Applications

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Facebook Messenger can insert GIFs from Google's Gboard

Inserting GIFs in Facebook Messenger has been available for over a year now, after it began as a trial in 2015. A GIF button shows up in the text entry box, next to the picture, emoji, and voice message options, and lets you search for the perfect animated reaction to send to your friends or family. But it looks like Messenger only searches one repository for GIFs, which is often (always?) Tenor.

If you want to check more sources for GIFs, you either have to download a separate app or you can use Google's keyboard Gboard. Since its release, Gboard has offered a GIF search option, but developers had to specifically enable it in their own apps.

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[Updated] Skype for Insiders becomes Skype Preview, the beta app aiming to replace the regular sluggish Skype

Last November, Skype unveiled its Skype for Insiders closed beta program, where registered users would be able to try a test version of the Skype app that would get new features first, then send feedback and suggestions to the team to help improve it. The goal of the program was to enhance the ease of use and reliability of Skype.

Today, the Skype for Insiders app has been published on the Play Store, though still under an unreleased beta state and with a new name: Skype Preview.

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AccuWeather releases standalone Android Wear 2.0 app

AccuWeather has supported Android Wear for a while now, but the companion app has always been somewhat feature-light. It only showed data for your default location, and only displayed predicted temperatures for a few hours into the future. Now AccuWeather has released a full standalone application for Android Wear 2.0 - no smartphone app required.

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Google Phone v8.0 makes voicemail shareable, fixes a mismatched icon, and begins work on an RCS-based calling feature [APK Download + Teardown]

An update to the Google Phone app came out a few days ago, but left many people wondering what the changes were. This version doesn't have a whole lot to show off, but a close examination does reveal a couple of interesting things both active and hidden inside the apk. Users now have the option to easily share voicemails as regular files, meaning you can email them to friends or easily stash them in cloud storage. From the perspective of a teardown, Google has also added the first signs of RCS support, meaning we can look forward to some new calling features to come along in the future.

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[Update: Use any audio file as an alarm or timer] Google Clock app updated to v5.0 with more informative time zones, layout tweaks, and more [APK Download]

A smartphone is the only clock many of us need, and Google has a solid clock app on Android. It ships pre-installed on a few devices, and you can always grab it from the Play Store. This app has just gotten an update to v5.0 in the store, and while it's not a huge change, you'll notice the alterations if you use it regularly.

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Facebook videos in the News Feed will now play with sound on, other changes too

Facebook's had video for a while now, and while it doesn't yet rival YouTube for overall views, it's definitely seeing more and more people watching things as they browse. Accordingly, we're all used to scrolling through the Facebook News Feed and flicking a video's sound on. Everyone is going to have to get used to not having to do this anymore, as Facebook has announced sound will be on by default for any video as it's scrolled past.

Videos will play with sound as they're scrolled through in the News Feed, then stop once they've disappeared from view. This change is almost certainly going to be controversial.

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[Deal Alert] Whispering Willows and Aqualert Premium are this week's 10 cent deals (not in the US)

Here we are with another week underway and another duo of an app and a game being discounted on the Play Store. This week's titles are Aqualert Premium and Whispering Willows.

The most interesting of the two is the game, Whispering Willows. It's a hand-drawn 2D adventure game originally funded on Kickstarter. You play as Elena who's on a journey in the Willows Mansion to find her missing father and who does so by solving puzzles using her astral projection.

As for Aqualert, it is a water drinking tracker and reminder app that makes it easy to enter how much water you drank and see how many more cups you need to reach your daily goal.

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Uber took a two-year ride to reach its destination on Android Wear 2.0

That was slow. Uber on Android Wear was promised during I/O 2015, a full 21 months ago. Okay, that's not exactly two years as the title states, but it's pretty darn near. However, in the time since the announcement, there has been no sign of Uber supporting Android Wear beyond the usual notification on your wrist. Requesting a ride? Not possible (without third-party apps). Checking your ride's map and progress? Nope. As a matter of fact, the internet is full of instances of people wondering what happened to that Uber Wear app, like so and so.

Today is the day that promise gets finally fulfilled: Uber is now available on Android Wear 2.0.

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The stable version of the Signal app is receiving beta support for video calls

If you use the encrypted messenger Signal, you may want to be checking for a new feature that is rolling out to the stable version of the app. Video calls are coming — and yes, this was added to the beta version just a few days ago. To accomplish this, Signal is overhauling its entire calling infrastructure (which should improve voice call quality, too).

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Google Assistant in Allo can now share personal data in chat, if you allow it

Google Assistant in Allo isn't quite as feature-packed as Assistant on other platforms, but it's still one of Allo's most compelling features. It can quickly perform a web search, tell a joke, set reminders, and more - all by just tagging it in the middle of conversations. Google has added a new trick to Assistant on Allo - it can share your personal data, if you grant it permission.

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