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Google app v7.12 confirms squeezable sides on Pixel 2, prepares for multi-step shortcuts, resuming podcast episodes, and more [APK Teardown]

As we close in on Google's October 4th launch event, a new beta release of the Google app itself is rolling out with hints about some of the things we may hear about during the presentation. In this update, we find further confirmation that one or both of the new Pixels will include pressure-sensitive sides that wake up Google Assistant. There are also clues about customizable search bars and interchangeable voices for the Google Assistant. And we can look forward to routines, which are basically shortcuts capable of taking multiple actions.

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Google Photos v3.5 prepares for the launch of Google Lens and resumes work on timestamp editing [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Photos is rolling out to Android users around the world. Like so many recent updates, this one doesn't change much from the user perspective, but it is meant to begin preparations for new features that will be enabled in the coming weeks or months. A teardown reveals more details about what we have to look forward to in Google Lens when it launches. Also showing up are the signs that we might finally get to edit timestamps on our pictures.

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Google+ v9.20 adds notification channels on Android 8.0 Oreo, unfortunately they're not very useful [APK Download]

Notification channels are one of the key user-facing features added with Android Oreo, and almost all of Google's major apps were ready for launch day with their own set of custom channels. A few notable stragglers like Inbox and Hangouts remain, but today's update to the Google+ app means it cannot be counted among them. Unfortunately, the custom channels added in this update are almost certainly not what G+ users were hoping to see.

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Google Phone v12 reveals further Duo integration is coming [APK Teardown]

Over the last few months, Google has been taking small steps to integrate Allo and Duo into different pieces of the phone. Most recently, Allo shortcuts were added to the Contacts app, but today's teardown is more closely related to Duo recording its video chats to the system call log. It looks like Google's next step may involve having its Phone app be a little more forward about Duo.

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HTC adds custom per-app squeeze actions to the U11's Edge Sense

The U11, HTC's second flagship phone of 2017, stands out from the crowd with its squeezable frame. The phone's software can perform custom actions based on how intensely you squeeze the phone - something that this year's Pixels might get too. Now the company is testing a beta update for the Edge Sense app, allowing users to set their own custom actions.

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Allo's in-chat translation feature is rolling out to everybody, v18 also brings adaptive icons [APK Download]

Language is officially no longer a barrier for Allo users, message translation is now rolling out to users everywhere. First discovered back in July with a teardown of v14, translation can be done by long-pressing a message and tapping the Google Translate icon appearing in the title bar at the top. You can also hide the translation with another long-press and a tap on an undo icon.

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This free app hides Android Oreo's "running in the background" notification

Android Oreo displays a persistent notification for each app running in the background, to give the user a better idea of what is happening on their device. But for power users that frequently run apps like Tasker and LastPass, the notification can be plain annoying. Thankfully, there's now an easy way to hide it forever - an app by developer 'iboalali.'

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Google app v7.11 beta suggests the next Android version is 8.1, adds battery levels for Bisto headphones, prepares to tweak user-defined actions, and more [APK Teardown]

The latest update to the Google app is rolling out to beta channel members right now. There aren't any immediately obvious changes on the surface, but as the tradition often goes, there are some things under the hood worthy of discussion in a teardown. This version brings a pretty good indicator that 8.1 will be the next version of Android. There are also signs that user-defined actions are going to get some changes in the future. We're also going to hit an option to turn off the built-in screenshot handler and a little bit more about Google's upcoming "Bisto" headphones.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
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Xiaomi uploads its rather capable Mi Calculator app to the Play Store for all devices

A lot of manufacturers are uploading their apps to the Play Store these days. That even includes Xiaomi, a company based in a country that doesn't allow the Play Store to be accessed. The Chinese company has just uploaded its calculator app, creatively named "Mi Calculator," to Google's app marketplace, and it's actually pretty nifty.

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Google Maps v9.61 makes language and voice user-selectable, foretells of "two-wheeler mode" and Reserve with Google [APK Teardown]

The latest Google Maps beta update began rolling out to users late last night, and it brings with it a feature some users have been requesting for years: User-selectable language and voices. Not only that, but there are a few things from the teardown that may be of interest. Some of them are more like follow-ups to older topics, but there are some new bits of information to check out with each one.

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