Google pushing updates for several Android apps, including Hangouts and Search

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| February 5, 2014

Google Now Launcher Search update

Today's a big day for Android users that love app updates — and really, who doesn't love app updates? —because Google is in the process of rolling out new versions of several of its own apps. So far it looks like El Goog has begun pushing updates to Cloud Print, Drive, Hangouts, Maps, Newsstand and Search, each one with its own goodies and bug fixes. Here's the rundown on what we know about each update so far:

  • Cloud Print: Update to version 0.9.2
  • Drive: Update to version 1.2.563.27 brings a new 1x1 widget to enable faster document scanning, animated GIF support and bug fixes
  • Hangouts: Update to version 2.0.303 packs more fixes for sending and receiving MMS and a fix for a bug that prevented the sending of SMS over 160 characters
  • Maps: Update to version 7.6 includes option to avoid ferries, ability to select multiple modes of transit and Google Offers tweaks
  • Newsstand: Update to version 3.1 adds 4x3 widget, Mini Cards option that reduces the size of article previews and categories and option to translate either a single article or an entire feed
  • Search: Update to version includes name change to "Google Now Launcher," hotword detection for British and Canadian English, AirBNB reservations appearing in Google Now, bug fixes and more

While the number of tweaks included with these updates vary from app to app, it's always exciting to get notified that a new version of one of your installed apps is available, regardless of what's inside.

One change that's worth making special note of is with the Google Search app: Droid-Life notes that when the Google Now Launcher is sideloaded onto non-Nexus 5 hardware, it asks the user if he or she would like the app icons and folders from his or her old Home screens imported into the Google Now Launcher. That could be a hint that, like Google Keyboard before it, The Big G may eventually make its launcher available to all as a Play Store download.

As with most other software updates, the new versions of these Google apps should hit your Android device within the next few days. If you just can't wait that long, though, the folks at Droid-Life have posted .apk download links for all six apps for your sideloading convenience. Happy updating, friends!

Via Droid-Life (1), (2), Android Police (1), (2), (3)