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Google Duo v25 prepares to help users deal with a low battery and low volume [APK Teardown]

As we hit the last few days before Christmas, app updates from Google have gone from a firehose to a slow trickle. It's only natural that most of the developers don't want to ship any major updates right before their holiday plans for fear that they might be called in to fix a catastrophe. Hey, I've done it too. Nevertheless, there's a new version of Google Duo rolling out today. It probably comes as no surprise that this one isn't taking any unnecessary risks either. There are a few very minor tweaks to the interface. However, there is a little bit for a quick teardown, so let's get into it.

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Here are 19 temporarily free and 99 on-sale apps, including titles from Square Enix, OUYA, Noodlecake, and more

Welcome to Wednesday. The week before Christmas is already half over, and to celebrate the impending holiday, I have a Black Friday-size, gargantuan list for you all (much, much larger than Monday's). We have stuff from Square Enix, Noodlecake, OUYA, and a whole bunch more. If you're not aware, Nvidia is running a massive sale on both Android and GeForce NOW games, which you can check out here. Also, while we're on the topic of Noodlecake, be sure to look at the new Humble Bundle — we're giving away 10 codes, too.

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Twitter can finally do two-factor authentication without SMS

In this age of data breaches and keylogging malware, passwords might not be enough to secure your accounts. That's where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes into play. These single-use codes can keep your data safe, but not all services support 2FA in the standard way. Case in point, Twitter sends a text message for 2FA codes even after you set up an authentication app. So annoying, but you can finally turn SMS off.

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Fascinating read: How Google Maps has moved so far ahead of the competition

Justin O’Beirne is what you would call a modern cartographer. He has long believed that the future of map making has to be intertwined with technology, and his career has seen him work in Cupertino contributing to Apple's Maps platform. He's also an avid blogger and public speaker and even spoke at Google I/O back in 2011 about styling digital maps for enhanced usability.

On his website, O'Beirne likes to track the progress of different map apps, comparing them against previous versions and each other. His most recent post looks in depth at Google Maps and just how far ahead of the rest of the pack it is.

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Favorites Lock Screen from Microsoft Garage puts your news and interests front and center

Microsoft Garage's project keeps pumping up new apps and ideas for Android and the latest is Favorites Lock Screen. As the name implies, this is a lockscreen replacement app that puts emphasis on your favorite things. Unlike Microsoft's graduated Next Lock Screen, this one is still in its infancy and it shows. The icon is disturbingly low-res and the interface doesn't feel half as polished as Next. However, it could still be worth checking out if you'd like some news to go with your phone unlocking.

The idea behind Favorites is to have two screens: one has an HD image with a Bing search bar, camera icon, and quick access to Bing searches for the character in the wallpaper; and the second has a stream of news for your favorite topics.

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Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills, and one of them is being a Waze voiceover

Waze frequently features celebrity voiceovers, but none of the people behind them had a set of skills as particular as the newest entrant's. Actor Liam Neeson's voice has made its way to Waze, meaning that you can now be navigated by the protagonist of Taken himself.

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Lyft annouces a new partnership with Aira to make ridesharing easier for the visually impaired

Lyft's been on a roll this year when it comes to adding assistive technologies to its ridesharing app. Back in April, it was still playing catch-up with Uber by adding new features to help the hard of hearing. Now it's working together with Aira, a high-tech assistive service for the visually impaired, to help make grabbing a ride easier for everyone.

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Google reveals how Chrome's ad-blocker will work when it goes live February 15th

Advertising is the lifeblood of Google, so the company has always had an understandably awkward relationship with ad-blocking software. Google seems to understand why people use ad-blockers, though. There are a lot of terrible ads out there, but blocking them all is bad for Google. That's why Chrome is getting an ad-blocker for "bad ads" soon, and now we know how it'll work.

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Facebook will use facial recognition technology to alert you when you show up in someone's photo

Everyone has a camera in their pocket now, and they all have places to post those photos on the internet. If you're a little sensitive about how often you show up in pics on the internet, Facebook has a new privacy tool that may interest you. Using facial recognition technology, Facebook can alert you to any photos in which you're visible regardless of whether or not you've been tagged.

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Reddit adds mods tools and improved visual experience in major app update

Reddit users have countless options for mobile apps (not literally countless, but so many I didn't bother counting), with all manner of variations for experiencing "the front page of the internet" on a smartphone. Now, Reddit itself is making a stronger play to bring users over to its official client app, announcing a slew of new features for both its Android and iOS apps, addressing the needs of moderators and improving the way users experience visual content.

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