Announcing Nearby Connections 2.0: fully offline, high bandwidth peer to peer device communication

Posted by Ritesh Nayak M, Product Manager

Imagine walking into a hotel room and having the temperature set just right, your favorite sub-genre of progressive-math-rock playing in the background, and the TV urging you to continue binging on your saved guilty-pleasures watchlist. What if your phone's contact book could expand to merge with your spouse's when you're together, so you're never again put in the excruciatingly compromising position of having to ask for your mother-in-law's phone number (which you ought to have had on speed dial, in your favorites, and listed as an emergency contact)? Now imagine a world where you can drive up to an empty driveway or private parking space in a city like New York or San Francisco, and negotiate with that space to rent it out until its owner returns.

The common thread among all these scenarios is being able to detect proximity to -- and being able to communicate with -- people, places, and things "near" you.

At I/O this year, we spoke about a refresh to the Nearby Connections API that can provide high bandwidth, low latency, encrypted data transfers between nearby devices in a fully-offline P2P manner. Today we're announcing the availability of this API across all Android devices running Google Play services 11.0 and up.

Nearby Connections uses WiFi, Bluetooth LE & Classic Bluetooth under the hood to discover and establish connections to nearby devices. It abstracts away the inherent complexity of these radios by leveraging the strengths of each, while circumventing their respective weaknesses. Aside from the obvious advantage of sidestepping the pain of dealing with the vagaries of these radios across different OS versions and devices, this abstraction enables seamlessly upgrading the bandwidth of a connection by switching between the radios as and when it makes sense, as well as getting invisible over-the-air updates to use new radio technology as it becomes available -- with no change whatsoever in the application code.

At the heart of this API is a connection (with Unix-socket-like semantics) that you can use to transfer bytes, files, or streams of data. There are two supported connection topologies:
  • Star: Useful for creating 1:N topologies where there's a centralized device that others are especially interested in. For example, the host of an offline game, or the teacher's device in a classroom quiz app.
  • Cluster: Useful for creating M:N topologies that allow for creating looser mesh-like networks. For example, a classroom app that supports forming ad-hoc project groups for realtime collaboration, or an offline hyper-proximity-based chat app.
As a part of the process of building this API we worked with a few partners, each with unique offline-data-transfer needs and environments. It's been great to see what they've built on top of early versions of this API, and their feedback has been invaluable in guiding us towards today's launch. Take a look at some of the cool things they're building:
  • The Weather Channel is building on-demand mesh networks in data-deficient areas to spread urgent weather warnings.
  • Hotstar enables offline media sharing in places with spotty/no internet connectivity (like on public transportation, airplanes, etc.)
  • GameInsight is using Nearby Connections to not only find nearby players, but also to run entire games offline.
  • Android TV is building a remote control app (powered by Nearby Connections) to simplify initial setup, and to enable subsequent second screen experiences.
Now that the API is publicly available, we can't wait to see how you will use Nearby Connections in your applications. To get started, visit our developer site, check our code samples, and post any questions you have on Stackoverflow (tagged with google-nearby). To stay up to date on the latest Android Nearby offerings (and our other Context-related APIs), please subscribe to our mailing list.

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LG V30 user manual leak shows off a pair of rear cameras

Rumor has it that LG is planning on removing the secondary display from the high-end V-series lineup of smartphone, and yet another leak seems to corroborate those reports.

@OnLeaks has posted an image that is apparently taken from the user manual of the upcoming LG V30. While there aren’t a lot of details to go along with the image, it is a pretty clear look at the oft-rumored handset. We can see a thin device, which will feature a tall display flanked by minimal bezels. This is a design LG introduced with the G6 earlier this year, so it’s no surprise to see the company carrying it over to the V30.

The image also shows us there will be a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, keeping up with previous LG models. There will also be a pair of cameras on the back, just above that fingerprint reader. The image doesn’t include any hint of a secondary display on the V30, so if it’s the real deal, this leak seems to be the best indicator to date that LG is removing the feature.

LG has already confirmed when we’ll see the V30 introduced, with event invites being sent out to a press conference on August 31 at IFA 2017. We don’t have long to wait to see what tricks the Life’s Good crew has up their sleeves to make the V30 stand out in a crowded market.

Are you looking forward to the V30?

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[Update: Now on Google Play] Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1

  • The new version of the Google Clock app is now being distributed through Google Play, too. So if you are excited for the proposition of not being blinded at

With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel.

