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Five To-Do apps that got a lot smarter this month

Five To-Do apps that got a lot smarter this month

The holiday season doesn’t just usher in the shopping season, it also signals the count down to a new year. Which means that, in addition to trying to work off all that holiday food, people will obsess over resolutions, plans, and goals. Yes, it’s the perfect time to be a todo list app or a productivity app. And as if warming up the engines for the holidays, a handful of such apps and services have stepped up their game to deliver just a bit more smartness to their list of features. Here are five of the best known todo apps that have just made your productivity even more productive.

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New Google Sites now ready to build websites for everyone

New Google Sites now ready to build websites for everyone

Building websites is as much an art as it is (computer) science. And, let’s face it, not everyone has what it takes to craft beautiful, not to mention engaging, websites, nor do we always have a web designer on call. Don’t worry, though, because Google has you covered, again. After a period of dormancy, the Google Sites website builder is jumping back into action, newer, fresher, and more responsive than ever before, to help you and your team make websites that are just as fresh and responsive.

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Google Play Newsstand update adds a web app to its team

Google Play Newsstand update adds a web app to its team

Google has had an “interesting” history with news readers. In 2013, it shut down Google Reader, perhaps the most used RSS/feed reader platforms in recent times. But while it did have something like Google Play Newsstand for both news and magazines, it hasn’t exactly been shown as much love as its other Google Play siblings. That changes today with perhaps the biggest update Google has ever announced for the service. In addition to a redesign of Newsstand’s mobile apps, Google is also bringing Newsstand to browsers at long last.

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Google Chrome puts Flash to pasture starting next month

Google Chrome puts Flash to pasture starting next month

There really is no stopping Flash's demise. Not when all the major browsers have ganged up on it. The latest to pull the plug is Google's Chrome, which is kickstarting the process to Flash's exit from the Web scene starting in September. Of course, that doesn't mean that annoying ads, especially video ones, will be going away forever, though some will undoubtedly see some downtime on Chrome browsers. It just means that, eventually, they will be taking on a more resource efficient, standards compliant form.

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Vivaldi 1.2 browser adds mouse gestures

Vivaldi 1.2 browser adds mouse gestures

The Vivaldi web browser has been updated to version 1.2 and with that update comes new features. The new features include support for mouse gestures, new shortcuts, and new tab options. The biggest new feature is support for editable mouse gestures. This feature allows users to trace the path they want to use for the gesture with the mouse pointer and save that gesture.

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Google’s secret war on native apps, Android tablets

Google’s secret war on native apps, Android tablets

At Google I/O last week, Google dumped some rather big news, at least one of them expected. Android apps are come full force to Chrome OS, with Google Play Store even. Instant Apps were quite the unexpected surprise, but in retrospect Google had already sown the seeds as far back as 2013. But in the midst of the applause and hopeful cheers, there were also some murmuring and the raising of eyebrows. Is all of these just a subtle, cunning ploy by the Web search giant to make Android tablets obsolete, or, in the long run, even phase out native Android apps?

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Google Chrome to completely phase out Flash by Q4 2016. Almost.

Google Chrome to completely phase out Flash by Q4 2016. Almost.

Once and briefly the darling of interactive Web content creators, Flash has fallen by the wayside and has become more of a liability than a feature. Even Adobe has taken steps to de-emphasize Flash content in its own tools, while still keeping backwards compatibility a thing. In its stead is HTML5, which covers almost everything Flash can do, especially videos. To hasten Flash's demise from the Web, Google will disable Flash by default in its Chrome Web browser before the year ends. That said, it will still actually ship Flash even then, just in case.

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Samsung Internet browser for Gear VR now supports WebVR

Samsung Internet browser for Gear VR now supports WebVR

With all the coverage lavished on "proper" VR devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it might be too easy to forget the VR headset that was already in the market way ahead of those two. Made by Samsung in partnership with Oculus, the Gear VR is almost like a poor man's VR (though the real poor man's VR would be the original Google Cardboard), lettings users experience VR more easily. Provided they have the latest Samsung smartphone, of course. Now Samsung is expanding its headset's coverage by adopting what is to be the VR standard for the Web called, what else, WebVR.

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Google brings its Pinterest-like Search feature to desktops

Google brings its Pinterest-like Search feature to desktops

Late last year, Google introduced a new feature to its image search on mobile browsers. In essence, it worked pretty much like Pinterest, allowing users to "pin", (technically "star" in Google-ese) to save it for later browsing. While extremely convenient when you're browsing on your smartphone on the go, it's admittedly also a useful feature even when you're sitting comfortably in front of your desktop or laptop. Good thing, then, that Google is finally making that very same feature available on larger computers and, naturally, works well with its mobile counterpart.

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Polaris from MIT could substantially speed up web pages

Polaris from MIT could substantially speed up web pages

The Web is in a sort of a rat race. While Internet connections get faster, web sites are getting more and more complicated, balancing, even negating, those speed improvements. A few tech companies, particularly Google, strive to introduce technologies as well as best practices to help speed up the Web, but those solutions are usually limited to specific browsers or specific circumstances. A new project from MIT called "Polaris", however, is aiming for a browser-agnostic method that could make web pages load as much as 34% faster.

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Oracle is finally killing off the Java browser plugin

Oracle is finally killing off the Java browser plugin

The days of bloated, bug ridden, error prone web browser plugins are finally and truly numbered. Just last month, Adobe has practically started Flash's retirement from the web, pushing instead for a more standards-friendly HTML5. Now Oracle is doing the same, somewhat. Of course, it isn't dropping the ball on Java entirely but it is announcing the inevitable and probably demise of the Java web browser plugin. That said, what it recommends as a replacement is still a Java-based technology for launching full applications from a browser link.

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“Brave” new browser wants to profit from every site you visit

“Brave” new browser wants to profit from every site you visit

This morning I woke up and did what I do to start my weekday mornings; I read the news. One of the most interesting pieces I read was about a new internet browser being developed by the co-founder of Mozilla. That alone is pretty interesting stuff, but as I read further into it, I realized that Brendan Eich has completely lost touch with reality.

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