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Google Maps v9.26.1 Adds Search Along Route For Walking And Bicycling, Changes Driving Mode FABs, Adds New Settings, And More [APK Teardown + Download]

Google began rolling out an update to Maps v9.26.1 a few days ago, and it's sporting a handful of new features. Like so many versions of maps, there are quite a few well-hidden changes in this one, far more than the single item written in the official changelog. Most of the changes are subtle enough that you won't notice them if you're not comparing side-by-side, but they are improvements all the same. There are even a few things from the teardown that don't appear to have made this version, but should be things to watch out for in the future.

What's New

Official Changelog:

  • Search along the route in bicycling and walking navigation.
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Google Photos v1.21 Prepares To Give Free Unlimited Original Quality Backup To Nexus Devices, Sorting Options For Albums, And Add Exposure And Contrast Controls [APK Teardown]

Google I/O has taken its toll. At least that's the way it looks based on the fairly quiet week we've seen for app updates thus far. The biggest update to arrive was for Snapseed, which gained some fairly useful improvements for editing. The focus on images continued with an update to the Photos app, but it didn't appear to bring any notable new features, rather just a bug fix. However, a teardown of the app reveals quite a bit more. Google is lining up some cool improvements to the app, including new sorting methods for albums, new editing controls, and a pretty amazing promo for Nexus devices.

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Android N Dev Preview 3 Comes With Four New Wallpapers [Download]

The third developer preview of Android N is now in the wild, and there are lots of interesting tweaks to see. Just for fun, Google threw in four new wallpapers along with the standard pink sky image that came with the last two. We've got them all ready for download below.

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InBrief
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Google Play Services v9.0 SDK Adds Video Recording API And Improves APIs For Nearby, Ads, And Player Stats

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Samsung Uploads S Note App Into The Play Store To Provide Future Updates [APK Download]

Have a Samsung device with an S Pen? Then you're probably familiar with S Note. This note-taking app encourages you to pull out your stylus, pen notes or a doodle, and memorize things in a way that may seem a bit more artsy than Google Keep.

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YouTube Music v1.26 Brings YouTube Playlists To The Likes Tab And Makes A Few Visual Adjustments [APK Download]

Many YouTube Red subscribers aren't making use of the dedicated YouTube Music app yet, but it remains one of the somewhat unique perks of the program. Since launch, the app hasn't seen all that many changes, but updates have been coming out pretty regularly with little tweaks and adjustments. Last week, an unexpected jump from v1.20 to v1.25 suggested some big changes were afoot. A teardown didn't reveal anything of substance – just some minor visual tweaks – but a new changelog has come out since the release of v1.26 this week, and gives us something a little more meaningful.

What's New

Official Changelog:

  • New: Listen to your YouTube playlists in the YouTube Music app!
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Google Camera v3.2 Prepares To Support Shooting In RAW+JPEG On Nexus Devices [APK Teardown]

Google's Camera app isn't the most advanced tool for taking photos. It completely avoids manual controls and generally lags behind OEMs for most major features. Where it's lacking in advanced features, the Camera app tries to make up for with a simple interface and clever techniques to intelligently deliver better photos without putting the burden on users. This means it works pretty well for simple point-and-shoot purposes, but skilled and professional photographers aren't likely to give it a second look. A teardown of a recent Camera update shows that Google is testing an option to save both RAW and JPEG files with each picture, a popular feature on many dedicated cameras and high-end smartphones.

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Google, This Should Be The Gold Standard Of Changelogs—Please Do It More

There's this thing Google does with app updates. Or rather, maybe I should say doesn't do. And that's tell us what has actually changed.

You see, Google likes to roll updates out in stages. This makes sense. If there's a problem with an update, the company can halt the rollout without impacting as many people.

The thing is, Google doesn't typically update the changelog until the rollout is complete and everyone has received the latest version. This is a process that can take a couple of weeks.

Users who receive the update early on have to guess what's new, or come to us and hope that we've already done so (which we often do using the help of our readers—it's a very circular process).

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Android Pay v1.3 To Allow Use Of Loyalty And Gift Cards Without Unlocking [APK Teardown]

The idea of contactless payments has turned out to be an unusually divisive topic. Some people are certain that we're only a couple of years away from abandoning physical credit cards in favor of using smartphones at the checkout line, while others see it as an obnoxious novelty that slows down everything and should be ignored. Whatever the case, it's interesting to watch the progress of mobile payment methods as they grow and evolve in an effort to capture consumer interest. The latest update to Android Pay v1.3 doesn't appear to bring any immediately available new features, but a teardown reveals that we will soon have the option to use certain types of cards without unlocking our phones.

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Google Authenticator v4.60 Is Preparing To Add Support For NFC and BLE Communication [APK Teardown]

Many of Google's apps are in extremely active development, some are even on weekly update schedules, but there are others that seem practically abandoned until they get that one random update every 6 months or so. With an average of about once per year (so far), Authenticator is easily one of the best examples of the latter group. Given the infrequency of new versions, it's a little disheartening to see that there are no discernable new features in the latest release; but it's actually worse than that, one was even taken away. But don't let this get you down, it looks like this little app may be due for some new tricks soon as it may be entering wireless territory.

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