Android Police

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Google pauses accessibility app ban while it considers 'responsible and innovative' uses of the accessibility services

Google started contacting developers last month with a bit of an ultimatum: make sure accessibility mode is only used to help disabled users or risk being banned from the Play Store. Android's accessibility services have been used for a great many things over the years, so this change in policy caught many developers off guard. However, Google is now notifying developers that it's pausing the ban as it looks into how apps can make "responsible and innovative" use of accessibility features.

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Google releases web app version of Chrome Remote Desktop

Google is trying to phase out Chrome Web Store apps, in favor of more modern (and cross-platform) Progressive Web Apps. One of the most well-known Chrome apps is Chrome Remote Desktop, a remote management tool similar to VNC or TeamViewer. While it was originally designed to give Chromebooks a proper remote desktop application, it has also become popular as a TeamViewer alternative.

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Google Search gets you answers straight from your favorite stars, selfie-style

We all turn to Google to get answers regarding this and that, and that other thing, and those as well, and eventually there's a point where we get a little curious and we want to know something about the actors and stars that we love. Google usually uses its Knowledge Graph to surface the best and most accurate answer for you, but what if you could get it straight from the horse's mouth. There'd be no denying the authenticity of it, would there?

And that's what Google has done. Starting today, when you search for a few known celebrities, you will see a special Top Questions Answered section at the bottom of their Google card with video cards.

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HTC Smart display for the upcoming U11+ shows up on the Play Store

The upcoming HTC U11+ promises to be an interesting device (unless you live in the US, where it won't be released – sorry). It's apparently what became of 'Muskie,' the canceled HTC-made Pixel 2 XL, so we're expecting a premium smartphone that could be HTC's best yet. My initial reaction to it was very positive, anyway.

One of the features that will ship with the U11+ is Smart display, which is essentially HTC's version of Ambient Display. Much like what you get on a Pixel, Smart display will show the time, date, and notification icons. It can be set to be 'always on,' and a schedule can even be set to conserve battery.

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Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app called Direct

Remember how upset people were when Facebook started requiring everyone to install the separate Messenger app? Now Instagram is going down the same road, or it's at least strongly considering it. Instagram is testing a new app called Direct that replaces the messaging inbox from the main app and builds an experience around it. The new app is only available in a few countries so far, but it could be rolled out widely later.

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AutoNotification lets you add a "Mark as Read" icon to Gmail notifications

Joao from joaomgcd, better known for his series of "Auto-" apps and Join, is one of our favorite tinkering developers. He always manages to find a way to make Android do things it's not supposed to, and the latest "hack" he has come up with is a new "Read" button on Gmail notifications. You know how you sometimes receive emails with a few words that are easily legible from the notification without having to open the entire Gmail app, or how you get automated emails which content you already know without opening them, and you just want a quick way to mark them as read without deleting or archiving them?

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VSCO rolls out Messages, because every image sharing platform needs a built-in messenger

It's like there's a recipe for image sharing social networks: 1) launch the service with some hook to make it special against the thousands of other competitors, 2) wait until there are enough uses and add a messenger so people can talk to each other without ever leaving your app, 3) launch a Snapchat-like auto-destruct feature, 4) separate all 3 features into their own standalone apps. VSCO has graduated from step 1 to step 2.

Yup, VSCO is rolling out Messages, so you can talk to all those VSCOers out there and not feel alone in your VSCO world. It's described as "a new way to connect, share inspiration, and learn from other creators in the VSCO community," which sounds inspiring, but all it is is an easy way to share photos, journals, other profiles, and DSCOs (animated images) with others.

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Ai.type keyboard app developer accidentally leaks personal data of 31 million users

Another week, another potentially serious data breach. The emails, phone numbers, and locations of 31 million users of Android keyboard app Ai.type have been compromised after the developer failed to secure the server on which the information was stored. Some 577 gigabytes of data is said to have been exposed, representing more than three quarters of the app's total userbase.

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Barclaycard US, 58 other banks add support for Android Pay

Google's Android Pay team is keeping the momentum going, with support for 59 more banks added. While most of the banks in question are regional banks hailing from Texas and other southwestern states, the most nationally known is likely Barclayscard US. This update brings the total number of participating banks to 1,131.

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LineageOS releases changelog for the past few weeks, including KRACK fixes and several status bar/quick settings additions

From time to time, the team at LineageOS will post changelogs of changes/fixes that have been implemented since the last changelog was published. It's been quite a while since the last one on September 23rd, and this new one contains some noteworthy information. Following every change Lineage makes isn't the easiest thing in the world, and this helps consolidate everything.

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