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Google

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Google Maps makes the bottom bar for exploring places, real-time traffic, and transit info official

It's been more than 4 months since we first spotted a new bottom bar navigation interface in Google Maps, and now the layout is official. Google has announced it on its blog, saying that "when you're on the go, there's no time for apps that can't keep up," and this is exactly why this change is important.

You'll no longer have to swipe the left menu to get to the Driving Mode, or tap to search to explore nearby places, or start driving to check the traffic around you. All of these will be accessible from the bottom bar that you can simply swipe up.

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[Bullshit Alert] No, Google has not stopped production of the Pixel

An alarming report was circulating the internet earlier today claiming that Google had stopped production of the Pixel and Pixel XL. Yeah, it didn't make a lot of sense, and indeed it appears to be incorrect. Google has confirmed the Pixel is still in production. You can put your pitchforks down now.

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Google will discontinue Google Now Launcher in the coming weeks

Google currently has two launcher apps in the Play Store; Google Now Launcher and Pixel Launcher. In a few months, there will only be one. According to an email forwarded to us by a tipster, Google has alerted GMS partners of its intention to remove Google Now Launcher from the Play Store in the coming weeks. OEMs that use GNL have options, though.

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Progressive Web Apps will soon act more like native applications

Chrome has offered the ability to add shortcuts to web pages on the home screen for a while now. When Chrome 51 was released in 2015, Google took it a step further by allowing certain sites to use Web App Install Banners, customize the shortcut's loading screen, and hide the Chrome UI.

Now Google is taking Progressive Web Apps a step further. Starting with Chrome Canary today and Chrome 57 Beta in the coming weeks, web apps added to the home screen will be near-indistinguishable from native applications installed from the Play Store.

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Chrome 56 adds official Web Bluetooth API support, New Tab page changes, experimental WebVR, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 56 is the first release of 2017, and like always, it has a fair amount of new features for both users and web developers. This release is focused primarily on Web Bluetooth and improvements to Android Pay on the web (through the Web Payments API), so let's dig in and have a look.

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Android 7.1.2 adds option to set where a live wallpaper will be applied

There's a new version of Android rolling out in beta, and it doesn't seem to change much. One thing we've spotted is an improvement to setting live wallpapers. A year ago it seemed like Google was going to let live wallpapers die, and now here we are. Now, you can pick where they'll be applied in Android 7.1.2.

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Google adds a recipe carousel UI to your culinary search results

I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of football, but I have been to some Super Bowl parties that were actually fun. As I am sure most will agree, good food is crucial to the success of most any gathering. Being the host comes with a series of challenges, one of the largest being what to cook. Google has people like you in mind, and it is rolling out an update to Search that brings a carousel of culinary suggestions and full recipes.

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Google is shutting down the Hands Free pilot test on February 8

Ever since March of last year, Google has been testing a new payment method called Hands Free. The premise was that you could pay for goods with your smartphone without ever having to remove it from your pocket. The pilot was limited to the Bay Area and to only a few businesses. But now, the experiment has hit its end of life for the time being.

As of February 8, Hands Free will shut down.

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Snapseed updated to v2.15 with new curves tool, improved multi-line text, and more [APK Download]

Snapseed is one of the apps Google has actually been keeping up after acquiring it, and good thing too. Adobe's mobile apps aren't great, and Snapseed is excellent for simple image edits. In the first update of 2017, Snapseed has a new curves editing tool, and there are changes to the way text and face detection work.

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RCS support in Messenger going live for some T-Mobile users

RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, has been aiming to replace SMS for years. But unlike the universal SMS standard, there are multiple RCS implementations that don't work with each other. Google has been trying to solve this, by adding RCS support to Google Messenger and working with carriers to implement Jibe's 'Universal RCS Profile.'

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