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Google announces finalists for 2017 Google Play awards

There are going to be a lot of cool things going on at Google I/O in a few weeks... and also the Google Play Awards. I don't mean to imply this annual tradition has no value, but do you remember what won last year? Hey, maybe this one will be different. Google seems to be making a bigger deal of it.

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11 new and notable Android apps from the last week (4/18/17 - 4/24/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured App

Paralign - Aligning Thoughts

Today's roundup is presented by Paralign - Aligning Thoughts from Paralign.me. Finding like-minded individuals can often be a difficult task. This is especially true when you want to reach out, but are wary of the judgment of your peers.

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Should Progressive Web Apps be allowed in the Play Store?

When the iPhone was first released, there wasn't an App Store. During the announcement at WWDC 2007, Steve Jobs said that web apps would be the only development platform for the iPhone. The decision obviously didn't stick, with Apple announcing the App Store just a year later, but it started the idea of mobile-first web apps (that weren't basic WAP sites).

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[Update: Play Services 11 responsible] Google might be testing changes to shared network ongoing cast notifications

It looks like there might be a few tweaks coming to the in-network notifications for Google Cast to make it more clear what the notification is. We've received a report that the notification has been changed to include additional details, likely in an attempt to prevent accidental dismissal by others on the network. It's more than debatable whether or not the extra explanation attached to an ongoing notification will have any effect in preventing accidental interactions by guests. But, at a minimum we can publicly shame their reading comprehension skills when they kill your sweet Roller-Blade Runner playlist mid-party.

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Local reviews are now translated to your preferred language automatically

Google's local reviews can be a useful way to decide where to go and what to see when traveling, but what if you don't speak the language where you are? You can fumble with Google Translate to copy and paste the text, but that's clunky. Now, Google search and Maps will translate reviews to your language automatically.

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Amazon launches 'Subscribe with Amazon' to sell third-party subscriptions

Amazon has been selling Prime subscriptions for years, but Amazon has to, like, do stuff for you when you're a Prime member. Wouldn't it be nice if Amazon could sell subscriptions for other companies and get a piece of the action? Well, that's the new "Subscribe with Amazon" in a nutshell. It's a marketplace where Dropbox, The New Yorker, Sling TV, and many other entities are now selling monthly subscriptions.

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Google unveils new YI HALO VR camera for their Jump platform

Back in 2015 at I/O, and just after announcing Cardboard, Google rolled out Jump. At the time the hardware that accompanied it was the GoPro Odyssey, a big circular contraption containing 16 GoPro cameras. It was meant to make recording in 360 degrees for VR purposes a bit easier, both logistically and in terms of the tools and software needed. Don't be too surprised if that flew under your radar at the time; there hasn't been much in the way of news from Google about Jump since then (though there was a cool WebVR film announced a few days ago that used it).

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Samsung Galaxy S8 pre-orders top previous S7 record by 30%

After the fallout from the total recall of the defective Samsung Galaxy Note7, many observers worried that the company's reputation could be permanently damaged, leading to a lack of confidence in future devices and ultimately to lower sales. That appears not to be the case. In a statement, Samsung has proudly pointed out that US pre-orders of its latest flagship Android phones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, have topped their predecessors by a remarkable 30%. Let the ritual self-back-patting commence.

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You can still remap the Galaxy S8's Bixby button, but it's a messy hack

Samsung announced the Bixby assistant several weeks ahead of the Galaxy S8 launch. We were told at the time this feature would let you control apps by voice and get contextual information. It doesn't do any of that at launch, though. Naturally, people want to remap the Bixby button, and that's still possible despite Samsung's attempts to block it. However, the remapping apps are pretty hacky.

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I went to a protest that had its own app

Technology has become part of our culture and how we organize. We make use of Google Calendar or Outlook to coordinate schedules, send invitations to events via Facebook and Google+, and we settle bar tabs on Venmo, Circle, Dwolla, Google Wallet, Paypal, and Messenger (barring the launch of any new apps while I was listing them). It's no huge surprise, then, that yet another function has been brought into the contemporary era of app convenience. The art and science of social and cultural unrest known as protest has made one more step into the future: your next one might come with an app.

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