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Google Allo's incognito chats have Snapchat-like expiring messages, private notifications, and encryption keys

The nice graphic you see above is the background of all your incognito conversations on Google Allo. It's one of the visual cues the app uses to let you differentiate between a regular chat and an incognito one. But what are these more secure chats and how exactly do they work?

Based on information we've obtained from a test preview version of Allo, here is what you should expect.

First, these chats are end-to-end encrypted (we've known they'll be using the Signal protocol for a while) with unique identity keys for each participant. One of the side effects of encryption is that Google Assistant doesn't work in them.

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[Revolutionary] Google Allo will let you search all of your conversations... inside the app

One thing has always annoyed me about Hangouts: there's no search option. How can you have a messaging service and not allow people to search through their conversations inside the service?! That's beyond comprehension. Of course there's a way to circumvent it by searching through chats in Gmail. But that neither was intuitive nor made sense unless you were familiar with the feature.

According to screenshots we've received from a test preview version of Allo, Google's new messaging app doesn't suffer from that silly limitation. Search is well implemented and it's universal throughout the app. There's a search icon on the top right of the main screen that lets you look for a contact/group's name (in case you have lots of chats and need to quickly find a specific person/group) or any word(s) inside a chat.

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[Update] Media sharing on Allo: GIFs, compression, annotation, and some limitations

When talking to a contact on Google's upcoming Allo messaging application, there are a few different types of attachments you can send. We've already discussed voice messages and stickers, but you can also share your current location, a photo or video taken instantly with your camera, and also media files taken from your camera roll. Unfortunately, sending other types of files like music or documents doesn't seem to be possible - at least not with the test preview version of the app that we're basing this information on.

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Google Allo's voice messaging interface looks awesome, with an eery resemblance to WhatsApp's

Google Allo is clearly one of the most audacious apps to be released by the company in recent times. Not only is it a departure from what Google has long been invested in doing with Hangouts, but it's also trying to catch up in one swift release with competing messaging apps that have been around the block for many years and have had time to perfect their approach.

So it seems logical that the Allo team got some "inspiration" from other messaging services. I can think of a couple of reasons why many of the screenshots we've obtained of Allo eerily resemble WhatsApp — and maybe other messaging apps too (I wouldn't know, I only use WhatsApp so it's the only one I can compare these against).

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Samsung Milk Music is officially shutting down September 22

Samsung introduced the world to its Milk Music service back in March of 2014, and the name "Milk Music" was just as odd back then as it is now. It started off as an exclusive app available only on select Samsung Galaxy devices, and we gave it a positive review for being simple and having no ads.

Samsung eventually expanded support to more of its own devices, and last March they created a desktop web app. But Milk Music's time started to run short when Samsung shut down Milk Video in November 2015.

Now Samsung has unceremoniously announced the end of Milk Music.

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PSA: You can control YouTube playback with OK Google voice commands

Google Now has a tendency to add voice commands without most people noticing. Besides the few listed in-app, Google hides most of its commands, perhaps the most useful ones. For example, Google's voice actions have been integrated and implemented within YouTube, so you can control video playback with your mi... wait, no that's the next update.

To get started, just start playing any video in the YouTube app. Then you can use any of these voice commands, triggered by the "OK Google" keyword, provided you have enabled its detection from any screen:

  • "Pause" - Pauses the video.
  • "Play" - Resumes the video.
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[Deal Alert] Pick up a new OnePlus 2 for $240 on eBay

If the Galaxy S7 deal from yesterday was out of your budget, you might wanna take a look at this one. The OnePlus 2 isn't the Shenzhen-based company's top dog anymore, but it's still a pretty decent smartphone. Now, you can pick one up in new condition from an eBay seller with 99.3% feedback on over 110k ratings for just $240.

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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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Samsung to fix "ordered too early" issue for T-Mobile Note7 pre-order gifts

Starting with the Galaxy S7 series, Samsung began offering gifts to customers who pre-ordered their phones. If you pre-ordered a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, you got a free Gear VR. The South Korean tech giant offered a similar promotion, arguably even better, for the Galaxy Note7—you could choose to receive either a Gear Fit 2 or a 256GB microSD card. But a number of T-Mobile users are having issues claiming their gifts.

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