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3 years ago

Goodbye Google+ Messenger, hello G+ Photos

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Out with the old, and in with the new

You might have noticed a new addition to the application drawer on your Android (provided you have the Google+ app installed) as well as the absence of a long familiar face. You're not seeing things — it's part of the Google+ app update that started rolling out a few days ago.

It seems like most users have the update by now, so they're noticing that the old Google+ Messenger application was removed (the whole service is basically gone, usurped by Hangouts), but it's been replaced by an equally redundant app icon, the G+ Photos app.

We hesitate to call it an app. It's more like a shortcut to the Photos tab inside the Google+ app. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the way the psuedo-gallery-app-thing works or looks, it's just a bit superfluous. It's easy enough to hide with a custom launcher if you just can't deal with it. 

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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3 years ago

Google Maps update brings back the scale bar

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The bar is back, but there aren't any settings to control it

The recent Google Maps redesign was great, but were you missing the measurement scale bar? Well it wasn't just you, and Google has apparently responded to some criticism and put the scale bar for measuring distances back in with this latest app update.

There aren't any settings to show or hide the bar, and it seems to only appear when you move the map or re-zoom to a new distance, then disappears quite quickly. We might have preferred if Google just gave an option to keep the bar on or off permanently, but beggars can't be choosers, we suppose.

Go grab the update from the Play Store link above. It seems to be pushing out widely right now.

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3 years ago

Facebook Beta update brings animated stickers, music on lock screen for Home

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Beta track continues to get quick and useful updates

The beta track for the Facebook app has been updated today with a few useful features, showing once again that it intends on iterating quickly with its beta fixes. This update brings one new feature to the Messenger function, and that is animated stickers for some of the categories — Pusheen, Beast and Anooki are listed — which has been the case on iOS devices for some time now, but stickers don't seem to be animating properly for us at the moment. A new feature for those using Facebook Home is the ability to control music playback on the lock screen.

Also included is a fix for a bug that caused album covers to show rather than a specific photo you tapped, as well as a bug that crashed the app when viewing photos in full screen mode. Naturally, various bug fixes and speed improvements were made as well.

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3 years ago

Press adds offline image caching, settings redesign

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Caching saves on data, new settings get you in and out quickly

One of our favorite RSS readers on Android, Press, has just made some significant improvements in its latest update in terms of interface and features. The biggest feature inclusion is likely offline image caching, which will download article images when syncing so that you're not pulling them down every time you open an article. It's great for low connectivity or low data cap situations when you still want to get your news. By default images aren't cached, but you can turn it on, restrict it to just Wifi and limit or clear the cache at any time.

Helping you manage these new cache options is an entirely redesigned settings menu, which breaks up settings into separate categories. Now you won't have to scroll through an annoying long list to get to that one setting you need to change.

There are also a new settings for changing the look and feel of the app, with the ability to show just titles in the articles list or on the widget, and a few new options for readability and accessibility. Press also says that there are performance, sync and bug fixes — although we were hard pressed to find any hiccups before.

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3 years ago

Asphalt 8: Airborne launching August 22

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Dev offering the chance to win pre-launch download codes for Nexus 7-optimized racer

First unveiled at Google's Nexus 7 and Android 4.3 event in San Francisco a few weeks back, Gameloft's Asphalt 8: Airborne was due to be released back on Aug. 8. Obviously that didn't happen, however there's now a new release date on the cards — next Thursday, Aug 22.

But if you can't wait that long, Gameloft is giving away a pre-launch code to one lucky winner, who'll be able to play the game before anyone else. To enter, you'll need to subscribe to the developer's YouTube channel and fill out the form on its website.

Asphalt 8 is one of the new Android titles optimized for OpenGL ES 3.0, the new 3D graphics standard included in Android 4.3. The title promises 180 events, 47 licensed cars and social integration, including  Facebook support.

Source: +Gameloft; Gameloft blog

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3 years ago

Google Translate adds Hindi and Thai handwriting input, camera input for four more languages

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Further expanding the methods of communication with a single app.

Android is an operating system that is truly global, and Google is expanding the capabilities of Google Translate today to reflect that by adding important new languages. First are two new languages that can be used for handwriting recognition, and those are Hindi and Thai. It's especially important for handwriting recognition for languages such as these because they have a non-Roman character set that is difficult to use on a standard keyboard layout.

