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1 day ago

Google Play Music finally launches in India!

14

Google Play Music is here, and it's everything you've been waiting for.

After several false starts, the moment we've all been waiting for is here. Google Play Music is finally available in India, and at an initial glance, it looks like the entire catalog is available for customers in the country.

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2 days ago

Let's talk about the Pixel's crazy new on-screen keys

108

Android's on-screen buttons get a big overhaul as part of the new Google UI on the Pixel phones. So let's take a look at what's new, and revisit what's come before.

So the first proper render of one of the new Google Pixel phones has leaked out, and with it we're getting a look at some new UI tweaks in that device's software. The Pixel phones put the Google brand front and center, and so we're seeing some significant UI tweaks — not least of which is in Android's soft keys.

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6 days ago

10 Chrome extensions you didn't know existed but should be using

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10 Chrome extensions you didn't know existed but should be using

What are the best Chrome extensions I should be using?

The amount of time most people spend browsing the internet continues to rise each year, and Google's Chrome browser attempts to be the most comfortable and versatile browser out there. To aid in its quest, Google allows for developers to market small software extensions that modify and (in most cases) ameliorate your browsing experience. Here are 10 Chrome extensions you didn't know about but should be using.

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6 days ago

Best third-party camera app for Android

23

Take better photos with a great third-party camera app on Android!

Shooting with your Android camera is usually great, but third-party apps can pack a punch in places you didn't even know you needed! From manual controls to real-time filters, to creative extras and so much more, you can achieve a lot more than you think you can with your phone photography by shooting with a third-party camera app.

Best overall

Open Camera

Free

Download now

Effortless to shoot with and packed with plenty of useful features, Open Camera is a free app that helps you take your phone photography snapshots to the next level.

With features like automatically taking photos with voice commands like 'CHEESE!', shooting RAW files, overlaying grids, locking orientation, volume key configuration, and so much more, Open Camera turns your Android into an even more powerful camera.

You can even use Open Camera to make shooting your videos smoother and simpler, as it supports some external microphones, helps with manual exposure time, and effortlessly focuses to get the perfect video clip every time.

Bottom line: If you're looking for an app that makes your photos and videos look great without confusing the pants off of you, Open Camera is a great call.

One more thing: You can add the date and timestamp along with location coordinates and text to your pictures.

Why the Open Camera is the best

Free, functional, and fun – the way phone photography should be.

Being able to take complete creative control of your Android phone's camera is a rare and sometimes challenging thing to do. There are plenty of third-party apps that exist out there competing to take the place of your standard camera, but very few make things so straight-forward while still allotting the user ample room for creative photographic expression.

The features Open Camera has are pretty vast depending on what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot, and your particular shooting style and taste. You have the option to record your videos in HD while simultaneously zooming with a single-touch control, or shoot RAW (DNG) files along with manual distance focus (if your phone supports it), manual exposure timing, and manual ISO.

Open Camera isn't just for people who know and understand all the bells and whistles of professional photography: it also has some extremely fun and quirky features that make shooting with your Android phone a creative adventure.

Set up remote photo taking with a voice command or a noise – all you have to do is whistle, and your Android device captures the perfect photo! The app also has optional geotagging so you can keep track of when and where you took your photos, while basic, yet practical, features like overlaying a grid disabling the shutter sound makes your entire camera experience smoother and more customized to what you're comfortable with.

At the end of the day, Open Camera does a good, straightforward job of getting users to be more creative with their shots, try out more professional-grade settings, and experiment with their phone photography. What else can you ask for with a camera app?

Best for fun

Prisma

Free

Download now

In the last few months, you've probably noticed more and more photos of people, places, and food (what else is social media for?) being uploaded to Instagram and Facebook with hints of different art styles.

Some photos may look like vivid watercolor paintings, while others resemble rough, charcoal sketches. Some are reminiscent of a specific artist's look and feel, while others mesh mediums like anime to cartoon-ify your photos.

