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How to use the Google Pixel Launcher on non-Pixel phones

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Google Pixel Launcher

Google’s Pixel Launcher first leaked onto the scene back in August last year, and then got an official introduction alongside the Pixel and Pixel XL, but if you have any other device and navigate your way to the Play Store, you won’t be able to download it.

This isn’t a problem, however. Just follow the steps below to get it running on your phone (you need Androi 5.0 or newer for it to work).

How to install Pixel Launcher

Navigate your way to APK Mirror’s Pixel Launcher page and select the version number you want. Generally, the newest is the one to go for unless you have a specific reason for needing an older version.

Then ensure you have the setting to allow installation of apps from unknown sources checked. You can find this in Settings > Security (sometimes called ‘Lockscreen and security‘) and then toggle to allow installation. Usually, it will ask you if you just want to allow a single installation. This is all you’ll need to do, and is the safer option.

Once installed, tapping the home screen button should be enough to enable a prompt asking which launcher you want to use.

Uninstalling Pixel Launcher

Oddly, in our testing, after installing Pixel Launcher, it didn’t appear in the list of installed apps, so if you ever change your mind and want to uninstall it, you can always head to Settings > Apps and find it there. You’ll need to Force Stop it before you can uninstall it though.

 

I’m a tech journalist and editor with lots of opinions. 10second.tech is a place for me to put those. All views expressed are personal, and not those of any titles for which I write in other capacities. As well as running this site, I also write for WIRED, Engadget, Trusted Reviews, and a number of other leading technology titles. I also run SexTechGuide.com.

You’re welcome to contact me via [email protected] if you have news or anything else to pass along, on twitter at @10sectech or @TheNextWoods

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How to share your real-time location with Google Maps

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Real-time location features were once a part of Latitude, which Google put out to pasture some years back, but have since been absent from its mapping platform, allowing for apps like Glympse to fill the void. Now Google’s bringing the feature back to maps.

Rather than having to go into Google+, add a contact and offer to share your location, now all you need to do is open Google Maps (on Android or iOS), open the navigation menu and click ‘Share Location’.

Then you can choose to either share with a specific Google contact or get a link to send via a third-party service like WhatsApp; you also get to choose the duration of how long they can see your location, or whether it should be permanent.

There’s a new ‘Share Trip’ option coming too, to give people a more accurate picture of your time of arrival than currently.

The option hasn’t appeared for us yet, but Google says it’s rolling out worldwide “soon”.

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Opera Neon could quickly become my favorite browser

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Opera Neon is the newest browser from, you guessed it, Opera, and though it’s billed as a ‘concept’ browser of the future, it’s quickly becoming my favorite new browser, with one major caveat.

Why is another new browser interesting? Well, because it doesn’t look much like any of the other major browsers available today, and brings some genuinely useful new features to Windows users.

What can Opera Neon do?

Rather than providing the usual array of thumbnail tabs horizontally across the top of the display, they’re displayed down the right-hand side as visual thumbnails – this allows for larger images, and therefore less getting lost in your tabs (which is important to me particularly).

Also particularly useful is the ability to listen to music or watch videos playing in other tabs without navigating away from whatever you’re doing on your main one. To do this, you just need to start the song or video on your site of choice, and it’ll be automatically detected and popped into the left sidebar. From there, you can just listen along as normal (you can pause it from this sidebar too) or pop out a small thumbnail of a video over the top of the tab that you’re looking at. The feature is clearly still being fine-tuned, which means if you’re watching something where you care about frame rates, the popped out option isn’t going to work well for you at the moment.

Once you’ve popped a video out, you place it anywhere.

In that same left sidebar are a couple of other shortcuts too, which let you take a cropped screenshot of any area of the screen and then review it, and a separate section that shows you all the files you’ve downloaded with little thumbnails.

In listing the features, it doesn’t sound like much too special, but Opera’s delivered it in a way that feels both fresh and useful This feeling of ‘newness’ is helped by the new SpeedDial replacement, which sees your shortcuts arranged in a more planetary affair, and little graphical flourishes, like the animation when you delete a file from your downloads. Neon also mirrors your desktop wallpaper too, which is neat.

opera neon desktop background

Opera Neon open on the left, desktop on the right.

Adding new shortcuts to the home screen is as simple as dragging an open tab from the right sidebar. It’s a similar situation for images you’ve cropped or downloaded too – you just need to drag them from the left sidebar into the main window to open them in full screen. For people that want a task manager just for there browser, there’s even that too.

Now the caveat: Neon is a work in progress, and while it seems pretty stable and I can live with minor things like frame rate issues in the new video popout feature, it’s harder to live without the usual array of browser addons that you might have come to rely on. If you don’t have a set of extensions you consider essential in a browser, Opera Neon is well worth a look. It’s only for Windows users, though.

Opera Neon

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How do I listen to music and play games at the same time on Android?

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How to listen to music and play games

OK, this is an easy one, but a question I was asked this week that you might just have wondered yourself. You’ll kick yourself though, the answer is so simple.

Ready? Start playing your music or podcast app of choice, then open up the game you want to play. Once it starts to load, your audio will cut out, but all you need to do is pull down the notification bar and hit play to start it again.

Yeah, seriously. That’s it. I did say it was simple.

If you have a question you want answered, get in touch.

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