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Allo for web hands-on: Works well enough, as long as you like Chrome

Google's newest messenger app, Allo, was released about a year ago. The app's momentum dropped shortly after release, but that hasn't stopped Google from continuing to improve it. At long last, Allo has gained a web client, but has it been worth the wait?

Setting it up

Unlike Hangouts and similar cloud-based messaging services, your phone acts as the intermediary between your computer and Allo. Anything you do (send/receive a message, start a new chat, etc) is actually performed by your phone, which sends the response back to your computer. As such, your phone will need a working internet connection for the Allo web client to work.

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Google Home preview program is now available

Google Home is good at a lot of stuff, but it's also missing some very basic features. After nearly a year on the market, this smart speaker still can't set a reminder. Maybe it'll be able to do that soon, though. There's a new preview program rolling out if you want to try the latest software updates a little early.

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[Update: Hidden upcoming features discovered] Google Contacts is now officially available for all devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and above [APK Download]

For anyone tied into Google's ecosystem, storing and managing contacts is best done with the official Contacts app. The Android version recently saw some minor cosmetic changes, improving its already eye-pleasing material look, and the web interface has also employed the same consistent design language since the start of the year. Until recently, the app was only available on Google branded phones, but now compatibility has been extended.

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The Google Phone app could be getting an in-call floating action bar

If there's one thing that's certain in life, it's that Google is always testing some sort of interesting UI change in one of its apps. Some of them end up on the scrapheap, but some of them end up being integral parts of the experience we all have when using our Android devices. The latest test to be discovered is a floating bubble UI in the Google Phone app.

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[It's really happening] Google Calendar's material redesign for the web is now in testing

If you use Google Calendar and have an eye for design you may have noticed that while the Android and iOS versions got material makeovers as early as 2014, the web interface has not been updated to match. A few months ago we got the fantastic news that many of us had long been waiting for. Thanks to a leaked roadmap for G Suite updates, we learned that a redesign for Calendar was penned for the fourth quarter of 2017. We've now been treated to screenshots of the new design in testing, and it doesn't look like it'll disappoint.

Creating an event in the new Google Calendar.

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The Google app and Gboard can now understand 30 more languages

Speech recognition is one of the most powerful aspects of many Google products, particularly in the Google app where Voice Search relies on being able to understand what we're saying. The same is true of Gboard, which is capable of typing up entire messages based on what you dictate to it. We may take it for granted somewhat these days, but it truly is a marvel. Now, this feature can be enjoyed by many more around the globe as Google has added support for 30 further languages.

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YouTube is testing live watch counts in its Android app

Have you ever wondered how many people were watching the same video as you at the same time? Well, if YouTube's test goes as it should, you may not have to for very long. The latest YouTube server-side test we've spotted brings live watch counts to the Android app.

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Google Assistant stops working properly for Android Wear users after faulty Google app update

People are accusing of Google of treating its customers like beta testers more than ever these days, and for good reason - it seems like there's a new problem with a Google product every day. Our latest issue concerns Android Wear, in which Google Assistant is refusing to do virtually anything aside from simple Google searches.

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Google says recurring reminders on Android Wear actually aren't fixed

Android Wear 2.0 has been quite the wild ride. Not only has the update taken months to arrive on most devices (a few are still waiting), but it brings major platform changes that not everyone is happy with. There have been a few major bugs as well, such as recurring reminders being completed without any user interaction.

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Google Camera with HDR+ unofficially ported to Snapdragon 820, 821, and 835 devices

The Google Pixel's camera is one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, partially thanks to Google's proprietary HDR+ image processing. Put simply, HDR+ takes multiple underexposed photos and combines them, reducing image noise in the process (you can read more about it here). But even when the Google Camera was sideloaded onto other devices, HDR+ remained disabled.

A Ukrainian developer on 4PDA named 'B-S-G,' presumably a Battlestar Galactica fan, has created a modified version of the Google Camera 4.4 APK bundled with Android O DP3 (not the version just released on the Play Store).

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