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Chrome 56 adds official Web Bluetooth API support, New Tab page changes, experimental WebVR, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 56 is the first release of 2017, and like always, it has a fair amount of new features for both users and web developers. This release is focused primarily on Web Bluetooth and improvements to Android Pay on the web (through the Web Payments API), so let's dig in and have a look.

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Android 7.1.2 adds option to set where a live wallpaper will be applied

There's a new version of Android rolling out in beta, and it doesn't seem to change much. One thing we've spotted is an improvement to setting live wallpapers. A year ago it seemed like Google was going to let live wallpapers die, and now here we are. Now, you can pick where they'll be applied in Android 7.1.2.

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Google adds a recipe carousel UI to your culinary search results

I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of football, but I have been to some Super Bowl parties that were actually fun. As I am sure most will agree, good food is crucial to the success of most any gathering. Being the host comes with a series of challenges, one of the largest being what to cook. Google has people like you in mind, and it is rolling out an update to Search that brings a carousel of culinary suggestions and full recipes.

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Open GApps can now optionally install Google Assistant

Google Assistant was introduced at Google I/O last year, as a more personal voice assistant than Google Now. Since then, it has been made available on several platforms - Pixel phones, the Google Home, Android TV, and Allo. But Assistant is still unavailable on non-Pixel phones without a special build.prop tweak. Now the Open GApps team has made enabling Assistant a little easier.

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Android 7.1.2 adds the fingerprint swipe gesture for notifications on the Nexus 5X

Android 7.1.2 started rolling out a few days ago with bug fixes and cryptic "enhancements" for Pixels and Nexuses. One of the more visible changes you'll notice if you own a Nexus 5X is a new option under Settings -> Moves. There's a new Swipe for notifications toggle that enables you to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor on the back of the 5X to drop down the notifications. It's a nice gesture that lets you check notifications without removing your index from the back of the phone or trying to reach the top of the display with your thumb.

You might remember that there was a bit of controversy over the feature back in November.

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New Google Artworks Live Cases feature Opening Ceremony designs worn by the New York Ballet

The simulation hypothesis is a scientific proposal that the world in which we live is, in fact, a massive and incredibly complex computer simulation. Many people in the United States are being won over by this theory, because lately it feels like we're all tiny characters in an increasingly cruel game of The Sims, right about the time that the omnipotent player-god gets bored and starts to screw with us. In completely and totally unrelated news, here are some fresh Live Case designs from Google. Enjoy.

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Google is shutting down the Hands Free pilot test on February 8

Ever since March of last year, Google has been testing a new payment method called Hands Free. The premise was that you could pay for goods with your smartphone without ever having to remove it from your pocket. The pilot was limited to the Bay Area and to only a few businesses. But now, the experiment has hit its end of life for the time being.

As of February 8, Hands Free will shut down.

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Google Messenger RCS support is likely not in public testing for T-Mobile after all

Yesterday, we reported that T-Mobile was in the process of testing Google's/Jibe's RCS implementation. T-Mobile has had its own version of RCS (called Advanced Messaging) since 2015, but like most implementations of the RCS technology, it is not compatible across carriers like SMS.

T-Mobile implementing the Jibe Universal RCS Profile, which Sprint and (soon) Rogers support, would certainly be better for users than the current Advanced Messaging system. Unfortunately, there is no substantial evidence that it is happening at this point.

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RCS support in Messenger going live for some T-Mobile users

RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, has been aiming to replace SMS for years. But unlike the universal SMS standard, there are multiple RCS implementations that don't work with each other. Google has been trying to solve this, by adding RCS support to Google Messenger and working with carriers to implement Jibe's 'Universal RCS Profile.'

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Google adds more enterprise-grade security controls to G Suite

While on the face of things, it may seem like Google steals data and invades privacy, the company is actually very serious about security. That doubles when it comes to the security of G Suite, Google's enterprise accounts product range. Today the company has announced it's adding a few things to make the accounts even more secure.

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