Today's update is also expanding the capabilities of Google Translate's "camera input", which reads languages you capture from physical objects with your phone's camera, to Afrikaans, Greek, Hebrew and Serbian. With these new capabilities in Google Translate for six more languages, Google is adding to an ever-expanding list of foreign languages that can help people communicate whether they're traveling or hosting travelers themselves.

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3 years ago

GIF Chat launches on Android, offers looping video clips and text messaging

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Another way to show off your 6-second video skills.

The group messaging app space is full of great choices, but GIF Chat is trying to get in on the craze with its own set of features. Walking the line between apps like Snapchat which only do short video clips and fully-featured voice, video and text chat apps like Viber, GIF Chat offers group chatting with up to 6-second looping video as well as text chatting.

Given it's name, GIF Chat naturally focuses on the video aspect of the service, with plenty of features for recording and editing videos. Using either front or rear cameras, you can collect up to 6-seconds of video, select the playback speed and even set how many times it will loop — 1 to 10 times or never — before disappearing.

GIF Chat launched on iOS last week and is cross-platform compatible with the Android version, which is also a nice feature. The app is free and displays ads at the bottom of some pages from time to time, and there's no indication of whether or not there will be a paid, ad-free version. Ready to try another group messaging client? grab a download from the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

'Dots' game comes to Google Play, Amazon Appstore

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Another great and simple puzzle game makes its way to Android.

Popular iOS game "Dots" is making the move to Android today, and its bringing with it a new game mode as well. Well-known and enjoyed for its simplicity, Dots has basic puzzle-style gameplay based on connecting dots with the swipe of a finger to build up bonuses and points. The standard gameplay gives you 60 seconds to connect as many dots and get the most points.

New to the game in its move to Android is a "Moves" mode, which gives you a limited set of moves rather than a limited amount of time. It's another way to think of the game that's a little more relaxed. The game is free in both Google Play at the link above, as well as the Amazon Appstore for Kindle Fire owners at the source link below.

Source: Dots (Amazon Appstore)

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3 years ago

This new Weather app from Yahoo! makes every day beautiful

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If you appreciate beautiful, full-bleed graphics in an app that performs as good as it looks, the all-new updated Yahoo! Weather app is one you'll want to have a look at. Checking the weather on our phones is one of those things nobody needs to do —getting up and looking outside would be good for anyone — but most of us do it. It's convenient, and lets us see what the skies and temperature are like in places where we're not. Maybe you're traveling and need to know whether to pack an umbrella or which jacket to take, or you're wanting to know the forecast of the place you're going. Or maybe you just like being able to check something as trivial as the weather through your expensive smartphone. We never judge.

There are a lot (as in a whole lot) of apps out there that show you the weather, but Yahoo! has found a way to stand out from the crowd. Using high-resolution pictures from Flickr —a company Yahoo! owns — that show the location and current conditions as a backdrop, the weather never looked this good. I've been playing with the update here for a couple hours, and I'll tell you that looking at the weather in Berlin is better when the background is a gorgeous picture of the Brandenburg Gate in the background. The same goes for a sunset picture of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Of course not all locations are going to be covered, so if you live somewhere out-of-the-way like, for example, Bunker Hill, West Virginia, you'll have a generic image.

The app is also really feature-rich. The settings cover everything from unit types (Celsius or Fahrenheit) to persistent notifications and alerts. You can add as many locations as you like, and of course your current location is always available. Add in things like 10-day forecasts, 24 hour forecast, the chance of precipitation, wind and pressure numbers, the moon phase, UV patterns, sunrise and sunset times, an interactive map and a set of widgets of all sizes and you've got the recipe for an app everyone will like. There's even a lock screen widget if your Android supports them.

The app is free, and if you're already using the Yahoo! Weather app you'll be getting an update notification soon. If you're not, and want to give it a try, grab it via the Google Play link above. We've got a whole slew of screenshots of the UI and settings after the break.

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3 years ago

Amazon's Silk browser gets a new interface, features

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New features and interface backup previous performance increases.

Amazon's in-house developed browser, Silk, is receiving a big update today that leverages previous behind-the-scenes updates with a refreshed UI. If you're not familiar with Silk, it is the stock browser on Amazon's lineup of Kindle Fire devices, and aims to speed up the browsing process by managing bandwidth and page loads with the help of Amazon's cloud infrastructure.

The latest version of Silk has made several improvements, starting with a new tutorial that gives users a better look at the features when launching the browser for the first time. Once the tutorial is completed, you'll now be greeted by a new start page with a listing of most-visited pages and an empty address bar so you can quickly get to browsing.

