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SystemPanel 2 now in public beta, mostly a visual makeover

For years, NextApp's SystemPanel has been a popular way to quickly monitor almost all aspects of an Android device. The app supports monitoring running applications, hardware information, network activity, and more. But like many pro tools for Android (looking at you, Titanium Backup), the interface is a bit dated.

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Google app v6.10 beta prepares to add a "search gesture" and enable keyboard input for Google assistant [APK Teardown]

We're barely into the new year and Google isn't wasting any time getting updates out to some of its apps. A new beta for the Google app turned up on Tuesday, but like the last few versions, there aren't any apparent new features jumping off the screen. However, there are a few clues hidden inside the apk that tell us about a few changes coming down the pipe in the future. On the docket this time is a new(-ish) input method for Google assistant and a mysterious gesture-based search action. The first steps have also been taken to bring Google assistant to Android Wear.

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Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android get Page setup and ODF/EPUB support

The Android apps for Google Docs can be handy for quick edits, but lack many of the features available through the web app. Today's update for the Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android bring a few useful features to mobile.

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Voice Access 2.0 beta adds voice commands to toggle the keyboard and new behavior settings [APK Download]

Google's Voice Access app is a good solution to a special kind of problem: how to use apps designed for a touchscreen without actually touching the screen. Version 2.0 began rolling out last week to users signed up for the beta. There aren't a lot of changes to come with this major version bump, but some new voice commands and settings still made this update. If you don't already have the latest version, or perhaps you've chosen not to join the beta program, there is a download link at the bottom.

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Google+ v9.3 reveals plan to move Location Sharing to Google Maps and make a more useful cropping tool [APK Teardown]

This week has been busy with updates, but many are just checking bugs off the list before everybody takes off a couple of weeks for the holidays. The web interface was given adjustments for how frequently Recommended and Trending posts are shown, and there are now better recommendations and a new horizontally scrollable view on the mobile site, but only the improved recommendations made it over to the app (so far). The interesting part of the apk update is in the teardown, which confirms plans to relocate the location sharing feature to Google Maps. There is also evidence of a new improved image cropping tool in the works.

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Material design guidelines updated with guidance on cross-platform design, app shortcut icons, help, & more

Since Google introduced material design in 2014, the questions of whether and how to use the design language on other platforms like iOS has lingered. But Google hasn't been a stranger to material on iOS. Inbox users for instance should feel right at home moving between iOS and Android, as many of the interface's core components are shared.

In an update to the material guidelines today, Google is taking a more explicit position on the matter with new guidance for bringing material design to iOS and web. The guidance definitely isn't comprehensive - it doesn't dive very deep into the more nuanced considerations for cross-platform design like platform-specific feature sets, esoteric navigation and action patterns, etc.

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Google Maps v9.43 beta adds a shortcut to contributions and changes a couple notification settings, prepares to offer recommendations from the menu and more [APK Teardown + Download]

There's an update for Google Maps v9.43 rolling out to beta testers. This one isn't loaded with changes, but there are a few things worth checking out in this release. There have been a couple of changes to the notification options in the Settings screen and a new home screen shortcut is now available. A deeper look through a teardown reveals plans to display recommended dishes from the menu. There is also some follow-up to an odd teardown topic from a few weeks ago.

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Instagram 10.3 adds 'Saved' tab for keeping photos and videos for later

Instagram has rapidly added new features in the past few months, from Periscope-esque live streaming to Boomerang support. The latest addition to the mobile apps is not a groundbreaking change, but still very useful. Starting with Instagram 10.3 for Android, a new 'Saved' tab is visible on the profile page.

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Play Music v7.1 prepares to add an autoplay option and sound quality settings for Wi-Fi and downloading [APK Teardown]

An update to Google Play Music began rolling out earlier this week, but there aren't any signs of changes in the UI. However, a couple of interesting things did turn up during a teardown. We can look forward to new settings to control audio quality for each of the major situations for downloading music. Additionally, there will be an option to allow the app to begin playing music as soon as it launches. If you're eager to grab the latest version before it comes to your device naturally, there's a download link at the bottom.

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Play Books v3.11 adopts a bottom navigation bar, sub-lists for series, and a settings link for Night Light [APK Download]

As the holidays close in (at least for many readers), Google is rolling out a stream of updates to various apps. In addition to the major Keyboard update earlier today, Play Books is making some changes, as well. The big change on this release is the adoption of the bottom navigation bar. Digging a bit deeper also reveals improvements to the way issues are displayed for comics and other series, and a couple of other visual tweaks.

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