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Google app v6.11 beta adds an option to change search region, hints at improvements for Google assistant and Now stream [APK Teardown + Download]

Just over two weeks into 2017 and there's already a second beta update to the Google app rolling out to users. The previous version didn't present with any notable new features, but it did leave some clues about future updates. The latest update is also packed with nuggets of future improvements, but it also adds at least one feature for people that have to search internationally from time to time. This update is currently rolling out to users signed up to the beta program, but if you want to pick it up separately, there is a download link at the bottom.

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PSA: Chrome Dev allows you to modify recommended sites or articles, sort of

Many weren't happy with the change that shows recommended sites and articles in Chrome 54 - Android Police team members included - and while I personally do not mind them, I can see why you would prefer not to have Google recommend stuff you may not like.

In light of this, Chrome developer evangelist François Beaufort has come to the rescue. A new Chrome internals page, in the latest builds of Chrome Dev, allows modification of the recommended sites and articles, at least somewhat. chrome://ntp-tiles-internals controls what is shown on the page, with an update button to update the popular sites and function to change the region you get sites from (for example, I'm in the UK so I see the UK versions of sites).

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WhatsApp's notifications now work properly on Android 7.0 and 7.1 Nougat

WhatsApp Nougat users, the time has come, the day is here — well, it was here a couple of days ago, but it was the weekend and I was busy sweeping the floors of my new apartment, so I had to delay coverage... priorities y'know. Anyway, for all of you who have been lamenting the poor notification situation on Nougat, cried over the fact that you only see the most recent message making the whole "notification" thing completely useless, things are looking out.

In version 2.17.13 beta (grab it from APK Mirror), WhatsApp has properly implemented notifications on Android 7.0 and 7.1 Nougat devices.

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YouTube v12.01 fine tunes an unruly seek bar, hints at video previews, event listings, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

YouTube began rolling out with a major new version today, making the leap to v12. You might be expecting some big features when the big number goes up by one, but this update doesn't appear to be packing anything too exceptional. There's a fix for an obnoxious interface issue, but that's about it for changes in the live interface. What's more interesting are a few upcoming items visible through the lens of a teardown. There are hints of a new video preview feature, listings for upcoming ticketed events, and even a few nuggets for the long-awaited Quick Seek and live broadcasting features.

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App.net is shutting down on March 14, source code will be put on GitHub

App.net, caused quite a splash when it launched in 2012, with its ad-free, subscription-genereated revenue model causing waves in the industry, at a time when many were worried about Twitter's increasing reliance on advertising to make money. However, the founders announced today that the service will be shutting down on 14 March, with user signups suspended immediately.

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The Guardian alleges that WhatsApp has a "backdoor" that could be used to spy on users [Update]

In what I am sure was on purpose due to it being Friday the 13th, some mild form of privacy panic has hit the world due to The Guardian's article this morning about a critical backdoor in WhatsApp. It postulates that, due to how encryption keys are handled when a device goes offline and messages are not sent (for whatever reason), WhatsApp or its parent company Facebook can intercept user communications. Meanwhile, Gizmodo has reported that this is not the case — how WhatsApp handles encryption is a feature and works as intended.

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[Because that doesn't sound ridiculous] HTC has an app to update the firmware of its USB-C to 3.5mm adapter

What was wrong with 3.5mm audio jacks? They have been standard for many years, they worked reliably, and you could find tons of headphones that supported them. But no, companies have to sometimes invent reasons to change things around and here we are with the 3.5mm jack mysteriously disappearing from modern smartphones to be replaced by USB-C digital audio. Yes, I know that size constraints matter, but so far, the released phones with no jack don't make a good case for that argument and don't provide any new hardware that uses the additional empty space favorably. And for the record, I am ranting even though I use Bluetooth headsets 99% of the time; I just like having the 3.5mm plug option for that 1%.

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Snapchat 10 beta redesigns the interface with more accessible search and less focus on Discover

Snapchat is readying an update for its Android and iOS versions that brings a new interface with plenty of usability improvements and a few added features. The update is now rolling out to beta testers on Android so you can give it a go before it goes live for everyone — and thus feel cooler than the cool kids, I guess. Just don't use the word "thus" when you tell them that.

The new interface is more colorful with a blue title bar for chats and a purple one for stories. The Stories section also loses the Discover strip from the top. It now goes on the bottom instead, letting you focus first on the recent story updates from your friends.

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[Update: Live for Exchange, not for Gmail] Gmail v7.1 adds tasks and snoozing for Exchange accounts [APK Download]

The latest major update to Gmail is beginning to roll out to users and this one looks like it might be fairly important to Exchange users. We're still looking for additional features, but this version does bring support for task management and syncing to Exchange accounts. As usual, we've got a download link at the bottom so you don't have to wait for the apk to roll out to your devices organically.

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Flickr app updated with option to sign up without a Yahoo account

Yahoo is going through some changes right now. Not necessarily the good kind, either. Verizon is buying a chunk of the company, and the rest is changing its name to Altaba. So, there are some changes in the Flickr app, which Yahoo has been accused of neglecting in recent years. For the first time in several years, you can sign into Flickr without a Yahoo account.

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