Prisma is an app that works by turning your photos into modern works of art using art style filters. Just shoot your photo with the app – your image will be shot as a square – and then pick and choose the filter you think will look best on your photo! There are dozens of different options to choose from, so try a couple.

Bottom-line: If you want a camera app that mixes creativity and art with simple shooting, then Prisma is your gal.

One more thing: Prisma is an awesome app for social media — spice up your selfie a bit and slap a Heisenberg on that baby.

Best for Manual Controls

Manual Camera

$2.99

Download now

Manual Camera gives whoever is behind the screen complete control of almost all settings. It's almost like having a little DSLR in your pocket, which is perfect for pro phone photographers or people looking to get better versed in photography!

While the standard camera app for Android allows you to control a few settings, Manual Camera takes the basics up a notch with complete manual control of shutter speed, focus distance, exposure compensation, ISO, and white balance.

Unfortunately, this is the only app on the list that costs something, but it's worth noting that you'll be using several different professional settings to capture the clearest photos.

Bottom-line: If you're looking for a professional camera app that lets you adjust your settings and add more than just a few colored filters to your photos, check out Manual Camera.

One more thing: The app runs quickly, so you won't have to worry about waiting for it to load as you miss your perfect shot.

Best for Social Media

Candy Camera

Free

Download now

Fun, straight-forward, and super filter friendly, the Candy Camera is a great tool for shooting the perfect selfie or snapping the ideal social media post!

Candy Camera is a third-party tool that works by overlaying flattering filters overtop of your photos in real-time. That means you can test out what filters look best, and if need be, layer them with other filters before posting.

With the Candy Camera, you also get a couple of insta-makeup editing tools: you can slim your face, whiten your teeth, add concealer, lipstick, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and more!

Bottom-line: Candy Camera is the perfect partner for social media posts and popularity.

One more thing: You can also decorate your photos with stickers in the app. New stickers are even added every update!

Conclusion

Shooting with third-party cameras is important for several reasons: they help you get creative, they help expand your photography horizons, and they help turn your Android phone into the powerful little photography tool it really is.

Best overall

Open Camera

Free

Download now

Effortless to shoot with and packed with plenty of useful features, Open Camera is a free app that helps you take your phone photography snapshots to the next level.

With features like automatically taking photos with voice commands like 'CHEESE!', shooting RAW files, overlaying grids, locking orientation, volume key configuration, and so much more, Open Camera turns your Android into an even more powerful camera.

You can even use Open Camera to make shooting your videos smoother and simpler, as it supports some external microphones, helps with manual exposure time, and effortlessly focuses to get the perfect video clip every time.

Bottom line: If you're looking for an app that makes your photos and videos look great without confusing the pants off of you, Open Camera is a great call.

One more thing: You can add the date and timestamp along with location coordinates and text to your pictures.

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6 days ago

How to opt out of WhatsApp sharing your information with Facebook

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How do I stop WhatsApp from sharing my information with Facebook? There are two ways!

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping $21.8 billion. WhatsApp users everywhere went, "Oh, no. This can't be good." That feeling has finally come to fruition in that WhatsApp will now start sharing your information with Facebookincluding your phone number.

If you don't want Facebook getting ahold of your WhatsApp info, you can opt out in one of two ways.

Here's how!

Note: We're approaching the 30-day limit to opt out of WhatsApp's new privacy policy, so if you haven't done so already, now is a good time to do it.

How to opt out of sharing your WhatsApp information with Facebook in the WhatsApp terms of service

When WhatsApp updates, you'll have to agree to its terms of service all over again, but before you tap agree, you can read more and opt out of sharing your information.

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the upward arrow in the bottom right corner to read more.
  3. Tap the checkbox to opt out of sharing your information with Facebook.

    Launch WhatsApp, tap the upward arrow to read more, tap the checkbox

If you go looking for the Share my account data option in your settings afterward, it won't be there, since you've already opted out.