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[Update: Now on Google Play] Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Some upcoming Pokemon Go events in Europe are indeterminately postponed

After the company's first experiment with an organized festival didn't go so well, Niantic looks to be trying to delay some of its future events. Three of the company's planned festivals in Europe have been postponed. If you were hoping to catch some 'mon in Copenhagen or Prague on August 5th, or Stockholm and Amsterdam on August 12th, you're now out of luck. 

The news was released in an official blog post this Saturday.

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Some upcoming Pokemon Go events in Europe are indeterminately postponed was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Chrome's native ad blocker is now live in Canary and Dev builds

Earlier in the year, we learned that Google would be introducing a native ad blocker in its Chrome web browser, both on desktop and mobile. The company confirmed as much last month, saying that the feature would be available in 2018. That date likely relates to the stable build, but we're now seeing the 'Ads' setting in Chrome Canary and Dev on Android.

It may seem strange that Google is introducing an ad blocker to its browser, given that its core business is in online advertising.

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Google Chrome's native ad blocker is now live in Canary and Dev builds was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Microsoft is bringing the Windows Dev Center to Android [APK Download]

If you're a Windows developer, you'll be familiar with the Dev Center, an invaluable tool for monitoring your apps. The personalized dashboard tracks key performance and health data so you can maintain any apps you have in the Windows Store. Microsoft is now getting ready to launch an Android app with the same functionality, so you can check in on your software on the move.

This is early an alpha build, so the app may not be all that stable, but we can at least see what to expect from a full release somewhere down the line.

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Microsoft is bringing the Windows Dev Center to Android [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Play Services passes five billion downloads, becomes first app to do so

Five billion is a big number. If you combine the populations of the top 10 most-populated countries on Earth, you get less than that number. The best-selling game console of all time, the PlayStation 2, only sold enough units to cover 3.2% of five billion. Google Play Services has now passed five billion downloads on the Play Store, becoming the first app to do so.

If you're not familiar with how the Play Store works, it's important to note that Play Services hasn't actually been manually downloaded that many times.

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Google Play Services passes five billion downloads, becomes first app to do so was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Cortana v2.9 changes the interface and brings back the hamburger menu [APK Download]

Microsoft has been working on Cortana for Android quite a bit recently. The app received a major redesign with version 2.0 in December, and added lockscreen support in March. Cortana 2.9 has just been released, which changes the UI again.


Cortana v1.8


Cortana v1.9


At least to me, the previous design was a bit confusing. The settings page was nestled in the user settings, and the app's functionality was split across three tabs.

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Cortana v2.9 changes the interface and brings back the hamburger menu [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Active leaks again in high-quality render

The wait for Samsung’s official Galaxy S8 Active announcement continues, but the rumor mill is supplying us with more info about the device ahead of its release.

A new image of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active has been posted by Evan Blass. The high-quality render gives us a clear look at the unannounced Android phone and its rugged frame, complete with bumpers to protect the device from drops.

This leaked image also shows the Galaxy S8 Active running on AT&T, which comes as no surprise considering that the past Galaxy S Active phones have been exclusive to AT&T. We can also see that while the phone has rounded corners like the regular Galaxy S8, its display doesn’t appear to have the curved edges found on its non-rugged sibling.

It’s unclear when Samsung and AT&T will officially announce the Galaxy S8 Active, as we’re well past the time of year that the two companies have announced previous Galaxy S Active models. If you’re interested in a high-end Android phone that’s also got a rugged body, or if you just don’t care for the Galaxy S8’s curved display and glass body, then this Galaxy S8 Active might be worth waiting for.

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Action Launcher gets big update with Google Now, Android O features, and more

Fans of Action Launcher, you may want to visit the Play Store, because there’s a pretty significant update that’s now rolling out.

Action Launcher v26 is now rolling out, says developer Chris Lacy. The update is a biggie, adding Google Now integration, Android O features, and more.

First up, you can now enable Google Now with Action Launcher on devices running Lollipop or later. You’ll just need to install the Action Launcher Google Plugin and you’ll then be able to access Google Now just like you would on Google’s own launcher. Just swipe to the right on your home screen and Google Now will appear.

Also included with Action Launcher v26 are some Android O goodies, like the Android O-style widget picker and App Shortcuts panel. There’s also full Notification Dots support, Unread Counts for all apps that have a current notifications, and a dedicated “Icons & App Shortcuts” settings page where you can easily access your icon-related settings.

