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The Google Search App Can Now Answer More Complex Questions

You never needed to phrase a search as a question in order for Google to provide an answer, but that didn't stop many of us from doing so anyway. And this was before smartphones and tablets started prompting us to ask questions using our voice. Fortunately, the habit hasn't stopped Google from telling us what we want to know, and now the search engine is becoming smart enough to understand some of our more complicated questions.

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Apple Music Review: I Was Ready To Hate It, But Apple Got Me Singing A Different Tune

Google Play Music. Spotify. Rdio. Tidal. There is no shortage of music streaming services that not only provide an extensive music selection, but also have good if not great Android applications so you can benefit from their catalogue everywhere you go.

The problem with most of these services is their availability. If you live in the USA, you can have your pick among any of them and there's little argument over the value of a $10 combined Google Play Music Unlimited and YouTube Red / Youtube Music subscription. But stray farther and things become less clear. American (Northern, Central, and Southern), European, and Southeast Asian countries are usually among the first supported by many services, but African, Middle Eastern, and plenty of other Asian nations often have limited options and even fewer good ones.

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Lyft App Update Adds Car Color And Directions To Its Digital Map

Maps are symbolic by their nature, but that doesn't mean that those symbols can't be user friendly. Ride-sharing company Lyft seems to have applied that principle to the custom maps in its Android application. The latest app update adds new features to the map you use when searching for a ride - now the little car markers on the map will be colored the same as the real-world car that picks you up, and the direction the car is facing as it travels is reflected on the map.

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The Xposed Framework And Installer Are Now Available For Android 6.0 Devices

Xposed Framework is a modification for root-level users that allows them to apply a wide series of mods and tweaks to a variety of Android releases and skins. It's become a popular alternative to full custom ROMs, especially for users who only want one or two tweaks to their devices instead of a full transformation. The creator of Xposed, who goes by "rovo89" on XDA-Developers, posted a new version for Android 6.0 Marshmallow this afternoon after a brief tease earlier this week.

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Google Makes Hangouts Calls To France Free In The Wake Of Attacks In Paris

After a series of shootings and explosions occurred in Paris Friday evening, Google has made calls to France via its Hangouts service temporarily free. Callers can use the Hangouts app on Android, iOS, and the web to place calls to the country without incurring the normal international charges. The Google+ post making the announcement did not specify any particular countries, so presumably free calls are available from any location where Hangouts can be used. It's not clear if Google Voice users are also being given free calls.

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Google Expands Local Guides Program With Point System And New Benefits

Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Becoming a Local Guide is as easy as visiting this sign-up page.

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HomeUX Review: A Fresh, Elegant, And Unique Take On Android Launchers

Coming across a genuinely new launcher interface and paradigm on Android is rare. Most third-party clients try to emulate the default Android launcher and add some customizations and improvements here and there. Not to undermine the power of something like Nova Launcher, but there's only so many times you can swipe left and right between homescreens or tap to open and close an app drawer before you wonder what that new launcher you installed does differently. If you seek the novelty of a new welcoming interface each time you unlock your phone, choices are somewhat more limited especially if you want a reliable and simple app, not one that has been built for the sake of difference more than usability.

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Microsoft Is Rolling Out OneNote Badge, A Floating Button To Make Saving To OneNote Easier Within Other Apps

Back in August, we talked about a new OneNote feature called "Floatie," which was a terrible name. The feature was interesting, though, so it's all good news now that Microsoft says the floating button is here to stay and that they are calling it "Badge," which is much less terrible.

The gist of it is that saving information from other apps into OneNote can be a real pain sometimes, so if you know you'll be taking notes for yourself or cutting and pasting things then you can just keep the Badge around all the time. Without entering the OneNote app, you can write notes and take screengrabs and organize them into the appropriate notebooks.

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Google Sheets Gets A Commenting Feature, More Improvements To Android Chart Management, And 400 New Fonts On Mobile While Docs Gets Some Collaboration Improvements

If there's one place that Google Docs is a market leader, it's where it comes to collaboration. A web app was a natural place to build on the familiar commenting features from Microsoft Word and make them work in real time and without formal software requirements. On the other hand, we don't normally think about spreadsheets in those terms. With the latest updates to Sheets, though, Google is bringing comments to Android and the web.

I know I haven't even thought much about the need for this kind of feature in a spreadsheet app, but in hindsight it makes plenty of sense.

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Play Music v6.1 Adds Auto-Offline Music Caching, Prepares For Family Plans And Android Wear With Speakers [APK Teardown + Download]

With all of the activity surrounding YouTube Red, including a brand new YouTube Music app, it seems like a good time for a Play Music update. Version 6.1 just landed and aside from a mysterious new "Auto-offline" feature and a bit of cleanup in the Settings screen, it looks like a pretty typical bug fix release. However, the teardown tells a different story. It looks like this version also brings support for the recently announced family plans and Android Wear speaker support. As usual, we've also got a download link at the bottom if you can't wait for the apk to roll out to your account.

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