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Google Duo v25 prepares to help users deal with a low battery and low volume [APK Teardown]

As we hit the last few days before Christmas, app updates from Google have gone from a firehose to a slow trickle. It's only natural that most of the developers don't want to ship any major updates right before their holiday plans for fear that they might be called in to fix a catastrophe. Hey, I've done it too. Nevertheless, there's a new version of Google Duo rolling out today. It probably comes as no surprise that this one isn't taking any unnecessary risks either. There are a few very minor tweaks to the interface. However, there is a little bit for a quick teardown, so let's get into it.

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Google Maps v9.69 beta adds reviews and comments to lists, improves step-by-step transit notifications, prepares new location sharing option, and more [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Maps hit the beta channel late Friday evening. At the same time, Google announced improvements to the step-by-step navigation features for moving through public transit. That announcement applies to v9.68 and above, but after poking around in 9.69, there are also a couple of new things to check out. You can now see your reviews on locations in your custom lists, and add comments to those places to add hints or recommendations. A teardown also provides some hints about upcoming features like a new option to share a location without having it track your movements.

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[Update: Official changelog posted] Gboard v6.8 adds a handwriting keyboard and enlarges emoji, hints at new theme engine, Motion Stills integration, and more [APK Teardown]

As Cyber Monday was wearing down, Google was already winding up some app updates. A new version of Gboard began rolling out late in the afternoon, and with it comes the long-anticipated handwriting support, meaning we can finally uninstall the separate handwriting keyboard. There are also some tweaks to the emoji picker. As we look to the teardown, there are signs of a new theme system with a few new options for more visual control, a new autospace feature, integration with the Motion Stills app, and more.

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Allo v25 enables automatic transcriptions for audio messages, may hint at threaded conversations [APK Teardown]

A new version of Allo is rolling out just in time for the holidays. If you're thinking about singing Christmas carols or wishing somebody a happy new year, things are going to get a little more interesting thanks to the latest update. Your audio messages will now be automatically transcribed to text, so people can decide when to listen and have some idea of what they're going to be hearing. There's also a clue that may suggest threaded conversations will be supported. We're still poking around for other changes, but let us know in the comments if you stumble across anything else.

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Google PhotoScan version 1.5 adds automatic saving to Google Photos [APK Download]

It's been a while since we've seen an update to Google's handy photo digitizing app, PhotoScan. Back in April, version 1.4 brought with it in-app sharing and the ability to turn off the glare removal feature – although I'm not sure why you'd want to do that. Version 1.5 is now available on the Play Store, and it now saves your creations to Google Photos automatically.

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Google Phone v15 adds assisted dialing for international travelers, white nav bar, and possibly pre-call support for dual-SIM phones [APK Teardown]

An update to Google's Phone app began rolling out to users earlier today. Besides enabling the seamless video calling feature with Duo, which also works on v14, this update comes with a few additions of its own. The previously discussed Assisted Dialing feature for international travelers has been enabled and is ready to make life a little easier, and users on Android 8.1 will now see the white navigation bar that's been creeping into a few of Google's apps. If you're using a dual-SIM phone, you might also be getting the option to pick your SIM immediately before a call, though this might not be live yet.

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Google Maps v9.68 makes indoor maps easier to spot, prepares intelligent 'out of range' warnings, and much more [APK Teardown]

For many people around the world, this is the holiday season. We're packing things up and hitting the road to visit family and friends. Most of us will put at least some part of our trip into Google's hands as we launch Maps and wait for it to tell us which turn to take next. A new version hit the beta channel yesterday to prepare for some of these road trips. There are a few new features and a boatload of items for a teardown.

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Google Contacts v2.4 readies multi-SIM support and prepares a new suggestion to fix nameless contacts [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Contacts came out yesterday, but it unfortunately doesn't seem to solve the recent issue with contact syncing that some Oreo users are reporting. This update appears to mostly fix bugs, but it does come with a couple of minor tweaks and some preparation for new feature additions in the future.

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Google Allo v24 prepares to start chats with Gmail addresses, continues work on camera effects and other UI enhancements [APK Teardown]

A new version of Allo is making the rounds, and again with an evening release on a Friday. So far, no new features have been uncovered in this update, but we're still poking around for something to reveal itself. In the meantime, there's plenty of material to examine under the microscope of a teardown. We can see that contacting people through their Google account may be coming soon. Allo's upcoming camera effects are evolving as two old ones may have been removed, a new one turns up, and they're all getting new icons. And that's not all.

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Google Photos v3.10 adds text selection mode to Lens, prepares tool to remove obstructions from photos and videos [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Photos is out in the wild and it's sporting a brand new text selection feature for those with access to Google Lens. A teardown of the APK also reveals that Photos isn't too far from getting a powerful tool for removing obstructions and ghosting effects from images, and it may soon have a new 'themed movie' generator that does all of the hard work of picking out content for short personalized videos.

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