Here’s the full changelog for Action Launcher v26:

  • NEW: Google Now integration for all! Requires installation of the Action Launcher Google Plugin application.
  • NEW: Full Notification Dots support!
  • NEW: Long-pressing an shortcut will display a preview of app’s notifications and allow notifications to be dismissed ala Android O. Available when using either Notification Dots or Unread Count.
  • NEW: Unread Count support extended to all apps that have a current notification.
  • NEW: Android O style App Shortcuts panel.
  • NEW: Allow granular control as to which apps display Notification Dots/Unread Count.
  • NEW: Android O style widget picker, which displays all relevant widgets for a given shortcut.
  • NEW: Directly engage Action Launcher’s Quickedit panel via a shortcut’s long-press popup UI.
  • NEW: Dedicated “Icons & App Shortcuts” settings page, which is home to all icon related settings.
  • NEW: When Google Pill widget is on the left screen edge and Google Now integration is enabled, display a tinted edge background as per Pixel Launcher.
  • NEW: Option to adjust the scale of icon indicators.
  • NEW: Revamped interface for selecting the apps that are hidden from app drawers.

So yeah, this is a pretty huge update. Not only is it great to see Android O features, giving you features of the next major Android release right now, but the integration of Google Now is a biggie. The feed in Google Now is useful for quickly getting info on things you’re interested in, and while Google isn’t making Google Now officially available in non-Google launchers, devs like Lacy have found a way to make it happen.

You can find Action Launcher in the Play Store right here. If you haven’t used Action Launcher in a while or if you’ve never tried it before, now may be the time to give it a look.

Sources: Chris Lacy (1), (2), Play Store: Action Launcher

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[Hands-on] The Walking Dead: March to War, a beautiful looking game built around tired free-to-play mechanics

Disruptor Beam has a new free-to-play survival game coming up for release soon. It is titled The Walking Dead: March to War, and it's available for pre-registration on the Google Play Store as we speak. Luckily I've gotten my hands on the APK and have tested it out in order to show everyone what can be expected when it is officially released.

I would like to briefly mention that The Walking Dead: March to War is currently a beta title still in testing.
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[Hands-on] The Walking Dead: March to War, a beautiful looking game built around tired free-to-play mechanics was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Top 10 Android app updates this week: Fleksy, GoPro

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we’re going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we’ll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

Fleksy - Version 8.4.1



What’s new in this version:

  • Improved the sharing mechanism for gifs and stickers: now, in supported apps, you can share your stickers and gifs directly in the current conversation, (without having to choose the recipient).
  • Fixed problems with predictions in languages like Romanian and Ukrainian: the keyboard would crash when you tried to type “Fleksy” – well that was embarrassing…
  • Fixed various other bugs and some compatibility issues with Android Nougat.


Pocket – Version 6.5.0



What’s new in this version:

  • Minor bug fixes and improvements


GoPro - Version 4.0.0



What’s new in this version:

  • Visit the new Recent Media to view, delete or save the footage used in a QuikStory.
  • We’ve made sign-in even easier, especially between the GoPro app or Quik.
  • Squashed some bugs so it’s easier to share to YouTube and download GoPro Plus media


Discord - Version 4.0.2



What’s new in this version:

  • Added “Show/Hide Muted Channels” option in the channels list for when you ain’t got time for that drama.
  • Added ability to see who reacted to a message and with what emoji. The critics are raving: “it works”
  • Fixed an issue where voice connection UI would not respond to connection changes. Sorry y’all.
  • Clicking an invite will show a server preview on the login/register screen.


Nova Launcher Beta - Version 5.4.0


Nova Launcher Beta

What’s new in this version:

  • Sesame Shortcut integration for long-press shortcuts and app search
  • Ability to hide navbar on Samsung S8 (Nova Settings > Look and Feel)
  • Update round searchbar style


Telegram - Version 4.2.0



What’s new in this version:

  • Send self-destructing photos and videos to any one-on-one chats (use the clock icon in the media picker to set a timer).
  • Edit photos even quicker with the improved photo editor.
  • Add a bio to your profile (in Settings) so that people in large group chats know who you are.
  • Download media from large public channels faster thanks to the new encrypted CDNs.
  • When choosing a sticker, tap the “up” button in the sticker panel to expand it to full screen.


Trusted Contacts - Version 1.5.16


Trusted Contacts

What’s new in this version:

  • Customize the timeout of location requests to share your location with your trusted contacts.
  • Integration with Google Maps location sharing, so you can easily enable permanent location sharing with selected contacts and find them directly within Google Maps.
  • Add new contacts using just their phone number.


