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Google is phasing out Chrome apps except on Chrome OS, will no longer work by 2018

Google Chrome has been undergoing a massive amount of changes recently. From massive optimizations, to the Android New Tab page showing Google Now cards, to Progressive Web Apps blurring the line between native and web apps.

But in another change, although not entirely shocking, Google will be phasing out Chrome apps on the Chrome Web Store. If you've never used the Chrome Web Store, most of the items listed are branded as applications, but are in fact simply links to websites or web applications.

These are called 'hosted apps', which are allowed in the Chrome Web Store alongside 'packaged apps.' Packaged apps are based on web apps, but are hosted locally and have more control over their windows and the host computer.

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Unlike Hangouts, Allo lets you delete messages from your chat history

Aside from the privacy of Incognito chats in Google's upcoming Allo app, there's one more way you can save yourself from embarrassment if you sent or received something that you don't want to stay in your chat's history: delete.

Based on the screenshots we've obtained from people testing a preview version of Allo, it looks like you'll be able to select any message (no multiple select yet we're told) and just delete it from the chat's history.

The top bar switches to show share, forward, copy, and delete options for a selected message, an interface that reminds me a lot of WhatsApp. In the first screenshot below (leftmost), "Message 3" is selected — you can tell because it looks a tad darker than the others.

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Condoms, butts, and nipples: A first look at some of Google Allo's hilarious sticker packs

With Google Duo already released and working well, and rumors of Nougat coming on August 22nd, it's only a matter of time before we have Google's Assistant and its messaging app Allo in our hands.

In the meantime, what we have here is an early look at one of Allo's features: sticker packs. From the screenshots, it looks like Allo will come with 3 packs installed by default and others can be added later.

google-allo-stickers-1 google-allo-stickers-2 google-allo-stickers-3

There are 24 additional packs available in different styles and from different designers. As far as we can tell, there doesn't seem to be a way to add your own sticker packs from a URL or a Zip file, but that may or may not change in the future.

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Google Play Music on the web tweaks playlist UI, adds sliding panel on the right for quick access

In a move that strikes a balance between becoming more consistent with the mobile apps and giving desktop users the best experience possible, Google has made some tweaks to Play Music's playlist interface. While playlists are no longer on the top level of the left-side hamburger menu—to be more like the phone and tablet UI—web users can use a shortcut to access a new sliding menu from the right.

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Google Duo now #1 in Top Free chart, available globally

Just two days after it first began to roll out, Google's Duo has already become the number one free app in the Play Store. The video chatting app, which received an icon redesign just before it went live, has proven to be extremely popular with Android users. In addition, it is now possible to use Duo in any country (well, any country that Google provides its services to).

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Google Drive on the web gets UI tweaks, better file downloads, and more

Google is making some much-needed improvements to Drive today, but not the app. We're talking about the web interface. Even if you're primarily using Drive on Android, you'll end up visiting in the browser on occasion. When you do, you'll see a refined UI and much better file downloads.

Here's what Google says is coming in the update.

  • You can now compress and download Drive items into multiple 2GB zip files. Files have an improved name structure, for example: drive-download-20160516T125832Z.zip for the first file and drive-download-20160516T125832Z-2.zip for subsequent archives.
  • Better Google Forms handling.
  • Empty folders are now included in the zip.
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Google prepares the way for WebAPKs and Progressive Web Apps in latest Chromium for Android build

Google's very hot on the whole web apps topic, with it promoting things like Chrome Apps on both Chrome OS and Android, as well as things like Instant Apps, introduced earlier this year at I/O. Well, it seems like Google is preparing another assault, this time with 'Progressive Web Apps,' a way to make web apps more powerful and useful to end users, plus make it easier for developers to put them together.

A Progressive Web App is a powerful web application that can be used anywhere, on any OS. As you use the app more and more, it gradually will get more powerful.

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Canadian carrier Telus says Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P Nougat updates coming August 22nd

At this point we're just waiting for Google to release Android 7.0 (and the new Nexus devices that come with it) to the masses. The company never gives exact dates for this kind of thing, though a vague "fall" pattern generally leads us to expect new Android hardware and software sometime between August and October. According to the official support forum for Telus, an exclusively Canadian cell carrier, Nougat updates will be coming in less than a week.

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Google Duo review: When video calls are this simple, I will surely use them more

Of the two communication apps that Google announced at I/O, Duo surely seemed like the less interesting one. Video calls have been done again and again, and by now, if you have someone you want to talk to and see at the same time, odds are you already have your preferred way of doing that. But my last few days with Duo have shown me another side to the story. Duo isn't trying to revolutionize video calls, it just wants to approach them from a more modern perspective, one that builds on our smartphone-carrying habits, our needs for immediacy, and our disdain for complexity.

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Android Pay expands to 44 more banks and credit unions in the US and Australia

Android Pay has been gaining support for a ton of banks and credit unions lately, and 44 more have just been added. Most of these banks and credit unions are local ones most of us haven't ever heard of, but hey, maybe your local bank is included. No, Chase isn't on here; I double-checked. There are a few Australian banks and credit unions on here as well.

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