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Chrome 55 Beta adds Download Manager, offline pages, media player changes, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 54 was just released, bringing a substantial amount of changes for both users and developers. Now the first Chrome 55 Beta has been released for all platforms, and there are some exciting changes in store for Android users.

Download Manager

Chrome's built-in download manager first appeared in Chrome Dev early last month, but only now has made its way to the Beta channel. The Download Manager doesn't just serve as a simple list of all your downloaded files (or dozens of APKs, if you're like me), it's also how you get to saved pages.

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By tapping the new Download icon in the overflow menu (where the back/forward buttons are), you can save a page for offline use.

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Google App 6.7.13 beta readies Lite Mode for data-constrained regions [APK Teardown]

Google hasn't been shy about ingratiating itself and its services with the people of India and similarly data-constrained markets – and it should take a bow because some competitors certainly aren't trying very hard to keep up. Last month Google announced a number of initiatives for the Indian market designed to cut down on unnecessary data costs. Among the announcements was a change to the News & Weather app adding a so-called "Lite Mode" that intelligently reduces the amount of text and images that ultimately reaches a phone. Now it looks like the Google app itself will be sporting the same options.

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Chrome Canary now available on Android, if you live life dangerously

Google Chrome has traditionally been available in four 'channels' - Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. Beta and Dev are progressively buggier and unfinished than Stable, and Canary is the definition of bleeding-edge. Canary builds are released automatically every day, with no manual testing, and are prone to more bugs than all the other channels.

Until now, the Canary channel has only been available for Windows and Mac (not even desktop Linux). Google has just published Chrome Canary onto the Play Store, starting with build 56.0.2891.8. There aren't any noticeable changes here as opposed to Dev, but in the future, this should be the first place to spot new features.

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Chrome Remote Desktop 53 adds remote sound support [APK Download]

Chrome Remote Desktop is a rather obscure Google product, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. Once the desktop application is installed, you can control it from any Android device, iOS device, or computer (with Chrome). In my testing, it actually works extremely well, often with a lower latency than popular remote access applications like TeamViewer.

The latest update, Chrome Remote Desktop 53, finally brings remote sound support.

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Clock v4.6 makes timers and stopwatches resilient to reboots and adds app shortcuts for Android 7.1 [APK Download]

We don't get to see too many updates to the Clock app, but they have a tendency to happen around major OS updates. With Android 7.1 developer previews on the schedule for the very near future, it's the perfect time for the Clock app to make some progress. The latest version can now keep track of timers and stopwatches across reboots and joins many other Google apps with some brand new app shortcuts to run on Android 7.1.

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Google Maps v9.39 adds a handy traffic widget and hints at live data about busy places [APK Teardown + Download]

Google Maps made it into the update cycle this week, bumping the version number up to 9.39. This update appears to be a bit lighter than many from the last few months, but it's not completely lacking improvements. There's a new shortcut that can be used to jump directly into the traffic screen. A quick teardown also reveals a potential improvement to the busyness chart on many locations. As always, we've got a link below to pick up the APK.

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Google Photos v2.2 comes with more auto-generated highlight cards, prepares to create time-lapses and upgrade the video player [APK Teardown + Download]

An update to Google Photos began rolling out yesterday, and alongside it came a promising blog post about new assistant cards highlighting memories and suggesting rotations for sideways photos. Regular users may recognize that some of these aren't totally new, at least not with this version. However, there are some under-the-hood changes that speak to some interesting things for the future. A teardown shows that the video play may be getting an overhaul and Photos might soon auto-generate time-lapse videos for us.

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Google Phone 5.1 includes UI changes, swipe up to answer, and more [APK Download]

We're still tearing down all the applications from the Pixel system dump, and the included Google Phone 5.1 app is certainly worth talking about. Without further ado, let's dive in!

New call UI

The first major change is the brand new Call UI, which is now a translucent blue shade over your wallpaper. The new interface looks a bit like the iOS dialer, with large buttons and a circular Caller ID icon at the top.

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Android Pay v1.7 reveals upcoming support for debit cards in Canada [APK Teardown]

As many people can attest, Google hasn't always been particularly quick or consistent to bring wanted–or needed–services to countries outside of the United States. Some have been slower than others, and perhaps the ones feeling it the most are our neighbors to the north, Canada. Among the absentee services is Android Pay, leaving both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay as the primary contenders in that market. However, that appears to be changing as Google prepares to support Interac, a network of banks providing most of the debit cards in the country.

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Play Store v7.1 adds a round launcher icon and an app shortcut in preparation for the Pixel Launcher and Android 7.1, and more [APK Teardown]

Google is rolling out the red carpet for the upcoming Pixel phones, ensuring that its core lineup of apps are dressed the part. An update to the Play Store began rolling out yesterday with a new round launcher icon for the Pixel Launcher and an app shortcut (formerly known as launcher shortcuts) for Android 7.1. Also joining the list of upcoming features will be support for purchasing 4K movies and TV shows, a marker to indicate if a device is certified, and a new icon for promotions and gifts.

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