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New '1600' augmented reality app builds the White House on a $1 bill

Security is a lot tighter in Washington than it used to be. You can't simply wander around the White House in real life, but the new 1600 app from the White House Historical Association lets you scope it out in augmented reality. All you need is a buck. No, it doesn't cost a dollar. You need a real dollar bill as an AR anchor.

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SwiftKey makes all of its premium keyboard themes free

More than 2 years ago, SwiftKey decided to take its paid keyboard app and make it free. The alternate revenue stream proposed was a theme store for different keyboard looks where some of the options would be paid. That has been going on since then, but it changes today.

Now, all SwiftKey themes are free. Premium themes, paid packs, all 100+ of them. Free. Not a dime required. You can head over to the SwiftKey Store inside your app now to see that everything is marked as free and choose a few themes to download or just grab all the packs.

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Google Keep v3.4 adds 'Grab image text' to Drawing mode and prepares some new tools for crafting better images [APK Teardown + Download]

There's a new version of Google Keep rolling out to Android devices, but it's not going to look very different unless you are looking in exactly the right spot. The screen for drawing notes is now equipped with the "Grab image text" function. Shifting gears slightly, a teardown also reveals some new drawing functions are going to be added to the same screen in a future update. As usual, there's a link at the bottom where you can download the latest version.

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Google is rolling out 'OK Google' hotword support for Android Auto [APK Download]

Android Auto has existed for almost two years now, but it's improved only slightly in that time. One of the more vexing inadequacies in Android Auto thus far has been the lack of OK Google support. With the latest version, the hotword trigger is finally a thing.

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DIRECTV NOW gets a dedicated Android app, right on schedule

Eager to get a slice of the growing cord-cutter pie, AT&T and DirecTV announced their own web-based premium TV service earlier this week. DIRECTV NOW officially launches today, so it's good to see that the service gets Android support immediately. The app is free and works with phones and tablets running Android 4.4 or higher. Sadly it's not compatible with Android TV, though Chromecast streaming is available on all videos.

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Play Store has new layout and transitions for search results, may be rolling out via server-side update

Google iterates a lot on the Play Store - the new shade of green, darker and richer than the previous one - is currently rolling out globally, along with the big uninstall button and tweaked list view for apps. We've now had wind of another test, using big cards for apps that can be horizontally swiped through in search results.

 

When searching for an app, tapping a result will take you to this new view, where you see the current content but instead of in fullscreen, it is contained in a card. Scrolling down makes the card bigger - so the view is as it is now - and scrolling up puts it back in a card.

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Google updates Snapseed with improved image tuning UI and more accurate RAW colors [APK Download]

Snapseed is one of those rare apps that Google acquired and actually kept improving over time. The latest update to v2.13 adds more accurate display of images in RAW photos and a change to how image tuning tools are accessed. It's just starting to roll out, but we've got the APK handy too.

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[Update: APK Download] Google Docs update adds GIF insertion to documents, not yet live on the Play Store

While not as fully featured as Microsoft Word, the Google Docs Android app is good for quick and easy document editing, if you use the Docs cloud storage. Google's adding one feature in the version 1.6.442.22: GIF insertion into documents.

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Google's Santa Tracker app gets its yearly update with a new AR game and a redesigned village

It's the most wonderful time of the year... the time when it's almost over. But it's also that turn in the calendar when a couple of billion people look forward to celebrating Christmas, and the youngest portions of that subset start improving their behavior in an avaricious desire for more presents. Google's taking part in its yearly ritual too, indulging whimsical parents and obsessive-compulsive children with its Santa Claus countdown-slash-tracker app.

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HBO joins the VR craze with an 'unreleased' Daydream version of HBO GO

So far the focus in the new wave of headset-based virtual reality content seems to be video games, simulations, 360-degree videos and the like, but as it turns out, conventional 2D video content is easy to adapt into an immersive (if not groundbreaking) experience. Google itself offers all the content on YouTube in Daydream flavor, and now HBO is following suit. The premium cable channel has published a Daydream-compatible version of its online component, HBO GO, in the Play Store as an unreleased app.

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