12
Dec
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Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.

As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions.

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Dec
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How often do you find that words simply cannot convey what you need to say? Probably all the time, right? Just send an emoji instead with the new SwiftKey beta. As promised, this early version is available for download and includes over 500 emoji images. On the more conventional side, there is also an optional number row, finally.

timthumb

The emoji are spread across various categories like nature, people, and symbols.

12
Dec
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People didn't always hate Zagat, but Google's new vision for the iconic restaurant review guide has not been widely accepted. The service became free, but Google also revamped it and limited the number of cities it tracked. The new update makes some tweaks to the app and expands the supported cities, but it's probably not going to do much to improve the app's 2.4 star rating.

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11
Dec
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Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.

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Dec
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We found some apps that you can have on the cheap. It doesn't matter where they came from... anyone asks, say they fell off a truck. Wanna see? Okay, but you're not a cop, are you? You know you have to tell us if you are.

wednesday

11
Dec
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Spotify made news earlier today by lowering its barrier to entry, allowing users to stream music to their phone or tablets for free. Yet it isn't the only music-streaming service in town, and competitor Rdio has expanded access to 20 additional countries. This brings the total number of supported territories up to 51, which this handy map illustrates.

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Dec
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An update to Gmail started rolling out this morning, bringing it from version 4.6.1 to 4.7. We have the APK for you below, as usual, because waiting is for suckers.

What's New

Vacation responder

The most obvious new addition to Gmail 4.7 is the Vacation Responder. You can set start and end dates, enter a subject and some text, and check a toggle to only send the vacation response to your contacts.

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Dec
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Google rolled out the Android Device Manager a few months ago, but for whatever reason, there was no matching Android app. That changes today as Google has finally gotten around to releasing one. The app contains all the functionality from the website in a mobile-friendly package and it is, of course, free.

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Dec
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App Ops showed up in Android 4.3 and made it possible to revoke permissions on a per-app basis. It wasn't exposed in the main system settings, but it was easy to access. Then Android 4.4 made it quite a bit harder to get to, and now it appears to be completely missing in 4.4.2. What gives? Well, Android engineer Dianne Hackborn has indicated App Ops was never meant to be a user-facing feature in the first place.

11
Dec
voiceaction

Google's voice search function is undeniably cool, and it's only getting better since the company has expanded the capabilities of the Android Search/Google Now app. However, there's one tragic flaw in the execution of voice actions: they can't make popcorn. But if you add some of Android's most powerful root-enabled tools, namely Tasker, the Xposed Framework, and the previously-featured AutoVoice, the sky's the limit. With the right hardware and tinkering, you can start living your Starfleet dreams in jig time.

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