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Hands-on with MUVIZ Nav Bar Audio Visualizer: Really neat if you are into this sort of thing

Music is definitely everywhere. From our own personal libraries and streaming stations to advertisements and entertainment, it is a fundamental part of who we are as individuals and as a culture (for better or for worse). Since music is just noise (how's that for a scientific breakthrough), I have always found it neat to see the visual representation of the soundwaves in line with the song that is playing. Back when Windows Media Player was a thing, I always turned on the visualizer, finding it much more entertaining than staring at the album art — or worse, the placeholder image when no art was available.

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Allo 2.0 has hidden chat themes, for your theming needs

The first major update to Allo, version 2.0, added a number of much-needed improvements. However, WhatsApp users may note that chat themes are still missing in Allo. 9to5Google has managed to enable some hidden themes included with the update, which can be activated on a per-user basis.

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Google celebrates Halloween with ghosts, ghouls, witches, pumpkins, and more in Android Pay

To most people, Halloween means witches, ghosts, and ghouls. Google's obviously gone with this definition too, since the animations on Android Pay have been updated to include a range of the undead, pumpkins, witches, wizards, ghosts, ghouls, and skeletons.

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DoubleTwist Player update brings a fresh UI and support for Chromecast, Android Wear, and Android Auto

DoubleTwist got its start way back in the early days of Android, when users wanted an easy way to sync music from iTunes to their non-Apple phones. (And also, this was back when human beings still used iTunes.) The scope of the music player has broadened and generalized since then... and truth be told, it's kind of stalled as well, especially since the Cloud Player came out. The last update it had before today was way back in February. But today's bump is significant: in addition to a new user interface, it brings baked-in support for Chromecast, Android Wear, and Android Auto.

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Pocket Casts updated with audio effects, shared playlists, and more

Pocket Casts is one of the most popular podcast apps on Android, and for good reason. It's fast, well-designed, has built-in backups, and has always been fast to support new Android features. In the latest update, Pocket Casts hops on the split-screen hype train, adds audio effects, and launches a new podcast sharing feature.

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Androbench updated to v5.0 with a less ugly UI and fixed Pixel benchmarks

If you need to benchmark the storage in a device, Androbench has long been the go-to way to do it. One major drawback: it was horrendously ugly. It has just been updated to v5.0, and I wouldn't say it's not ugly, but it's certainly less ugly. That's a win in my book.

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InBrief
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Google adds Stranger Things stickers to Allo

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Mozilla announces Project Quantum, an improved rendering engine for Firefox

I'm sure many of you, like myself, use Google Chrome as your main browser. Chrome was built from scratch, with the exception of its engine (which was WebKit at the time), to be for the modern web. The internet is no longer a series of text-only pages with images, and Chrome was built with modern web applications and security in mind.

If you don't know, a rendering engine is the part of a web browser that displays content. Chrome and Opera use Blink, Safari uses WebKit, and so on. Firefox's engine, called Gecko, has been around for ages. In fact, it was originally developed for Netscape Navigator all the way back in 1997 to replace their existing rendering engine.

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Latest Nova Launcher 5.0 beta adds Pixel-style launcher app shortcuts and weather in the search bar

Launcher app shortcuts, those neat little pop-ups for compatible apps that allow quick access to deeper app functions, are currently restricted to Android 7.1 on the Pixel phones and dev previews. As for everyone else, the tireless developer of Nova Launcher has you covered. Version 5.0 still isn't up in the public Play Store, but the beta version has been adding bits and pieces of Pixel Launcher functionality. The latest update includes the much-celebrated launcher app shortcuts.

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Twitter is discontinuing Vine, but existing videos will live on for now

Twitter launched the Vine video sharing app in 2013, and it was a moderate success. Other apps added similar quick video features, but Vine never seemed like a high priority for Twitter. The company announced today that it's discontinuing the Vine app in the coming months, but it's not deleting your Vines... at least not yet.

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