Android Police

Chethan Rao-News Writer

Chethan Rao

News Writer

About Chethan Rao

Chethan Rao is a news writer at Android Police, primarily focusing on the weekend coverage. He has covered tech for over a decade and has a soft spot for the latest Android hardware. CR scours the internet for live cricket streams or watches NBA highlights in his free time. He also enjoys the occasional hour or two of console/mobile gaming.

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Google could bring AI-generated FAQs to the Play Store

Coming soon to an Android phone near you

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The Google Play Store is an essential resource for every Android smartphone user. Considering Google's embrace of AI across a wide range of its products, it was only a matter of time before it was brought to the Play Store. We're now getting an early glimpse at what the company has planned for the Play Store, thanks to newly unearthed code from the latest version of the Android app marketplace.

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Don't miss this incredible OnePlus Buds Pro 2 deal this Black Friday

Some of our favorite wireless earbuds are nearly half off

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We've known and loved OnePlus over the years, with the company entering uncharted territory this year with its first-ever tablet and foldable release. But the company also makes a wide range of audio accessories, including ANC earbuds, and one of our favorites is the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. These earbuds retail for $180 on a regular day, but with Black Friday approaching, the manufacturer has decided to slash $80 off the asking price on Amazon and its own online store.

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Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5 gets its biggest price drop yet for Black Friday 

Save an incredible $500 on the 256GB or 512GB model

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Although the foldable smartphone market doesn't nearly have enough options today, it's still a lot more than we had a couple of years ago. Despite the new arrivals, Samsung continues to dominate the segment thanks to its Z Fold and Z Flip line of foldables. It's not uncommon to find exciting deals on the Galaxy Z Fold 5, the company's most recent launch in the lineup, especially as we countdown to the official start of Black Friday.

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The Google Pixel Fold drops to its lowest price yet for Black Friday

Google's first foldable is $400 cheaper until Cyber Monday

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There's still over a week left before Black Friday itself arrives, but the deals have already started in force, with Black Friday Google deals among the best we've seen so far.

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The Android tablet industry is crowded with options ranging from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, for instance. But tablets such as the Google Pixel Tablet sit somewhere in the middle, and you can now pick up this exciting slate at a $100 discount for Black Friday.

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The Fitbit app's battery indicator is officially back

Limited to the iPhone version for now, though

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The Fitbit app's redesign was long overdue, and reports of the overhaul first emerged as far back as September 2022. Then, the Google-owned fitness accessories manufacturer revealed the redesign in August this year, rolling it out a month later. However, some of the UI decisions taken by the company didn't go down well with the large community of Fitbit owners. As a result, Fitbit said it would bring back some of the features that were removed during the redesign, including easier visibility of your connected device's remaining battery percentage via the Today tab. This key attribute is now back on the Fitbit app for iOS, suggesting an imminent arrival on its Android counterpart.

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The Google Nest Wifi Pro debuted in October 2022, just as we were preparing for the official unveiling of the Pixel 7 series. Although some speed-related trouble initially plagued this Wi-Fi 6E router, Google quickly acknowledged it and later fixed the issue. This August, trusted resource 9to5Google stumbled across code within the Google Home app, indicating that a second-generation model of the Nest Wifi Pro could be in the works. We've now obtained additional information on this front.

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YouTube Music inches closer to enabling podcast subscriptions via RSS

Only available to a limited number of listeners for now

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Despite picking up podcasts earlier this year, YouTube Music is still far away from eating into the market share of other, more established podcast platforms like Apple Music or Spotify. After commencing a wider rollout of podcasts to global audiences in July, YouTube Music is now letting listeners add content through an RSS feed URL on the web and mobile app, per a new report. We learned about the Google-owned platform's intentions to include RSS support a few months ago, so its arrival was always on the cards.

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Nothing Phone 2 gets its second official Android 14-based beta

Meanwhile, the wait continues for Nothing Phone 1 owners

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London-based electronics brand Nothing has been on a roll lately. If it isn't revealing the products that were in the pipeline only to be unceremoniously killed later, the company was launching new devices, including a smartwatch, under its sub-brand CMF. Amidst all these developments, the manufacturer started rolling out its first open beta of Nothing OS 2.5 — based on Android 14 — solely for the Nothing Phone 2. Less than a month later, the company is now ready with the Nothing OS 2.5 Open Beta 2, available to all Phone 2 owners, with no additional info on when it would make it to the older Phone 1.

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Google's AI chatbot, Bard, was late to the party compared to OpenAI's ChatGPT. Nevertheless, the search giant has expanded generative AI capabilities into some of its products, with Google Search being one of them. Under Search Labs, the company has opened up these experimental search features for thousands of people, enabling them to check out the power of generative AI on Google Search. Despite its wider expansion out of the US, Search Labs and Search Generative Experience (SGE) were still somewhat limited. That changes now with Google announcing support for its experimental AI-based search functionality to 120 countries and territories, deeming it SGE's "largest international expansion yet."

