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Google’s app for iOS receives the Material Design treatment

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After we’ve seen it update all of its Android apps to use the Material Design that it’s so proud of, Google has now apparently moved on to iOS. So the Google search app for Apple’s mobile OS is today getting an update to version 5.0.0, and one of the biggest new things is the addition of the Material Design language.

Additionally, there are a few new features in tow too. The Recents view shows you the pages you recently visited, the Google button lets you start a search with just one tap (wherever you are in the app), and Google Maps allows you to explore interactive maps, nearby places, and Street View right inside the search app (though only on iPhone for now). Read more »

YouTube for Android with offline playback, but only in certain Asian markets

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After the recent mass roll-out of the new material design look, the YouTube app is once again receiving special treatment from Google. The latest addition to the video streaming service is the long-requested feature of offline video playback.

This sounds incredibly exciting, but before you head on to the Play Store eager for an update, there are a few catches. The new feature is initially available only in India, Indonesia and the Philippines and only for select video content, or as Google put it: “much of [the] popular YouTube content”. So if you happen to reside in the aforementioned areas, look out for an offline icon on certain clips to see the feature in action. Read more »

Hangouts for Android gets Material Design update, stickers, video filters, and more

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If you have been using Hangouts for some time now, you’d know the app was in some serious need for overhaul. Not only was it not updated to Google’s new Material Design but also had several other issues.

That all seems to have been taken care of in the latest update, however, which not only brings an updated design but also several other features and improvements. For starters, the app now conforms to Material Design guidelines and looks a lot better, if not significantly better. Read more »

Facebook’s Trending section makes it to Android

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Back in January, Facebook introduced a new Trending section on its website. And starting today, Trending is going to be available inside Facebook’s Android app. It will only be seen by people in the US for now, however. Support for Trending on iOS and for other countries is reportedly “coming soon”, though with no time frame attached.

Trending helps you discover stuff that is interesting, relevant conversations about hot topics, and stories from different sources. Read more »

Here Maps for Android is now available from the Google Play Store

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The Nokia that still exists after Microsoft bought off its mobile device-making unit has been working on a version of its Here Maps app for Android for quite a while now. A beta version has been available through sideloading since October, and today it arrived in the Google Play Store.

This will surely make it a lot more accessible for more people, as not everyone with an Android device knows what sideloading is or how to do it. Even so, however, apparently more than a million people had downloaded Here Maps for Android prior to it going live in the Play Store. That’s quite an achievement. Read more »

Here apps for Windows Phone get updates, 18 more countries with navigation

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The Here suite of apps for Windows Phone has been updated today. All of the apps have new versions waiting to be downloaded and installed, but perhaps the biggest changes are brought to the Here Drive+ app. It now supports voice-guided navigation in 18 more countries or territories.

These are Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Iraq, Libya, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nepal, Paraguay, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This brings the total number of countries and territories in which voice-guided directions are available to 118. Read more »

VLC for Android drops beta tag, brings bug fixes and improvements

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After spending over 2 years in beta, the VLC for Android app has finally graduated to stable release. Although the stable release brings a host of bug fixes, no new features have been added. In fact, Chromecast streaming support, which was promised earlier this year, is still missing.

Specifically, the release fixes Android 5.0 crashes as well as issues that affected devices with ARMv8 processors. In addition, the updated app also brings along a new interface (available in dark or white colors), an equalizer, playlist management, Widi screens support, DVD iso and menu support and updated SD cards detection. Finally, hardware acceleration is now enabled by default on Android 4.3 and higher, and software decoding has been accelerated too. Read more »

Next Lock Screen for Android gets new update

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Microsoft has been tinkering quite a lot with Android applications lately, even if with mixed success. One of their more interesting creations for the platform is the Next Lock Screen – a smart, location-aware lockscreen that pulls relevant information from user apps and places it right beside notifications for easy access.

Now Microsoft’s experimental brain child has gotten even smarter. The latest update adds weather information to the mix as well as a visual redesign with a lot more freedom for customization. Read more »

Microsoft update brings Torque Search to Android smartphones

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Remember that nifty search app for Android Wear by Microsoft called Torque? The Redmond giant’s garage team has expanded its functionality to Android smartphones with an update to version 2.0.

Activating Torque Search on an Android smartphone is just as easy as doing it on a wearable device. Read more »

YouTube for Android is the latest app to get material design

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YouTube for Android got received a major update. Version 6.0.11 of the application brings Android 5.0’s sleek material design to the popular video sharing platform.

In addition to the fresh new look, the latest YouTube for Android offers revamped navigation panel. Read more »

Cortana lands in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain

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After initially only being available in the US, Cortana was enabled for China and the UK too this summer. And now Microsoft’s virtual assistant is making it to four more countries: France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Today, Microsoft has announced that it will start rolling out an update for the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program which will make Cortana available in these new places as an “alpha”. Read more »

Redesigned Google Play store for Android is coming our way

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Google is about to launch a redesigned Play store app for Android. Version 5.1 of the application features refreshed looks and layout changes.

The upcoming new Android Play store features full-height navigation drawer and real-time card shadows. Read more »

Google Messenger updated, now allows you to choose contact colors

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Just a few weeks after releasing it, Google has updated its Messenger app with the ability to allow you to choose your own colors for individual contacts, a feature requested by many. Earlier, the app used to do this automatically.

To access the feature, go to the “People and Options” button from the overflow menu and select the color you want to assign to the contact. In addition, the update also brings some Material Design related animations following complaints of a significant delay and lag in the old sliding animation. Read more »

Play Store version of PayPal app now includes fingerprint support for Samsung devices

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One of the main purposes of the fingerprint scanners, incorporated in various current devices is user authentication. But besides trivial tasks, like unlocking, which is often more of a novelty that an actual useful feature, fingerprint identification has a much more serious possible use – verifying online payments.

PayPal has had a successful partnership with Samsung, bringing the futuristic security feature through its Android application to supported devices. Until now, however, this was done on a separate branch of the PayPal app that was only distributed through Samsung’s own Application Store. Now the internet payment giant has taken another step forward in the utilization of the technology by incorporating support for fingerprint authentication in the Google Play Store version of the PayPal app as well. Read more »

AirDroid 3 released with new Windows and Mac apps

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AirDroid for Android has been given a major update in v3.0. The app now has companion desktop apps for Windows and Mac that brings iOS Continuity like features to your Android device.

With the new desktop app, you can get notifications from your phone on your computer. You can reply to SMS from your computer or pick up or receive calls (calls can only be answered from the phone, however). You can also mirror apps on your computer, so you can, for example, reply to WhatsApp messages from your PC. Mirroring apps only works on rooted devices for now. Read more »