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Android apps show up in stable Chrome OS for the first time

Android apps on Chrome OS are not a new thing. In 2014, Google announced that it was working with a few select partners to bring certain apps to Chrome OS. Only a small number became available, and it was never really a consumer-facing project. Earlier this year, Google said that the experiment was scrapped in favor of a different system. Android apps would now run in containers, which would open the whole Play Store to Chrome OS users. This new approach would come to only some Chromebook models which had to be running the dev and beta channel builds.

Now, according to both the Chromium Projects page and the Chrome Releases blog, Android apps are coming to the stable channel for the Asus Chromebook Flip and the Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T.

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Chatting with Google: The many ways Assistant replaces or augments OK Google, Google Now, and Now on Tap

Hi Google, it's me Rita. I believe we've met before. Somewhere between Gmail, Google Photos, and Chrome, you must know a lot about me. Things I might not want others to discover, so hushhhh. (There are thousands of people reading us, let's not tell them about my love for Winnie The Pooh.) But our relationship doesn't feel equal; I barely have any information about you. Your new guy, this Assistant you've sent here to talk to me, I'd like to get to know him better. He looks a lot like the other guys you've sent before, Now and On Tap, but he seems special.

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Google+ is now a core service on Google for Work (or Google Cloud)

For months, we have seen Hangouts shift from Google's primary messaging service to being focused on business use. The official Google for Work (which is in the process of becoming Google Cloud) blog has announced that Google+ is moving to the same purpose, and is now a core feature for businesses to use.

Starting immediately, Google+ will have "the same technical support and service level commitments as any other core service, like Gmail or Google Drive," according to the blog post. This shows that Google is serious about the future of Google+, perhaps not with a focus on the average user, but no doubt both parties will benefit from continued support from Google.

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Pixel Launcher and Android 7.1 Sneak Peek Part 2: The return of Launcher Shortcuts [APK Teardown]

Part 1 of this teardown broached the subject of a new set of circular launcher icons Google is creating for use on the homescreen, possibly just for the Pixel Launcher. It likely speaks to future plans for the look and feel of Android, but there's no denying that new icons are cosmetic – they don't actually do anything. Part 2 of this teardown switches over to the functional side as evidence shows Launcher Shortcuts will return with Android 7.1.

The Launcher Shortcuts API was introduced with the second Android N Developer Preview and quickly gained attention as a spiritual copy of the Home Screen Quick Actions introduced with iOS 9, and inspired many theories that pressure-sensitive screens would become a standard in Android.

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Google's Pixel phones will be IP53 rated, meaning no dunking your Pixel or hosing it down

Hopes of highly water-resistant Pixel phones have, according to a reliable source we've trusted in the past, been dashed. Google's new handsets will be advertised as having IP53 dust and water resistance, which essentially amounts to almost no enhanced water resistance at all. For reference, the HTC 10 also has this rating, and is not marketed as being water-resistant.

The "3" in IP53 means a device will not experience damaging water ingress when upright at an angle not to exceed 60 degrees from vertical while being sprayed by relatively low-pressure (somewhere between 7-20PSI or 50 to 150kPa) water. This probably means very little to you phrased this way, but IPX3 is essentially saying the device will not experience water ingress (i.e., water won't get inside) when held at a relatively upward angle in your hand during use in very heavy rain or when lightly splashed.

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Active Theory releases the paper planes demo from Google I/O 2016 on the Play Store

If you can remember, Google displayed a Paper Planes interactive map at the Google I/O keynote before the actual presentation began. Users in the audience could catch and throw paper planes, with the planes themselves flying all across the world. If you need a refresher, this is what it looked like at I/O.

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Inbox starts asking if you want to share the photo you just took

Google's Inbox email client aims to be more automated than Gmail. It bundles messages and suggests replies for you. Now, it's making it easier to attach photos to your emails. If you took a photo recently, new emails will get a handy link to add it as an attachment.

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Allo vs. Hangouts: Should you make the move?

Google has dug itself a deep hole with Hangouts by integrating multiple messaging protocols and a myriad of little-used features. It's become a lumbering beast that often lags behind other Google apps in adopting new features as Android itself evolves. Enter, Allo—Google's new consumer-facing messaging client. It's faster, simpler, and it has Google Assistant built-in. So, how do these apps stack up? Let's find out.

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Google adds a Belkin 27W USB-C car charger to the Google Store, but it costs a whopping $45

If you drive a car and have a phone, you've probably got a car charger somewhere - they're very useful for a top-up of juice or if you use the phone for navigation or music while driving. Presumably, Google's realised the same thing, as it's added a Belkin car charger to the store.

The charger, which was announced a few months ago, is 27W - this means it can charge up to 70% faster. Like the charger that comes in the 6P or 5X box, it supports USB Power Delivery. It can also charge laptops or tablets, such as the Chromebook Pixel or the Pixel C, faster than lower wattage chargers can.

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Allo's weird SMS support explained, and other answers

The burning question on everyone's mind when Allo was released - "can you send SMS?" The answer, as seemingly common with Google products, is "it's complicated." Allo-w me to explain the answer, and more of Allo's quirky behavior, below.

What happens when I send a text to someone without Allo?

When you tap a contact that has not yet registered for Google Allo, you are presented with the above message warning that you are sending messages through SMS. When you send a message, the recipient receives the following text from a random five-digit number (at least in my tests):

[Your full name] ([Your phone number]) added you on Google Allo to chat.

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