Android Police

Apps/Games

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Google renames 'Messenger' to 'Android Messages,' doesn't adequately explain why

Google released Messenger in the Nexus 6 days as an alternative to Hangouts for SMS. As Google continues to gut Hangouts and push the SMS-free Allo messaging platform, Messenger has become more important. Now, it's getting a new name. It's no longer Messenger, it's Android Messages. Why? Reasons.

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Google's VP of communications products teases an early image of Allo on the web

Google announced Allo at Google I/O last year and people were strangely excited about it. Maybe this would finally be the Google chat app to rule them all. When it came out, Allo was lacking in... well, a lot of things. One of the most unsightly gaps in Allo's feature set was the lack of a web version. Google is working on that, and VP of communications products Nick Fox has given us an early glimpse at it.

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Play Music v7.4 prepares to team up with Google's Clock app for musical alarms, loses weight, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

There's a new version of Play Music rolling out to users and this one includes at least a couple of things to smile about. This release cuts the size of the app by a good amount and fits in a few interesting changes to navigation and appearance. But the really important change can be found in the Teardown. It looks like Play Music will finally become available to Google's Clock app to sound off for alarms.

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Synology VPN Plus lets you access your Synology router's VPN server from your phone

I'm a fan of Synology. I've had their DS416Play DiskStation for a while (review coming) and I never fathomed the idea of having my own "server" but they made the process as simple and fast as possible so that even someone like me, with no background whatsoever in server management, could be up and running in a matter of minutes.

Beside their DiskStation lineup, Synology also makes a couple of routers and tries to simplify many a router setup process and hurdle with smart add-on packages. One example is the VPN Plus Server, which when installed on your router transforms it into a VPN server so users can connect to it as if they're on the same local network, and thus benefit from access privileges remotely and securely the same way they would if they were physically there.

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[Deal Alert] Tiny Planet FX Pro is 10 cents in several countries (not in US)

This week was slightly different for the one game + one app 10-cent deals on the Play Store. The game, Guns'n'Glory Premium, dropped its price first and unlike the majority of previous deals, it happened worldwide. The app, however, was nowhere to be seen until now, and ta-da, it's Tiny Planet FX Pro. Womp Womp.

That's not the most enticing discount, especially considering that it has dropped to 10 cents before. But a deal is a deal and in case you never grabbed Tiny Planet before and you really like shooting panoramic photos and making them look like a small globular planet with a perspective shifting yet oddly nice effect, then this is the perfect app and discount for you.

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Google Maps v9.47 makes Timeline entries more accessible, redesigns the blue dot menu, and puts a share button where it belongs [APK Download]

Google opted to set loose a small deluge of updates late into Wednesday afternoon. The first we're checking out is the Maps app, which was just promoted to version 9.47. This update doesn't appear to bring any major new features, but it takes a couple of steps to weave the Timeline feature into other parts of the interface and completely redesigns the blue dot menu. We're still looking for changes, so let us know in the comments if you stumble onto anything else.

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Another Play Store UI experiment appears, this time with separated store categories

At this point, I'm convinced everyone has a unique Play Store app layout. Several UI changes are in various stages of testing - including expanded cards on search, a new My Apps screen, a 'Top Features' list, and several others. There's yet another UI change in testing, this time expanding the Play Store categories.

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Instagram now allows up to 10 photos and videos in one post

Earlier this month, Instagram began testing the ability to add a combination of videos and photos to a single post, up to 10 altogether. The feature was very broken at the time, but Instagram has worked out all the bugs since then. Starting today, the feature will roll out to all Android and iOS users.

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Bank of America update adds sending or receiving money with almost anyone, using your phone's address book

The Bank of America Android app had its material overhaul last year, so it already looks better than a ton of banking apps. However, today it's getting better, with the new ability to send, receive, or request money from almost anyone in your contacts.

Left: before. Right: after.

Previously, money could be sent, but it did not use your phone's address book, and requesting money was difficult. The new feature, however, uses your phone's address book to get emails of the person you want to send money to, or request money from. Sending money is pretty the same as before, or any other service, with the addition of it being able to use anyone of your contact list.

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