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Google adds Text API to Mobile Vision and restores barcode reading and face detection capabilities with Play services v9.2

Computer vision is easily one of the current "magical" features merging in smartphones. It's not that object recognition has hit the mainstream yet, but faster processors and high quality cameras in smartphones have made it very accessible. Google has done its part by opening up the Mobile Vision API, enabling developers to quickly give their apps the ability to read barcodes and identify orientation and basic facial details. Google Play services v9.2 takes this a step further with a new Text API developers can use to add object character recognition (OCR) in their apps.

The Mobile Vision Text API currently supports Latin characters used in languages like English, Spanish, and French.

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Google's Awareness API is now out, filled with promise and potential for abuse

Google's new Awareness API - part of Google Play Services - is legitimately cool. In theory. Announced at I/O, it allows apps to access what you're doing, in a general sense, and then give you information based on that status. For now, the API offers two ways for apps to monitor your current status, per Google's blog post.

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Google releases new Cast SDK 3.0.0 from I/O 2016 for developers

Google has offered the Cast SDK to developers in some capacity for three years, but there have long been some annoyances that made it difficult to implement and maintain in certain apps. Cast SDK v3.0 was announced at I/O 2016 last month, and now it's available to developers. This version of the SDK seeks to simplify several elements of the old one to make developers' lives a little easier.

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OnePlus says Dash Charge binary for ROM builders will be released by end of July

OnePlus managed to integrate a fast charging solution into the OnePlus 3, but it's a non-standard one called Dash Charge. It's a licensed version of Oppo's VOOC, so it requires special code on the device and hardware in the adapter. Some OP fans were bummed that custom ROMs would not be able to support Dash Charge, but that will change next month when OP releases the code.

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Google has already fixed the weird notification toggle behavior from the last Android N dev preview

Most of the intrepid users who tried the most recent Android N developer preview were none too pleased with the new notification toggle behavior. Google changed the WiFi and Bluetooth buttons from simple toggles to connection list triggers. After more than 1,500 issue tracker stars in just a few days, Google has relented.

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Google paid out $550k for Android Security Reward bounties in the last year, is upping bounty amounts

A year ago today Google announced Android Security Rewards, an expansion of its Vulnerability Rewards Program. Find a vulnerability, tell Google about it, help them fix the issue, and take home money. That's the concept, and it's a common one in the tech industry.

Google handed out over half a million bucks to 82 individuals over the past year. This averaged out to $2,200 per reward. Researchers averaged higher payouts, at $6,700. One, @heisecode, received $75,750 for 26 vulnerability reports. 15 researchers received $10,000 or more.

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Developers can now post apps for Android N (API 24) to the Play Store using the new SDK

Android N Developer Preview 4 is out and it marks a very important milestone in Google's release schedule: the API for the next version of Android is officially final and developers can begin posting apps built for it to the Play Store. In fact, this is a first for Android, never before have developers been able to post apps to the Play Store targeting a preview version of Android. Users can now look forward to trying out 3rd-party apps that target Android N without jumping through hoops with individual APKs.

Play publishing
You can now publish apps that use API level 24 to Google Play, in alpha, beta, and production release channels.

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Easter egg in Dev Preview 4 gives Android N the Boaty McBoatface treatment

While Android N doesn't have a name just yet, the Android team seems to feel compelled to taunt us with yet another N easter egg, this time one that is absolutely hilarious. If you long-press the "N" logo after tapping the Android version in the about section of settings enough times, the text above is revealed: Namey McNameface.

OK, Google. You get one.

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Android N Developer Preview 4 is out, build NPD56N

Android N Developer Preview 4 has been released, factory images can be found right here, with the full image OTA files here. The new build number is NPD56N. All the same devices that have been supported in the N Preview to date have factory images up now (along with the Sony Xperia Z3). You can check out Google's summary of what's new here. There's also an official blog post here.

New in DP4

Android N final APIs

Developer Preview 4 includes the final APIs for the upcoming Android N platform. The new API level is 24.

Play publishing

You can now publish apps that use API level 24 to Google Play, in alpha, beta, and production release channels.

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Google Extends The Nearby API: Beacons, Physical Web, Cast And Wear Setup, And Plenty Of Contextual Notifications

When the Nearby API started rolling out to Google Play Services in July of last year, it had a lot of potential and promise. It made it so devices could talk to each other based only on their proximity and regardless of whether or not they were on the same WiFi network (in certain applications) or paired via Bluetooth. That's why we've often said it's the genius feature no one is using.

But Nearby in its original form required a lot of involvement from the user. The few apps that implemented the API only used it in specific screens, had to ask for a permission to activate it, and had to show a notification whenever Nearby was on and looking for other devices.

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