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Stadia to become Google’s next messaging app

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Over the years, Google has become infamous for creating and “killing” messaging apps, as well as putting messaging into apps where it may or may not be useful, like in YouTube. Now, Google is preparing to launch messaging into yet another app, Stadia.

Right now, there’s only two ways to talk to your friends while playing Google Stadia — through a game’s built-in voice chat or through Stadia’s own cross-game party voice system. If you want to just send a friend a quick message, perhaps to see what time they want to play, you need to be able to reach them through another app.

Simple messaging has been a core part of gaming platforms for well over a decade now. On many counts, it’s surprising that Stadia doesn’t have messaging, between its usefulness to gamers and Google’s zeal for creating messaging apps. It seems this may now be poised to change.

Stadia version 2.16 arrived in the Play Store this week, and our APK Insight team dug in to see what Google has planned next for their streaming service. Among other details, like more Android TV prep and the ability to share your captures, we discovered numerous references in the app’s code to messages and chat.

Google Stadia 2.16 preps 4K/HDR for Android TV, capture link sharing, more

In the teardown, we found a significant number of new references to the ability to “chat,” have “conversations,” and send “direct messages,” all of which is being developed behind an internal flag. All of this strongly points to Stadia gaining a full in-app messaging experience.

Message History panel title

Text chat

batchGetChatMessages

ChatMessages

ChatMessagesModel

ConversationViewModel

createChatMessage

DirectChatMessageList

DirectMessageLastReadTimestamps

enableTextChatFlag

We also found a new privacy setting — added in a previous version, but not made available yet — that pretty explicitly calls out the ability for people to send you “chat messages.”

Privacy setting defining who can message you.

Send you chat messages

While the idea of “another Google messaging app” is enough to make some people groan, Stadia is honestly a prime candidate for messaging, to keep gamers in touch without relying solely on voice chat.

Considering many, if not most Stadia players already have the app installed on their phone, it would make a lot of sense for Stadia’s messaging capabilities to launch there. That said, things still appear to be in an early state, and therefore we don’t expect Stadia’s chat capabilities to launch any time soon.

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Latest Google app beta crashes when you customize Discover on Android

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A bug with the latest Google app beta today sees the Discover feed available to the left of Android homescreens consistently crash. This issue affects both Google and non-Pixel devices.

This crash only occurs in one specific circumstance. After swiping left to reach Discover, tapping the overflow button in the bottom-right corner of each card will immediately crash the Google app.

A system prompt might appear, but you could also suddenly find yourself on the homescreen. That menu lets users share or hide stories, express interest/disinterest, and “Report content.” You can still “Manage interests” by going to the More tab > Settings > Interests.

The More/Less control next to the overflow button interestingly still works, while you can also open webpages. To reload the homescreen feed after a crash, open the Google app via its icon.

This issue emerged with Google app 11.13, which rolled out this morning to the beta channel. It’s an unexpected release since version 11.12 launched earlier on Tuesday. It makes for two major updates this week.

We’ve encountered the crash on both Google and non-Pixel Android phones, like the OnePlus 8. The full Discover feed in the Google app does not have the same issue. It will presumably be resolved with a minor update in the coming days.

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TCL brings Android TV lineup to the US, will be sold alongside Roku models

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Roku has been the biggest player in the US when it comes to smart TV platforms, but Google’s Android TV hasn’t given up the fight. Today, Google’s platform is getting a boost as TCL has announced that it will begin selling Android TV models in the United States for the first time.

In a press release, TCL says that it will “[leverage] its years-long mobile device partnership with Google” to bring these new televisions to the US. TCL has offered Android TV models overseas in the past, but only sold models running Roku in the States since 2014.

TCL’s collection of Roku built-in smart TVs have become extremely popular in the US, mostly due to their value proposition. The company’s affordable panels often deliver top-tier features and picture quality for a fraction of the cost of the competition. Now, the same will be offered with Google’s Android TV platform using essentially the same hardware.

Chris Larson, senior vice president for TCL North America says:

Our award-winning TV lineup helped propel us into America’s second-largest TV brand just five years after we introduced our products in the US and with those significant achievements, we believe this is the perfect time to deliver another option for consumers with Android TV.

Since the first day TCL launched in North America, we’ve been focused on becoming one of the most popular TV brands by paying close attention to what our users value. Consumers desire options and our mission is to serve them with our latest multi-OS strategy. We’re excited to introduce new customers to TCL with our expanded television assortment…

TCL TVs with Roku won’t be going anywhere, as Android TV models will be sold right alongside them. Currently, only two TCL models are available with Google’s platform, 32-inch and 40-inch 1080p TVs shipping now from Best Buy with pricing starting at $129.

Notably, this comes just a few weeks after TCL launched its first Android smartphones in the United States.

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Today’s Android game/app deals + freebies: Doom & Destiny, Galaxy Trader, more

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We are now ready to jump into the weekend with all of Friday’s best Android app deals in tow. For those who might be new around here, every weekday afternoon we scour the internet for all of the most notable price drops on Google Play and beyond. Wading through the onslaught of less than desirable Android apps that go on sale everyday can be tedious at best, so just let us do it for you. Today’s highlights include Doom & Destiny Advanced, Weather App Pro, Simple File Manager Pro, You are Hope, Galaxy Trader, Data Defense, Quell Memento+, and more. As always, today’s complete collection of the best Android app deals is waiting below the fold.

Today’s Best Android Game and App Deals:

Today’s best android hardware deals are highlighted by a pair of notable Wear OS offers. We have the Moto 360 Smartwatch with an always-on screen for $270 and Samsung’s stainless steel Galaxy Watch Active2 from $230 ($99 off). These wearable deals join ongoing offers on Skagen’s Falster 2 Smartwatch, a series of Fossil models from $129 and Withings’ Steel Hybrid. We also still have some solid handset price drops running including LG’s unlocked G8 ThinQ and the Moto G7 Play as well as Google Pixel 3a/XL back down at Amazon all-time lows. Lastly, be sure to swing by our roundup for all the best Android accessory deals and more.

Today’s Best Game Deals: Forza Motorsport 7 $10, Persona 5 Royal $40, more


More Android App Deals Still Alive:

***Act fast on these deals from our previous roundup as they are jumping back up in price at any time.

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Venture with the most nerdy anti-heroes of all times, face a crazy adventure, defeat a mad business man and save the universe, one fetch quest at a time. Embody 20 different heroic spirits, equip gear, master skills and character combinations to fight in turn based combat 300+ different enemies and, while you progress into an over 30 hours main quest, feel free to explore 1000+ locations looking for more than 100 hidden secrets. Doom & Destiny Advanced is the sequel, prequel and reboot of Doom & Destiny. This might sound crazy, but in short, it means that you don’t need to play the first Do&De, but if you did, you’ll enjoy the wacky world and funny characters even more!

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