Google is going all-in on the squircle icon for the Play Store

Google Play Store app Pixel 2 XL AA 3

In the image above you’ll see quite a few app icons on the Google Play Store. The Starbucks one is a circle, PUBG Mobile is a square, and the Lyft icon is a squircle — albeit a different squircle shape as compared to the Loffee app.

Google wants to do away with this disparity between icon shapes on the Google Play Store. In a new post on the Android Developers Blog, Google lays out the new rules for developers when it comes to their app and game icons — and it’s going to be all squircle all the time.

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Starting in April 2019, developers will have the ability to upload new icons for their apps that will conform to the new squircle shape. As of May 1, new apps submitted to the Google Play Store will not be accepted if they don’t follow the new icon guidelines. By June 24, 2019, all icons that haven’t been updated to the new format will be converted to legacy icons — eliminating the ability for developers to update them.

Legacy icons will be embedded as designed into a white squircle, to keep things more uniform. Check out how it all looks below (the original icon is on the left, the correctly redesigned icon is in the middle, and the legacy icon is all the way to the right):

In addition to this new squircle shape, Google will no longer allow icons to involve transparencies.

Google points out that this new policy only applies to the Play Store when viewed on Android, your desktop browser, or on Chrome OS. The Play Stores on Wear OS, Android TV, and Android Auto will not be beholden to the new design policy.

NEXT: How to download the Google Play Store

Google is giving away Play Store credits (Update: Redux!)

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Update, January 18, 2019 (3:29PM EST): If you missed the free Play Store credit the first time around, Google now offers a second opportunity for some Pixel 3 and 3 XL owners.

If you were selected, you should see a banner for a Play Store credit of $2 when you scroll down a bit in the For You tab. You can apply the credit at checkout and expires within 30 days of you saving the offer.

You can use the credit for anything on the Play Store, so long as it’s over $2. That said, not every Pixel 3 or 3 XL owner were selected for the credit.

Also, some folks received $3 of Play Store credit instead of $2.


Original article, November 5, 2018 (1:59PM EST): If you like free money (who doesn’t?), you should open up the Google Play Store app on your Android smartphone. You might find you’ve earned a free Play Store credit, worth anywhere from $1 to $5.

To see if you’ve got cash, open up the Google Play Store and scroll down a bit. If you’re one of the lucky ones who got a credit, you’ll see an image banner telling you so. If you scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page and don’t see anything except for suggested apps, unfortunately, you’ve missed out this time around.

Google didn’t make any announcement about the credits that we know of, so it’s hard to tell what this promotion is all about. It appears that owners of a Google Pixel 3 or Google Pixel 3 XL in the United States get a credit — but not all owners are seeing credits right now. It also appears people who don’t own a Pixel 3 who see the credit are a mixed bunch, with no obvious connection linking them.

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However, it does seem like all recipients of the free credit have one thing in common, which is they live in the United States.

If you do find yourself with some free credits, tap on the image banner and follow the instructions. The credit will go into your Google account and can be used towards any app or game on the Play Store. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t use the credits to pay for subscriptions or in-app purchases.

The credits will expire in two years, although you’ll likely spend $5 on the Play Store between now and then, won’t you?

NEXT: How to get a refund for apps purchased from the Google Play Store

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

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Welcome to the 272nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Microsoft has some big plans for Microsoft Edge. For starters, it’s replacing EdgeHTML for the much more popular Chromium. Microsoft claims the change helps them release more updates and work better cross-platform. The good news is that it might allow some serious developments like support for MacOS. However, it also means that Chrome has gobbled up yet another competitor. Opera also uses Chromium as a base for its operation too. In any case, you can hit the link to learn more.
  • Google’s chat apps are having a pretty bad week. Google Hangouts is turning into a chat platform similar to the likes of Slack or Discord. The change should take place by 2020. It was once a couple of features away from being the iMessage of Android so it’s a staggering change. Then, Google announced the shuttering of Google Allo. Google is transitioning many of the features to Android Messages, an SMS app with RCS support. It seems like Google believes RCS to be the future. Those are two more Google social platforms to bite the dust in 2018 along with Spaces and Google+.
  • Epic Games had an exciting week. Fortnite received a new game feature. There is now a creative mode similar to the creative mode in Minecraft. Additionally, the company announced a competitor to Steam and the Google Play Store. The Epic Games Store houses PC and mobile games in the same place. This could be a big deal because no other store covers both platforms. It’s also not a half bad idea with how many indie games get both PC and mobile releases. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Google announced Hummingbird officially this week. The Hummingbird platform is a simple idea with a complicated execution. It lets developers build a single app that runs on a variety of platforms, including iOS, the web, and Android. All-in-one toolkits are usually bogus with support for a single platform with a few features for a second. Hummingbird has the opportunity to be the first of its kind to not be awful. Hit the link for more details!
  • Google announced its picks for the best of 2018 in the Google Play Store. There were a lot of winners across a range of categories, including PUBG Mobile (fan favorite and best game), YouTube TV (fan favorite), Avengers: Infinity War (fan favorite), Drops (best app), Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (best ebook), 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (best audiobook), and The Walking Dead (best TV show). You can hit the link to see all of the selections and check them out on Google Play!

