Android Police

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[Update: SMS Verification Working In More Countries] Google's Duo video chat app is rolling out in the Play Store [APK Download]

Google announced the Duo video chat app (and the messaging app Allo) at Google I/O this year, saying only that we'd see the final release later this summer. Well, here we are. Google Duo is beginning its global rollout right now. It's still showing as "pre-registration" for us right now, but it's finally happening. No sign of Allo yet.

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Samsung's "Secure Folder" on the Note7 may be the best smartphone feature of 2016

Earlier this year, when the Galaxy S7 launched, it was loaded with something Samsung called "Private Mode." Private is, frankly, kind of lame - you can use it to secure sensitive files, photos, or voice recordings using Samsung's stock applications for those functions. I can see a use, sure, but this is a pretty limited sort of feature.

With the Note7, Samsung has introduced Secure Folder. This sounds even narrower in scope, right?

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Snapchat is acquiring search and recommendation service Vurb, winner of TechCrunch Disrupt

Snapchat is quickly becoming the place where teenargers, young adults, and even older generations share what they're doing and communicate with each other. Now the service is looking to buy Vurb, a start-up specialized in mobile search, recommendations, and discovery.

Vurb had won TechCrunch's Disrupt in 2014 with its idea of a mobile search engine that serves you relevant results in the form of cards from the apps you care about most, like Yelp, Google Maps, Fandango, Netflix, Uber, and so on, and combines them together in a way that makes sense: take a ride, watch a movie, get dinner, get another cab home.

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Galaxy Note7: Six days with Samsung's latest

It's Galaxy Note7 review day here in the US! ...Our review isn't ready. I received my evaluation device less than a week ago, and we've been swamped here with various leak posts and bringing on some new faces (say "hi!" to the newest members of our team when you spot their bylines), and there just hasn't been time for me to fully formulate thoughts and compile them into a 5000-word-plus post for you. But would you take an abridged review/extended hands-on until I can make good on that promise? If so, read on.

Early review notes

  • Industrial design and attention to physical detail continue to climb to ever-greater heights at Samsung.
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Google is using Opinion Rewards questions to improve YouTube video recommendations

If you've never used Google Opinion Rewards, it's an app from Google that periodically sends you surveys and rewards you with Play Store credit. Most questions are usually location-based, asking if you've been to a certain place recently and how you would rate it. But it looks like Google may be using Opinion Rewards to improve YouTube video recommendations.

Earlier today, I received a survey asking about my YouTube history. It's worth noting that if you have YouTube Watch History disabled, you won't get these surveys.

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Left: A YouTube survey?! Right: Here it asks about a video I watched earlier today.

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Google planning to focus Hangouts on business consumers after Allo, Duo release


Just a few hours ago, Google started the rollout for the first of its two new messaging apps, Duo. For me and some of us here, the Play Store listing still shows "Pre-Registration," but this is the typical Google way. As a refresher, Google is releasing the dynamic messaging duo (ha) to compete in this mobile-first market. Both the text-based Allo and the video-based Duo will be tied to a phone number instead of a Google account. This, obviously, directly contests with Hangouts, Google's all-in-one messaging platform, and is more in line with services like WhatsApp.

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Earlier, Google announced that they would be transitioning Hangouts On Air into YouTube Live, separating the feature from Google+.

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Instagram adds one-finger zoom to Stories, much like Snapchat did a while ago

Instagram's Stories is a blatant copy of Snapchat Stories, so it's not really a huge surprise to see another feature carried over. In this update, Instagram is getting one-finger zoom - simply hold the record button and slide your finger up or down to zoom. Wonder where they got that idea from?

WHAT'S NEW

  • We have a few improvements to Instagram Stories!
  • Zoom with one hand as you're recording a video. Slide your finger up while holding the video record button.
  • Lots of bug fixes and improvements to make stories even better (and faster).

There's not really much more to say on this, other than in practice it works well.

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Google is moving Hangouts On Air to YouTube Live for future broadcasts

Coming as an inevitable surprise to no one, Google has announced today that Hangouts On Air will be leaving Google+ and moving to YouTube Live. All future broadcasts will need to be scheduled in YouTube Live, and events in Google+ will shut down after the hard date of September 12.

Google says that recorded Hangouts On Air will still be available on YouTube, and that Google+ event content will be available in read-only format in the Activity Log.

In regards to Q&A, Google's suggestion to broadcasters is to use Slides, which has the same feature, in conjunction with broadcasts. The company also suggests that questions are gathered ahead of time via social media.

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30 new and notable (and 1 WTF) Android games from the last 2 weeks (8/2/16 - 8/15/16)

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Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Games

Riptide GP: Renegade

Android Police coverage: Riptide GP: Renegade brings premium jet ski racing to the SHIELD TV, phone and tablet release coming later

Riptide is back for another round of water racing, and this time it's a full premium game.

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The 2016 Nexus "Sailfish" may have a "recycled" design, but does it even matter?

Making the rounds now is a GIF by Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo. In it, Ron uses our leaked photo of the 2016 "Sailfish" Nexus device and frames it against a perspective-shifted image of the HTC One A9. The comparison has absolute merit: there is clearly some relationship between the front panels and overall proportions of these two devices.

But there are now claims that Sailfish has simply "recycled" the HTC One A9's design. In short: the growing sentiment is that Google phoned it in with Sailfish. But I would argue strongly that, aside from proportional similarities, dismissively calling Sailfish a reworked 2015 HTC phone is doing an unreleased handset a complete disservice and ignoring a vast, gaping chasm of nuance in favor of tired arguments about Nexus phones just being OEM leftovers that have persisted for years.

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