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app updates

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Outlook for Android is adding highly requested calendar features, including better event management and shared calendar syncing

Microsoft's Outlook team has been hard at work going through user requests recently, and upcoming updates to the Android app will add some of the most in-demand features. Using the feedback and votes collated on Outlook UserVoice, the team is bringing a number of enhancements to the calendar so that it now functions more like its desktop counterpart.

The most notable addition is the ability to sync shared calendars in the Android app. It will be possible to sync Office 365 and Outlook.com calendars that have been shared with you so you can edit and view them on the go.

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Microsoft's Cortana assistant is coming to your chats in Skype for Android

In-chat assistance is not a new concept. If you've ever used Google's Allo app, you'll know what it's all about. While in a conversation with a friend, you can call upon the Google Assistant to answer a question, bring up directions, or perform a host of other helpful tasks, all without leaving the conversation. Skype will soon be getting similar functionality, as Microsoft is bringing its Cortana assistant to the messaging app.

As well as being able to bring up web results, you'll be able to utilize Cortana's full range of abilities. These include creating reminders and scheduling calendar events. Cortana will automatically detect when you're talking about something it can help with, and contextual options will be offered just above the chat box next to the blue ring.

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New Android Wear 2.0 features can now be delivered through the Play Store, no OTA required

Android Wear is entering a potentially critical time. Wear 2.0 hasn't been received nearly as well as might have been expected, with many observers understandably worrying for its future. Watches were conspicuously absent from Google's big hardware event last week, and the Google Store site refresh has removed all non-Google products, including LG's recently released Android Wear watches.

Wear fans could use some more good news to add to the recent announcement of the Oreo beta program for the LG Watch Sport, and it looks as though we have exactly that. Googler Hoi Lam took to Google+ yesterday to share some new information about future updates to Android Wear 2.0.

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Samsung Internet browser will get 'Smart Go Next' for better form navigation, also coming to Chrome

If you have an Android phone made by Samsung, there's a good chance you use the company's own web browser. Unlike many bundled browsers, Samsung Internet is built using the Chromium open source project, so it's pretty close in functionality to Google's Chrome, but better integrated with Samsung's wider ecosystem of apps. The developers of Samsung's browser are pretty quick to add new features, and the latest of these is a feature to help when filling out a form.

'Smart Go Next' is a relatively simple change, but one that could be very useful and save a lot of frustration.

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Action Launcher v29 adds customizable Pixel 2-style bottom search box

Google unveiled some big changes to the Pixel Launcher the other day along with the Pixel 2, and you know what that means. Yes, third-party launchers are adopting the same features. First out of the gate is Action Launcher, which has been updated to v29 with support for a bottom search box. Not into Google's new search layout? That's cool—it's optional.

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Daydream now lets you cast to a big screen and share your experience with others [APK Download]

Back at I/O in May, Google teased the Daydream 2.0 update, codenamed Euphrates, which would bring a more social aspect to using the VR platform by casting what the user sees on another screen. Daydream 2.0 isn't ready just yet, but the latest update to version 1.10.170912063 already has that capability, as well as support for the 2nd generation View headset and the new Pixel 2 phones.

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Redesigned Google app UI could arrive with new Pixels, including bottom navigation bar and dedicated Lens button

The Google app and its feed, formerly Google Now, have been through a plethora of changes recently, and they could be about to see another redesign alongside the launch of the new Pixel phones. The whole interface looks like it's going to be tweaked, with more rounded corners on cards and new menu navigation.

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[Update: Also live outside the US for some] Google Search Lite app appears to be available in the US for some

In August we heard that Google was following the recent trend and testing a lite version of its Search app aimed at users with slow data connections. Search (Test App) has only been available in Indonesian and Indian markets while being tested, but it was updated to a newer version a couple of days ago, and now it appears to be available in the US for some.

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Instagram adds two-option polls to Stories because otherwise you'll never know if people like you

Sure, you're out there every day, posting Instagram Stories and generally oversharing with the world. But... does anyone like what you're doing? If only there were a way to collect the opinions of friends and internet acquaintances via your Stories. Well, now there is with the new two-option polls in Instagram Stories.

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SwiftKey Keyboard updated with new default themes and redesigned hub

SwiftKey is undoubtedly one of the most popular third-party keyboard apps in the Play Store, even after it was acquired by Microsoft. SwiftKey is apparently using all that sweet, sweet Microsoft money to make some changes to the app. Starting today, a new version is rolling out with three new default themes and a redesigned hub.

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