Gorogoa

Price: $4.99
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Gorogoa is a new indie puzzle game. It features elements similar to Noodlecake Games’ Framed series. The game features a bunch of comic book style panels that players arrange and combine into a full story. It features hand-drawn graphics, a fun story line, and simple mechanics. The game itself is fairly fun to play. However, the carefully crafted animations and story are the real story here. Those who enjoy thoughtful narratives should enjoy this one quite a bit. The game is a little bit short, but most people don’t seem to mind. It runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements. This is also from the same developer of Florence, a slice-of-life narrative game.
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Yahoo Play

Price: Free
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Yahoo Play is the latest app from, well, Yahoo. It’s a pop culture app and has tons of celebrity, pop culture, and entertainment stuff. It also does a bunch of other stuff. At its core, it’s a news app with news about the pop culture scene. However, it also includes original video series along with trivia and quiz games. There is honestly quite a bit to do in this app. However, it does suffer from bugs and slow load times. It definitely needs some work. This could be fun for those enjoy entertainment, but we recommend maybe waiting a bit until Yahoo sorts out the issues.
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Yahoo Play

Command and Conquer: Rivals

Price: Freemium
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Command and Conquer: Rivals saw its global launch earlier this week. It’s a duel-style battle game. Players choose a hero, build an army, and battle other players online in one versus one battles. The game mechanics also include strategy elements as well. Players must control the battlefield and resupply their troops in order to win. Of course, your army is customizable as well. The game has some serious balancing issues right now. Low level players get matched up with players significantly more powerful and it’s a little annoying. Otherwise, it’s actually not a half bad game.
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Google Santa Tracker

Price: Free
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Google’s yearly Santa tracker app is live in the Play Store as well as on the web. It has about the same content as it did last year. That includes a bunch of kid-friendly min-games, a countdown timer to the big day, and some other little bits of fun. The app then tracks Santa on Christmas Eve to the delight of young children. The min-games aren’t awe inspiring or anything, but they’re good enough for most younger kids. It’s a colorful, fun way to track Santa every year. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases. Thanks, Google!
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Absolute Drift

Price: $2.99
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Absolute Drift is the latest game from Noodlecake Studios. It’s a decidedly mobile game with a racing theme. Players drift around corners, avoid obstacles, and collect little red balls for points. The game isn’t fast, but it’s surprisingly intense anyway. Plus, there’s a relaxing soundtrack to bring it all together. The game also features six cars, three game modes, a night mode, leaderboards, and even Bluetooth controller support. It costs an extremely reasonable $2.99 and has no ads or additional in-app purchases. What’s not to like?
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If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about in the comment section below! Also, check out our weekly podcast here!

Deal: Halloween movies and audiobooks from $4.99 on Google Play

Google Play Halloween deals Google Play

Halloween is creeping up on us and, to get you in the mood for it, Google has discounted some of the scariest movies and audiobooks on Google Play. There are far too many titles on offer to list them all, but here are a few that stand out.  

Movies discounted for Halloween

There’s a variety of classic and modern movies available with prices starting at $4.99 and going up to $9.99. You’ll be able to rewatch these movie time and again, but if you just want to see it once you might be better off renting it if it’s available (it will be cheaper).

Some of the highlights include:

  • Get Out: ($9.99)
  • The Shining: ($4.99)
  • The Silence of the Lambs ($4.99)
  • Alien ($7.99)
  • Black Swan ($7.99)
  • American Psycho ($5.99)

To take a look at any of the movies listed above, or to see the full list, click the button below.

Audiobooks discounted for Halloween

Like the movies, all the audiobooks in the offer are under $10 with the cheapest ones coming in at $4.99. As you may expect, there are a few Stephen King titles in the list, as well as some classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Some examples include:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ($5.99)
  • The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule ($6.95)
  • Phone by Will Self ($4.99)
  • The Talisman by Stephen King ($6.95)
  • Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan ($6.95)
  • The Devil’s Rosary by Seabury Quinn ($4.99)

If you want to buy any of these books or to see the full list, hit the button below.

Editor’s Pick

The deals will last until November 1 so you have a week to get some titles in if you’re itching for some Halloween scares. Which offer stands out to you? Let us know in the comments below.

Next up: 10 facts about Google Play to celebrate 10 years of downloads