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[Update: Available for all] Spotify now available in the Middle East and North Africa, if you have an invite

Earlier this year, it was rumored that Spotify would arrive in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) sometime in Q4 2018. It seems the speculation was true, as Spotify has now launched in a handful of MENA countries — but only to those with invites.

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Google and Amazon are closing 'domain fronting' loopholes used to bypass web censorship

For years, governments around the world have tried to block various web services. This has often proved tricky in recent times, as the recent Telegram bans in Iran and Russia revealed. For example, Russia broke countless other sites while attempting to block Telegram, because they shared the same infrastructure (AWS, Google Cloud Messaging, etc).

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New Play Store carrier billing options in Estonia, Bulgaria, Ireland, Lithuania, and Qatar

It's been a while since we've seen any progress on the carrier billing front. Admittedly it's something of a niche feature - if you're using a smartphone there's a good chance that you also have a credit or debit card handy. But if for some reason you'd like to send your Play Store purchases to your wireless provider and pay them along with your bill at the end of the month, it's a handy option. Now it's available on a smattering of new carriers in Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, and Qatar.

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InBrief
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[Update: Lebanon Too] Paid Google Play Newsstand Content Comes To 8 Middle Eastern Countries

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Google Play Books Flip Open In 9 Newly-Supported Middle Eastern Countries

On a new Android device (or an old one), opening up the Play Store is the quickest way to get your hands on a digital book. Thing is, that's only the case if you live in a supported country. Today Play Books are making their way to nine countries throughout the Middle East.

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Google Maps With Navigation Arrives In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan And More MENA Countries

While we still wait for newer products like Play Movies or Play Books to reach a wider audience, Google's been hard at work bringing a slightly more useful product to additional countries: Google Maps with Navigation. After bringing voice navigation to India, nine more new countries are being added to the supported list for the Navigation beta. Including the following:

  • Egypt
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Algeria

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Unfortunately, the service will require Android 4.0 or higher. This is likely due to Arabic script API incompatibilities with older versions. Though, it's a little unclear on just when all the necessary features would've been added (for example, bi-directional text was only added in Jelly Bean).

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