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Google is building full-on Android for the car with Volvo and Audi

Today Google has revealed more info on its new standalone Android platform for cars. Unlike Android Auto, which just casts info from your phone onto whatever software your vehicle maker has tossed together, the new system is based on Android and brings some of the same tools Android Auto had natively. Google revealed this initiative at last year's I/O, but there hasn't been much news apart from Chrysler's concept back at CES. Both Audi and Volvo will be making use of the new systems in future vehicles.

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Waymo and Lyft to team up on self-driving car technology

As the race to build the first commercially viable self-driving car hots up, a number of major players in the technology and automotive industries continue to position themselves, hoping to grab a slice of the potentially lucrative pie. This has led to a number of high-profile alliances being formed. Alphabet has its own arm dedicated to the technology in Waymo, which was spun off from Google late last year, and it has been keen to form useful partnerships where it can. The latest test vehicle is a minivan built by Chrysler, for instance. Now Waymo has a new ally in the form of ride-hailing start-up Lyft.

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Allo 11 adds QR codes and links for joining group chats, prepares for sending messages via Google Now/Assistant [APK Download]

We already covered the flagship feature of Allo - the ability to create a personalized sticker pack from selfies. But Allo 11 has a few other minor features worth mentioning, like improvements to group chats and future support for sending messages with Google Now or Assistant. Let's take a look.

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[Deal Alert] Get a free official case when you buy a Pixel XL from the Google Store

It's been a couple of months since the Pixel and Pixel XL debuted, but it's still rare to come across a deal for them, especially on the XL model. In fact, we've posted a total of zero Deal Alerts on the non-Verizon Pixel XL. However, Google itself has decided to offer a free official case to anyone who purchases the Pixel XL from the Google Store.

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[Update: Fixed in Google Maps Beta] Android Auto's Google Maps broken on Audi's 2017 A3s, Google and Audi are on the case

Anyone who might be considering a 2017 Audi A3 on the basis of it using Android Auto might want to reexamine their options. Apparently a large number of the cars are having difficulties with the compass in Android Auto being rotated 180 degrees while the phone is connected, which interferes with navigational operations. Navigation does function correctly when a phone is not connected, though.

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Google's "Project Treble" will modularize Android to make updates faster

Easily the most annoying aspect of using an Android phone (with the exception of Pixel/Nexus) is slow updates. Android 7.1 (which came out last year) currently sits at 0.5% marketshare, and brand new phones are still being released with 6.0 Marshmallow. Google is aiming to solve this with "Project Treble," which will modularize part of the Android OS to decrease the time OEMs spend updating their devices.

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[Pawcket Dialing] Google Phone 9.0 hides a hilarious Paw Mode easter egg

While pawking around in the latest Google Phone 9.0, our resident APK master, Cody, uncovered one unexpected piece of evidence: paws. The animal kind. Cat and dog paws had infiltrated the installation file for seemingly no reason. This of course gave him pawse as he examined all the weird ways in which they could be used then came up empty. But we wouldn't be the Android Pawlice if we didn't have secret informants ready to do the dirty work on the ground and come back with hints and sometimes answers to our investigations. And this is what we're here to talk about: the paw mystery has been solved.

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71 new US banks and credit unions add Android Pay support

Android Pay is continuing its expansion in the US by reaching more and more banks and credit unions. At this point, most of the major players are on board, so most of what we keep seeing with each addition are small to medium regional institutions that are joining the fold.

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[Update: APK Download] Google Allo can use your selfie to create a personalized sticker pack with machine learning

Selfies are a bit of a pandemic these days; it's almost impossible to get through a day without seeing at least a few on social media. In keeping with that theme, along with Allo's obsession with sticker packs, the 'smart messaging app' can now create personalized sticker packs from just a selfie. We first spotted this in a teardown back in January, but it's finally live.

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Google Contacts 2.0 includes a cleaner UI and changes to contact management [APK Download]

The Google Contacts application really hasn't changed much over the years - after all, it just has to store contacts. Last year the app was updated with a hamburger menu and the ability to merge duplicates. Now Google has released version 2.0 of the Contacts app, with more design improvements and changes to how contacts are sorted.

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