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You can now control your Blink security cameras with Amazon Alexa

Lately I've been looking at security cameras for homes and small businesses. Among the different options, Blink makes a very compelling proposal. Forget about wires and always-on connectivity, forget about monthly plans and limited server storage, the system works wire-free, hassle-free, and well, completely free after the hardware purchase. You just need to put in 2 AA batteries and they'll last up to 2 years, getting triggered only when motion is detected and uploading 5-10sec clips to the cloud.

The one problem with Blink though? Until today, it didn't integrate with any other smart home product. That summarizes most of the complaints on its online reviews: users say that you have to manually arm/disarm each camera separately in the app.

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Trip Tracker from Microsoft Garage works like Google Maps' Timeline feature

Microsoft Garage's teams are bolstering with new ideas and different takes on existing ones. Every couple of weeks, sometimes even days, there's a new project being released under the Garage umbrella, and today marks the arrival of one of these: Trip Tracker.

It is built by the same team that brought us Arrow Launcher and Next Lock Screen, and uses a similar idea of contextual location. The app is a bit of a demo for the LOOP SDK (Location and Observation Platform), which is a Microsoft platform for Android and iOS that can grab location in a battery-efficient way. Trip Tracker leverages LOOP to gather data about your whereabouts and presents it to you in an easily digestible way.

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Yahoo Newsroom updated with "Vibes," a social way to read the news and contribute your views

News apps are all the rage at the moment - just a few days ago we reported on News Pro from Microsoft, and Flipboard just topped 500 million downloads on the Play Store. Yahoo's been quite big on the news before, so today it's launching an update to Yahoo Newsroom to introduce some new features that curate the news to what you want to read.

The key new thing here is "Vibes." As you select what news interests you, the app will learn over time and better surface content that is more likely to get read. Let's face it: most of us, when reading the news, skip past most stuff and click on anything interesting.

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The Google Cast app is becoming Google Home

Back in March, Google renamed the official Chromecast application as 'Google Cast', and it is now renaming it again. Several users have sent us the below screenshot, showing the Google Cast app informing them that it will become 'Google Home.'

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Buying a Pixel phone means free, unlimited Photos storage for pictures and video at maximum quality

As Cody found in his teardown of Google Photos v1.21 back in March, and Carphone Warehouse listed in its 'gone-live-early' promotion page, Google has announced free, unlimited photo storage for anyone who buys a new Google Pixel phone. This means any photos you take will be backed up to Photos at the original size, and not the "high quality" size that is uploaded by default. That's not all: 4K videos, which the Pixel phones can shoot, are also supported with unlimited storage and no quality decrease.

It's not clear how long this will last - if it's forever or for two years, like the 100GB of Google Drive storage is when bought with a Chromebook.

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YouTube v11.38 prepares double-tap to seek and a setting to limit max video resolution [APK Teardown]

Many of Google's most recent updates have been relatively light on features, turning instead towards cleaning up bugs. However, that doesn't mean there aren't still new things in the works. A couple of recent YouTube updates have been preparing some new features and we've got a teardown to reveal what users can probably look forward to in the future.

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Allo's rank on the Play Store is in freefall

After hitting 5 million downloads and #8 in the Top Charts just under a week ago, Allo is now falling fast. As of writing this, it is in 86th, but was 75th a few hours ago and, according to this tweet, 62nd earlier yesterday. This probably shows that after millions downloading it during the initial release and hype period, that has now passed and the number of downloads has fallen dramatically.

As you can probably infer, this is most likely not good for Allo's adoption rates. Looking at my personal contacts list, I have 9 contacts who have set up an account, out of 100+ phone numbers I have on my phone.

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Android developer advocate Nick Butcher creates a Quick Settings tile to change Android's animation speeds

The Android community is pretty damn cool, if you ask me - custom ROMs, Xposed, Superuser applications, and a lot more. Android developer advocate Nick Butcher has added to this with a Quick Settings tile to control Android's animator duration scale. Normally this is only accessible through the Developer Options part of Android's [System] Settings, so for developers out there who need to regularly change the animation speed to test out any swanky animations, this should be pretty useful.

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WhatsApp's latest beta finally, finally, finally lets you send GIFs

WhatsApp's GIF support has been rumored and promised and quasi-implemented for months now. In August, we got our first glimpse at GIF support through the option to convert videos with 6sec or less duration to GIFs that could then be shared with any of your contacts. Now, the option that has been hiding in the APK for months, and that some people have enabled with a root hack, is official for all beta testers.

Version 2.16.293 beta of WhatsApp finally adds the third GIFs tab when attaching a media file from the Gallery, next to Photos and Videos. In it, you'll find all the animated GIFs that are saved on your device's storage and you'll be able to pick any one of them, preview it, append a caption to it, and share it with your contact or group.

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16 new and notable Android apps from the last 2 weeks (9/21/16 - 10/3/16)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

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