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Cody Toombs
Works at Android Police
Attended Oregon Institute of Technology
Lives in Roseburg, OR
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Cody Toombs

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Gmail v6.7 Tiny Teardown: Drag 'n Drop It Like It's Hot

Today's update to Gmail didn't bring anything particularly exciting in features, but it shows they're working on something for Android 7.0 Nougat that I think we're all looking forward to: drag 'n drop file support in split-screen/multi-window.

<string name="drag_n_drop_target_text"> Drop files here </string>

Put simply, you'll be able to open Gmail in one side of the screen and a file manager in the other, and then drag files over and drop them into a message – no need to hit the attach button and worm your way through multiple steps.

Obviously, this requires other apps that know how to create draggable files, which are fairly rare at this point. I've tried a few apps that seem to create draggable entities (e.g. the built-in Downloads app and Google Drive), but Gmail isn't popping up this message or a spot for me to drag anything to, so I kinda doubt it's live yet. Still, once it launches, it should probably work about the same way as it does on the web.

It's not really a surprise that this is coming. Dragging files into Gmail on the web is practically second nature for most of us, so it's common sense that it will become a part of Android now that we'll be able to run apps side-by-side. Still, even if it's sorta obvious, it's good to see this is in the pipeline. Features like this have a tendency to show up in one version and be ready for use by the next, so it will probably be operational for the first official release of Nougat. I've also got a hunch the Inbox app won't be far behind.
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I wonder what it's like to be someone's "tear down guy"
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Somebody had to say it.
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That's so awesome
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Please stop unnecessary testing and staged rollouts
I have the same (latest) version of YouTube installed on 3 different devices, and none of them have the same list of settings. YouTube is doing this far too much. 😟

I totally understand the point of staged rollouts and A/B testing, both of which give different features and interfaces to a random set of users, but they should be used in moderation. But imagine talking to your parents on the phone and trying to explain how to change a setting or use some feature when you're both looking at different screens.

That's bad enough, but it's absolutely insane that a person might have to actually make a decision about which device to use for a specific task because one of them got a feature before another.

I see this stuff all the time because I do teardowns and compare different versions on multiple devices, but I've also seen this become an issue when people (including myself) have contacted Google to report issues. I'm used to talking with tech support people that aren't necessarily well-trained on every last detail, but there was an incident where I spoke with a person that thought I was making up details because he couldn't see the same things on his screen. This is a situation that should never, ever happen.

In case it's not obvious, I'll quickly explain the screenshots. The first one has only 5 options, all of which appear in the other screens. The second screen includes Autoplay. The third screen also has Autoplay, but also includes Buffering. And yes, I totally understand that these are pretty innocuous settings that aren't going to affect most people enough to be an issue, but I've seen other features in YouTube–like fast forward/rewind–that are much more confusing if one person has them and another doesn't.
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Yup. On the Nexus 6p I have the second screen but on Shield tablet I have the third. Why? I want the buffering in the background on my Nexus 6p.
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It has been a bit more than 24 hours since Google released a Play Store update with the ability to join and leave beta programs, [1] and now a server-side switch has been flipped to disable that feature. I mean, come on... The cat wasn't just out of the bag, it had been fed a couple of times, took a few naps, and picked a favorite spot in front of a window where it could stare out at the birds. Burying a feature for 3 days (I/O is on Wednesday) just so it gets an official announcement is really pointless.

[1] http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/05/14/play-store-v6-7-is-rolling-out-with-ability-to-joinleave-betas-developer-feedback-for-betas-and-more/
There's a new version of the Play Store beginning its slow rollout, and it's all about all those beta apps you've signed up for. You can see when you're in... by Ryan Whitwam in Applications, Downloads, News
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Yeah, I think they pulled it cause it wasn't fully baked yet.
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Gmail v6.4 Tiny Teardown: Nanny State of Business

The latest update to Gmail finally make Exchange support a true first-class citizen for all Android devices.[1] But anybody familiar with the policies of large corporations can list dozens of rules that range from being mildly annoying to downright absurd. Gmail already included a few such supported policies, but it looks like the list has grown to some pretty bewildering lengths.