How to opt out of sharing your WhatsApp information with Facebook if you've already agreed to the new terms of service

If you've already tapped "Agree", you can still opt out:

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the more button in the top right corner. It looks like three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Launch WhatsApp, tap the more button, tap Settings

  4. Tap Account.
  5. Tap the checkbox next to Share my account info.

    Tap Account, tap the checkbox next to Share my account info

Now you're opted out and Facebook isn't getting your phone number, and won't share any information with its parent company to influence the ads you see.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

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1 week ago

Google's latest Android Experiment turns your phone into a paper plane

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Throw a plane, not a phone.

After debuting it at Google I/O this past May, Google and Active Theory have released Paper Planes, an app and Android Experiment that means to bring people together on International Day of Peace (that's today).

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1 week ago

Allo can send you messages on Android even if you don't install it

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Allo notification

On Android, friends with Allo can bug you even if you haven't installed the app yet.

Update: Google has announced that it's opening up App Preview Messaging, which is the Play Services feature powering these notifications, to third-party developers. Allo is a great use case for this feature, but the documentation makes it clear Google sees uses for it beyond growing Allo's user base.

Google has built a unique trick into its new messaging app, Allo, which may help spread its reach throughout the vast Android user base. Allo can send messages to your Android friends, even if they don't have the app installed.

It'll look a little something like this:

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1 week ago

Allo and phone numbers: Everything you need to know

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Allo

How Google's chat app handles phone numbers, multiple devices and switching phones.

Allo is tied to both your Google account — for intelligent predictions and Google Assistant — and your phone number, for helping friends and other contacts find each other. But the phone number requirement also introduces a few limitations in the way you can use Allo.

Here's a thorough breakdown of how things currently work.

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1 week ago

Traveling with Allo? You can swap SIMs without logging out

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Allo + travel

You can activate Allo on your normal number and still use a local SIM for data.

In addition to being linked to your Google account, Allo is tied to your main phone number. That makes things tricky if you use multiple devices — unlike Hangouts, there's no easy way to use it on multiple phones at the same time right now. And the phone number tie-in might seem to make things difficult for travelers too — specifically being stuck on one phone number with the associated roaming costs when traveling abroad.

Fortunately, there's a simple workaround.

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1 week ago

Allo is now available from the Play Store!

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Google's smart messaging app Allo is finally becoming available to the public. The app is now available on Android and iOS. Announced back at I/O 2016, Allo is the first app to integrate Google Assistant, a chatbot that leverages the company's machine learning and AI smarts to provide answers, suggest replies to conversations, retreive your travel information, and so much more. Think of it as an evolution to Google Now.

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1 week ago

Google Trips wants to be the only app you need while traveling

21

Google has released a new app to the public that takes its Gmail inbox-reading machine learning prowess and applies it to travel.

Dubbed Google Trips, the app consolidates all of the travel data Google has collected from Gmail (with your permission) and arrays it in an easy-to-understand way, with offline support for those times you don't have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The app takes what Inbox and Google Now have been doing for some time — deciphering the automatic emails you get from booking sites, travel agents, and other sources — and adds personalized recommendations for what the company calls the "top 200 cities in the world." These include local tourist hotspots, restaurants and "local gems," consolidating them into a full day's tour that can be followed offline.

The app has been in beta since April, and as a result feels extremely polished and well-designed. From a recent trip to San Francisco, for example, it pulled in my flight and hotel data as well as any places I'd saved in Google Maps. It also described local customs, shopping districts, and any other essential information such as available of taxis and how to navigate the public transit system.

Trips can be as automatic or customized as you want, depending on how much time and investment you want to put into it. You can also add one location in a city and have Trips fill in nearby attractions based on that manual input — very clever if you know you have one or two things to hit but don't have a full day planned.

While much of this information is available through various Google services already — Gmail, Inbox, Maps, and Google Now — it's nice to see an app like Trips that, for the avid traveler, will fill in any of those blanks.

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1 week ago

Google Photos update simplifies sharing, launches new automatic creations

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It's now even easier to share from Google Photos to anyone, no matter what.

Google Photos

Google Photos already does a great job letting you share photos, videos and albums, but with its latest app update things are getting even simpler. Now when selecting photos to share, you can bypass the idea of sharing to a specific app and just send to specific people instead — the share sheet will now just have a "To:" field where you can type names, email addresses or phone numbers.

