its pronunciation or open a Google Search to learn more about it.
- Google may finally fix its messaging woes. The company put all of its communication apps under a single roof this week with G Suite VP Javier Soltero in charge of the matter. He says no immediately changes are happening, but some may take place over time. We’re not sure if this will lead to a unifying effort or if all the products will remain separate, but it should definitely lead somewhere.
Hello Human is a puzzle game with a simple premise. A computer challenges you to complete a puzzle and then you do. Each level is slightly different and the difficulty scales up as you play. You’ll press buttons in sequence, find patterns, and move stuff around the screen while the computer says silly things. It’s a rather simple puzzle game without a whole ton of depth. However, there are a bunch of levels and the game is entirely free at the time of this writing. It’s in early access beta so make sure to email the developer if you find any problems.
Dolby On is an audio recording app with a few decent tricks up its sleeve. The app comes with a noise canceling feature by recording the background noise and then eliminating it from your recordings. Additionally, you can add a few other filters to improve audio quality. It’s definitely a step up from most audio recorders although we’d like to see more configuration for some of the filters. In any case, it’s a solid free recorder and the UI is pretty decent as well.
Word Crack 2
Price: Free to play
Word Crack 2 is the spiritual successor to the original. The series is a Scrabble style word game variant similar to Words With Friends. You can play solo or with other players. Some of the other game features include power ups, a couple of mini-games, and simple controls. It plays like most other Scrabble style games. You put words on a board and score points until someone wins. The UI can be kind of clunky and the game has a few bugs. We expect the game to tighten up over time so keep an eye on it if it’s too buggy for you right now.
HowWeFeel is a health app for the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a sort of crowd sourcing effort. You download the app, log in every day, and tell the app how you feel. That data (anonymous, of course) is fed to researchers to help them predict the wave of the outbreak. Plus, it feeds some stats back to the user as well in case you’re curious about how other people around you use the app. Unfortunately, the stats are only a little helpful and we wish there were more. We’re also not sure how much an app like this helps. However, if you feel like giving it a try, we encourage it. The app does work.
Price: Free to play
Forza Street is Microsoft’s official mobile game for the popular racing series. It’s actually an interesting game to play. Most of the race is handled with cinematic style camera angles and auto driving. Players only have control on the corners and have to decide when to break, hit the gas, and boost to take the corner correctly. It adds a unique arcade mechanics to the game and it makes the game fun to watch. It’s just not the most exciting game to play. Even so, the game is great to look at and there are a lot of things to do. It’s technically a racing game, but it definitely doesn’t feel like one for better or for worse.
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