Prior to the latest update, 10 distinct lines of text existed to cover specific policies. The new update expands this number to 32 and includes some fairly understandable rules, like preventing unsigned apps from being installed, to some options that seem a bit silly, like forcing roaming devices to use manual sync instead of automatic.

<string name="policy_app_blacklist"> Disallow specified apps </string>
<string name="policy_app_whitelist"> Allow only specified apps </string>
<string name="policy_bluetooth_restricted"> Restrict Bluetooth usage </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_attachments"> "Don't allow attachments" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_browser"> "Don't allow browsers" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_consumer_email"> "Don't allow consumer email" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_html"> "Don't allow HTML email" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_internet_sharing"> "Don't allow Internet sharing" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_irda"> "Don't allow infrared communications" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_pop_imap"> "Don't allow POP3 or IMAP accounts" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_storage_cards"> "Don't allow storage cards" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_text_messaging"> "Don't allow text messaging" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_unsigned_apps"> "Don't allow unsigned apps" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_unsigned_installers"> "Don't allow unsigned app installers" </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_wifi"> "Don't allow Wi-Fi" </string>
<string name="policy_html_truncation"> Restrict HTML email size </string>
<string name="policy_max_attachment_size"> Restrict attachment size </string>
<string name="policy_require_encryption"> Require device encryption </string>
<string name="policy_require_manual_sync_roaming"> Only allow manual sync while roaming </string>
<string name="policy_require_sd_encryption"> Require SD card encryption </string>
<string name="policy_require_smime"> Require SMIME messages </string>
<string name="policy_text_truncation"> Restrict text email size </string>

Remember, all of these policies are entirely optional and controlled by the device owner or manager (if this is a BYOD arrangement), and usually done with Exchange or some other policy management system. I'm not sure if these policies were already live and previously undocumented, just now added, or if the text is here while the policies are not yet supported.

For reference, here are the previously existing strings related to policies:

<string name="policy_added_spam_label"> Why is this message in Spam? Your organization requested that messages like this be marked as spam. </string>
<string name="policy_calendar_age"> Limit the number of calendar events synced </string>
<string name="policy_disallows_download"> Cannot download due to account security policy. </string>
<string name="policy_dont_allow_camera"> "Disallow use of the device's camera" </string>
<string name="policy_email_age"> Limit the number of emails synced </string>
<string name="policy_password_expiration"> Require passwords to expire </string>
<string name="policy_password_history"> Restrict the reuse of recent passwords </string>
<string name="policy_removed_spam_label"> "This message was not sent to Spam based on your organization's request." </string>
<string name="policy_require_password"> Require device password </string>
<string name="policy_screen_timeout"> Require an idle device to lock its screen </string>

[1] http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/04/25/gmail-6-4-adds-exchange-support-on-non-nexus-devices-apk-download/
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Play Store v6.8 Tiny Teardown: Preloaded Party

Today's update to the Play Store apk didn't bring much in the way of discernable features. We're getting ready to post about one thing shortly, but it's not version-dependent.

The teardown was pretty mundane too. A couple dozen strings about family sharing were updated, but they're not giving away anything that wasn't already known from one teardown after another on Android Police. Since sharing for apps and games is about to go live on July 2nd, this is obviously a bug fix update to get things ready for a wide rollout.

There was one amusing gem to run across. A few weeks ago, a couple of strings turned up in a teardown that suggested the Play Store would pre-load some data [1] to improve performance. The details were thin, but it's not a particularly hard concept to grasp. This version makes a slight change and adds a little bit more explanation. To begin with, the previous version called for a 20 MB cache, but this version bumps that up to 30 MB.

<string name="lite_mode_settings_description_info"> Preload up to 30 MB on your device, over Wi-Fi </string>

The other strings don't really add much to the conversation, but they do slightly focus on the point that this is about improving performance while on a data connection. Does that mean the cached data can't be used if you're browsing on Wi-Fi? I doubt it, but you never know.

