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Google Play Store crowdsources optimizing Android apps

Google Play Store crowdsources optimizing Android apps

Once upon a time, Android apps were these monolithic packages that contained almost all versions of the app for all architectures and languages that it supports. Recently, Google has been pushing for a new system that put Android packages on a diet to make downloading, installing, and running them faster. Its latest trick is to learn how to better optimize that process and it's pretty much roping in almost all Android users in a crowdsourced "study" on how apps are being used after they are installed.

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Google Play Books can now read stories to young kids

Google Play Books can now read stories to young kids

Google has added new features to its Play Books platform, ones aimed at young kids who may not yet know how to read or who may have limited reading skills. In addition to a new read-and-listen feature, the app also now offers a kid-friendly dictionary to help young readers learn new vocabulary while reading stories.

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Android Sleep API to make sleep tracking apps more efficient

Android Sleep API to make sleep tracking apps more efficient

There has been perhaps an overabundance of focus on activity trackers, most of them targeting, well, activities. While movement and exercise are, of course, important, they aren't the only measures of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is just as important, perhaps even more so these days. In an effort to help app developers and, consequently, users develop better sleeping habits, Google is launching its new Sleep API to empower better low-power sleep tracking on all Android devices.

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Android Nearby Share can share Google Play Store apps

Android Nearby Share can share Google Play Store apps

There has been a focus on device-to-device file sharing on Android recently, partly due to the revelation about popular app SHAREit's security flaws. The reason third-party apps like this proliferate is that Android itself hasn't had a reliable, long-term file-sharing system across different phone brands. Google has been slowly, very slowly, working on its Android Nearby framework and its latest trick is to let users share not just files between two phones but even apps from Google Play Store.

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National Park Services rolls out a unified app for national parks

National Park Services rolls out a unified app for national parks

In the past, the National Park Service maintained a separate app for each national park or landmark around the United States. The challenge of keeping all those updated was probably significant, but that has now changed. The National Park Service now has a unified app for all parks allowing people to research and monitor hundreds of landmarks in a single location.

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10 million Android users infected by barcode scanner adware via app update

10 million Android users infected by barcode scanner adware via app update

Security company Malwarebytes has reported that late last December, it began getting distress calls from forum patrons. The company says that these forum users were experiencing ads opening via their default browser out of nowhere. The strangest part about the ad serving outbreak was that none of them had recently installed any apps, and all apps that were installed came directly from Google Play.

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Google Play Pass update shows it’s still alive

Google Play Pass update shows it’s still alive

Over a year ago, Google finally launched its response to Apple's Arcade subscription service. Going beyond just games, however, Google Play Pass also gives access to productivity and utility apps as well. Unlike Google's other apps and services, however, Play Pass doesn't always make it to headlines after its initial launch. Some might have the idea that the subscription service has quietly disappeared into the background but the company's latest update tries to convince you otherwise.

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Google Play Hot Air Balloon offline game released to the masses

Google Play Hot Air Balloon offline game released to the masses

This week the Google Play Hot Air Balloon offline mini-game launched into the wild. This game was in development for quite a while now, appearing in testing for months back in 2020 - now it would appear that it's ready to roll. If you'd like to give this game a go, make sure you've got the latest version of the Google Play store on your Android device - then disconnect from the internet.

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Honor V40 could be the first to have Google Play Store again

Honor V40 could be the first to have Google Play Store again

For the past year or so, Huawei has gained something like a reverse Midas touch, where every company and subsidiary under its name gets dragged into its US export ban. That included Honor, which has always been promoting itself as an independent but related brand from Huawei and has, to its credit, helped Huawei achieve the sales numbers it has been flaunting. That independence finally became complete two months ago when Huawei sold off its Honor business and that first fruit of that separation might be coming this week.

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Many Android apps still use a vulnerable Google Play Core library version

Many Android apps still use a vulnerable Google Play Core library version

Google has always advertised Google Play Store not only as the Android app store but also as a trustworthy and secure source of apps. That security, however, is only as strong as Google Play services itself and when the code behind that becomes open to security exploits, the house can easily come crumbling down. Unfortunately, while Google has already plugged up a recent security hole in its Google Play Core Library, app developers aren't doing their part and putting their own apps and their users at risk.

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Google names the best Android games and apps of 2020

Google names the best Android games and apps of 2020

Today Google released a list of games and apps for Android that they named "best" of the year 2020. Included in the mix were categories like Best Competitive, Indies, Pick Up & Play, Game Changers, Everyday Essentials, Personal Growth, Hidden Gems, "Best for Fun", and "Best Apps for Good". As it is each year, this list of lists makes for a good first place to look for the apps and games that have the best chance at allowing users to make the most of their smart device experience.

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Android App Bundles could have a drawback for developers, power users

Android App Bundles could have a drawback for developers, power users

Android app packages or APKs are a mixed bag, literally and figuratively. They are often large because a single APK may contain all the data applicable for all variants of the app, even if some variants or architectures don't need the other parts. At the same time, that kind of packaging makes it trivial to redistribute APKs and sideload them outside of Google Play Store. Things will be changing next year once Google starts to enforce its new Android App Bundles (AAB) format and while it's generally a win for most end users, it could give developers and some users headaches as well.

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