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Mozilla announces Project Quantum, an improved rendering engine for Firefox

I'm sure many of you, like myself, use Google Chrome as your main browser. Chrome was built from scratch, with the exception of its engine (which was WebKit at the time), to be for the modern web. The internet is no longer a series of text-only pages with images, and Chrome was built with modern web applications and security in mind.

If you don't know, a rendering engine is the part of a web browser that displays content. Chrome and Opera use Blink, Safari uses WebKit, and so on. Firefox's engine, called Gecko, has been around for ages. In fact, it was originally developed for Netscape Navigator all the way back in 1997 to replace their existing rendering engine.

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Pushbullet now supports replying to Allo messages from a computer

One of the many issues with Google's latest messaging app, Allo, is the total lack of a desktop application. Picking up my phone to respond to a message, when I'm already at my computer with a physical keyboard, seems silly. Allo 2.0, released yesterday, added the ability to quick reply from the notifications. Today's Pushbullet update taps into the quick reply functionality to add Allo support.

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Google Maps v9.40 beta adds a dedicated space for photos from business owners and prepares for phone number verifications [APK Download + Teardown]

There's a new version of Google Maps rolling out to users on the beta channel. This one doesn't seem to be stacked full of big features, but there's at least one new addition to the photo browser. There are also some clues about upcoming features from a teardown. This release is a beta, so you won't get it through the Play Store (right now) if you aren't already signed up to receive early updates. As always, there's a link to download this release from APK Mirror at the bottom.

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Calendar 5.6.2 update adds a month widget to accompany the previously lone agenda widget [Update]

Widgets. What would we do without them, eh? They show us useful information at a glance, most are resizeable, and some even change the way they look on the fly. In light of this, Google has created a partner for its previously lone calendar agenda widget, with a month widget in Calendar version 5.6.2.

This month widget is 4x5, meaning it is taller than it is wide.

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YouTube Kids v1.91 shows plans to support Daydream VR and allow parents to block videos and channels [APK Teardown]

If you're taking care of a little one and updates to the YouTube Kids app are actually opportunities for excitement, you've probably been feeling a little let down by the last few version bumps. It's not that anybody really needs it to keep up with the likes of Google Maps or the core YouTube app, but a few big features are surely welcome. This version isn't actually packed with anything notably new for users today, but it brings promises of some things to come. A teardown shows that kids will be able to enjoy videos in VR and parents will be able to block videos and channels right from within the app.

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Lifestage is Facebook's teen-only video profile app

While Facebook has around 1.7 billion users worldwide, not that many of these are teenagers, with most 13-19 year olds preferring Snapchat or Instagram (for, in my mind, obvious reasons). In an attempt to combat this, Facebook released Lifestage for iOS devices back in August, and now the Android app has just arrived.

Lifestage encourages users to upload pictures and videos based on their likes, dislikes, or feelings. These are then turned into video profiles which others can see. There is no privacy whatsoever on Lifestage - everything is public. Facebook is aiming the app at school communities - once a school has more than 20 users, other profiles are visible.

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Google Messenger v2.0 adds unread counts to several launchers, brings a new launcher icon, prepares for RCS support, and much more [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google Messenger app officially hit version 2.0 yesterday. There are plenty of changes, largely related to visual tweaks like a new launcher icon, color changes, and some revised layouts. While a mostly visual release, there are some functional improvements, as well. A teardown also brings a good look at some interesting things in the future of messaging.

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PayByPhone's app enters the 21st century with a big modern redesign and Android Pay support

Current Android standards have changed massively in the last few years, going from the days of no real design language in Gingerbread, to Holo in Ice Cream Sandwich, to material in Lollipop. It's startling, then, to see an app that has been languishing in the dark ages get a big update. PayByPhone, a leading pay-with-phone parking app, has just been updated with a major redesign and Android Pay support, giving it a much needed boost into this era of app design.

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tinyCam Monitor 7.1 released, adds video playback options, launcher shortcuts, and a round icon

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Android 7.1 has only been available a short time, but developers are already adding the new stuff to their apps. One of these developers is Alexey Vasilyev, better known as the developer of the popular tinyCam Monitor app. For the uninitiated, tinyCam is a viewer for most standard format video cameras, which can then be used for remote surveillance, among other things.

The biggest addition in the update is playback speed options for video playback. The choices are 0.1x - which is designed to play timelapses at the original speed - 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x, so that should please everybody.

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Google Photos now has albums included in search results

Google Photos is great (speaking personally, it's one of my favorite Google products), but there's always been one thing wrong with it: albums were not included in search results. Say I search for "cats" (I have a lot of photos of my cats). The photos in the albums would be included, as well as items found by object recognition, but the album with my cat photos would not be included. Google has now fixed this anomaly, causing the album itself to be included.

After force closing the Photos app and clearing data, this comes up on my Nexus 6P. It's pretty much that - if you search, Google will bring up relevant albums as well as relevant photos.

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