<string name="lite_mode_welcome_card_description"> "Some information on the store is preloaded over Wi-Fi. This makes the store faster when you're on a data connection." </string>
<string name="lite_mode_welcome_card_title"> A faster store experience </string>

Anyway, that's it for right now. I've got a couple of other posts that I've been trying to get back to for a little while. I'll try to get those done before the weekend.

[1] http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/05/16/play-store-v6-7-prepares-to-preload-data-for-faster-performance-and-may-hint-at-new-android-wear-features-apk-teardown/
As most of our readers know, an update to the Play Store rolled out a couple of days ago with a feature many of us have been requesting for nearly three ye... by Cody Toombs in APK Teardown, Applications, News
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Google+ v8.1.0 Tiny Teardown: It's Like a Roomba For Comments

The latest G+ update [1] turned out to be mostly bug fixes and a bit of a behavioral tweak to the home stream [2], but there's also a clue for a new feature to look forward to in a future release. It looks like Google+ is going to add a handy little setting for Communities that will "hide" low quality comments.

<string name="low_quality_comments_available"> Low quality are hidden. They can be displayed from the menu. </string>
<string name="menu_hide_low_quality_comments"> Hide low quality comments </string>
<string name="menu_show_low_quality_comments"> Show low quality comments </string>

Precisely what that means and who can use it is still not totally spelled out, but there are some fairly safe assumptions. To begin with, "low quality" probably describes comments that have been flagged as abuse or spam, or they come from accounts that are commonly flagged.

The other notable detail is that this setting is accessible from a menu, but it's a menu that contains a lot of options for both moderators and regular users. I would think this is going to be for everybody since it's clearly meant to be quickly toggled, and it makes sense for any user to have quick access to hide junk comments.

That's about it for this one, but I've got a few things coming up soon.

[1] http://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/google/google-8-1-0-124973427-release/
[2] https://plus.google.com/+LukeWroblewski/posts/7iZtJY3GkGD
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+Jeff McIntire 🤔👍
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I totally understand the glorified optimistic perspective that a reboot function shouldn’t be necessary in modern devices and therefore the button should be removed in anticipation of the day that rebooting isn’t necessary. But those people should totally understand my practical realist perspective that they’re trying to piss up a rope to stop a house fire.
This message brought to you by: a Nexus owner.
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Is it plugged in?
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I'm not gonna lie, I want to see how Google Allo handles a sexting session.
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+Derek Ross You got it bb ;)
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I want Google to announce a Pixel Watch.

Not Nexus. I want a well-built watch with no corners cut. I think the Pixel brand makes sense for a watch mostly because Google tends to use it in more experimental ways, with more premium quality, and the software customizations are more creative.
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I just want to see an Android Wear "Nexus Jacket" with Project Jacquard by Levi's.
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Play Services v8.9.16 Tiny Teardown: G+ +1 = 2 Many

With the release of Android N, there were a handful of new, previously unseen versions of apps. Most turned out to be a bit of a bust (or at least didn't have anything for a teardown), but Play Services included an unusual assortment of strings related to Google+ and +1'ing things... or so they first appeared.

A big part of doing teardowns is analysis (and over-analysis) of phrasing. Sometimes the very fine details of sentence structure reveal a lot about things that are coming. Other times, they are wildly misleading. Either is possible with this next set of strings.

The phrasing of some new strings use a number of odd word choices like "sign up for +1", "to create +1's", and "grant permission to +1". There's even a line that says "you need to sign up for +1 in order to create +1's." This use strongly suggests there is a new product or feature with the name +1 and it also has a form of content called a +1 that users will be creating, and it's somehow distinct from the existing action most people refer to as +1'ing a post or picture. Confusing, right? Users still have to sign up to Google+. The app is referred to by the name Google+, which strongly indicates that it is not changing branding to +1, but it will be used in connection with the product, whatever it may be. At least, that's the way it seems.

Unfortunately, there's not much to go on, and even the message that reads "...we want to tell you a little more about it" is lacking a matching explanation of what it will do. Since that string is associated with a webview, an explanation will obviously load separately.