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1 week ago

Best weather app for Android

238

Accuweather is a feature-rich simple to navigate weather app that has great support and incredibly detailed local data thanks to its weather station network.

Best overall

Accuweather

$2.99

Accuweather

See on Google Play

You might be using Accuweather right now on your Android, whether you know it or not. The longtime weather service powers the weather data on many apps and widgets, including those pre-loaded on many handsets by manufacturers. They use Accuweather for a reason: it's dependable and damn accurate.

And why should you use Accuweather? That accuracy here is combined with a clean, concise app that is easy to navigate and easy to understand.

Bottom-line: Accuweather is the forecasting brains behind many a weather app, but its own app is simple, stable, and gets the job done in style.

One more thing: Accuweather's Minutecast is a marvel and while it's easy to find and read on the main app, it's omitted from its Android Wear app, where it really would do the most good.

Why Accuweather is the best

AccuWeather is one of the more established weather sites out there today, and it has a sizable Android following not only because of a simple yet feature-rich app, but also because AccuWeather powers a plethora of widgets and third-party weather apps. AccuWeather's first-party app is a bright affair, with the simple white (or black) background broken up with big pictures, charts, and ads, though those can be removed by upgrading to AccuWeather Platinum.

The detailed charts for both hourly and daily temperatures also scored big, making it easy for users to judge coming conditions more quickly and easily than reading a slew of numbers. AccuWeather also has regional video forecasts a la The Weather Channel and support for Android Wear, putting the forecast and conditions on your wrist for your convenience.

Best for widget users

1Weather

$1.99

1Weather

See on Google Play

1Weather got a big update at the beginning of September, bringing the app at last to Material Design. 1Weather has always been a beautiful weather app, featuring one of the best dark themes we have encountered… but that dark theme is now broken up with Material Design's bland white cards. These cards aren't themeable like the rest of the app, as you can change the background theme, you can change the icon set from white to black, and you can theme the widgets a multitude of ways… but we can't switch the cards from white back to that beautiful black.

Functionally, there are very few flaws we've found in our extended use of 1Weather, and most of them can be attributed to the horizontal, tabbed layout 1Weather uses, such as the disconnect between reaching the map and interacting with it, as you have to tap an expand button before you can zoom or move the map. There are ads in 1Weather that can be removed with a one-time in-app purchase. It even has Android Wear support, though rather than an app it comes in the form of three-card notifications for current conditions and immediate forecast and one-card notifications for alerts, each with customized background images.

Bottom-line: 1Weather is a beautiful weather app with a layout to match, featuring the best weather widgets for anywhere in the world that isn't Walt Disney World.

One more thing: If you have a child that's interested in what the weather terms we often look at mean, 1Weather is an app that can help teach them a bit more about the weather. When you tap on any of the stats on the bottom of the main page, it will give you explanations of that term and some helpful hints as to what they mean — for instance, that when barometric pressure is dropping there's a good chance a storm is coming.

Best for visual weather

Yahoo Weather

Free

Yahoo Weather

See on Google Play

Yahoo takes the honor in this humble writer's eyes for being the prettiest weather app, but when it comes to weather apps, pretty can't be all it has. Yahoo Weather is powered by Weather Underground, so it's forecasts and data have the accuracy of its nationwide network of personal weather stations.

The background images for the app are pulled from Flickr, Yahoo's picture service, so if you're looking at picturesque locations like New York City or Walt Disney World, you're likely to get a new and beautiful image every time to go into the app. If you're in a more remote location, those pictures will be more generic. The layout for Yahoo Weather is nice if you like to check multiple locations quickly, as you scroll up and down for the data about one location, then scroll side to side to switch between locations.

Bottom-line: Beautiful and backed by WeatherUnderground's robust network of weather stations, Yahoo is a visual marvel and great for users looking to check weather in multiple places quickly.

