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Hangouts v15 adds GIF keyboard support on Android 7.1 [APK Download]

Has your meme game been suffering while you wait for Hangouts to add GIF keyboard support? Wait no longer, version 15 enables support for this quirky feature. No longer will you be stuck searching out images on the web and using archaic methods like sharing to get them into Hangouts – unless you're still using Android 7.0 or below, like more than 99% of users. If that's the case, this version appears to bring a few bug fixes and labeling tweaks, but not much else. Either way, there's a download link at the bottom if you'd like to jump ahead of the regular rollout schedule.

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Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May launch new DriveTribe social network, Android app now on Google Play

If you're a car person, like me, you'll have been an avid fan of Top Gear - until the classic line up of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May departed for the big-budget 'The Grand Tour' on Amazon. The first episode aired almost three weeks ago now, but the three have something else in store: DriveTribe.

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The Xperia Ear app is now available on Google Play

Sony's Xperia Ear has been available since earlier this month (or mid-October if you count pre-orders) after being announced at MWC in February, and now we have the final piece of the puzzle: the companion app, allowing users to configure and control the app according to personal preference.

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For a brief recap, when you put the Ear into, um, your ear, it will tell you your schedule, the weather, and the latest news. It has a gyroscope and accelerometer, so it can tell what position it's in, when you're walking, or if you're asleep. This means you can nod to confirm something, which is pretty cool, or shake your head to decline.

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Periscope 1.8.1 adds app shortcuts for Android 7.1, new options for broadcasting [APK Download]

Ever since Twitter integrated Periscope's streaming and viewing abilities into the Twitter mobile apps, there isn't much of a reason to have the separate app installed. Just in case you still use it, Twitter has released version 1.8.1 of the application with two new minor features - app shortcuts and new options while broadcasting.

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Uber wants you to shower your drivers with praise through its new feature, Compliments

Tipping with real money has been something of a sore topic with Uber, so why not just tip your driver with a digital sticker and some kind words? If giving a 5-star rating is never enough, Uber Compliments is just the thing for you. Compliments are essentially glorified, digital thank-you notes.

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Contextual App Folder shows apps based on context triggers

We've all heard of contextual launchers - launchers which change what they do or show based on time of day, weather, your calendar, your location, or any other context. However, ts-apps, the maker of AppSales, has a new app in an unreleased, beta state, named Contextual App Folder (CAF), which is a folder that uses context to determine what to show. But what makes it special is the fact that it is a widget, for any launcher or situation.

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Instagram announces Live Video on stories, disappearing photos and video in direct messages

Instagram, once a social network dedicated purely to posting pictures of food, has become prone to feature creep (not unlike Facebook's other properties). Back in August Instagram added Snapchat-like stories, and earlier this month Boomerang support. Today the company announced two new features for the app - Live video on Instagram stories, and disappearing photos/videos in direct messages.

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Android Pay v1.10 includes clues about a promotional "game" with real prizes [APK Teardown]

Most teardowns show a list of fairly predictable features or changes, but every once in a while something will turn up that isn't so expected. A look inside the recently released Android Pay v1.10 update is a good example. The typical things can be found, like a line about a second tier for loyalty programs and some stuff to encourage users to visit nearby vendors, but the really interesting bit is some text about a "game" that may have real prizes.

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Google Play services v10.0 prepares for Tap 'n Pay with Android Wear and makes progress on Instant Apps [APK Teardown]

As we close in on the end of the year, Google's developers are lining things up for possible late-2016 launches or preparing to test features they plan to launch next year. With the rollout of Google Play services v10.0, a couple of those things stand out as current projects. There are signs final testing has begun for Instant Apps, Google's way to give users a way to use apps without actually installing them. It also looks like some progress has been made towards enabling Android Pay to work through Android Wear.

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YouTube v11.45 resumes work on quick seeking and live broadcasting from mobile [APK Teardown + Download]

YouTube v11.45 began its rollout to users yesterday. There aren't any obvious changes within the app, but there are a few things to see outside of it if you're running on a device that sees either round launcher icons or app shortcuts. But that's not all there is to check out. A teardown of the APK lends some new details about a couple of previously discussed features coming to YouTube in the future.

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