AutoTools - Version 2.0.0



What’s new in this version:

  • fixed some bugs related to Web Screens
  • added new abilities to web screens needed for upcoming Web Screen Presets (changing overlay flags and send toasts)


LastPass Password Manager - Version 4.3.846



What’s new in this version:

  • This release fixes the fingerprint not available issue on Redmi and few other devices, and includes some stability improvements.


SoundCloud - Version 2017.06.26



What’s new in this version:

  • Offline listening is available with SoundCloud Go and SoundCloud Go+.


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Google Prepping New Features for Google+

Among all the social networks out there Google+ seems to be one of the least popular. Well, it seems the search giant is now looking for ways to revitalize the service, as it has started recruiting people to test out new features and offer feedback.

If you want to make sure your voice will be heard, you can try and sign up for the beta program. Go ahead and fill out the form complete with your profile link, info about the ways you use G+ and how long you’ve been a part of the community.

If accepted you’ll be given early access to new Google+ features and will be able to interact with the product team at Google and provide them with your honest opinion.

Google+’s fate has been hanging in the air for a while now, but it seems the Alphabet-owned company is finally ready to pump a new breath of life into this stagnating service.

There might not be many diehard Google+ fans out there, but nevertheless, the search giant hopes to be able to identify them and employ their help to revive its social network.

What new features would you like to see get added to Google+ if any?


The post Google Prepping New Features for Google+ appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Get an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ for $150 off

Looking for a deal on an unlocked Galaxy S8 instead of buying a phone from a carrier? We’ve got you covered.

Samsung’s unlocked Galaxy S8 and S8+ are now on sale. The Galaxy S8 is available for $574.99 at Amazon and Samsung, while the Galaxy S8+ is $674.99 at Amazon and Samsung.

Because these Galaxy S8 and S8+ models come unlocked, they don’t have any carrier bloatware preloaded. Plus, they support all four major U.S. carriers, which means that you can use them on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon and take your phone with you if you switch carriers in the future.

There’s no telling how long these sales will last, so if you’re thinking about taking advantage of these unlocked Galaxy S8 deals, you may want to act soon.

Sources: Galaxy S8 at Amazon and Samsung, Galaxy S8+ at Amazon and Samsung

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Unlocked BlackBerry KEYone Lands in Canada, Already Sold-Out

So far you could purchase the BlackBerry KEYone from carrier partners in Canada, but this week we bring you some additional news on the availability of the phone.

The unlocked version of the BlackBerry KEYone has landed in the country. But it’s not available through BlackBerry itself by Walmart. Well, actually it used to be available because the initial stock is already gone.

The phone with 32GB of internal storage which is listed for a price of $729 CAD is out of stock. Hopefully, the stock will be replenished soon, as it seems the gadget is in great demand.

In case you forgot, let us remind you the BlackBerry KEYone arrives with a 4.5-inch IPS touchscreen with Gorilla Glass 4 protection. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor that works in concert with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

Thanks to its 12-megapixel main camera with wide aperture lens customers will be able to capture sharp, crisp photos in any light – well, at least in theory. The device also includes an 8-megapixel selfie snapper.

Of course, the QWERTY Smart Keyboard is also on board bringing 52 programmable shortcuts which can transform each letter key into shortcuts to your favorite apps.


The post Unlocked BlackBerry KEYone Lands in Canada, Already Sold-Out appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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What’s new for shortcuts and widgets in Android O

Posted by Gloria Liou, Associate Product Manager Intern

Why use shortcuts and widgets?

One of our favorite features in Android O is the ability to pin shortcuts and widgets for your app onto the launcher through deep linking.

Shortcuts let users quickly start a specific task, while widgets give users instant access to specific actions and information from your app. Users want to get things done, and get things done fast - shortcuts and widgets are a way to help them and to increase user engagement with your content.

To pin a shortcut or widget, users long press your app's icon for options and drag and drop the selected item to a location of their choice.

Dynamic / static shortcuts
Pinned shortcuts

Adding shortcuts and widgets from within your app

The API has a new flow for adding shortcuts and widgets from within your app. The new method uses a modal dialog, deprecating the old method of using a broadcast, which will not work on O devices.

That's not all. We've made improvements to the user interface and experience. In the old experience, there was no app icon on the shortcut, so users had no idea which app the shortcut was from. Marking shortcuts with the app icon provides better branding while protecting users from potential malware.

Old shortcut
New shortcut

There is also a new option to add a specialized activity to help users create shortcuts. The activity is complete with custom options and confirmation.

With these new additions and improvements, users will be more likely to use your shortcuts and widgets, leading to more meaningful and impactful engagement with your app and happier, more productive users.

