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Attack of the Bots: Facebook introduces new bots and new bot features in Messenger at F8

Facebook has released a whole lot of information from their latest F8 developer conference, and it looks like their drive to turn Messenger into its own platform for development is continuing full steam ahead. The conference started today and continues into tomorrow, but Facebook has already pushed out a number of press releases based on some of the things talked about there. Notable announcements include a Discovery tab in Messenger for finding more bots, QR code support, "Chat Extensions" that add bots into a group conversation, FAQ for bots, a VR demo, and more ways to use the M personal assistant.

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AOSP site gets updated with Material Design, a better mobile view, and clearer navigation

Google has given its Android Open Source Project (AOSP) website a considerable makeover, making it much easier on the eye and much more user-friendly too. The update brings it in line with Google's own Material Design guidelines, improves the mobile view, and introduces new top-level tabs to improve navigation.

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YouTube is testing yet another UI modification, this time for collapsed video playback

Spring cleaning of the YouTube Android app is continuing apace. Already this month we've seen tests for seek bar video previews and an iOS style bottom nav bar. Now, some users are seeing a new interface for collapsing the currently selected video, offering more than just a picture-in-picture window. The new UI moves this into a floating bottom bar including a play/pause button, as well as the option to close without having to swipe away.

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Amazon will let third-parties use its microphone and speech processing tech to make Alexa devices

There have been a few Alexa-enabled devices from third-parties, but only Amazon's own hardware uses its fancy far-field microphones and speech processing technology. That's going to change soon, though. Amazon has announced the availability of the Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit, which will let third-parties develop better Alexa devices.

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Android O feature spotlight: Apps can no longer draw on top of system UI

Android has long allowed developers to draw on top of other apps and the system UI. This is how Twilight adjusts the color of the display, and there are other apps that overlay things on your status bar. A change to the way Android O handles overlays could break features of these apps, rendering some of them essentially useless.

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Google releases Android Things Developer Preview 3

Fast on the heels of Developer Preview 2, Google has just pushed out their latest Developer Preview for Android Things, the IoT embedded platform based on Android.

Android Things was released at I/O in 2015 originally under the codename Brillo, and was meant to give existing Android developers a platform for embedded devices through the same tools and Android SDK they already know. At its most basic level Android Things is the same Android we all know and love applied to embedded devices like smart lights, doorbells, thermostats—that sort of thing—with some of the same APIs and tools that Android developers have used for years.

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Google open sources the 2016 Santa Tracker Web and Android apps

Christmas is here. Yes, I know it's April 6, but for developers and nerds, Christmas falls any day they can take the wraps off some code and look through every line and function to see how things are built. It's like finally being able to disassemble that remote controlled car after playing with it for weeks and seeing how the motor turns and triggers the wheels.

And Google does this every year: in December it releases the Santa Tracker, then a few months later, it open sources it for developers to put on their nerdy scuba masks and dive deep into what makes the magic real.

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Google is working on bringing Android Studio to Chrome OS

Chrome OS is often characterized (somewhat unfairly) as just a glorified web browser; and if your needs involve powerful photo editing tools like Photoshop, video editing packages like Adobe Premiere or Apple's Final Cut Pro X, modeling tools with complicated features like Blender or Solidworks, or an assortment of other powerful software tools, it's not hard to see how that perception came to be. Software development is another area where things aren't too rosy – unless you're a web developer. However, a clue has popped up that suggests Android Studio may be coming to Chrome OS.

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Google posts Android O overview video for developers

Android O is in the wild now, and developers are already toiling to bring new features to their apps. We're still a long way from release, but there are many new features for developers to play around with in the meantime. Google has posted a quick video to give devs (and curious normals) an overview of what's new in Android O.

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