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Instagram adds one-finger zoom to Stories, much like Snapchat did a while ago

Instagram's Stories is a blatant copy of Snapchat Stories, so it's not really a huge surprise to see another feature carried over. In this update, Instagram is getting one-finger zoom - simply hold the record button and slide your finger up or down to zoom. Wonder where they got that idea from?

WHAT'S NEW

  • We have a few improvements to Instagram Stories!
  • Zoom with one hand as you're recording a video. Slide your finger up while holding the video record button.
  • Lots of bug fixes and improvements to make stories even better (and faster).

There's not really much more to say on this, other than in practice it works well.

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[Deal Alert] True Skate is available for £0.10 / €0.10 in many countries (no US)

The Tony Hawk series might be the King of skateboarding games, but that doesn't mean there can't be other viable contenders for the title. True Skate, currently available for $0.10 in many countries (but not in the US), is one such game, and by the looks of it does a damn good job.

True Skate is the official 'Street League Skateboarding' video game, which a bit of Googling tells me is an international competitive skateboarding series. For True Skate to have these credentials is a pretty big indicator of its quality (or at least potential quality) and should inspire confidence if you are a skateboarding fan.

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Android Pay v1.5 prepares to show new users where to find NFC on their phones and might be experimenting with the secure element again [APK Teardown]

There are a lot of factors playing into the success and failure of mobile payment systems. Perhaps the most challenging issue for Android Pay to overcome isn't the slow adoption of compatible payment terminals or the general lack of awareness about contactless payments, it's the confusion people experience once they decide to try it. While many users are nervous simply because they don't know what to expect, some others are confronted with an even bigger challenge: they have no idea where the NFC antenna is on their phone. The Android Pay app has been progressively adding more informative screens to help with educating users about tap-and-go payments, and now evidence from a teardown suggests Google will soon teach users what part of the phone to actually tap with.

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Quidgets hides homescreen widgets in the Quick Settings tiles on Android Nougat

Android's homescreen widgets were one of its signature features when it debuted as an iOS alternative (which is kind of funny in itself), but developers seem to positively thrill in ways to stick them in other places as well. Case in point: Quidgets from Joseph Paul Antonetti. This little app allows users to hide a full-sized homescreen widget up in the Quick Settings menu, making it accessible from any app with a quick swipe. There's only one downside: it's exclusive to Android 7.0 for the time being.

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YouTube Music v1.38 now allows removing tracks from offline mixtape, promises landscape orientation [APK Download]

If you're a regular user of the dedicated YouTube Music app, you're probably accustomed to updates that add fairly non-obvious changes. The latest update includes a hidden gem that makes the offline mixtape feature considerably more useful. According to an official changelog posted late last night, we should also see screen rotation, but it seems that didn't actually make it into this release. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom so you can skip Google's staged rollout.

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Google Photos v1.25 allows album owners to block access to individuals and promises to add video stabilization [APK Teardown + Download]

We've hit that point in the year where Google's apps tend to feature smaller improvements and knock off some of the smaller to-do items. Yesterday's Google Photos update is no different. The latest version gives users the ability to ban individuals from shared albums and puts a link to the local image removal tool right in the navigation drawer. A teardown also shows we can look forward to a simple video stabilization feature and possible more video editing capabilities in the future.

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Google+ v8.4 adds avatar photos to comment previews, prepares to let users show off their flair, and may auto-hide NSFW images [APK Teardown + Download]

The updates are flowing steadily today and Google+ is playing along with its own set of tweaks and enhancements. This version looks like it's mostly centered around subtle refinements and closing some old to-do items. The biggest visible change seems to be profile pictures that appear in the comment previews below posts. That doesn't mean there aren't a few other things to check out. A teardown adds to the fun the promise of configurable "flair" on your own profile, tap-to-reveal covers for potentially inappropriate images, and the setup for privacy settings.

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Google Maps v9.34 Beta adds features to keep maps pointed north, plans to give advice about parking difficulty, and may reveal the return of Launcher Shortcuts [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google Maps app is back again with a fresh update, and this one is certainly interesting. As far as live features go, there are some changes related to navigation that will help keep maps oriented north, even with accidental swipes. A teardown also shows that Google is planning to give advice about parking at different locations, and Local Guides can look forward to status indicators for edits. And finally, there's evidence suggesting the return of Launcher Shortcuts.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog:

  • New 'Keep map north up' setting
  • Accidental swipe protection for North-up mode in Navigation

Keep map north up

2016-08-03 05.06.172016-08-03 05.06.37

Left: previous version with tilt map toggle.

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Play Store v6.9 includes sign of built-in app streaming, a VR purchase screen, a new API Level, and more [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of the Google Play Store rolling out to users right now, but it doesn't appear to be brimming with any big, bold new features. However, there are some interesting bits and pieces floating around inside of the APK that point to some of the things we can look forward to in the future. A teardown of v6.9 points to a built-in app streaming interface and a custom purchasing experience for Cardboard. There are also quite a few odd little tweaks to various other things. We're still looking for more changes, so hit the download link below and take a look around for yourself.

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YouTube Gaming v1.5 adds chat overlay to full-screen videos, landscape orientation, watch history, a new easter egg, and more [APK Download]

It has been about six weeks since the last YouTube Gaming update rolled out, and it's clear the developers have been keeping pretty busy on making changes. The latest update has quite a few improvements to be found throughout the app, not to mention at least one feature that might be considered pretty huge. Topping the list is a new live comment stream that overlays gameplay videos so you can see the action and watch the commentary at the same time. A few features have been moved to more convenient places and a video history is now available. Finally, there's a new easter egg, and it's pretty awesome.

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