Other improvements include a better tab layout to make navigation easier, a new slide-in panel navigation bar as well as an improved "Readability view" that strips out the excess parts of a page to make it easier to get through long articles on web pages. As a whole, the Silk browser seems to have received a much-needed facelift that should impress Kindle Fire users.

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3 years ago

Middle Manager of Justice now available on Google Play, save the world from your cubicle

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Command your team to make the world a safer place, just like you learned to do in business school

The highly-touted game Middle Manager of Justice is now available for Android. It's a "save-the-world-because-you're-a-superhero" game with a big twist, because instead of honing your super powers and seeking out evil crime lords in a one on one setting, you're the department manager of the team.

You hire and assemble your team, and increase their skills by forcing asking them to do menial tasks around the office. When the time comes to go up against the forces of evil, you're in control of the action and your heros are at your command. It sounds a lot like the Android Central offices, but with more exercise and less foot long Subway sandwiches.

You fortress, err office, is customizable ala something from the Sims series. Deck things out the way you like, or to optimize training, or what ever silly scheme comes to mind. Irreverence and silliness abound in Middle Manager of Justice — and that's what makes it great.

You can find it for free (with the obligatory in-app purchases) in Google Play through the link above. If you download and run the game on a Tegra device, you'll have access to extra costumes for the Crimebot and @Man characters. It looks like a really fun time-waster, and a great way to spend the rest of the day. The trailer and some screenshots are after the break.

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3 years ago

Notif Pro hits v1.0 with new reminders functionality

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A different take on the notification system.

Notifications have a renewed sense of importance since the improvements to the system in Jelly Bean, and while most apps use them as an entrance to another interaction with their app, Notif uses them in a bit of a different way. The main idea of Notif is to be a tool for you to create custom notifications of any type and display those in a number of ways to fit your needs.

Notif is a new way of thinking outside the box about notifications on Jelly Bean devices, and with its latest update to version 1.0 it is adding even more functionality and polish to an already useful app. Hang with us after the break where we spend a little more time looking at the new features.

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3 years ago

What's your AC App signature?

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As we continue working toward v1.4 of the official Android Central App, let's take a look at another of our favorite features.

Anytime you post in the forums or leave a comment on a blog post, you post a signature, letting folks know that you're using the best damn Android Central app we've ever produced. And you can customize that signature so that you stand out even more. 

Give it a shot. Just go into the Settings menu and customize away.

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3 years ago

Google+ update will make switching accounts easier, improves location controls

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Looks like a pretty decent Google+ update is coming down the pike, according to Google's Virgil Dobjanschi. Rolling out in the next day or so in version 4.1 is:

  • Easier switching between accounts. You won't have to sign out and then back in anymore. Same for pages you manage.
  • Better options for sharing your location. You'll get to choose just how precise a location you share with your circles, and it's done on a per-circle basis. So you could share the city for folks you don't know as well, and be more precise with folks you do.
  • Google Apps for Business. Finally supported.
  • Access photos and video from Google Drive. Maybe one day everything will live in one place. But for now, it's good to be able to get to them wherever they are.
  • Bye-bye Messenger, hello Hangouts. No great surprise here, and perhaps the bigger news is taht you'll be able to export all you Messenger conversation from Google Takeout.

Indeed, a good update. If you're not yet seeing it, hang tight. And if for some reason you've yet to circle us, we're at google.com/+androidcentral.

Source: +Virgil Dobjanschi

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3 years ago

CyanogenMod 10.2 nightly builds now rolling out

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Initial nightly rollout begins for Android 4.3-based custom ROM

While some have been compiling "unofficial" builds since the CyanogenMod 10.2 source code became available, there have so far been no "official" builds of the Android 4.3-based custom ROM. Today the CyanogenMod download portal has become populated with the first nightly builds for a handful of devices, including various members of the Samsung Galaxy families, The 2013 Nexus 7, Nook HD, and LG Optimus G.

With the Android 4.3 source code becoming available less than four weeks ago, this is has been a quick turnaround on the developers' parts to get the first nightly builds of CM 10.2 prepped and available. As always, though, these nightly builds are considered unstable and experimental, so flash 'em at your own risk.

The new builds come with many goodies, including but not limited to the new Focal camera app, a version of Superuser compatible with Android 4.3, and the ability to send Google Voice messages through standard SMS apps via Voice+

Follow the source link below to check and see if an official build is ready to download for your device.

Source: CyanogenMod

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