Growth spurt pushes Google Contacts to 1 billion installs in the Play Store

Technology

Android Police 16 August, 2021 - 03:49pm 46 views

When will Android 12 be released?

We expect Android 12 to reach Platform Stability at Beta 4 in August 2021. From that point, you can expect no further changes affecting your apps. android.comAndroid 12 Preview | Android 12 Beta

New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The New Orleans Saints opened their 2021 campaign in a preseason showdown against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. It was the first chance for Saints fans and the rest of the NFL world to see what this offense might look like without Drew Brees.

The result wasn’t what fans wanted to see, as the offense struggled to hold onto the football. The Saints had six turnovers on the night and while this is only preseason, six turnovers is an ugly blemish on the stat sheet even if the game doesn’t count.

Sean Payton was right to be fuming in the locker room at his players for the number of turnovers that took place against the Ravens and hopefully, this was just a bad showing and the offense gets it together when the regular season kicks off in September.

The six turnovers were three interceptions by three different quarterbacks and three lost fumbles by three different running backs. Ian Book, Taysom Hill, and Jameis Winston each threw one pick while Devonta Freeman, Tony Jones Jr., and Latavius Murray each lost one fumble.

The quarterbacks showed that taking as much time as possible to make this decision is probably best, as no one played well. Book played the most, throwing for 126 yards and a pick while Winston threw for 96 yards, one touchdown, and an interception and Hill had 81 passing yards and a pick.

Jones shone the brightest in the running backs department, dashing for 82 yards off seven carries and a score. Yes, he had the fumble, but otherwise, Jones certainly made a strong case to be included on the final roster.

This wasn’t the performance we wanted to see from the Saints offense but hopefully, we see improvements in their second preseason outing next week. Payton won’t let this kind of performance fly and you best believe this team will be working on holding onto the football in practice this week.

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What you need to know about Android App Bundles

Android Central 17 August, 2021 - 05:30am

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Back in 2018, Google introduced a new way to upload apps into Google Play: the Android App Bundle. Fast forward to August 2021, and it's now a requirement that all new applications submitted to Google use the format.

Unless you're a developer, you probably won't see any changes. We'll talk about how everything works and discuss the pros and cons of the move, but really there is nothing lost or gained for most users of the best Android phones. "Most" being the key word here — if you're on a data plan with a low cap or have a very slow connection, you will have slightly smaller downloads when you install an app.

Smaller downloads and shorter download times are great when they make a difference, so that's good to hear. Let's take a look at everything you need to know about Android App bundles.

The extension .aab stands for (you guessed it) Android App Bundle and is much shorter to type and read, so we'll be referencing them using this name.

If you like to monkey around with the system files on your phone or sideload apps from outside the Google Play store, you probably already know that Android apps use the .apk file format. They still do, but it might not have been uploaded that way if you installed the app through the Play store. Back in May of 2018 Google introduced the .aab format, and thousands of very popular apps are already using it, including major developers like Adobe and Gameloft.

App Bundles are designed to give you what you need to run an Android app and not anything extra.

APK files are designed to bundle everything a device needs to run an app into one package that you can install. If you look inside an .apk file, though, you'll find that there is often a lot of stuff you don't need to run the app in there, too. For example, an English speaker installing an app on a smartphone needs different app assets than a Spanish speaker installing the same app on a tablet. But a typical .apk file has both sets of assets (and a lot more) inside of it anyway because it had no idea what parts you'll need when it was created.

That's what the .abb file format solves, at least on the surface. Once a developer is finished writing and testing their app, they can package it up into a big file that contains everything needed to run on every device in every region the developer supports. This file is then uploaded to Google Play, where Google can turn it into an app that only has the assets and files you need to run the app on your device. Of course, this app is still in the "regular" .apk format, and you would never know there was anything different about the way it was uploaded if you didn't read about it on the internet.

App Bundles save on bandwidth costs for users and Google itself.

This can shave hundreds of Mb off of the file size. Of course, a hundred Mb here or there doesn't make much of a difference for most of us because our phone plans give us a lot of data and are very fast, or we're using Wi-Fi to install apps. It can matter greatly for those limited data plans however, and either way, saving download time is never a bad thing.

For Google, which serves a lot of apps to a lot of users every day, it makes a huge difference. Multiply 150Mb times 1,000,000 users, then multiply that number by 365. That amount of bandwidth makes a difference to any company — even Google.

