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Android Messages v2.9 prepares to launch Allo-like web interface, Google-enhanced chat features, and payments to businesses [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of Android Messages rolling out to our phones. So far, we haven't seen any significant changes to the UI, but huge things are happening under the surface. A teardown reveals Google is getting ready to launch a web interface that would allow users to pair their phones with a computer for all of their texting needs. Google may also be planning to offer its own enhanced chat features to work with RCS messaging. And finally, it looks like we'll be able to buy things from companies right from within Android Messages. Grab the APK at the bottom of the post if you'd like to get your hands on it before everybody else.

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The new Google Calendar web interface can now parse times in event titles

Google started a slow rollout of a revamped Google Calendar on the web some months ago. It recently threw the switch to make it the default interface for everyone, but as usual, some features from the old UI were missing. Today, the option to put dates in the title of events has returned.

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Should Progressive Web Apps be allowed in the Play Store?

When the iPhone was first released, there wasn't an App Store. During the announcement at WWDC 2007, Steve Jobs said that web apps would be the only development platform for the iPhone. The decision obviously didn't stick, with Apple announcing the App Store just a year later, but it started the idea of mobile-first web apps (that weren't basic WAP sites).

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Mozilla's experimental Servo engine adds WebVR support with Daydream VR

WebVR is quickly gaining support across multiple browsers, including Google Chrome and Samsung's Browser. Firefox supports WebVR on mobile and the desktop, but now Mozilla's experimental 'Servo' engine will work with virtual reality content too.

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InBrief
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Google rolling out video attachment streaming to Gmail on the web

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You can now preview encrypted Microsoft Office documents in Google Drive

Google Drive is usually pretty good at previewing non-Docs files. You can open Microsoft Office documents, OpenDocument files, PDFs, images, compressed archives, and more. But previewing encrypted Office Documents hasn't been possible - until now.

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[Updated] Voice website banner mentions 'The new Google Voice,' but nothing seems to have changed

Remember Google Voice? Google's first stab at a voice-over-IP system is still up and running, though much of its functionality has been absorbed or augmented by the SMS and calling functions of Hangouts. It's a bit dusty in the Voice closet - the desktop web version of the service looks like a relic, and the Android app has only received a couple of maintenance updates in the last year and a half. But users who still rely on Google Voice as their primary phone number (like me!) have reason to be hopeful that the service hasn't been completely abandoned.

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Image drag-and-drop now works on the new Google+ web interface

Ever since Google+'s web interface was revamped, one function has been absent from the new redesign: image drag-and-drop. This meant that you had to click on the image picker, browse through a file system, then choose the image you want to insert into a new post or a comment. It's especially counter-productive when you're already flipping through your images and you think you've found one that you want to share on G+.

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Mozilla announces Project Quantum, an improved rendering engine for Firefox

I'm sure many of you, like myself, use Google Chrome as your main browser. Chrome was built from scratch, with the exception of its engine (which was WebKit at the time), to be for the modern web. The internet is no longer a series of text-only pages with images, and Chrome was built with modern web applications and security in mind.

If you don't know, a rendering engine is the part of a web browser that displays content. Chrome and Opera use Blink, Safari uses WebKit, and so on. Firefox's engine, called Gecko, has been around for ages. In fact, it was originally developed for Netscape Navigator all the way back in 1997 to replace their existing rendering engine.

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Search recommendations now appear inside Google search results

Google has long offered related searches at the bottom of search results, but this is a bit different. The above widget, which now appears for some users when you tap on a search result and then go back, shows relevant searches to whatever page you tapped on.

As opposed to the related search results at the bottom of each results page, this appears directly under whatever link you picked. Considering the vast amount of searches I do on my phone don't require me to scroll all the way down to the bottom, it makes sense to add recommendations directly into results. Additionally, the results seem to be tailored to the link itself, as opposed to being based on your query.

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