Android Police

Apps/Games

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[Update: Now available for everyone] Google Maps Go beta expands to the US

Google started a beta program for Google Maps Go—the lightweight low-data version of Google Maps—back in January, but at the time you couldn't actually install it on non-Go phones or in most countries. That was a bit disappointing; while the app itself might be nothing more than a shell for the PWA accessible via Chrome, it was still bound to come in handy as a shortcut for those on slower connections. Now Google has decided to let more of us in on the fun, as the beta program on Google Play has expanded to the US.

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Play Store v8.9 hints at modular APKs, peer-to-peer sharing of app updates, and viewable edit history for reviews [APK Teardown]

Version 8.9 of the Play Store began rolling out earlier today, but as usual, you're probably not going to spot a lot of changes. However, I've been watching the last few updates and there have been clues for a few projects that are slowly coming together. Some truly cool things may be coming to us later this year, including what appears to be apps that can be downloaded in separate pieces. It also looks like users in data-constrained regions will soon be able to share updates with each other. Finally, we may soon be able to see a history of the edits users have made to their app reviews.

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[Update: Now being populated] Google Play Store shows a new Notifications section for some users

It appears that the Play Store team is testing another new feature in the Android app, though you may like this one more than the new tab bar that's been rolling out to more and more devices. In the side menu of the Play Store, some users are seeing a new Notifications section, right below My Apps & games.

Tapping on it opens a dedicated Notifications screen, where both of our tipsters have only seen the below "You're all caught up" graphic.

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Google has killed the shortcuts at the top of the Feed

Remember those shortcuts at the top of the Feed in the Google app for things like weather and restaurants? They've been missing from the app for the past week or two. Turns out, their absence isn't an oversight. Google has intentionally removed those shortcuts from the Feed. 

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Google opens the door to on-demand, personalized movies, adds Valentine's Day theme

Google's been playing around with its "Movie Concepts" montages in Google Photos for a year and a half now. In that time the app has brought us cats, smiles, holidays, and more, all based on the photos we take. But that's all been an automatic process almost entirely outside our control, with some people never even seeing these videos. All that changes today, as Google has now given us the ability to make our own themed movies in Google Photos. It's also introducing a new Valentine's Day theme for the upcoming holiday.

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Google rolled out the Maps traffic layer to 10 more countries

You might take for granted that you can just open Google Maps and see what traffic is like, but that feature sin't available everywhere. There are still numerous countries that don't support live traffic, but today ten more of them do. Google has updated its support docs to call out the newly supported markets, but not all of them will get the same features.

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Long Hat House's metroidvania 'Dandara' is officially out on Android

The beauty of Long Hat House's Dandara lies in its controls. Since it exists as a metroidvania title that includes plenty of platforming gameplay, the use of a unique shooting mechanic for its movement makes it that much more palatable on touchscreen devices. It's refreshing how well this mechanic lends itself to mobile-centric gaming thanks to how precise your movements can be. And honestly, it allows Dandara's level design and gameplay to shine just as much as they would on any other platform.

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[Update: Probably being revamped] Google might be scrapping plans for the 'Chrome Home' bottom address bar interface

For over a year, Google has been testing an experimental interface in Chrome for Android, nicknamed 'Chrome Home.' It first appeared in October, and at that point, the only change was the address bar being at the bottom of the screen (instead of at the top). Then the New Tab Page was revamped with a bottom tab bar, and in August of last year, the UI was changed again.

Despite the interface being in development for so long, it has never been widely rolled out. It has been enabled by default in Chrome Beta, Dev, and Canary, but only a very small number of Chrome stable users have it.

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Google Wifi adds app shortcuts, prepares batch testing and something called port opening in BV10144 update [APK Teardown]

If your home or business is keeping wireless devices connected through a Google Wifi, you'll be getting an update to the companion app today. The new version brings a pair of app shortcuts for those of us using it on Android 7.1 or above, but that's about it for visible changes. A teardown adds to the subject with hints of a new batch testing feature and settings for something called "port opening."

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