The move to the .aab format doesn't hurt the end-user and saves Google a ton of money. But there are a couple of other things that need to be mentioned that aren't so good about it.

For an app to run on your Android phone, it needs to have been digitally signed by the developer who created it. This signature is checked whenever you run the app or when you try to update the app, and if things don't check out, you can't run it or update it.

Because .abb packages are turned into installable .apk files in the cloud, the signing is done by Google. That means the Developer needs to let Google assign a key when the app is created through developer software, or the developer needs to provide Google with their signing key.

Signing keys are a critical piece of app security, and before the idea of .abb packages arose, developers were told to never let them out of their possession because it could allow someone else to impersonate them as far as the app was concerned. So if you have my signing key, you can make a malicious update to my app, and nobody would be the wiser.

The possibility that some rogue actor can breach the Play store and sign malware using the right keys is very unlikely, but it does give Google a little more control than it had before. Developers, however, are rightfully concerned about this. Google's response has been to provide a code transparency system where a developer can include some code in their app, which is later used to check that the app generated by Google matches what they uploaded.

People are also concerned that only Google Play supports apps in the .abb format and third-party app stores face another uphill battle when it comes to adoption. To fix this, Google has made it so that a developer can download an .apk of their app signed with the correct key through the Google Play Developer Console at any time, even if the app is unpublished.

We should be concerned about the amount of control Google has over Android. However, the fact remains that most users are completely happy with it.

While we should be concerned about the amount of control Google has over Android, the fact remains that most users are completely happy with it. The move to the Android App Bundle does give Google a bit more control, but it also makes for smaller downloads that save all parties both time and money. Other companies are able to adopt the .abb file format, and Amazon has done just that.

Unless you're a developer, there's really not anything to be concerned about outside of Google getting a slight advantage over its Android competition in the end.

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If a new leak is to be believed, Google's Pixel 5a 5G will be unveiled this Tuesday. The leak also suggests the phone will have a large 4,680mAh battery.

Google Calendar is simple to use, but tricky to master without a guide. We've followed all of Google's additions and improvements to Calendar for years, and we know how to get the most out of the Android app or browser app. Here are our favorite ways to improve Calendar, from extensions to keyboard shortcuts.

The Galaxy Watch 4 is still unproven as the standard-bearer for the new Wear OS 3, but I couldn't hit the preorder button fast enough last Wednesday. So here's why I'm buying a Galaxy Watch 4 — and why you should, too.

Samsung SmartThings is a fantastic smart home platform that lets you automate your home thanks to compatibility with some of the most popular devices, including smart light bulbs. So if you're looking for the best smart lights for Samsung SmartThings, these are your options.

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Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

Google Contacts reaches 1 billion downloads on the Play Store

9to5Google 17 August, 2021 - 02:40am

- Aug. 17th 2021 12:40 am PT

Keeping in touch with your friends and family is much easier if you have their numbers saved, and if you use Android, then it’s almost certain that you’ll use Google Contacts — which has now joined the 1 billion download club on the Play Store.

There has clearly been a surge in uptake of the stock contact book, as Google Contacts only surpassed the 500 million download milestone just under a year ago (as spotted by Android Police). Not all OEMs ship devices with Google’s address book as the stock option, but there has been a real shift over the past couple of years with regard to Google apps and non-Pixel phones.

Although known simply as “Contacts” on the Google Play Store listing, it’s technically “Google Contacts,” at least as we’ve known it. The app recently saw a substantial overhaul to adopt Material You and Dynamic Color theming, which is one of the most notable alterations to the app in recent years. There’s a new splash screen, a larger FAB design, plus the entire app theme is dictated by your on-device wallpaper.

1 billion downloads for Google Contacts in just over five years is still very impressive, given that the shift from an optional app to a system app is one that is still very much under way for many non-Pixel devices. It also helps that Contacts works just fine on just about any Android smartphone (or tablet) running Android 6.0 or higher — which is a pretty sizeable pool of Android-powered devices.

If you haven’t already tried Google Contacts on your device, you can grab it from the Play Store and add to that growing download figure.

