VLC 3.0 is Here and It Brings All the New Features

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VLC received a big update today to v3.0 “Vetinari,” bringing with it stable Chromecast support, voice actions in Android Auto, availability on all Android TV devices (Chromebooks and DeX too), and support for Android’s picture-in-picture. Some of this stuff was in the previous VLC beta. Here’s the full list of Android-specific changes: Chromecast support from your phone HEVC hardware decoding using MediaCodec Android Auto with voice actions Available on all Android TV, Chromebooks & DeX Support for Picture-in-Picture Playlist files detection Outside of Android, this is a huge VLC update in general. VLC 3.0 ...

Google Appears Ready to Turn Android Messages Into Android’s iMessage

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Back in August, a reliable source of ours told us that Android Messages would gain a web portal, just like Allo’s, that you would access via QR code. We assumed that Google would have launched it by now (that was 6 months ago), but only yesterday, the folks at Android Police dug into a recent Android Messages update and found evidence of it all: the web portal, QR code, browser compatibility, and a possible upgrade from Google on the app’s features to turn the client ...

Android Feature Request: Let Us “User-Initiate” App Updates on Google Play, Just Like System Updates

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The introduction of staged rollouts for Android apps is probably my least favorite Android happening in the history of covering this industry. While I’m fully aware of the reasoning for them to exist (act as a test group, catch bugs early before everyone gets them, don’t destroy everyone’s phone, etc.), they absolutely took almost all of the fun out of Android apps and the way we discovered new features and shared big changes with one another, all through the secure outlet that is Google Play. In ...

Big Essential Phone Camera Update Adds Auto-HDR, New HDR Algorithm

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The Essential Phone, even with its below-average performance, touch responsiveness, and camera, still has me holding out hope for update magic that’ll eliminate its flaws and allow the phone’s software to stop embarrassing its incredible build and design. It’ll probably never happen, but Essential keeps trying. In the latest attempt to salvage whatever they can from this first frustrating phone, we’ve got a big camera update to play with. Essential says that the newest camera (which can be updated to right away on Google Play), adds ...

Google Photos Now Lets You Create Your Own Themed Videos

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Whether you’re looking through photos in the Google Photos app or on the web, the service is now letting users create their own themed videos. For example, if you have some great cat or dog photos and want to make a funny or special little video, you can do so now with just a few clicks. Before this change, Google Photos would create these themed works automatically and notify you when it had one it thought was good enough to share. Currently, we’re seeing themes like Meow ...

Google May Have Killed Chrome’s Bottom Bar Known as “Chrome Home”

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Last summer, Google slowly rolled out a pretty major change to Chrome on Android in the form of a bottom-situated address bar known as Chrome Home. It started in Chrome Dev and then graduated to Chrome Beta by August. We assumed at that point we’d see it arrive on Chrome stable within weeks or at the very least, before the end of 2017. Now, with Chrome Home still not found on the stable version of Chrome on Android, evidence has surfaced that suggests Google may ...

Google+ is Getting a Brand New App

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Google+, the…wait, what is Google+ these days? A forum? A topic/community following service? I don’t know, nor do I appear to have it installed…huh. Either way, it’s getting a big update this week! According to Leo Deegan, an engineering manager for Google+, a “brand new version” of the Google+ app on Android is arriving as a full rewrite. While it may closely resemble the current app, the rewrite will allow the G+ team to “build new features on a modern tech stack.” The new app should ...

Google Calendar, Please Give Me Back a Snooze Button on Android

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I can’t believe I’m typing this out, since this seems like a 2007-inspired feature (that may have once existed in 2012), but you know what would be cool? A snooze button in Google Calendar notifications on Android. You know what I mean, right? As a Google Calendar event or reminder pops up on your phone, you could tell it to snooze for 5 minutes or for 10 minutes or at the event start time. Google Calendar on Android really doesn’t do this anymore. The notifications from ...