Android Police

Applications

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Google's Awareness API is now out, filled with promise and potential for abuse

Google's new Awareness API - part of Google Play Services - is legitimately cool. In theory. Announced at I/O, it allows apps to access what you're doing, in a general sense, and then give you information based on that status. For now, the API offers two ways for apps to monitor your current status, per Google's blog post.

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Twitter adds stickers to pictures, presumably because Facebook has them

Stickers are growing in popularity on the web, with Facebook leading the way in Messenger and in status updates and comments. Other chat apps, including WeChat and LINE, also support the feature, which has seemingly led to Twitter wanting to join the party too.

Twitter's implementation of stickers differs a little to others, mainly because instead of adding a sticker to a tweet (which would feel a bit weird), they're added to pictures. Stickers can be resized, rotated, and moved around until you're happy with their placement. Furthermore, these stickers can be clicked on, just like a hashtag, to see ways other users are using the same sticker.

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Monday app and game sales: Kingdom Rush Origins, Tiny Planet FX Pro, Death Worm, and more

A new week has just begun, and that can be sort of a bummer. The weekend is like forever away. You know what's not a bummer? Getting apps and games on sale. We've got some of those listed below to help you start the week right.

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[Update: Out of beta] Developer Joaomgcd lets you control your Arduino from Tasker with new AutoArduino Tasker plugin

João Dias — better known to the world as joaomgcd — has just announced the beta version of a new Tasker plugin called the AutoArduino. The AutoArduino is just the latest in a series of over a dozen apps from the developer, and it lets owners of the programmable circuit board use Tasker to control any one of its countless digital and analog pins with nothing more than an Android phone or tablet.

The video published by joaomgcd shows a fairly basic demo of the plugin being used to light up an LED in various colors, but in principle there's no reason an Arduino-savvy user couldn't use the AutoArduino to carry out more complex tasks like pouring an espresso or controlling the window blinds in their house.

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TraffickCam app fights human trafficking with crowdsourced photos of hotel rooms

Each year in the US, it's estimated that somewhere between ten and twenty thousand people are victims of human trafficking, mostly for some form of prostitution or abusive labor. A disproportionate amount of these victims are women, children, and immigrants. Law enforcement agencies and non-profit groups all over the country attempt to stop the trade of human lives, but the clandestine nature of the operators and the cooperation of apparently legitimate businesses makes actual tracking and prosecution difficult, and only a tiny fraction of the estimated victims are freed.

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When you delete photos from your phone, Google Photos now suggests also deleting the backups

Google Photos is still trying to find the best ways to reconcile between your locally stored photos and your cloud photos in the most seamless and least intrusive way. Over the year since its launch, it made deleting photos, from inside the app itself, simultaneous between cloud and local storage. Then it made it possible to empty your phone's storage if you've already backed up photos, so you don't run out of space on your phone.

And now there's a new feature that's been popping up since the latest update to version 1.23 of the app that offers to sync deleted photos. Say you took a few photos on your phone and they're already backed up to Google Photos.

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YouTube introduces mobile live streaming, built directly into YouTube app

Live streaming is a big topic at the moment, what with Twitter (through Periscope) and Facebook introducing their own mobile solutions to the growing social market. Despite the fact YouTube is the biggest video repository on the web, it didn't have native mobile live streaming - until now.

Of course, YouTube has had live streaming for a while - Google I/O for one has been live streamed on the platform for the last few years. However, moving this platform to mobile is a pretty big leap, as it essentially means anyone will be able to live stream anything. According to YouTube's blog post, to start streaming all you'll have to do is hit a big red button in the app - I assume this will be a fairly prominent button - and you're off.

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Flag to enable a virtual reality shell appears in Chrome Dev 53

Google's been getting into the virtual reality game in a big way recently, and now it's Chrome's time to join the party: François Beaufort, a Chrome developer evangelist, has posted on his Google+ about a new WebVR flag that has appeared in the latest build of Chrome Dev on Android, version 53.0.2774.4, which allows for browsing the web using a compatible VR headset, such as Google Cardboard or Daydream.

Providing you've got Chrome Dev downloaded on your device, turning the flag on is as simple as going to chrome://flags/#enable-webvr-shell and selecting 'Enable' in the dropdown. From there, certain bits of the web will be viewable in virtual reality, using a headset.

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SoundCloud introduces Suggested Tracks, starts recommending music based on your listening history

SoundCloud is filled with music, but how do you find stuff that you like? You can search around on your own, pull up stuff other people recommend, filter by genre, or stick with what's popular. All of these methods may or may not produce content that you actually want to listen to.

To address this, SoundCloud will now recommend tracks based on your listening history.

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Google Maps v9.31 Beta Part 2: multiple waypoints, notifications about indoor maps and transit disruptions, and more [APK Teardown]

The update to Google Maps v9.31 brought a couple of fixes for users on Android N developer previews, not to mention some other small changes for everybody. But the most interesting things about this version are still buried below the surface. Yesterday, I covered support for offline maps to be installed on an SD card, and now it's time to dig into the rest of the teardown. If SD card support weren't enough, there are a couple of other features here that have been hotly requested for some time, so it's pretty clearly the Maps team is working hard to fill out the feature set for users.

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