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Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

Android 12 Beta 4: Hands-on w/ more new features

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Top 10 Best Planner Android Apps – 2021

Android Headlines 16 August, 2021 - 04:26pm

We live in a world that doesn’t wait for us, it makes us move. Most of us are in constant motion, and even stress because of it. That is the modern way of living, unfortunately. So, as your day progresses, there’s a good chance you’ll forget to do something. Or, perhaps you simply can’t get everything done in the given time. Well, having a plan may help. We’re here to talk about the best planner apps for Android, actually.

We’ve checked the Google Play Store for you, and compiled a list of the very best planner apps. In the list below, you’ll find 10 such applications. To be quite honest, there are way more planner apps that are worth talking about, but we had to bring everything down to 10, maximum. So, there you go, these are our picks. These apps are not listed in any specific order, by the way, so keep that in mind.

Below is a quick overview of the top 10 best planner Android apps for 2021, including any download and in-app purchase costs.

Below is a little more information on each app, a suggestion for the type of user the app is best suited to, and a direct link for easy downloading.

All download links go to the app’s Google Play Store listing. Users are always recommended to download apps from Google Play or an authorized app store.

My Daily Planner is one of the best planner apps we’ve stumbled upon. This application is great for personal use, first and foremost. You can use it to plan your day ahead, and make sure you don’t forget to do something. The UI is great, it’s easy to use, it’s modern, it’s convenient. You can create subtasks for specific tasks, set recurring tasks, and even plan everything out via a calendar.

Creating to-do lists is not a problem, at all, and the same goes for reminders, actually. You can easily edit tasks, move them, use different colors for specific tasks, and so on. Color coding is quite important when it comes to organization, at least for me, so having such an option in a planner app is great. Also, you can record voice clips as your tasks, in case you don’t feel like typing everything. This app is definitely worth trying out.

Slack is one of the best planner apps for business use. Many companies use it, and there’s a good reason for it. The service hasn’t been the most stable in the past, but Slack improved a lot. This app will allow you to communicate with your co-workers in a number of different ways. Private messages are supported, as are so-called “Channels”. You can open up channels for all kinds of stuff, and lead group conversations in them.

You can also call whichever coworkers you want via Slack. Sharing documents is not a problem, and Slack does offer Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox, Asana, Twitter, and Zendesk integration. These are only some examples, more services are available. Deep notification customization is also on offer, so you can fine-tune it without a problem. All in all, Slack is a great option for business use.

Google Calendar is one of the best calendar apps around. Many Android phones come with it pre-installed, and all you need to use it and for it to sync up is your Google account. So, essentially. the moment you log into your account on your new phone, you’re good to go. This app has a great UI, and it can pull your schedules from other Google apps. It’s great for both personal and business use, and you can use it with a number of different email accounts.

It can get your events from Gmail, including flights, hotel and restaurant reservations, and so on. You can create tasks directly from Google Calendar, and also manage them. Scheduling meetings from this app is also really easy, and you can share various plans with your contacts, directly from this app. You can access Google Calendar from pretty much everywhere, regardless of whether we’re talking about a phone or a computer.

Microsoft Planner is an excellent choice for Microsoft users. This app integrates with other apps from Microsoft without a problem. Even if you’re not a Microsoft user, you may consider using this application, as it’s really good at what it does. Do note that you’ll need an eligible Office 365 or school subscription in order to use it, though. It does not support Office 365 personal accounts.

This app is all about organizing your work, and your team’s work. You can create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat, keep everyone updated on the progress of a certain task, and so on. You can create boards for specific plans, and categorize them. The drag-and-drop function is supported, while the design of the app is also really simple. It’s easy to use, and yet it looks nice.

If you’re looking for a great planner app for your school work, School Planner is here to help. Its name reveals it all, basically, well, except the quality of the app itself. This app is great. The UI is excellent, and it allows you to choose between light and dark modes. This app is supposed to help you organize schoolwork, regardless of whether you’re in elementary school, high school, or college.

The app comes with a built-in calendar, and it helps you keep track of events, tasks, and so on. The app can automatically calculate your GPA, and you can record your lectures and organize them via this app. You can also save your teachers’ contact information, and additional information. Google Drive backup is supported, while you can choose between a number of themes. Timetable view is also included, and much more.

Sectograph is yet another great app that you can use for planning. If you like pie charts, especially detailed ones, this app is definitely right for you. This is essentially a really detailed time planner which will show you your tasks in form of a pie chart. You can include tons of information in a single pie chart, not to mention that the app looks great, to say the least.

