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Verified boot in Android 7.0 won't let your phone boot if the software is corrupt

Starting in Android 4.4, Google implemented verified boot (known as dm-verity) in the Android kernel to prevent malware from hiding in your device. This was all behind the scenes until Android 6.0 Marshmallow—that's when Google started alerting users to system integrity. In Android 7.0, it's going a step further. In Nougat, verified boot will be "strictly enforcing" and won't allow your device to boot if the software has been compromised. Android will also be able to correct errors, but this will cause some headaches for modders.

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Google Arts & Culture app gets a dramatic overhaul with Cardboard support

Hey, remember that Google Arts & Culture tool that the company talked about for exactly one day? No? Well now it's back. The hub for all things historically and artistically relevant has been given a fresh coat of paint, so to speak. Both the web portal and the app (which was previously little more than a web wrapper anyway) have been overhauled with a new interface, including a more contextual search bar that allows users to hunt for specific articles or pieces. Check out the difference in the app below:

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[Deal Alert] Refurbished Nexus 6P on sale for $318.99 at Best Buy

The Nexus 6P is one of the finest Android phones you can buy, but it's getting on toward the end of its life cycle. It'll probably be replaced soon, and that means there are deals to be had. Best Buy is selling a refurbished Nexus 6P for the incredible price of $319. That's $181 off the regular price.

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[Update: Fixed in Dev Preview 5] Google has already fixed the weird notification toggle behavior from the last Android N dev preview

Most of the intrepid users who tried the most recent Android N developer preview were none too pleased with the new notification toggle behavior. Google changed the WiFi and Bluetooth buttons from simple toggles to connection list triggers. After more than 1,500 issue tracker stars in just a few days, Google has relented.

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Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 5 - the final preview - is available for download

The Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 5 is available now - get it right here (OTA images here). There's an official blog post accompanying the release from Dave Burke here, as well. What do you need to know? Preview 5 will be the final preview release for Android Nougat. The next major update that comes for supported Nexus devices will be the official Android 7.0 OTA.

Here are the notable changes from Google, among which is a disclaimer that this update breaks Android Auto Google Maps, with the explanation that a new version of Maps (v9.31) will be released in the coming weeks to address this problem.

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It may soon be possible to run Windows software on Android and Chromebooks

Chromebooks started as just a portal to web apps, but more powerful extensions eventually made them a little more robust. Now, the Play Store is rolling out on Chromebooks to add a ton of new functionality. But... what about Windows apps? A company called CodeWeavers is tantalizingly close to making that happen thanks to the new Android support. So, we're talking about Windows on both Android and Chrome. As you can see from the image above, they are very, very excited about the prospect.

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[5 Minutes at the gym] Google will start telling you how long people usually spend at a location

Google Search, not Google Maps, is adding a new feature when you search for a place. You'll get the usual card with the photo, location, open hours, description, reviews, and more, but there will be a new section there called Plan your trip with the duration people typically spend at this location.

This information won't show up for every single place you might look at. It will most likely be limited to popular touristic and historical locations with lots of foot traffic where Google can aggregate data from different visits and figure out how long people usually stay there.

This, along with the Popular times graph that was added last year to Maps (and Google Places) should help you plan your visits to different destinations more effectively, especially when you're on holiday or traveling.

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[Update: Now available] ZeroLemon's 8500mAh battery case for the Nexus 6P will be available later this month for $60

As a design element, the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner has its fans and its detractors. I'm going to bet that ZeroLemon, suppliers of almost ridiculous battery-boosting cases and replacement shells to the rich and poor, aren't fans. A big honking fingerprint sensor hanging out in the otherwise barren plains of a phone's rear housing means a big hole in any cases made for it, and thus less space to shove every possible spare milliamp into a battery case. So it is with ZeroLemon's latest addition to its power collection, a battery-case combo for the flagship Nexus 6P.

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Hangouts 11 lets you invite more people to groups with a shared link (before WhatsApp, for once)

Hangouts 11 has been around for a couple of days, but with no official changelog yet, we've had to figure out by ourselves that it enabled video messaging and removed merged SMS and chat conversations. There was another undiscovered feature lurking though, but it was just waiting for a server-side switch to start showing up for users.

Hangouts is adding the option to create and share a link to any group conversation. This, if you recall, is a feature that has been rumored to be coming to Whatsapp for a couple of months already and has been almost live since last month.

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AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Google offer free calls and texts to France following Nice attack

These posts are never fun to write, and we've been writing a lot of them lately. Odds are you've heard about the attack in Nice, France that took place several hours ago. I won't recount the specifics, but at times like this all the backbiting among the big US wireless companies stops. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all announced free calls and texts to France so those with loved ones in the region can check in. Google is also waving fees for calls to Nice on its various platforms.

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