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Google makes Search shortcuts official, helps you find information quicker

Right before the avalanche of Android O news yesterday, Google made one small announcement that we had our eyes on but never really got around to writing: Search shortcuts are now official.

You may remember we first spotted them last September when they had a very distinct circular look, then we saw a newer iteration in November when the circle was ditched but the icons began opening up to more actions, and finally this most recent look started popping up in our tips inbox over the past few weeks. So some of you may already have seen the new Search shortcuts over the last weeks, others will probably start seeing them now.

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Android O feature spotlight: The install source permission is now limited to only user-authorized apps

Installing apps from outside of the Play Store can be a good thing (I mean, it's the whole basis for APKMirror), but it can also lead to trouble. For some time now, a user would have to go into the Security settings and toggle "Install from unknown sources." One of the many changes in Android O is to how this model works — that old option is gone and each app now must be granted the install source permission for APK installation.

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Android O feature spotlight: Custom shortcuts can now be added to the lockscreen via System UI Tuner

Google's version of Android has historically been relatively light on features, but the Mountain View-based company has been rapidly closing that gap. Other implementations of Android have had multi-window for a while now, but that took until 7.0 Nougat to make its way onto stock Android. Now, we're getting another feature that we've seen on other skins: custom lockscreen shortcuts.

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[Update: Maybe not] Android O feature spotlight: Ambient display gets a downgrade

Sometimes updates to Google products are two steps forward, one step back. Ambient display originally showed up in stock Android with the launch of the Nexus 6, which turns on the display for a few seconds when notifications arrive. It has remained a popular feature, but Android O changes it quite a bit.

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Android O feature spotlight: It looks like Android may be getting native support for themes

I cannot fault people for loving the theme support present in certain OEM and custom ROMs. The fact that Google has never implemented them in any sort of official way has been a frustration to many, but we did find something very interesting in the Android O preview. In the display settings, there is a section for "Device theme," which has two options. Hm...

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Android O feature spotlight: System UI Tuner gets a new navigation bar customizer

If you haven't noticed, today is a big day for Android fans. Android O has been made official, at least in an initial Developer Preview form. We here at Android Police are working hard to bring you relevant information and we figured this one might be of interest to some of you out there: the System UI Tuner is getting a new navigation bar customizer.

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Android O feature spotlight: Home screen notification badges are now supported

Several mobile operating systems support some kind of notification indicator for applications on the home screen. iOS has had notification badges for years now, and one of Windows Phone's most recognizable features are live tiles. Starting with today's O Developer Preview, Android will now officially support notification badges on home screen icons.

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Android O Developer Preview Supports Nexus 5X and 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel and Pixel XL, and Pixel C

As the world turns, so too does the cycle of Android updates. The first part of 2017's version bump, known only as Android O for the time being, was just announced. And just like the last two years, developer preview versions will be available for some of the latest officially supported Google hardware. This year that list includes the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel, and Pixel XL phones, the Pixel C tablet, and the Nexus Player Android TV set-top box. You can download the new images here.

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Android O developer preview images are up, no beta program / OTAs being made available

Android O is launching in preview state today, but you'll have to manually flash the OS to your test device to get a taste. The images and flashing instructions can be found here.

As a reminder, the Nexus 5X, 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL are the supported devices at this time. Google is not offering the O preview as part of the Android Beta Program for now (that will come later, of course), probably to discourage those who would try to daily drive an unfinished OS.

Google has said rather clearly that this early release is intended explicitly for developers and "not intended for daily or consumer use." If you remember the first Android N developer previews from last year, you'll know that's probably not an exaggeration, as many, many things were broken in the earliest builds.

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First Jeep to support Android Auto will be the 2017 Compass

Android Auto has been getting onto more and more car manufacturers and the latest to join the fold is Jeep. An update to the Android Auto site has changed Jeep's state from "Coming Soon" to "Launched."

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