Thanks to this app, you can track your daily tasks, agendas, appointments, and events all in a single pie chart (or more, if you want). Such categorization gives you great control over everything, as you can always be sure that every single second of your day is accounted for. These pie charts are essentially envisioned as 24-hour pie charts, so you’ll see everything there is to see regarding your plans. There are a ton of additional features included in the app, so you’ll have to try it out in order to discover them.

Habit Tracker is one of the best-looking apps on this list. Everything is graphic, one way or the other, and it’s also a great app for improving your daily habits. This app will keep track of your habits, and help you improve them. That will take some time, of course, but that’s the whole idea. Changing habits is not exactly easy. There are a ton of habits / activities available in the app, and the list is constantly growing.

There are also a ton of theme colors that you can choose from. You can create, complete, delete, or pause habits whenever you want. You can also customize a specific habit, if you want. This app can track your daily food, carbs, and water intake, and also provide you with detailed summaries. Reminders are available as well, of course, along with a ton of other features.

Trello is viewed, by many, as a direct competitor to Slack. Well, that may be the case, from one angle, but this app takes a somewhat different approach to business organization. You can also use it for personal projects, as it sits between personal and business use. It does lean more towards business use, though. This app helps you organize tasks by using boards, lists, and cards.

All of those are really easy to use, and the app’s design definitely helps. You can set due dates, submit locations, or even check a map view if you want. Detailed notifications are also available, and they can let you know when a card has been updated, assigned, or completed. Trello also works offline, in case you were wondering. That cannot be said for many competing apps. The app will simply update everything once your phone reaches an online state.

If you’re looking for a great app for to-do lists, Any.do is a great choice. This app has been around for a long time, and it has really good ratings in the Play Store, for a good reason. The app evolved quite a bit over the years, and it now offers a really clean, and useful UI. Not only does it look great, but it also offers a lot of utility. It allows you to organize your tasks, it’s up to you whether you’d like to do it in form of to-do lists or not.

A daily planner is included here, as is the calendar view. The app will automatically sync your to-do lists, tasks, reminders, notes, calendar, and agenda. The app also offers a ton of integration options, and allows you to set detailed reminders. You can set a one-time reminder, recurring reminders. location reminders, and voice reminders. All-in-all, Any.do is an excellent planner app.

Fabulous is a great planner app for your daily activities. You can set up your mourning, afternoon, and evening routines with ease. The whole goal of this app is to help you with your everyday life. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can set up your routine to include some exercise and healthy eating. This app will help you stick to that. The same goes if you’re having trouble sleeping, adjusting your evening routine may help immensely.

The app will even coach you through a 7-minute workout to improve your fitness, for example. There are also some yoga exercises included, and so on. The app is envisioned as a coach of sorts, a coach to help you improve your habits. The app’s UI is also really, really good. You probably realized by now that this is not your regular planner app. It is much more than that.

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Top 10 Best Planner Android Apps – 2021

T3 16 August, 2021 - 04:26pm

We live in a world that doesn’t wait for us, it makes us move. Most of us are in constant motion, and even stress because of it. That is the modern way of living, unfortunately. So, as your day progresses, there’s a good chance you’ll forget to do something. Or, perhaps you simply can’t get everything done in the given time. Well, having a plan may help. We’re here to talk about the best planner apps for Android, actually.

We’ve checked the Google Play Store for you, and compiled a list of the very best planner apps. In the list below, you’ll find 10 such applications. To be quite honest, there are way more planner apps that are worth talking about, but we had to bring everything down to 10, maximum. So, there you go, these are our picks. These apps are not listed in any specific order, by the way, so keep that in mind.

Below is a quick overview of the top 10 best planner Android apps for 2021, including any download and in-app purchase costs.

Below is a little more information on each app, a suggestion for the type of user the app is best suited to, and a direct link for easy downloading.

All download links go to the app’s Google Play Store listing. Users are always recommended to download apps from Google Play or an authorized app store.

My Daily Planner is one of the best planner apps we’ve stumbled upon. This application is great for personal use, first and foremost. You can use it to plan your day ahead, and make sure you don’t forget to do something. The UI is great, it’s easy to use, it’s modern, it’s convenient. You can create subtasks for specific tasks, set recurring tasks, and even plan everything out via a calendar.

