Android Police

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[Update: Now available for everyone] Google Maps Go beta expands to the US

Google started a beta program for Google Maps Go—the lightweight low-data version of Google Maps—back in January, but at the time you couldn't actually install it on non-Go phones or in most countries. That was a bit disappointing; while the app itself might be nothing more than a shell for the PWA accessible via Chrome, it was still bound to come in handy as a shortcut for those on slower connections. Now Google has decided to let more of us in on the fun, as the beta program on Google Play has expanded to the US.

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Play Store v8.9 hints at modular APKs, peer-to-peer sharing of app updates, and viewable edit history for reviews [APK Teardown]

Version 8.9 of the Play Store began rolling out earlier today, but as usual, you're probably not going to spot a lot of changes. However, I've been watching the last few updates and there have been clues for a few projects that are slowly coming together. Some truly cool things may be coming to us later this year, including what appears to be apps that can be downloaded in separate pieces. It also looks like users in data-constrained regions will soon be able to share updates with each other. Finally, we may soon be able to see a history of the edits users have made to their app reviews.

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[Update: Now being populated] Google Play Store shows a new Notifications section for some users

It appears that the Play Store team is testing another new feature in the Android app, though you may like this one more than the new tab bar that's been rolling out to more and more devices. In the side menu of the Play Store, some users are seeing a new Notifications section, right below My Apps & games.

Tapping on it opens a dedicated Notifications screen, where both of our tipsters have only seen the below "You're all caught up" graphic.

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Tip: How to stop websites from displaying that annoying notification prompt in Chrome

Chrome notifications are great in theory, but now that virtually every site supports them, that constant, nagging banner under the URL bar can get annoying fairly quickly. Of course, you can always block each site individually, but that doesn't really solve the issue, since you'll still get the pop-up every time you visit a new site that supports Chrome's notifications.

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2018: New year, new emojis 😲

Last year Unicode announced that the upcoming Emoji 11.0 Beta had 130 new candidates, meaning up to 130 new emoji could be joining the ranks of 🤨, 🏩 , and 🍖. Now that they've had the time to sit and deliberate over which are to be included, Unicode has somehow come up with 27 additional emojis that merited inclusion. Unicode's Emoji 11.0 characters for 2018 will bring 157 new faces/foods/animals.

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Google has killed the shortcuts at the top of the Feed

Remember those shortcuts at the top of the Feed in the Google app for things like weather and restaurants? They've been missing from the app for the past week or two. Turns out, their absence isn't an oversight. Google has intentionally removed those shortcuts from the Feed. 

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Google opens the door to on-demand, personalized movies, adds Valentine's Day theme

Google's been playing around with its "Movie Concepts" montages in Google Photos for a year and a half now. In that time the app has brought us cats, smiles, holidays, and more, all based on the photos we take. But that's all been an automatic process almost entirely outside our control, with some people never even seeing these videos. All that changes today, as Google has now given us the ability to make our own themed movies in Google Photos. It's also introducing a new Valentine's Day theme for the upcoming holiday.

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Google rolled out the Maps traffic layer to 10 more countries

You might take for granted that you can just open Google Maps and see what traffic is like, but that feature isn't available everywhere. There are still numerous countries that don't have live traffic, but today ten more of them do. Google has updated its support docs to call out the newly added markets, but not all of them will get the same features.

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[Update: Now available] Dead Zebra releases Android Mini special edition for Year of the Dog

If you're an Android fan, which is not that far a stretch considering you're reading this, you've probably looked at Dead Zebra's Android Mini figurines and wished you had all the money to buy every single one. And now there's a new one for you to fawn over and maybe make you click that purchase button: a special edition Chinese New Year one for the Year of the Dog.

More than last year's Golden Rooster, the design is very reminiscent of Chinese culture and that bright red is gorgeous to look at. The figurine measures in at 3" in height and has antennae in the shape of dog ears plus a gold painted medallion collar, and it comes in a box with reflective gold foil.

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InBrief
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Google Drive users can now comment on MS Office files, PDFs, and images

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