<string name="browser_signup_message"> "You need to sign up for +1 in order to create +1's. Would you like to go to the signup page?" </string>
<string name="install_plus_app_message"> "You need to sign up for +1 in order to create +1's. You can sign up by downloading the Google+ Android application or by visiting plus.google.com on a computer." </string>
<string name="plus_one_self"> +1 by %1$s </string>
<string name="plus_one_offline_error"> Please connect to the Internet to +1. </string>
<string name="plus_one_button_needs_permission"> You need to grant permission to +1. Tap to retry. </string>
<string name="sign_up_for_plus_message"> "You need to sign up for +1 in order to create +1's. You can sign up using the Google+ Android application or by visiting plus.google.com on a computer." </string>
<string name="sign_up_prompt_title"> Get started with +1 </string>
<string name="signin_cross_client_auth_toast_text"> "Welcome back to %1$s. You're signed in with Google as %2$s." </string>
<string name="webview_signup_message"> "You're new to +1, so first we want to tell you a little more about it." </string>

So, I gotta say, there's not much else to take away from this yet. The wording is vague enough and definitely incomplete, but certainly unusual enough to warrant some attention. By all means, throw some ideas into the comments. If not just a counter at the bottom of a post, what is +1 going to be?
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+Jondan Rothfus Oh, I was discounting Spaces because it already has a name; if you could say an unannounced product from Google ever has a name. But you're right, it does make sense given the language and how the service is positioned to a prospective user.

I've also had this quiet suspicion that Spaces (which many people made very bad assumptions about) and the "messaging service with chatbots" (which was at least partially misreported by the original source) are going to turn out to be related. This feeling isn't based on anything material, but I have a picture in my mind of a service that fits both descriptions. If that turns out to be the case, I can imagine the "+1's a user can create could turn out to be the so-called "chatbots" that threw everybody off.
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I just saw ID4 is on sale for $0.99 (today only) and it reminded me of one of my first posts on AP where I rewrote the president's speech:

"Good morning. Sometime today, packages from here will join others from around the world. And we will be receiving the largest delivery assault in the history of FedEx. FedEx. That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is delivery day, and you will once again be waiting by the door. Not for guests, installers, or family... but for delivery. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the delivery day will no longer be known as a lost day, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not quietly wait all day until night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to take back our lives! We're going to tell packages when to arrive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

Ahh, good times :)

http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/04/23/fedex-mobile-updated-to-v2-0-with-new-delivery-manager-because-waiting-by-the-door-is-for-chumps/

Disclaimer: I have learned to despise FedEx as a service.
FedEx sucks. Use UPS.
On July 2nd, communications systems worldwide are sent into chaos by a strange atmospheric interference. First thought to be meteors, they are later revealed to be gigantic sp...
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Education
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
    Software Engineering, 1998 - 2002
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Birthday
March 29
Story
Tagline
A tech geek with flair.
Introduction
I write for Android Police where I rip open apps to find interesting things to talk about. I also write software, some of it you've probably used. In past lives, I've sold computers, worked in wine, and slung booze (yes, real flair bartending <- that's not me, just an example). There are plenty of stories, I just don't tell 'em that easily.

I dig fashion, food, cocktails, movies, tv, and tech. I surround myself with good people, I learn everything I can. Give me a snowboard in the winter, a sand volleyball pit in the summer, and new adventures year round.
Work
Occupation
Software Developer, Writer, and Opinionated Jerk
Employment
  • Android Police
    Editor, 2013 - present
    I make words happen, sometimes they even make sense. I'm responsible for most of the APK Teardown and developer-related content.
  • Dashing Cat Productions
    Founder, 2012 - present
    App development for mobile and desktop platforms.
  • Pentacle Graphics
    Founder, 2006 - present
    Contracting firm for software development and design.
  • Girardet Winery
    IT, 2010 - 2011
    I managed software and networking, and also worked in the tasting room and at wine festivals.
  • TravelWorm
    Senior Web Developer, 2005 - 2006
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Roseburg, OR
Previously
Las Vegas, NV - Klamath Falls, OR