Creating to-do lists is not a problem, at all, and the same goes for reminders, actually. You can easily edit tasks, move them, use different colors for specific tasks, and so on. Color coding is quite important when it comes to organization, at least for me, so having such an option in a planner app is great. Also, you can record voice clips as your tasks, in case you don’t feel like typing everything. This app is definitely worth trying out.

Slack is one of the best planner apps for business use. Many companies use it, and there’s a good reason for it. The service hasn’t been the most stable in the past, but Slack improved a lot. This app will allow you to communicate with your co-workers in a number of different ways. Private messages are supported, as are so-called “Channels”. You can open up channels for all kinds of stuff, and lead group conversations in them.

You can also call whichever coworkers you want via Slack. Sharing documents is not a problem, and Slack does offer Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox, Asana, Twitter, and Zendesk integration. These are only some examples, more services are available. Deep notification customization is also on offer, so you can fine-tune it without a problem. All in all, Slack is a great option for business use.

Google Calendar is one of the best calendar apps around. Many Android phones come with it pre-installed, and all you need to use it and for it to sync up is your Google account. So, essentially. the moment you log into your account on your new phone, you’re good to go. This app has a great UI, and it can pull your schedules from other Google apps. It’s great for both personal and business use, and you can use it with a number of different email accounts.

It can get your events from Gmail, including flights, hotel and restaurant reservations, and so on. You can create tasks directly from Google Calendar, and also manage them. Scheduling meetings from this app is also really easy, and you can share various plans with your contacts, directly from this app. You can access Google Calendar from pretty much everywhere, regardless of whether we’re talking about a phone or a computer.

Microsoft Planner is an excellent choice for Microsoft users. This app integrates with other apps from Microsoft without a problem. Even if you’re not a Microsoft user, you may consider using this application, as it’s really good at what it does. Do note that you’ll need an eligible Office 365 or school subscription in order to use it, though. It does not support Office 365 personal accounts.

This app is all about organizing your work, and your team’s work. You can create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat, keep everyone updated on the progress of a certain task, and so on. You can create boards for specific plans, and categorize them. The drag-and-drop function is supported, while the design of the app is also really simple. It’s easy to use, and yet it looks nice.

If you’re looking for a great planner app for your school work, School Planner is here to help. Its name reveals it all, basically, well, except the quality of the app itself. This app is great. The UI is excellent, and it allows you to choose between light and dark modes. This app is supposed to help you organize schoolwork, regardless of whether you’re in elementary school, high school, or college.

The app comes with a built-in calendar, and it helps you keep track of events, tasks, and so on. The app can automatically calculate your GPA, and you can record your lectures and organize them via this app. You can also save your teachers’ contact information, and additional information. Google Drive backup is supported, while you can choose between a number of themes. Timetable view is also included, and much more.

Sectograph is yet another great app that you can use for planning. If you like pie charts, especially detailed ones, this app is definitely right for you. This is essentially a really detailed time planner which will show you your tasks in form of a pie chart. You can include tons of information in a single pie chart, not to mention that the app looks great, to say the least.

Thanks to this app, you can track your daily tasks, agendas, appointments, and events all in a single pie chart (or more, if you want). Such categorization gives you great control over everything, as you can always be sure that every single second of your day is accounted for. These pie charts are essentially envisioned as 24-hour pie charts, so you’ll see everything there is to see regarding your plans. There are a ton of additional features included in the app, so you’ll have to try it out in order to discover them.

Habit Tracker is one of the best-looking apps on this list. Everything is graphic, one way or the other, and it’s also a great app for improving your daily habits. This app will keep track of your habits, and help you improve them. That will take some time, of course, but that’s the whole idea. Changing habits is not exactly easy. There are a ton of habits / activities available in the app, and the list is constantly growing.

There are also a ton of theme colors that you can choose from. You can create, complete, delete, or pause habits whenever you want. You can also customize a specific habit, if you want. This app can track your daily food, carbs, and water intake, and also provide you with detailed summaries. Reminders are available as well, of course, along with a ton of other features.

Trello is viewed, by many, as a direct competitor to Slack. Well, that may be the case, from one angle, but this app takes a somewhat different approach to business organization. You can also use it for personal projects, as it sits between personal and business use. It does lean more towards business use, though. This app helps you organize tasks by using boards, lists, and cards.

All of those are really easy to use, and the app’s design definitely helps. You can set due dates, submit locations, or even check a map view if you want. Detailed notifications are also available, and they can let you know when a card has been updated, assigned, or completed. Trello also works offline, in case you were wondering. That cannot be said for many competing apps. The app will simply update everything once your phone reaches an online state.

