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Google Messenger v2.0 adds unread counts to several launchers, brings a new launcher icon, prepares for RCS support, and much more [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google Messenger app officially hit version 2.0 yesterday. There are plenty of changes, largely related to visual tweaks like a new launcher icon, color changes, and some revised layouts. While a mostly visual release, there are some functional improvements, as well. A teardown also brings a good look at some interesting things in the future of messaging.

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[Update: App shortcuts too] New Google Keep update adds note pinning [APK Download]

Google Keep has become a nice little note taking app. While it lacks some of the features of more mature tools like Evernote, Keep is infinitely easier to use. Now, it's getting a feature it should have had a long time ago—pinned notes.

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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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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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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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YouTube v11.39 auto-fills replies with the names of parent commenters [APK Download]

YouTube pushed out a small update over the weekend, bumping the version number up to 11.39. By all appearances, this is a pretty small one. Aside from the typical bug fixes and a few minor visual adjustments, there's one notable feature people have been requesting for a while. Replies to comments are now auto-filled with the name of the user you're replying to.

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Play Movies & TV v3.19 adds notifications for expiring rewards, prepares for 4K content, a channel for trailers, and TV show recommendations [APK Teardown + Download]

A pair of fresh updates of the Play Movies & TV app rolled out to both Android TV and regular devices yesterday. Like many other recent updates, there's not a lot of new functionality to see on the surface, particularly for the Android TV version. Phones and tablets gained a new toggle to control notifications about expiring rewards, but that's about it. However, a teardown shows a few improvements scheduled for future updates, including 4K support, a special channel for watching trailers, and recommendations for similar TV shows. Read on for details or skip to the bottom for download links.

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