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Android Messages v2.2 cleans up the setup for solo and group messaging, allows adding new people to conversations [APK Download]

Not all updates have to introduce a big feature to make a big difference. The latest version of Android Messages demonstrates just that. It includes a couple of relatively small changes to the way group messaging is set up and should be a little faster for most people, and might remove some confusion for a few.

The screen for creating a new conversation in earlier versions was geared in favor of group chats. To be more specific, tapping on a contact would put them into a list of recipients and allowed users to keep adding more people until the user pressed a button to finalize the list and begin typing messages.

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Google Fit v1.64 for Wear 2.0 can now identify strength training exercises and automatically count reps [APK Download]

Google Fit stands as one of Google's only flagship apps on Android Wear, and may be the only one of its apps that matters more on a watch than it does on a phone. There's a new version of the app available on the Play Store for both watches and phones, but this update is all about adding a big feature for Wear. There's a new mode for recording strength training and similar activities that involve counting reps.

This update is for Wear 2.0 only, so quite a few people will have to wait until the rollout is complete before testing this out, but it works on the last developer preview as well as any watch that already has the official 2.0 firmware.

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Google Maps v9.51 beta adds new details about parking, prepares to improve route planning with parking suggestions and traffic charts [APK Teardown + Download]

It's time for another update to Google Maps. Like so many other version bumps, this one includes a couple of great gifts to get users where they want to go. The focus of this release appears to be directed at parking. There are now indicators to show if there is on-site parking and whether it's free or paid. The theme continues into the teardown with a feature that will help drivers plan to find parking near their destination before getting there.

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[Update: 1K subscribers required] YouTube is dropping the 10K subscriber requirement for mobile live streaming

Back in February, the YouTube app on Android added the ability to livestream straight from your phone/tablet, much like Periscope and Instagram Live. There was one catch - your channel needed at least 10,000 subscribers to use the feature. Now Google appears to be dropping that requirement, expanding live streaming to even more users.

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Samsung's first app to hit one billion installs has magical powers (according to the reviews)

With all the talk about the Galaxy S8, you may have missed Samsung's latest milestone. For the first time, one of its Play Store apps reached one billion installs. Given its 4.1 star rating and over half a million reviews, it is surprising it took this long.

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Google's Handwriting Keyboard for Android Wear 2.0 is now available on the Play Store

Google debuted Android Wear 2.0 at Google I/O last year with a number of great new features, not least of which was a clever spin on the handwriting keyboard. Oddly, the handwriting keyboard was left buried in a hard to find location and had to be activated just to use it. Now that the official Wear 2.0 release is rolling out (kinda), users have reported that this keyboard didn't even come preinstalled, nor could it be found on the Play Store – at least, not until yesterday. The Handwriting Keyboard is now available.

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Google app v7.0 beta includes new Assistant Notification settings, plans redesign of Assistant Services directory, and hints at new device called "Bisto" [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google app went through a major version bump to 7.0 and began rolling out to the beta channel a couple of days ago. A bit of digging around turned up a few new settings, but nothing that explains why the version number went up on this release. Along with the new features, a teardown also raises some light on a few things we can look forward to in the future, including some vital improvements for Services accessed through Google Assistant and what may be a new type of device. If you're not part of the beta channel, you can grab the latest version of the Google app – now with fewer crashes – from APK Mirror.

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Google Photos v2.13 adds video stabilization, hints at possible Google+ integration [APK Download + Teardown]

There's nothing like adding great new features with an update. The latest version of Photos began its rollout yesterday and it enables a video stabilization feature we've been looking forward to for months. A teardown of the apk also raises the question: Would the Photos app ever find itself reintegrating Google+ in some way? If you're not in the mood to wait for this version to hit your device, hit the APK Mirror link at the bottom to get this update a bit early.

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Play Movies & TV v3.24 prepares to feature HDR content, tweaks some layouts [APK Teardown + Download]

If you've purchased a new television in the last couple of years, it might be equipped with a feature called HDR, or High Dynamic Range. We won't get mired in the details, but let's just say it has a pretty noticeable impact on image quality, particularly in very dark or bright scenes. However, this doesn't do much good if the video you have to watch isn't properly encoded. The latest update to Play Movies & TV shows Google hasn't forgotten this fact, and preparations are being made to feature movies and TV shows delivered in HDR.

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High priority notifications in Inbox going live for some users

Inbox already does a great job of categorizing your email messages, but you still end up getting notifications for everything that comes in. In a recent teardown, we discovered that a new Inbox feature called 'High priority notifications' was in development. Now it seems to be going live - at least for some users.

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