If you’re looking for a great app for to-do lists, Any.do is a great choice. This app has been around for a long time, and it has really good ratings in the Play Store, for a good reason. The app evolved quite a bit over the years, and it now offers a really clean, and useful UI. Not only does it look great, but it also offers a lot of utility. It allows you to organize your tasks, it’s up to you whether you’d like to do it in form of to-do lists or not.

A daily planner is included here, as is the calendar view. The app will automatically sync your to-do lists, tasks, reminders, notes, calendar, and agenda. The app also offers a ton of integration options, and allows you to set detailed reminders. You can set a one-time reminder, recurring reminders. location reminders, and voice reminders. All-in-all, Any.do is an excellent planner app.

Fabulous is a great planner app for your daily activities. You can set up your mourning, afternoon, and evening routines with ease. The whole goal of this app is to help you with your everyday life. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can set up your routine to include some exercise and healthy eating. This app will help you stick to that. The same goes if you’re having trouble sleeping, adjusting your evening routine may help immensely.

The app will even coach you through a 7-minute workout to improve your fitness, for example. There are also some yoga exercises included, and so on. The app is envisioned as a coach of sorts, a coach to help you improve your habits. The app’s UI is also really, really good. You probably realized by now that this is not your regular planner app. It is much more than that.

Sign up to receive the latest Android News every weekday:

Google kicked a FOSS app off the Play Store for linking to its own website

Android Police 16 August, 2021 - 10:05am

While the Play Store is generally the more accepting and pervasive of the two big mobile application platforms, it still needs a fair amount of moderation to keep out the riff-raff. Malware, spyware, annoying apps that put things like [Free Download] in the title, it's all got to go. But it looks like Google is getting more aggressive in enforcing its more general developer terms, especially when it comes to payments. Case in point: Language Transfer.

This free and open-source app gives people access to audio courses on language learning. The tale of its removal and eventual reinstatement is chronicled by SyntaxBlitz on the Language Transfer Github page (spotted by Ycombinator). Previously the app included links to the project's Patreon, which seems pretty reasonable, but technically violates Google's stance against getting around the Play Store system for payments (and its lucrative cut of same). It was rejected upon initial posting. So the developers removed the links to Patreon, instead giving a generic link to the Language Transfer web page.

Google rejected the change and pulled the app from the Play Store. Why? According to the notes and screenshots submitted to the developers, it was because the linked Language Transfer site included options to support the project via Patreon and PayPal at the bottom of the page. Oof.

The developers tweaked the app once again, this time linking to an About page on the site (which features no direct links to donation options) and to the project home on Facebook. Google allowed this, and the app is now available for free on the Play Store. (the more general link is still appearing on the individual language pages.) But this little tale serves to illustrate Google's attitude: it's getting more aggressive in enforcing its exclusive access to payment processing on the Play Store, even as regulatory sharks are circling for just that behavior.

Google Play Games update enables Android 12 Game Dashboard integration

9to5Google 16 August, 2021 - 05:08am

- Aug. 16th 2021 3:08 am PT

Android 12’s Game Dashboard could be a big addition for gamers, but if you’re already running the Beta builds on your device, a Play Games update is enhancing the experience with direct integration.

The team at XDA-Developers spotted that the most recent Google Play Games v2021.07.28550 update now plays nicely with the Game Dashboard and will show within the in-game pop-up menu. You’ll likely also need to be running the recent Android 12 Beta 4 too, as the Game Dashboard is far easier to access with the latest OS build.

Effectively, the new widget appears in the main Game Dashboard next to the “YouTube Live” section and gives an overview of your Play Games account, Achievement, and Leaderboard progress. Tapping will expand and give a larger view of your gamer profile and allows you to get granular with your in-game Achievement unlocking progress without needing to open the dedicated Play Games application:

The v2021.07.28550 update for Google Play Games should be rolling out right now, and provided you have the Android 12 Beta 4 update installed, you can access the Game Dashboard by heading to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb > Schedules > Gaming.

The actual panel and floating controls will only appear though in games that have been certified to work with the feature, we’ve had luck with Call of Duty: Mobile, while XDA was able to play Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated with the added widget.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

Android 12 Beta 4: Hands-on w/ more new features

The future lost by making watches miniature phones

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