Android Police

Apps/Games

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Google adds 'Winter Sports' and 'Blocks' AR stickers to Pixel camera [APK Download]

Google's AR efforts go back a few years to the Tango developer devices. It took time for Tango to become a consumer product, and Google killed Tango after just two phone releases. Now it's all about ARCore, which you can experience in the Pixel camera. There's a new version of AR Stickers today that enables two more sticker packs. Strangely, the stickers are a separate download this time.

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Square Enix has officially released 'Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition' for Android, and it's fantastic

About a week ago Square Enix had listed February 9th as the official release date for Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition on the Apple App Store, but it was uncertain if Android would receive the game on the same date. Well, there is no need to wonder any longer as it is now officially available on the Google Play Store. Better yet, the first chapter is completely free to play with each of the 9 subsequent ones ranging in price from $0.99-$3.99 a piece, or $20 for the whole shebang. That's right, Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is a full-on premium release that can be easily playtested at your convenience.

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Chrome will show all HTTP sites as 'not secure' later this year

For years, HTTPS was regarded as only necessary for sites handling critical information, like bank portals. The movement for all sites to use HTTPS has gained traction over the past few years, partially thanks to the availability of free SSL/TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt, and partially thanks to browsers encouraging sites to switch. Starting with version 68, Chrome will start marking all HTTP sites as 'Not Secure.'

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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 isn't available everywhere. There are still numerous countries that don't have live traffic, but today ten more of them do. Google has updated its support docs to call out the newly added markets, but not all of them will get the same features.

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