Android Police

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The most interesting smartphone innovations in the last year (or so)

We've seen our mobile devices evolve from novelties to ubiquitous, do-it-all pocket supercomputers in just a few decades. Lately, though, there's been a sense of fatigue about the progression of mobile technology: the breakneck pace of big-ticket advancements has slowed, and even devices which we can't find fault with just seem kind of meh. Smartphones have matured, and the days of the next big thing actually being something big are largely behind us, but that doesn't mean improvements have stopped altogether. Here are a few of the noteworthy innovations and trends we've seen over the past 12 months.

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Google makes it easier for veterans to find jobs, as well as businesses led by other service members

As with many other large businesses in the US, you'll find plenty of former military personnel working at Google. Some of them have put their heads together to come up with some ways to make things easier for veterans as they move on to the next phase of their life.

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Google and several other tech companies pushing for a new federal privacy law

Online privacy is a touchy subject, with all of us falling on different parts of the how-much-do-I-actually-care spectrum. In general, though, most people seem to understand that the companies whose products we use or rely on daily, like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, are collecting a lot of data on them. The creepiness factor is real, which is why we saw things like the EU's GDPR and California's Consumer Privacy Act appear. In the wake of these, as well as some other problems, a collection of technology giants have come together to lobby for a new federal privacy law, one that returns some of the power back to them. 

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LG announces Android One-toting G7 variant, plus upper mid-range G7 Fit

Thanks to a lack of innovation, multiple models of seemingly the same phone, and some questionable marketing decisions, LG's Android star has lost some of its shine in the last couple of years. The G7 wasn't a bad phone, per se, but it did little to distinguish itself in a crowded notch-heavy field. LG is hoping that two new G series variants will fare better.

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Google Search in India starts showing dictionary definitions in both English and Hindi

If English isn't your native language, you're likely to come across a lot of new words online. As is often the case these days, the first thing you turn to is Google. A simple search for the word gives you a definition card with its different meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and some examples of sentences containing it. But if you live in India, you may start seeing a change in the way definitions are displayed.

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Google News & Weather directs users to the updated Google News

In what isn't surprising "news" for anyone, Google's News & Weather app is slowly being deprecated in favor of the more recent Google News. The application, which was pre-installed on many Android devices in the past and served as a good place to check the news, is now nearing the end of its life.

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How to fully disable 'Ok Google' listening on your Android phone

Our phones being able to respond to voice commands is great: you can ask for a unit conversion in the kitchen without getting flour on your screen, or change your driving destination without taking your eyes off the road. What's less great is that to facilitate that convenience, phones have to be listening at all times, and stopping them from doing so is frustratingly convoluted. There are settings in multiple places that all seem like they should do the same thing, but don't. This guide will explain the menus you'll need to navigate to change these settings, the differences between all the similar-sounding options, and the drawbacks of each Ok Google-disabling method.

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Google Duo comes to the iPad

It took a couple of years for Google Duo to spread its wings beyond single-device support, but now that it has, there's no stopping it. After enabling you to make video calls on multiple devices, including Android tablets, Duo is now expanding from the iPhone to the iPad as well.

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[Update: It's official] Amazon lets you invite others to properly collaborate on lists

If there's one Amazon/eBay feature I've searched for and hoped for in the last few years, it's a collaborative wishlist. Ever since I met my now-husband and we started planning a life together, we've had issues keeping a single list of items we're considering purchasing. Both Amazon and eBay let us share our lists, but by "share," they simply mean let the other person view it. Adding items, editing them, removing things, that was all too much to ask for, unless we were using a Wedding registry on Amazon. For regular Amazon lists, those features didn't exist until now.

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Google teases dark mode for Phone app in Play Store update notes

The Google Phone redesign from earlier this month was met with some conflicting opinions. While many liked the more modern UI, others couldn't stand all of the white that was added. Some hoped that Phone might soon get a dark mode, and it looks like those prayers have been answered. Google has just confirmed that Phone will indeed be getting a dark mode.

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