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Google planning to focus Hangouts on business consumers after Allo, Duo release


Just a few hours ago, Google started the rollout for the first of its two new messaging apps, Duo. For me and some of us here, the Play Store listing still shows "Pre-Registration," but this is the typical Google way. As a refresher, Google is releasing the dynamic messaging duo (ha) to compete in this mobile-first market. Both the text-based Allo and the video-based Duo will be tied to a phone number instead of a Google account. This, obviously, directly contests with Hangouts, Google's all-in-one messaging platform, and is more in line with services like WhatsApp.

duo-PR-launch-screens_0003_screen-4

Earlier, Google announced that they would be transitioning Hangouts On Air into YouTube Live, separating the feature from Google+.

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Instagram adds one-finger zoom to Stories, much like Snapchat did a while ago

Instagram's Stories is a blatant copy of Snapchat Stories, so it's not really a huge surprise to see another feature carried over. In this update, Instagram is getting one-finger zoom - simply hold the record button and slide your finger up or down to zoom. Wonder where they got that idea from?

WHAT'S NEW

  • We have a few improvements to Instagram Stories!
  • Zoom with one hand as you're recording a video. Slide your finger up while holding the video record button.
  • Lots of bug fixes and improvements to make stories even better (and faster).

There's not really much more to say on this, other than in practice it works well.

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[Deal Alert] True Skate is available for £0.10 / €0.10 in many countries (no US)

The Tony Hawk series might be the King of skateboarding games, but that doesn't mean there can't be other viable contenders for the title. True Skate, currently available for $0.10 in many countries (but not in the US), is one such game, and by the looks of it does a damn good job.

True Skate is the official 'Street League Skateboarding' video game, which a bit of Googling tells me is an international competitive skateboarding series. For True Skate to have these credentials is a pretty big indicator of its quality (or at least potential quality) and should inspire confidence if you are a skateboarding fan.

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Google releases new ad that highlights Photos' auto backup capabilities

About a week ago, Google released an advertisement about how Google Photos would prevent us from missing the important moments with its "Free up space" feature. The commercial was a big hit - it had to be, considering it was played before videos on YouTube and it aired during the Olympics. For some extra Photos publicity, Google's official Instagram page also released a short video with a generic slab of a phone (with an iOS prompt, mind you) that some crazies thought was an unreleased HTC Nexus. Now, Google has released another ad for Google Photos.

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Appfour brings a video player to Android Wear, because YouTube and photo galleries aren't enough entertainment for your wrist

Appfour likes a challenge when it comes to making apps for Android Wear. Try to think of an app that you can imagine very little use for on a tiny watch screen, and Appfour has probably already made it: browser, Gmail client, YouTube Player, messaging, PDF and Drive viewer, Calendar, and more have been developed by the team who continues to cater to the demands of a very niche section of Wear users.

This latest app just keeps the trend going: it's a video player for Android Wear. Because watching videos is the best way for you to use use that tiny round screen on your watch, or maybe because you're too lazy to take your big phone and its big screen out of your pocket/bag/purse, and you just need to watch something now.

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Rotating video in Google Photos returns after long hiatus

It has been often said that when Google redesigns a product, features are often removed. A good example of this would be the material Google Maps release, where a lot of 'classic' features of Maps were absent. Said features do, however, get added back in, and today one returns to Google Photos after being left out of the Google+ Photos split: rotating video.

As of version 1.25 (we can't find it on any version earlier than that, although it may exist) the ability to rotate a video at 90° intervals is a feature in Google Photos. To do this, select a video and choose to edit it.

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Google testing Top Features and other changes in reviews section of Play Store app

 

Less than a week after we reported that Play Store reviews no longer require a Google+ account, it seems that Google has begun testing another change in the same arena - Top Features, a new element that aims to make determining what functionality an app has easier. In addition, the reviewing process has been tweaked. As of now, these changes do not appear to be rolling out to all devices; while I have the feature on my Nexus 6, it's nowhere to be seen on my HTC 10 that is running the same version of the Play Store.

Screenshot_20160814-114503 Screenshot_20160814-114440 (2)

Top Features' scrollable bar

Top Features is situated above Review Highlights and contains user feedback about certain abilities of the reviewed app.

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Allo and Duo's new app icons are much nicer, more consistent with other Google products

After reading that title, you may already be thinking to yourself "but Google already changed the Allo and Duo icons once, didn't they?" And yes, they did, around two months ago. Those icons were, to put it gently, dull. To put it less than gently? They kind of sucked. I can't think of a single app on the Play Store published by Google that incorporates the product wordmark into the icon aside from Android Pay and Google+, and the latter is arguable.

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Microsoft Authenticator combines Microsoft's authenticator products, adds new features


At the end of July, Microsoft took to its Enterprise security blog to announce it was combining its existing authenticator apps into a single Microsoft Authenticator app - that app is now available.

Previously, the tech giant had separate authentication apps for its consumer accounts and the enterprise Azure AD accounts. According to the blog post, this new app combines the best features from the Microsoft accounts and the Azure Authenticator apps into one application. It serves as an update to the current Azure Authenticator, while users of the old Microsoft account app will need to download it after being prompted to do so.

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Latest Google App beta adds an animation for the Nexus Launcher's search button

If you're rocking the leaked Nexus Launcher on your device, you might have noticed at least one animation wasn't working. With the current release version of the Google Search APK, tapping on the search button brings up the search bar, but without the fluid animations we've come to expect from Material Design.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, "does one animation really matter?" And the answer is always yes. Reddit user /u/parentskeepfindingme noticed that in the latest Google App beta, there's actually an animation! Here's a capture we took of that new animation.

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