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Google app v6.2 beta reveals more about Google assistant and teases 'Ok Google' hotword setting for Auto and Maps navigation mode [APK Teardown]

Google has been on a roll this week with app updates and there have been some pretty cool new features, not the least of which makes comic books more awesome. One of the latest arrivals to the list is a beta update to the titular app. Known originally as "Search," the Google app now encompasses a custom launcher, the Now stream, Now on Tap, voice commands, and more. The recently announced Google assistant is on course to join the party, promising to bring many of these technologies together to deliver something not unlike the computer from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Google Messenger v1.9 is installable on Android 7.0 developer previews and restores Wear support [APK Download]

If you're among the crowd that both installs Android developer previews and also owns an Android Wear watch, you've probably noticed some of the apps that belong on your watch have been missing. This happens because the stock apps included with the developer previews are missing the the micro-apks for Wear. As the official release of Android 7.0 draws near, Google has been slowly releasing app updates that can install over the stock versions on the developer preview. And as of yesterday's stream of updates, Google Messenger joins that list.

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Google+ v8.3 prepares to enable image comments, community moderation improvements [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google+ app is getting an update today, bringing the latest version to 8.3. The changes aren't going to be very extensive for most people, but there are signs that one highly requested feature will be coming in the future: image comments. It looks like there may also be some changes for community moderators either in place already, or coming soon.

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Google Photos v1.24 added an improved cropping tool and sorting for albums [APK Download]

An update to Google Photos hit late yesterday, taking the version up to 1.24. This update doesn't make any major changes, but there are a couple of notable improvements. The cropping tool has been redesigned and upgraded in a few good ways and albums can now be sorted. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom of the post if you'd like to pick up the apk before Google rolls it out to everybody.

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Play Books v3.9 adds smarter search suggestions, badges for series with new content, and more [APK Download + Teardown]

It has been a couple of months since Play Books has been in the news, but there's a new update rolling out and it brings a couple of new features. Version 3.9 gives search a little more help with more thorough suggestions and adds a badge to series when new content hits the store. Those two things along with some other general bug fixes and improvements are certainly nice, but there are also a couple of things to talk about in a teardown. Keep reading for details or skip straight to the bottom for a download link.

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[Still no Japan] Pokémon GO official in 26 new European countries

Pokémon GO's worldwide phenomenon is spreading fast and now, if you live in Europe, odds are you'll have more chances of seeing people huddled up acting weird staring at their screens and trying to play with imaginary creatures. Why? Because while we, lucky Android geeks, have been able to manually grab the APK and install it on our phones regardless of where Niantic has officially released the game, many regular Android users didn't know how to do it and almost all iPhone users simply couldn't.

So what are these 26 lucky countries? Here we go, the official list:

Pokémon GO is available in twenty-six new countries.

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Play Music v6.11 adds 'play' buttons to album and radio station cards, prepares to add a sleep timer, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

Updates to the Play Music app have been steadily rolling out, but there hasn't been much to tell for about the last six weeks, ever since podcast support was added to Android Auto at the beginning of June. Bug fixes and very subtle tweaks seem to be the theme. The latest update to v6.11 doesn't deviate too far from this trend, but there is a small addition to the UI and a few clues to discuss in a teardown.

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Clock app update delivers support for multi-window and Direct Boot in Android N [APK Download]

The Clock app may not be the most exciting one to come pre-installed on your phone, but it's one of the most important. Alarms get you to work or school on time, and if one fails to go off, that can lead to trouble. It's one thing to sleep through a class because you forgot. It's another when you wake up only to see that your phone restarted overnight and didn't boot because it needs to decrypt.

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Google Keyboard v5.1 (originally bundled with N preview) is rolling out in the Play Store [APK Download] [Update: Changelog]

Google gave us a little sneak preview of Google Keyboard v5.1 in the Android N dev preview back in May. You could sideload that APK on other versions of Android to get the new themes, but now the final build appears to be hitting the Play Store. As with all Google releases, this one is staged. We've got the new version available for sideloading, though.

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Inbox v1.27 prepares to support Gmail's vacation auto-responder [APK Teardown]

Inbox has been growing consistently more feature-rich with a mix of new features designed just for its efficient interface and old features that are slowly integrated from its forefather Gmail. There aren't any obvious signs of new features to play with in this version, but there is something for the teardown archives. With the release of v1.27, evidence shows another classic feature will soon make the jump from Gmail to Inbox: the vacation responder.

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