To learn more, head over to the shortcuts and widgets page on the Android Developers website.

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Head into the weekend with 21 temporarily free and 50 on-sale apps

Welcome to the final Friday for July. August is just around the corner, which means that a bunch of us will be heading back to school (I took the summer off for the first time since I started my degree). Today brings us a heftier list than usual, but there are some great nuggets here. I will bold them for your convenience. You're welcome.



  1. Weather Route $0.99 -> Free; 7 hours left
  2. Fella for Facebook (Beta) $0.99 -> Free; 6 days left
  3. Guide2Sarajevo - Sarajevo Audio Travel Guide $3.99 -> Free; 6 days left
  4. Learn Chinese In 20 Days $1.49 -> Free; 6 days left


  1. LASERBREAK Pro $0.99 -> Free; 3 days left
  2. VR Earth Attack $0.99 -> Free; 3 days left
  3. Horse Racing & Betting Game (Premium) $0.99 -> Free; 6 days left
  4. Three Towers: The Puzzle Game (Premium) $0.99 -> Free; 7 days left

Icon packs & customization

  1. AMOLED mnml KLWP $0.99 -> Free; 7 hours left
  2. Cartoon City 3D live wallpaper $0.99 -> Free; 1 day left
  3. FineArtPaper - grand wallpaper $0.99 -> Free; 1 day left
  4. Africa 3D Pro Live Wallpaper $0.99 -> Free; 2 days left
  5. Materik - material icon pack $0.99 -> Free; 2 days left
  6. SL Theme Dera Pink $0.99 -> Free; 2 days left
  7. Ultra Icon Pack $1.49 -> Free; 2 days left
  8. Red Platin HD Icon Pack $2.99 -> Free; 5 days left
  9. Love In Silhouette 3D LWP $0.99 -> Free; 6 days left
  10. Mashup Dance Party 3D LWP $0.99 -> Free; 6 days left
  11. Thanksgiving Animated Clock 3D $0.99 -> Free; 6 days left
  12. UX Experience S8 - Icon Pack $0.99 -> Free; 7 days left



  1. Speaking Alphabet (Russian) $1.99 -> $0.99; 7 hours left
  2. MaskApp - Photomontage Premium $3.49 -> $0.99; 2 days left
  3. Stock Exchange $1.99 -> $0.99; 5 days left
  4. Be Stronger $1.99 -> $0.99; 6 days left
  5. NDS Boy!
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Head into the weekend with 21 temporarily free and 50 on-sale apps was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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T-Mobile offers buy one, get one deal for Samsung Galaxy S8 again

T-Mobile and Samsung are no strangers to offering some pretty great deals for Galaxy S8 and S8+, and so it’s not a surprise to see yet another buy one, get one deal being offered.

Today T-Mobile is relaunching its BOGO deal for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. To be eligible, you’ll need to buy both phones on T-Mobile’s equipment installment plan and you’ll need to sign up or at least one new line on either the T-Mobile One or Simple Choice Unlimited plans. After that, you’ll go to the T-Mobile Promotions Center website to enter the code 17GS8SAMBOGO.

Once you follow those steps, the Un-carrier will send you a prepaid MasterCard card that will cover the cost of that second phone you picked up. So if you went with a Galaxy S8, you’ll get a $750 card. If you opt for the Galaxy S8+, you’ll get a card that has $800 on it.

There’s a new line of service requirement this time around, which may or may not be a deal breaker. However, if you’re in the market for a new device, and can use a second one for whatever reason, this might be the right deal for you.

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Pokémon Go Fest attendees file lawsuit against Niantic

Niantic's inability to make Pokémon Go work properly is becoming legend. Basically, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And there was a lot of wrong at the high-profile Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago last weekend. It was such a mess that a few dozen players have filed a class action lawsuit against Niantic, alleging false advertising.

The plaintiffs are demanding Niantic compensate them for travel to the festival, which was an unmitigated disaster.

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Pokémon Go Fest attendees file lawsuit against Niantic was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Chrome on Android O will give each website its own notification channel

While this isn't live now in any version of Chrome from stable to Canary, work is underway to improve the way notifications through the app that originate from websites are handled on Android O by giving them individual channels.

Currently, with all Chrome versions (59 stable to 62 Canary), the app offers 5 different notification channels: Browser, Downloads, Incognito, Media, and Sites. These let you assign different importance levels and choose how each type of notification is handled by the system.

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Chrome on Android O will give each website its own notification channel was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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