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Apps/Games

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[APK Download] Chrome 53 adds Android Pay support, Bluetooth API, and more

Google Chrome 53 is making its way to Android devices, with several exciting new features for both users and developers alike. Luckily I'm both, so I get to be double excited! Let's dive into the changes.

Android Pay support

This is, at least in my opinion, the biggest new feature. Chrome 53 now supports the official PaymentRequest API developed by the W3C (the organization that creates standards for the web). This means that once websites begin to adopt it, you will be able to check out using Android Pay instead of spending time filling out payment information for every site.

The PaymentRequest API in action.

The PaymentRequest API in action.

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Bit Bit Blocks is a fast-paced puzzle game with support for two players on one device

You can usually take your time with puzzle games, but Bit Bit Blocks is anything but leisurely. You have to play this puzzle game at lightning speed to have any hope of winning. By making bigger blocks, you can beat back your opponent's advances, and that opponent can be the computer or your friend/enemy.

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Google Maps adds Lyft and Gett to ride services tab

Back in March, Google Maps added a dedicated ride-sharing tab with comparative prices. This is extremely useful if you want to compare prices easily, and of course to see what services are available in a given area.

Today, Google is improving that feature by adding support for Lyft and Gett. Google claims Maps now displays options from "9 ride-sharing partners in over 60 countries." Google also mentions that the ride-sharing tab shows multiple types of services offered by each company. For example, Lyft may also show a Lyft Line ride as an option.

Google says that options from Lyft will show up all across the United States, while Gett will be limited to New York City (which is to be expected, as Gett is exclusive to that city).

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Chase app updated with better fingerprint support, improved transaction sorting, and more

The Chase app added fingerprint login support a while back, which was great. Or rather, it could have been great. It wasn't particularly useful because many functions still required a manual login. That's no longer the case as of the latest update. Yay.

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Pokémon GO Plus companion accessory to be available September 16 in most countries

The Pokémon GO phenomenon might be on a decline now compared to its peak in mid-July, but that doesn't mean the game isn't still very popular. Just yesterday, it passed 500 Million downloads on Android and iOS, a feat that usually takes years for any other app, even those that came from Facebook and Google. And if that isn't enough to show how popular the game is, you only have to see the new "Catching Pokémon" activity type in Google Maps that sits at the same level as running, walking, driving, and so on.

Niantic has a couple of interesting additions to keep as many players interested in the game.

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Nick Jr. now has an official app, probably more for your kids

If you're reading this site, you probably aren't the target market for the new official Nick Jr. app. But if you have kids, this app might be just the thing to distract your children while doing other tasks. Nickelodeon's sister channel, Nick Jr., finally has its own app available on Android and iOS.

The app features full-length episodes of recent Nick Jr TV shows for free, with hundreds of additional episodes available by signing in with your TV provider. If your child's attention span isn't quite that long, there's also a healthy selection of smaller clips to enjoy, including exclusive content. The Nick Jr.

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New mapmaker feature available for Local Guides in Google Maps

You might have received notifications from Google Maps for the last few months, asking you some information about places you've visited. For example, after I left McDonalds a few days ago Google Maps asked me if it was a "good place for parties" (I guess?). Answering those questions gets you points on Google Maps' Local Guide program, and after accumulating enough points, you can level up.

I myself am just a Level 2 'Local Guide', but Google has released new features to Level 4+ guides. Numerous people have sent us tips about a new 'Improve the map near you' section on the Contribute tab.

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New YouTube UI with navigation bar on bottom rolling out server-side on Android

YouTube's Android app seems to be getting yet another design revamp, this time in the form of a navigation change. This news comes just a few weeks after it was reported that the YouTube app is getting a new UI for comments and video descriptions (which many people, including myself, still don't have).

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Pokemon Go reaches 500 million installs on all platforms

Despite much of the hype wearing off, Pokemon GO is still one of the most successful mobile games of all time. The game has become a cultural phenomenon, not to mention a money-maker for Niantic Labs, The Pokemon Company, and Nintendo. But just how many downloads has Pokemon GO achieved? Over 500 million across Android and iOS, according to a press release from earlier today.

500 million is a bit difficult to wrap your brain around, so let's try to compare it with other well-known mobile games. Pokemon GO has yet to beat out the Angry Birds franchise, with the original game being downloaded over 3 billion times as of July 2015.

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Android Pay comes to Apple Federal Credit Union, C&F Bank, United Bank, and over 30 others

Android Pay is spreading. If you manage your finances with a big bank, chances are you can make payments by tapping your phone against a payment terminal -- yes, even if you use Chase. If you do your banking with a smaller institution, you may have to cross your fingers.

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