Google Updates Gmail, Voice, YouTube For Android

Google pushes out slew of improvements to Android apps, including cards for Gmail and a remote locking option for Android Device Manager.
Google Maps Updated: 10 Cool Features
Google Maps Updated: 10 Cool Features
(click image for larger view)
Google is constantly updating its mobile apps and services and this week offered new versions of three key apps for Android devices: Gmail, Google Voice, YouTube and Android Device Manager.

The latest update to Gmail brings the application in line with the card-based user interface Google has been slowly introducing across its mobile apps. Google has applied the card look to the conversation view within Gmail. Google believes this makes conversations easier to read and follow from message to message. The application also added new check marks to make it easier to see when multiple messages have been selected for actions such as move, archive or delete. Last, Gmail now provides a visual indicator about sync status. If sync is off, the app will let you know so you don't miss messages.

Gmail is free to download from the Google Play Store. It is compatible with devices running Android 4.0 and up.

Google surprised fans of its Google Voice service this week with a minor update to the app. Google Voice has been gathering dust for a while. The update doesn't add much to Voice. Google Voice now offers a warning when users attempt to send text messages to 911. It also added support for new short codes and fixed a number of bugs.

[ Google just made its Wallet electronic payment service available to users of iOS devices. Read Google Wallet Arrives For iOS. ]

Google Voice appears to have fallen out of Google's good graces. Many think the service and associated apps are next on Google's list of "spring cleaning" shutdowns. The app has been neglected for nearly a year, as it continues to have limited functionality -- it doesn't support MMS messages, for example.

For those still maintaining a Google Voice number, the update is free to download from the Play Store.

Google recently updated the YouTube application for Android devices. There's no change log for the latest version of YouTube, and it likely only contains bug fixes. The app was overhauled recently with a number of new features.

Last, Google updated the Android Device Manager with one significant new feature. Users can now remotely lock their Android device with a new passcode entered on the Web. When the service first launched, users could locate their device by ringing it, or erase it completely. The locking feature is a nice in-between step that can be used to secure a device while preserving the information on it.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing