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Chrome might begin testing a built-in Lazy Loading mechanism for images and iframes

The Chrome team seems to always be working on many ways to quicken page loading times and speed up our access to information. The latest proposed test, which hasn't been implemented yet, is a built-in Lazy Loading mechanism for images and iframes. According to the Google Chromium group, work is underway to test and implement this new feature in Chrome for Android.

What Lazy Loading really means is that the page you open will only load images and iframes above the fold (what you can see), thus speeding up the process so you're not stuck waiting for something at the bottom of the page to load.

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[Update: APK now available] Google releases Assistant Go app on the Play Store

Back at I/O in May last year, Google announced the Android Go initiative; a less intensive version of the OS optimized for cheap phones with little RAM. This was launched in December and to go with it we've seen a number of Google apps get the Go treatment to make them smaller and less memory-hungry.

Apps like Google Maps Go, YouTube Go, Google Go, and Gboard Go are all designed to get the best performance out of the low-cost devices that are typically popular in emerging markets. There's even a brand new app called Files Go that can help you declutter your phone and maintain a healthy amount of free storage.

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[Update: Appears to be live] 'Brand new version' of Google+ for Android will be released soon

Google+ may have fallen off the radar for most people, but it's actually been improving a lot over the last year. The social network used to have a bit of a problem with spam, but Google's been all-out in providing new tools for moderating content. From our vantage, it seems to be making a difference, and now Google is investing even more development into the platform. Leo Deegan, the engineering manager for Google+, has just announced that the company will soon release a "brand new version" of the app. Though it might look and behave similarly, expect significant changes under the hood.

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February 2018 Android platform distribution: Oreo breaks 1% usage and Nougat is finally on top

Android 8.0 has been a low burn since its release last fall. It's been gaining a tenth of a percent here and there on the distribution charts, and Android 8.1 just appeared last month. This month, there's a slightly larger bump that finally pushed the latest and greatest Android up over 1%.

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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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Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and other apps now use the Pixel 2's Visual Core

There's one particularly exciting feature in the Pixel 2 that most people won't notice - the Visual Core. It's a custom chip (developed by Google) designed to speed up HDR+ image processing. It also enables HDR+ for third-party apps, or at least ones that choose to support it. The chip didn't do anything when the Pixel 2 shipped, but it was finally turned on in Android 8.1.

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February 2018 Android 8.1 patches are live for Pixel and Nexus devices

It's time again for another update to Android, and it's rolling out to Google devices starting now. If you just can't wait for the OTA to reach you, there are some files you can download to skip the wait. It looks like most devices just have a single build this month, which will make things much easier.

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Chrome Beta 65 blocks intrusive ads, includes new security features, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 64 was just released to the general public, which means Chrome Beta has bumped up to version 65. This new update includes the ad blocker that is expected to go live on February 15, as well as some security enhancements and minor new developer features. Without further ado, let's get into it.

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Chrome's blocker for redirecting ads won't be turned on until April

If you frequently use your phone or tablet to browse the web, you've probably noticed how some websites randomly redirect you to a fake virus warning or other similar page. This is due to malicious ads breaking out of their frame, and forcing a redirect of the parent page to wherever they want. These harmful ads have infiltrated virtually every ad network, including Google AdSense/AdX.

Google's solution to this problem is a blocker for redirecting ads, which was announced in November of last year (this is separate from the general ad blocker that will arrive later this month). If an ad tried to hijack the parent page, Chrome would block it and tell the user what page it was trying to get to.

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