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Apps/Games

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Google Rings Super Mario Bros' 30th Birthday With A Cutely Nostalgic Easter Egg

I remember being 6 or 7 years old and anxiously waiting for my cousins to visit us so I could take my shiny Nintendo NES console from its box, hook it to our 14" Sony TV, and play with them a few rounds of Super Mario Bros or Contra. I don't think we ever got past the third or fourth world on one run, but we did use the secret warp pipes to move to later worlds.

Apparently, Super Mario Bros was released the same year that I was (ha!) in 1985, and it celebrated its 30th birthday yesterday, September 13. To wit Google has decided to give all of us a nostalgic easter egg when performing a search for "Super Mario Bros." Whether it's from a mobile or your desktop browser, you'll see a knowledge graph card donned with Mario's signature question mark brick.

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[Bonus Round] A Wise Use of Time, MicRogue, Random Fighters, Asciid, Puzzle Coaster, Fat Baby Galaxy, And Nibblers

Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a time-travelling game-book, a mix of roguelikes and board games, a match-three puzzler, an ASCII-inspired platformer, a physics-focused puzzle game, and another Rovio puzzle game. Without further ado:

bonusround

A Wise Use of Time

It's always nice to see a new game-book...

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[Weekend Poll Classics] Are You Using A Custom Launcher On Your Phone?

The last time we asked the custom launcher question was, surprisingly, over two years ago. Among "yes," "I have used one but don't anymore," and "no, and I have never used one," the results were 67%, 25%, and 7%, respectively. So, let's see what those numbers look like now that some more time has passed.

I personally install the Google Now Launcher on pretty much any phone that comes across my desk, because I just like the consistency and simplicity. While I definitely understand the appeal of, say, Nova Launcher, I just don't spend much time manicuring and perfecting my homescreens.

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A Deep Dive Into Google Photos: Not Your Grandma's Photo Album

At Google IO this past June we saw the launch of many new products from Google, including Android M, Android Pay, and Project Brillo. The tech giant also launched Google Photos as its own service, which was previously tied down to Google+. Today we're going to dive into every corner of Google Photos and my experiences with it over the last few months.

Intro & tests

Over the last eight years I have used iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, and Photos on Mac to organize my photos. While each worked for a period of time, I never truly felt like my photos were properly organized.

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Latest Google App Offering Up New Notifications For Some Users

In case you aren't getting enough Google Now inside the normal interface, it looks like the Google app is bumping out into some users' notification trays with new, richer, higher priority notifications.

While it's hard to say when the rollout began, some users on version 5.2.33.19 of the Google app (myself included) have begun noticing new notification settings in the Google app, toggling notifications for "substantial changes in weather condition," sports, places, and "stories and videos." Other users' settings lists still stop at "priority notifications."

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So far we've only seen weather notifications - which offer temperature changes or other condition changes expected for the next day - and sports notifications in person.

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Play Store 5.9 Doesn't Automatically Download App Screenshots When You're Not On Wi-Fi Or LTE

We gave Play Store version 5.9 the teardown treatment a few days ago, but it turns out we missed something. The latest release no longer automatically downloads app screenshots when you're not connected to Wi-Fi or LTE.

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Inconsistently Sized Launcher Icons Will Be A Thing Of The Past With Nova Launcher's Upcoming 'Icon Normalization' Feature

Google has always encouraged developers to design their app icons with a "unique silhouette." This gives designers the freedom to come up with neat stuff, but there are drawbacks. For example, icons that are just weird sizes and look out of place on your device. Well, there's a new Nova Launcher feature coming that could fix that. "Icon normalization" is in private alpha now, and it's coming to the beta channel very soon.

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[Deal Alert] Get A Lifetime Hushed Private Phone Number For $39, Only $10 More Than The 1-Year Plan

Shhhh. I'm trying to set up an anonymous phone number, and this is a very delicate process.

Oh, what's that? It's not? Hushed? You hush! Oh... I should check out Hushed.

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QuickPic Gets Its First Major Update Under Cheetah Mobile With 1000GB Of Free Cloud Storage And A New Permission

The saga of once-beloved gallery app QuickPic continues as Cheetah Mobile asserts its control over the app. QuickPic is getting its first major update since the acquisition, and it's tempting you with free storage. You want that free storage? Just sign up. What could go wrong?

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Android Pay Won't Work On The Marshmallow Developer Preview, But It Will In The Final Release

The Android Pay APK is out there, available for public consumption. Getting it is as simple as heading over to APK Mirror (and making sure you have the right version of Google Play Services installed). Just don't have the Android Marshmallow developer preview flashed to your device. That will bring everything to a screeching halt.

We already knew that you could not set up Android Pay on a rooted device, as this interferes with the app's verification process (though you can re-root shortly after with some success). But we and many other experimental types have found that attempting to launch the Android Pay app on Android Marshmallow brings up a similar error, regardless of whether the device is rooted.

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