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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly
Welcome to the 401st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Netflix added a new feature this week. The Play Something feature lets Netflix choose what you watch. Netflix uses its algorithm and the stuff you previously watched to recommend something new. The change is rolling out to all Netflix users starting this week. Unfortunately, iOS users are left to wait a bit longer but it’s coming there as well.
- Google Assistant’s Quick Phrases feature started rolling out this week. The new feature lets you create multiple sets of hotwords or phrases for various commands. The feature lets you initiate commands without the need to say “Hey, Google” first. There are many different examples and you can hit the link for more. However, based on one of our recent reader polls, most of you will be nice to Google Assistant, even with these new phrases.
- Google decided not to move forward with its Google bank account. The new account, dubbed Plex, was to be a part of Google Pay. Unfortunately, things are going very wrong for Google Pay at the moment. The Google Pay team saw a lot of departures after the app’s big refresh in November 2020. Citigroup also ended its involvement with Google Pay (or vice versa) despite having 400,000 people on the waitlist. There are big things going on with Google Pay right now and it’s not looking good.
- Everybody knows about the big Facebook outage that took place earlier this week. The service went down early in the afternoon (Eastern Standard Time) and was down for over six hours. Instagram and WhatsApp were also down. Billions of people use those three services so it was a pretty big deal. It turns out that a bad update locked Facebook out of its own servers (and buildings, apparently) and it took a long time to get people in and the problem fixed. You can read about the mayhem at both links.
- Telegram had a great week because of the Facebook outage. The service gained over 70 million users in just one day. It makes a lot of sense. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger were down and people needed a place to continue to talk. Telegram seems to have won out over the other chat apps. Even some of our readers signed up in the face of the outage. Hit the links to learn more.
Girl Cafe Gun
Price: Free to play
Girl Cafe Gun is a gacha game with a few different game mechanics. There are some simulation elements, some bullet hell elements, and some other stuff there too. The result is some varied gameplay with a bunch of stuff to do. The combat part of the game is a third-person shooter where you rain bullets down on enemies and they reciprocate. You dodge the bullets and try to kill them before they get you. The non-combat half of the game is equal parts dating sim and cafe simulator. The cafe simulator part is pretty neat, but a bit basic compared to full restaurant sim experiences. The dating part has enough fan service to generate facepalms, but it’s nothing too ridiculous. It’s an interesting game for sure, especially if you’re into this kind of stuff.
Bolt for Tesla
Bolt for Tesla is a plugin for Tasker, Automate, and MacroDroid. It helps you program NFC tags to do a variety of interactions with your Tesla vehicle. Some examples include locking and unlocking the door, open and close the windows, activating remote start, activating the seat warmers, and a lot of other stuff. The app works pretty easily. You open it, decide what you want it to do, and then it does it. You do need one of the aforementioned automation apps first and the app helps you get everything working. I don’t personally own a Tesla so I couldn’t test the NFC tags I made, but the process seems to have worked fine. The app runs for $0.99, but has no ads or in-app purchases otherwise.
Price: Free to play
Sky Warriors is an aerial shooter where you fly a plane and shoot down enemies. The game isn’t too deep and only contains two game modes. The hallmark mode, though, is a realtime online multiplayer. You and your friends can fly around and dogfight with real opponents all over the place. You can also play against bots if you want a less stressful time. Other than that, the game features above-average graphics and a decent selection of planes. The controls are also pretty decent but can feel a bit sloppy at times on touch screens. It’s good overall, even if the heavily touted multiplayer can feel a bit funky on occasion.
Project Activate is a new accessibility app from Google. It lets you create automated commands using facial expressions. For example, you can have your phone answer a call by raising your eyebrows. The app aims at folks with diseases or disabilities that prevent the use of their limbs. It worked pretty well in our testing and it definitely signifies an early attempt. This app could get way better as time goes. Still, it’s decent for simple stuff like sending a quick text or answering phone calls. This is a really cool approach to this particular problem and we hope Google continues to iterate and improve.
Disney Wonderful Worlds
Price: Free to play
Disney Wonderful Worlds is a match-three puzzle game with a bunch of popular Disney characters. The core gameplay loop is the match-three mechanics. That part of the game plays like most other match-three games. However, as you progress, you also build a Disney park with the various things you unlock. There are three parks to build in total and that’s basically what keeps you playing. It’s a good overall experience although the grind is just like most free to play games. There are also some early release bugs, but they should get ironed out over time. This is an officially licensed game, but it is not developed by Disney.
If we missed any big Android apps or games releases or news, tell us about it in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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