One more thing: Yahoo doesn't allow you to get rid of ads, but there are at least not that many of them, with a single ad between the forecast and radar and then a list of Yahoo's many Android apps in the menu shade between your locations and settings.

Best Layout

Dark Sky

$2.99/year

Dark Sky

See on Google Play

Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps for ... that other platform ... and it finally came to Android earlier this year. Dark Sky's claim to fame is that its "hyperlocal" accuracy can tell you within minutes of when it's actually going to rain. In addition to that it's got your basic weather information — current temperature, highs and lows, what it actually feels like, etc. You also get precipitation information, windspeed, humidity and UV index.

You can get detailed information on the week ahead, hour by hour. A handy map feature shows you where the rain (and snow) is, worldwide, at any given time. And you've got a wealth of notification options, including a daily summary, next-hour precipitation, severe weather alerts, and custom alerts based off your own variables. Also, Dark Sky features a dedicated do-not-disturb mode so you won't be bothered in the middle of the night (but as someone living in Tornado Alley, I highly advise against it).

Bottom-line: Dark Sky is a bright, brainy weather app that can go beyond how the weather looks by the numbers and tell you how it feels.

One more thing: Dark Sky is free, but some of the more up-to-the-minute options will require a $2.99-a-year (that's $3 every 365 days) subscription. When the app launched on Android, this model drew quite a lot ire, but detailed weather information and a well-supported weather app all year for the price of a large cup of coffee is a bargain.

Best Simple App

The Weather Channel

Free

The Weather Channel

See on Google Play

The Weather Channel app has undergone some changes in recent times, and most of them have improved the app greatly. The layout is much slicker and simpler than before, having ditched its previous UI for one big, long continuous scroll.

As you scroll you get to more detailed information, like daily forecasts, radar, even social options and what the weather is like in some ski resorts. The Weather Channel is one of the most well known sources of forecast information on the planet, and their latest Android app takes out the complicated and makes it ultra simple to see what you need to see.

Bottom-line: The Weather Channel is one of the most recognized and trusted names in weather, and their app is simple without skimping on details.

One more thing: Like Yahoo, The Weather Channel has no paid/premium version to get rid of the ads. Unlike Yahoo, The Weather Channel slips in ad after ad as you scroll.

Best overall

Accuweather

$2.99

Accuweather

See on Google Play

You might be using Accuweather right now on your Android, whether you know it or not. The longtime weather service powers the weather data on many apps and widgets, including those pre-loaded on many handsets by manufacturers. They use Accuweather for a reason: it's dependable and damn accurate.

And why should you use Accuweather? That accuracy here is combined with a clean, concise app that is easy to navigate and easy to understand.

Bottom-line: Accuweather is the forecasting brains behind many a weather app, but its own app is simple, stable, and gets the job done in style.

One more thing: Accuweather's Minutecast is a marvel and while it's easy to find and read on the main app, it's omitted from its Android Wear app, where it really would do the most good.

*/

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2 weeks ago

Exploring the world of Adult VR apps [NSFW]

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How do I find the best adult VR apps?

The last couple of years have represented the time when VR became accessible to the people. From Google Cardboard to the popularity of the Samsung Gear VR just a few weeks ago, we've seen experiences that can take us around the world, right to the Avengers Tower. For some of us though, there has been a lingering question, is there adult content for VR floating out there on the internet?

Plenty of folks have been wondering about adult content for VR out there, and how well it was done. So I took it upon myself to hunt it down, and let everybody know whether it's worth your time — and money.

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2 weeks ago

Best fantasy football apps for Android

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Football season is back, baby!

The kickoff to the 2016 NFL season is rapidly approaching, and from office leagues to public leagues, we're sure there's a lot of you looking to get in on the fantasy action. We've gathered up our favorite Android apps to help you dominate this year's fantasy football draft (and hopefully, the season that follows it)! You'll find plenty of options here, each letting you drill down into player statistics, latest news, and updates to your draft.

Note: these apps are for season-long fantasy football, not daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and Draft Kings.

Updated: This article has been refreshed with the latest information as of September 2016.

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