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Comfortably among the top-ranked cloud storage services out there, Google Drive has evolved over the years, and so have its desktop and mobile apps. We keep a close eye on all the new changes coming to the Android version of this essential Google Workspace app, and there have been a few interesting ones over the last few months, including a push to enhance the Google Drive experience on foldable phones. A minor and seemingly under-development visual redesign of the Drive app for Android has now leaked, courtesy of a well-known source of Google leaks.

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WhatsApp Web aims to make chat searches less complex

Thanks to a new calendar

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Among the myriad instant messaging apps available today, WhatsApp stands out thanks to its massive user base, coupled with the backing of social media juggernaut Meta, which acquired the platform almost a decade ago. We routinely cover the newest feature additions to the app, with betas giving us a good idea about what to expect from future versions. Over the years, the platform has improved the functionality of WhatsApp Web, too, a browser client meant to give easy access to chats on the web. The latest beta of WhatsApp Web now reveals a calendar functionality within chat search to filter chats based on a specific date.

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Google Slides is gaining a long-overdue media feature

Search for GIFs and stickers without leaving the app

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Google Slides is part of the company's extensive suite of Workspace products, which includes the likes of Docs, Sheets, Gmail, Meet, Calendar, and others. It's an excellent tool for educators and for those who make frequent presentations. However, Slides has been lacking one aspect that we usually take for granted on other apps — stickers and GIF integration. While Slides allows users to paste GIFs and stickers from other apps, native support was lacking. That changes now with Google adding a nifty sidebar for GIFs and stickers within the web version of the app.

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WhatsApp Channels could get polls at long last

Better late than never

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Despite being one of the most used instant messaging apps in the world, WhatsApp isn't without its flaws. However, the app's developers are constantly working on improving the user experience after taking in feedback from the burgeoning community. One convenient way of getting an early glimpse into WhatsApp's upcoming feature updates is by signing up for the beta channel via the Play Store. We've already encountered a handful of interesting beta updates in the last week alone, and we've now got two more to add to the list, thanks to a couple of betas sent out over the weekend.

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YouTube is testing a mystery button that starts playing random videos

But it’s not widely available yet

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We all use YouTube in some form, whether it's to kill some time with informational clips or to check out reviews of some of the best phones in the market. The streaming juggernaut is usually busy testing new features, though it seems like the platform's goals have somewhat changed over the past few months, given the renewed push to curb the use of ad blockers. But in between these controversial changes, YouTube has also added some other features to the web and mobile versions of the app to test the waters. One such change has popped up rather discreetly, wherein a mysterious new video button appears on the bottom right of the screen.

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Google Password Manager could soon pick up a new design

Material Design 3 on full display

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The Google Password Manager has seen several functionality-related improvements since its arrival on Chrome in 2022, such as the addition of biometric authentication for desktops and laptops earlier this year. More recently, we learned that Google is working on prompting users to switch to passkeys wherever possible as part of a Play Services update. The developers aren't stopping here, as a new leak has now revealed Google's plans to give the Password Manager a visual overhaul on Android.

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WhatsApp's email verification feature inches closer to a wider release

Still limited to select beta testers

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As one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, WhatsApp has a responsibility to protect the privacy of its users. While all messages on the platform are encrypted, the Meta-owned chat app has been working on developing more security features over time. WhatsApp developers have been testing an email-based user verification system since August this year. This particular security feature is now reaching more testers on the latest version of WhatsApp beta for Android, indicating its imminent release on the stable channel.

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Facebook and Instagram now offer subscriptions to kill ads, but you probably can't join yet

Appeasing EU regulators, Meta just launched a subscription to remove ads from its biggest services

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Regulators from the European Union have been working on privacy laws meant to safeguard users from corporations who sell off their data to advertisers. Some usual names emerge in this conflict between the regulators and ad-tech companies, such as Google and Meta. The latter, in particular, has attracted the EU regulators' negative attention on multiple occasions for its alleged malpractice with the use of targeted ads. The social media juggernaut is now launching a subscription service exclusively in Europe, enabling users in the region to get an ad-free Facebook and Instagram experience.

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YouTube Music has come leaps and bounds since its inception several years ago, thanks to the addition of multiple attractive features. While it still lags behind giants of the music streaming business like Spotify and Apple, it continues to improve with each subsequent update, such as with the long-awaited rollout of podcasts this year. The app also picked up a revamp of the Now Playing UI back in June, rearranging some of the key actions within a carousel. Some users are now starting to see yet another visual change to the Now Playing interface, albeit a minor one.

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Google Drive for Android is picking up a two-page PDF viewer

Making the lives of foldable and tablet owners easier

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Google Drive is comfortably among the top cloud storage services you can get right now. What makes Drive stand out from its competitors is the deep integration it enjoys with other Workspace apps like Docs, Sheets, Gmail, Meet, etc. Earlier this month, a leaker gave us an early glimpse of Drive's ability to view PDFs in a two-page, book-style format, ostensibly designed for tablet and foldable devices. This visual addition to the cloud storage app is now rolling out more broadly to users across the globe, the Google Workspace team said in a blog post.

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