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Google

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Google's New Accessibility Scanner Helps Developers Check Their Apps For Accessibility Issues

Developers, we know you work hard on your apps. So does Google. But they also know that sometimes it's hard to make apps easy to use when you're elbow deep in their design. To that end, the new Accessibility Scanner app allows you to check other apps for potential problems or possible improvements in terms of accessibility. It's a free download in the Play Store, but at the moment it looks like it's limited to Android 6.0 devices.

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In The Wake Of Terrorist Attacks And Violence, Google Makes Hangouts Calls Free To Belgium And Turkey, Adds Info To Now

In the wake of the tragic events in Brussels today and the recent violence and bombings in Turkey, Google has made calls to both countries free via Hangouts, Hangouts Dialer, and Google Voice. Calls to people on Belgium's biggest carriers — Lycamobile, Mobistar, Proximus, and Telenet — are free, along with calls to all landlines in Turkey. Google's announcement follows earlier news of all major U.S. mobile carriers offering similar free calling and texting to Belgium (Turkey was not mentioned).

In addition, for the Brussels area, Google has been publishing Google Now cards with transit updates, keeping the public informed and up-to-date, plus a direct link to the Government Crisis Centre.

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Google Photos Gets Smarter Suggested Albums, No Update Needed

Google Photos already has some "smart" features that try to make your photos easier to manage, and today it's getting another one. Google is rolling out "smarter albums" to the app. From now on, when you take pictures while on a trip or attending an event, Google Photos will automatically assemble your best shots into albums for easy sharing.

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Google Photos Now Exports Slow Motion Video At Correct Speed, Making Everyone Wonder Why This Wasn't The Case Before

The ever-evolving Google Photos has another new feature hidden in the recent 1.16 update: the app will now share slow-motion videos to other apps, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Evernote and not mess up the timing. Videos have of course been exportable and shareable through Photos since the start, but this marks the first time a video with slow-mo frames can be exported without the whole video being converted into slow-motion, rather than just a section. In the same way, you have long been able to edit a video to slow either a portion of the video, or the entire thing, down to 120 frames-per-second, the standard slow-motion video framerate.

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Google Now Lets You Block Cards From Showing Specific News Sources, Not Just Previously Visited Sites

Google is on a roll with the app-less updates this week. After trialing a new homescreen weather shortcut for a small amount of users a few days ago, users have been noticing that there is a new feature in Google Now to block any site from showing up in the 'Stories to read' section. Therefore, if you see a card you'd rather not see, it can now be banished and will go back to whence it came.

Blocking sites in Now has been around for a while, but only for select cards; namely the ones that specifically show up for sites you've visited before. As of the update, likely to be a server-side rollout, the blocking ability has been upgraded to apply to any card.

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Google Now Will Show You A Refueling Options Card When It's Time To Return A Rental Car

Google Now's purpose is to give you useful information before you even think to ask, and additions continue to roll out that make the service better at its job.

A reader has reached out to us with a screenshot of a Refueling options card in Google Now. It shows the names of individual stations, how far away they are, and how long they're open. Interestingly, as mentioned at the bottom of the card, this information is appearing because the recipient has to return a rental car to the area. It's also worth noting that the reader was using Google to manage his travel itinerary.

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[Update: More Changes Found] Google App v5.11 Tidies Up The App Drawer A Little Bit [APK Download]

A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.

What's New

App Drawer Changes

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer.

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Google Adds Android TV Backdrop App To the Play Store

Google has released a new app in the Play Store, but before you get too excited, it's not technically a new app. It's just new to the store. It's the Android TV Backdrop Daydream app. If you've got an Android TV device, it already has this app installed, but now that it's in the Play Store you should get automatic updates.

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Google+ Web Preview Now Lets You Reorder Images With Drag And Drop, Plus Search For Posts Within A Community

The desktop version of Google+ is still under development. Those of you who jumped onto the preview version early on may have forgotten that, yes, what you're using is more or less a beta. It's not what people see when they sign into Google+ for the first time.

So, you adventurous Google+ users, here's what the developers want you to know they've been working on.

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Google Is Testing A New Weather Homescreen Shortcut, But Not Everyone's Seeing It

We've received word that Google is doing another limited rollout test, this time surrounding weather, one of their favourite topics to trial with users. Searching "weather" might show you a card asking if you'd like to "Access weather instantly from your Home screen." If you tap add, a shortcut will show up on the homescreen. It appears to work almost exactly like Chrome's Add to homescreen function, except this opens the native Search and not a browser.

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This may seem a little superfluous, as Google has weather available through Google Now, and possibly in your notifications too. That might be why they're testing it.

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