Credit: Derek Walter
So many of the new features that Google rolls out to Android come not through operating system updates, but the Google app.
Version 5.3 doesn’t do a ton to change how you’ll use your phone right now, but it indicates some of what’s coming up. For example, Android Police found auto rotation may return to the Google launcher, so those with the stock Google experience can view their home screen in landscape orientation.
The teardown also spotted icons for Chrome, messaging, notes, and others. This may indicate Google could tie in more cards that launch directly into another application.
This indicates many Google Now features have been moved to the Google app. For example, the Google Now Launcher’s Play Store listing hasn’t been updated since August of 2014.
However, new features show up all the time. For example, I’ve started to get more notifications from Google about specific weather reports and sports scores.
More specific weather and sports cards may start showing up on your Android device.
Since the Google app controls so much, even more new features may roll out, especially with Google Now on Tap coming to Android Marshmallow.
The impact on you: There may not be any major changes yet, but you’ll always want to pay attention to any subtleties that Google throws up in its app updates. It will be curious to see how many other core operating system features start moving their way into the Google app over time, especially given Android’s vast fragmentation.
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