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Google will soon offer automatic APK size optimization to developers

Apps are probably one of the biggest uses of space on your device, and they might be slimming down in the future. Google is preparing to offer developers an automatic APK optimization service. The idea is to deliver smaller APKs to users that have all the extraneous bits stripped out.

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Devs can now autosize TextViews

Google has been smoothing Android's rougher edges over the last few revisions, but there's one thing you interact with constantly that still needs some work: text. Until now, developers had to specify a text size, and that's all the text would be without third-party workarounds—even if that meant it was super-tiny or so big it overflowed. Now, they can create "autosizing TextViews" with Google's tools.

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Google is working on a new payment API for the web and mobile

Manually entering your payment information every time you check out on a new site (or app) is incredibly annoying. In fact, Google says virtual shopping carts are abandoned twice as often on mobile for that very reason. To help alleviate this problem, it looks like Google is working on a PayPal-like payment API that works on desktop and mobile.

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On your feet soldier, Terminator Genisys: Future War is on the Play Store

Arnold Schwarzenegger is no stranger to the mobile gaming scene. Two years ago he starred in a Super Bowl commercial for the now popular strategy game Mobile Strike. Schwarzenegger also had his likeness appear in a Glu developed movie tie-in game. Disappointingly, these experiences must have been just the taste he needed of our sweet, sweet in-app purchase fueled market, as there is now a new mobile game bearing his likeness. It is titled Terminator Genisys: Future War, and it is the latest stab at cashing in on the Terminator franchise.

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Redesigned Pixel Launcher makes early appearance at Google I/O

A brand new Pixel Launcher UI has been spotted at Google I/O during a sandbox session on Instant Apps. We've not seen anything official about it yet, so it's either going to be debuted soon, or somebody messed up and it's not even a fully tested product. It seems the unreleased launcher was being used to demo new functionality relating to the now more widely available Instant Apps, which it can show in search results alongside those on the Play Store. Previously, the launcher could only display apps already installed on your device.

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Funny video: 8 accents are tested on Google Home, Alexa, and Siri with 4 different questions

 

Google's speech recognition error rate is getting lower and lower - yesterday, the company said it's now under 5% and has dropped from 8.5% this time last year. And I find that to be more and more the case in my own use: Google seems to recognize almost everything I throw at it now, even when I add Lebanese/Arabic names from my contacts list that I wouldn't expect it to get right.

But if you're wondering how Google's speech recognition fares in comparison to other voice assistants, Wired has made a video in conjunction with Andy Wood and Matt Kirshen (from Probably Science) to show you just that.

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Android O feature spotlight: More natural movement with physics-based animations

Animations in apps can often be jerky or unrealistic, but in Android O Google plans to give developers tools to make animations buttery smooth and natural with the power of physics. It should also be much simpler to make animations with this system.

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The emoji support library in Android O means your phone won't need OS updates for new emoji anymore

One of the more annoying aspects of owning a smartphone on a not fully-updated version of Android can be emoji. Not how they look, but which ones your device supports. If you're running an older OS version, you probably don't have the latest Unicode revision of the emoji character library, and that can lead to the infamous blank square issue.

With Android O, Google is going to solve this problem, even if in a less-than-ideal way.

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Google's new Visual Positioning Service will guide you through indoor locations

We are all familiar with GPS. It has been guiding us to our destinations for years. But what happens when you arrive and you need to find a specific store in the mall or a specific item in a grocery store? Google will have you covered with a new technology it announced today called "Visual Positioning Service" or VPS. This technology builds on the idea of augmented reality tightly coupled with real world information. It will look for distinct visual features in your environment to create a map of the location using only the camera on your phone.

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Google launches new vitals tools in the Play Console Dashboard to find and solve problems

In one more slice of I/O developer news, Google has launched another set of tools for developers using its Console Dashboard for apps on Google Play. The new tool automatically analyzes app reports to show developers pertinent info about app issues. This is the 2nd big feature about making app performance and bug fixing easier for developers after the new visual profiler tools in the latest preview of Android Studio.

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