About the Author

Zac Hall

@apollozac

Editor at 9to5Mac + 9to5Google

Zac covers Apple news and product reviews for 9to5Mac. Zac also contributes to 9to5Google.

Email tips, typos, and any feedback to: zac@9to5mac.com

Tweet and follow: @apollozac

April 17

Snapchat is updating its Lens Studio tool with the ability to create custom Face Lenses for the first time. Lens Studio previously offered the ability to create World Lenses, or AR effects applied to your environment, and now users can create custom selfie effects as well.

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April 3

Apple Music for Android gains ‘new music video experience’ in latest update

Apple Music for Android continues to receive new updates that bring it in line with the iOS 11 version. The latest update released this week includes a ‘new music video experience’ following the same enhancements added in iOS 11.3 last week.

March 15

Apple Music for Android updated with crash fix, playback reliability improvements

Apple Music for Android has received its second app update of the month — an uncommon occurrence for the rarely updated Apple Music client.

March 13

After being teased last summer, ecobee has officially announced pricing and availability for its new Switch+ smart home accessory. Switch+ is available for pre-order starting today and ships on March 26 for $99 in the US and $119 in Canada. Like other smart light switches, Switch+ includes Alexa integration as well as Google Assistant support for controlling lights  — but Switch+ takes integration with Amazon’s voice assistant a step further by building it in to the light switch.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

March 7

Gigantic dinosaurs may soon be roaming the planet once again — at least on Android and iOS. Universal Studios and Montreal-based video game company Ludia have teamed up to create Jurassic World Alive. The title is a new augmented reality game launching this spring, and the premise is similar to Niantic’s Pokémon GO.

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January 12

Niantic is still cracking away at its AR-hit game Pokémon GO with a new series of events called Community Day. These events will be scheduled once a month around the world and aim to bring Trainers, or Pokémon GO players, together with special perks.

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November 29, 2017

Snapchat teased out earlier this month that its app would soon see its first major redesign, and today we’re seeing the first look at the new Snapchat. The details come a bit earlier than expected, although the rollout will be gradual…

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November 8, 2017

Instagram continues Snapchat assault, lifts 24 hour limit on Stories clone

Instagram is continuing its assault on Snapchat (which is working) by opening up its Stories clone to any photos and videos in your photo library. Stories were originally limited to shots and footage captured in the app, then later updated to include photos and video captured within the last 24 hours.

October 19, 2017

Pokémon GO is kicking off its second in-game Halloween event with new ghost-type pocket monsters from the Hoenn Region, a special Pikachua with a witch hat, and more rewards and perks.

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October 10, 2017

Snapchat is partnering with several services including OpenTable and Lyft to launch something new called Context Cards. These location-based cards bring relevant information like business hours, reviews, contact information, and travel options to Snapchat.

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October 4, 2017

In addition to promising Google Assistant support next year, Sonos has unveiled its latest wireless speaker: the Sonos One. The new model replaces the Sonos Play:1 in the lineup at the $199 level with models available in both white and now black. Sonos One is the company’s first wireless speaker with built-in voice control.

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September 25, 2017

It looks like Siri and Google are friends again and Bing is in the rear view mirror. In a major shift, Apple is changing its search results provider for Siri and Spotlight on iOS and macOS from Microsoft’s Bing to the vastly more popular Google.

TechCrunch says the change has started to roll out today (it’s also live for me) and should be in effect for all users by the end of the day. For users, this means Siri and Spotlight will now provide the same search results as Safari by default (and in a lot of cases show better search results).

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August 2, 2017

It’s been a whole year since Instagram rolled out its Snapchat-cloned Stories feature that lets users share ephemeral photos and videos on the service, and today Instagram has shared new data on Stories changing user engagement.

Earlier this summer Instagram shared that its Stories feature has 250 million users. Now Instagram says Stories has also helped increase the amount of time users spend in the app.

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Plex brings Live TV with DVR support and ‘Time Shifting’ to Android

Earlier this summer Plex announced its new Live TV feature that works with its DVR function to turn the app into a traditional TV replacement. After initially rolling out in beta on select devices, Plex has announced new updates to Live TV and DVR including the feature coming to Android…

July 18, 2017

The latest update to Snapchat coming today brings two new features: Multi-Snap and Tint Brush. Multi-Snap lets you create up to a minute of video now by separately recording up to 10 seconds at a time, and Tint Brush is a new color editing feature for selecting and editing a specific part of a photo.

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June 21, 2017

Snapchat is rolling out a new feature it calls Snap Map which lets you view Snaps by location and view Stories from around the world.

With the Snap Map, you can view Snaps of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more from all across the world 🗺️

Snap’s new location feature even lets you share where you are with friends and follow their location as well.

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June 19, 2017

As the second year of Pokémon Go arrives, Niantic has detailed major changes to the gameplay centered around how gyms and gym battles work. Gyms will soon work like PokéStops and include exclusive items, badges, and more while battling is getting more advanced with new social features coming.

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May 31, 2017

Microsoft is launching a new task management app for Android today called Planner. Previously available as a web app only, Planner works with eligible Office 365 accounts for organizing tasks visually and collaborating across teams.

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May 25, 2017

Facebook introduced its Instant Article format for publishers two years ago as a way to make loading content in the News Feed much faster, but the format hasn’t been adopted as widely as the social network had hoped. Now Facebook is rolling out new tools for publishers to make Instant Articles compatible with  Google AMP and Apple News formats.

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May 23, 2017

Instagram’s Explore tab already features search and discovery for finding new photos and videos on the service, and now the social network is introducing new location and hashtag stories.

The new location stories will appear when you’re near that current location and other Instagram users are posting with the format and tagging location. Hashtag stories will appear from search results and include stories that use specific hashtag stickers.

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