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India

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Uber is piloting a Lite version of its rider app in India

Scaled down versions of apps are nothing new; Google has made plenty of "Go" apps made specifically for emerging markets where internet connections are unreliable, phones are generally less capable, and plans offer less data. Uber is now getting in on the act, too.

Uber Lite has been built with India in mind — where it's currently being piloted — but it will be coming to other regions around the world later on. It's been designed to save space, weighing in at only 5MB (or about three selfies as Uber helpfully points out), and run on any Android phone. Even when on a network with poor connectivity, a response time of just 300ms is touted, so you should be able to book a ride almost immediately.

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[Update: APK Download] Neighbourly is Google's new community Q&A app for India

Google's been focusing on India a lot lately. Following Areo, a food delivery and home services app, and Tez, a mobile payments app, the company has just introduced Neighbourly, a Q&A app through which you can ask and answer questions about places and events in your community. 

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Samsung announces Galaxy J6, J8, A6, and A6+ in India

There are some new budget smartphones from Samsung launching in India soon. Samsung just announced not one, not two, not even three, but four new smartphones. The devices are in the J and A series, so you probably know roughly what to expect. The most expensive of them is Rs 25,990, which works out to around $380.

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Facebook adds new Stories features, starting in India

Facebook is rolling out a number of new Stories features today, starting in India. The social network is adding voice posts, an archive for shared Stories, and the option to save photos and videos from the Facebook Camera directly to Facebook's servers to conserve local storage space.

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Set YouTube as your default Music provider on Google Assistant (even outside the US)

Ever since Assistant rolled out, you have been able to ask it to play any YouTube music video you wanted, except you had to say "watch [this video] on YouTube" from your phone, or if you were using a Google Home speaker, you could ask to "play [something] on the tv/chromecast." The "watch," "on YouTube," and, "on tv" distinctions had to be used, because Assistant considered YouTube as a video source (like Netflix) and not a music one (like Play Music). However, many of you go to YouTube as the first (and maybe only) music source and if you're one of these users, you'll be happy to know you can finally tell Assistant to set YouTube as your default music provider.

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Moto Z Play update to Android 8.0 Oreo is starting to roll out in India

Lenovo-owned Motorola isn't always that fast when it comes to updating the OS of its older phones. It took a critical post from us late last year to get the company to honor its promise of releasing an 8.0 Oreo update for the Moto G4, for example. The Moto Mod-compatible Z Play from 2016 received Android 7.1.1 Nougat last summer, and now it's finally getting Oreo.

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Google Home and Home Mini launch in India for Rs 9,999 and 4,499, respectively

The signs have been popping here and there and everywhere and now it's finally official: Google is bringing its smart speaker duo, the Home and Home Mini, to India. But before you get ahead of yourself and jump in excitement, you may want to do a double check on the prices: Rs 9,999 for the larger Home (approx. $154) and 4,499 (approx. $69). As always, prices outside the US are higher, and the sting is even more palpable in this case when the Home is over a year old and has been discounted to around $80 a few times and the Mini to $29 in the US.

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Google Home gets support for Saavn and Gaana music streaming services in India

Google has just launched English support in India, but that's not all. It's also rolling out support for a few region-specific music services. Users of Saavn and Gaana can plug their accounts into Home and make them a default music streaming service. It only takes a few taps.

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Mid-range Pixel for developing markets could land this summer (joined in India by Home, Nest stuff, practically everything Google sells)

Whether you're selling phones or powering the platforms behind them, there's little that's more exciting for a company seeking out growth opportunities than a rapidly expanding market. As other markets around the globe see slumping projections or sales threatening to plateau, India's doing gangbusters, and last year sales of smartphones were up 14 percent. This growth hasn't gone unnoticed, and today we're checking out some signs of Google's increasing interest in India, including rumors of a possible new Pixel phone targeting India and other “price-sensitive” markets.

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Google Maps shortcuts are live for some users with 14 quick actions to choose from

In Cody's past teardowns of Google Maps, one option popped up a few times: Shortcuts. Until now, we hadn't seen the feature yet and hadn't received any tips about it, but it looks like it's starting to go live for some users. Our tipster has it in his Google Maps v9.72.2 but we can't replicate it on our versions yet so it seems to be a server-side update.

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