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Video: hands-on with Android apps and the Play Store on Chrome OS

In our latest video, Facundo Holzmeister goes hands-on with Android apps and the Play Store on Chrome OS using the Chromebook Flip. I've used the Flip's Android apps a fair bit now, and I have to say, while the experience is buggy, it does hold a lot of promise. Our video hands-on should give you a better idea of what the whole thing looks and feels like, as well as some of Facundo's thoughts on how things are progressing. For now, things do break, some don't work, and others just feel oddly out of place - but the things that do work often work well, and it's hard not to be excited about the future of Android apps on Chrome OS.

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Facebook is testing secret conversations with end-to-end encryption in Messenger

Facebook isn't the first company you think of when privacy comes to mind. Nor is it second, third, or anywhere near the top dozen. It's lucky if it's anywhere on the list at all. But the company does own WhatsApp, the widely used instant messenger that started encrypting all messages earlier this year. Now Facebook is testing out that same encryption in Messenger.

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[Hands-on] ASAP Launcher is a familiar launcher with no homescreens, no widgets, no folders, and several cool features

Over the past couple of days, I've been trying a new Android launcher called ASAP. Although I am not sure the name fits the launcher well, or is appropriate enough for my use — after all, I have perfected Nova's folders to my habits — I do appreciate several of ASAP's features and think it could be a great fit for many users.

What you need to know about ASAP though is that while it looks like most Android launchers, it doesn't work like them at all. There are no widgets, no multiple homescreens in the traditional sense, no app folders, and not even icons on the homescreen itself. ASAP does away with all of that and focuses on quick access to the app drawer, an expandable dock, and several cards to complement the main homescreen. It might sound horrid to some of you who are accustomed to many of the missing features, but it does work in its own quirky way.

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BBC begins global rollout of iPlayer Radio app

The BBC has offered the iPlayer Radio app since 2012 as a handy way to access its radio programming on mobile devices. However, it has always been limited to the UK. Starting today, iRadio is going global. Well, global-ish. It's only expanded to Ireland today, but the rollout should continue to the rest of the globe in short order.

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The revamped My Verizon app is live in the Play Store

There are plenty of annoying things about carriers in general and Verizon in particular. The craptastic mobile app is one of them, but it's somewhat less terrible today. The revamped My Verizon app announced alongside the new plans yesterday is now available for download.

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Lyft Premier launches in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City as an alternative to UberLUX

Pulling out your phone to request a Lyft will get you from point A to point B, but it won't be snazzy about it. You're looking for basic transportation, not a limosine.

But sometimes you want to make an impression. Or maybe you just want to rest your cheeks on more comfortable seats. Either way, Lyft now has an option: Lyft Premier.

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Google Maps v9.32 Beta prepares for "Wi-Fi Only" offline maps and new traffic notifications, allows users to clean up places they've never been to, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

A new version of Google Maps hit the beta channel late last night, bring the version number up to v9.32.0. It looks mostly unchanged, but there is a brand new menu option in the Contribute screen that allows users to clean out locations they've never visited before. The bigger news comes from a teardown. A handful of notable new features are on the horizon, including a true cellular-free mode for navigation, real-time traffic notifications, and more. Since this is a beta release and the Google Maps team has been incredibly ambitious with new features, I expect some of the things listed in the teardown are actually live, but for many different reasons they may not appear for everyone or at all times.

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Bitly shortens the wait and releases its official Android app

Bitly or bit.ly is one of many services that shorten your links and provide an easy to share URL for social networks. It mostly found its popularity due to Twitter's character limit, making it easy to insert links in any tweet without being tied by how long the original webpage URL is.

After years of existing on the web and integrating with different mobile apps through an API, Bitly is now releasing its official Android app. You can use it to shorten links, customize the URL, and share the result with different apps. And like the website, the app lets you track your link's performance, clickrate, sources, and more through time to see how well your audience is reacting to your shares.

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InBrief
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Roboform Password Manager adds fingerprint authentication

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Snapchat adds Memories: an easier way for you to find your best snaps and stories

Snapchat is where I personally drew the line on "I'm too old for this shit" and decided not to bother, but I still get the appeal of the ephemeral shares and I applaud the company for capturing such a dedicated userbase in a relatively short amount of time, despite the large competition in the social network space. But let's put my own thoughts about Snapchat aside and talk about the latest update to the app.

Rolling to Android and iOS is a new Memories feature that lets you easily access a history of your previous snaps and stories. It's accessible from a swipe up on the camera screen and can be searched with keywords to narrow down the results to the item you're looking for.

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