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Play Store v8.1 adds notification channels on Android O [APK Download]

A new version of the Google Play Store began rolling out earlier today with few, if any noticeable changes. However, if you're running the Android O previews on any devices, there will be one change to look forward to: Notification Channels. The latest version brings five distinct channels for customization, including: Security and Maintenance, Updated Apps, App Updates Available, Account Alerts, and High Priority. Now we can make a few more decisions about which notifications we want to see and if they matter more or less than the developers thought they should.

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Allo v15 adds a shortcut to your contacts so you can quickly start messaging [APK Download]

A new version of Allo began rolling out yesterday, but unlike so many previous releases, this one wasn't preceded by any Twitter announcements from the developer team. That's not too surprising because this looks more like a maintenance release. However, there was one subtle enhancement that's definitely worth pointing out: Allo now integrates with contacts on your phone so you can quickly jump to the app and start a conversation. A teardown of the apk revealed that most of the other changes are in service to the upcoming launch of an Allo web client, which had been examined in detail with a teardown of v14.

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Android Auto v2.5 prepares to offer navigation cards based on your calendar appointments [APK Teardown]

A fresh update to the Android Auto app began rolling out yesterday, but it doesn't appear to include any notable changes to the interface on either the phone or in the car. But that doesn't mean this update is just for bug fixes, there isn't something interesting floating around inside the apk that can only be seen through the lens of a teardown. We can look forward to at least one important new feature: Auto will soon get to use our calendar appointments to suggest directions when we're on the way to a destination. As always, grab the apk from the link at the bottom if you don't have it on your phone already.

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YouTube v12.29 includes hints about location-specific search [APK Teardown]

YouTube is a fantastic tool for learning about the world around us, but sometimes it's easy to forget that there are great things happening in our own backyard. A teardown of the latest update suggests we might soon have the option to add geography to our search criteria. This should make it a bit easier to separate videos about Alaska from the recipes for Alaskan King Crab, music videos, and whatever else people might associate with the name. I'll also mention a couple of smaller changes to the interface in this version, but they're not really important, so feel free to skip straight to the teardown.

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[Update: Now on Google Play] Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1

With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel. We're now on the third Android O Developer Preview, and the official clock app has been treated to a visual refresh, its first meaningful update since February.

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Google Maps v9.58 beta prepares to add crowdsourced Q&A sections and user-contributed videos [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of Google Maps making the rounds through the beta channel. So far, no major changes are showing up with regular usage of the app, but there is evidence of a couple really huge new features on the horizon. A teardown of the apk reveals that the Maps team is preparing to launch a Q&A section for places that would allow users to ask and answer questions for each other. Also on the schedule is the addition of video to the types of media users will be able to contribute. These are some pretty huge features, so let's get straight to it.

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InBrief
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Gboard for Android TV is now available on the Play Store, so far only for Android O [APK Download]

InBrief
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SoundCloud app update allows Go and Go+ users to save playlists offline to external SD cards

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Allo v14 includes improvements to the image editor, scrubber for audio clips, and much more [APK Teardown + Download]

Yesterday's update to Allo came with announcements that it now supports reactions (basically "likes") and that the doomed blobmoji are to be kept on life support in the form of a sticker pack. As meager an update as it might seem at first glance, it turns out that there are several other new features in this release. On top of that, a teardown shows quite a bit is in the works.

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[Update: arm APK] YouTube for Android TV v2.0 brings a major redesign and finally allows autoplay to be turned off [APK Download]

Holy cow, there's an update to the YouTube for Android TV app! It has been a long time–fourteen months, to be precise–and judging by a major bump to the version number, this isn't just a bug fixer. In fact, it carries an entirely redesigned interface, not to mention a few functional changes, as well. This update probably doesn't address many of the requests users have had over the last year, but it's a great step forward and solves at least one major issue: Auto-play.

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