Apps Unleashed: Top 5 New and Updated Apps This WeekJake Christiansen - Contributing Editor
1. Google Docs and Google Sheets - Android and iOS It seems that Google Drive's document and spreadsheet editors have set out on their own, becoming standalone apps that are now available for both Android and iOS devices. Yes, technically these are two new and completely separate apps. I don't know how many users were actually waiting for standalone apps like these, but it's great to see Google improving their mobile software offerings.
2. Sell on Etsy - iOS We all know that person that's "the crafty one," and for those people, the new Sell on Etsy app is worth checking out. Etsy, the online center for buying and selling homemade goods, has launched a Sell on Etsy app that makes it easier than ever to sell your crafts online. The company has been hawking the standard Etsy mobile app on multiple platforms for quite a while, but the new Sell on Etsy app is focused on selling goods and is currently only available for the iPhone. The new app has a clean user interface that makes the selling process a tad more simple. If you're big on Etsy, you have to try this one out!
3. Hangouts (update) - Android It's been a while since Google has built SMS into its popular Hangouts app. However, Google had failed to do streamline the SMS and Hangouts conversation systems. That changed last week when Google pushed a Hangouts that merged SMS and Hangouts conversations into one thread. You can also merge and unmerge conversations whenever you like. The update also offers a new Hangouts widget for your home screen, a simplified user interface and performance improvements. If you haven't updated your Hangouts app, do it now!
4. Redbox Instant (update) - Android Redbox Instant users on Android now have the ability to beam your Redbox content to your TV using Chromecast. The update enabling Chromecast compatibility was pushed earlier this week, undoubtedly due to high demand from Chromecast users. While Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services will still prove to be formidable rivals to Redbox Instant, this update will certainly improve the service, especially since iOS users have been enjoying Apple TV compatibility for some time now.
5. Snapchat (update) - Android and iOS Snapchat this week took another step in the mobile chat innovation by "Putting the chat in Snapchat." The update that was pushed this week includes a new threaded messaging feature that allows users to participate in full conversations. What makes this feature any different from the multitude of other messaging apps? Well, in true Snapchat fashion, the new chat feature has a twist: your chats will disappear once you back out of the thread. You can take a screenshot or select particular lines of text to save, though. Overall, this Snapchat update is very exciting for users of the service.