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Google Maps v9.54 prepares to add saved locations for your school and gym, notification channels, and what looks like a task list [APK Teardown]

An update to Google Maps v9.54 began rolling out to users through the beta channel yesterday, but it doesn't appear to have any visible changes going live quite yet. However, a teardown of the apk does bring a few hints about what to expect in the future. There are clues about a couple of new saved destinations like the Home and Work slots that have become so useful, the first stirring of support for Android O's notification channels, a few new "promos" to get people interested in various features, and a very curious feature that might turn out to be a task list of sorts.

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Google app v7.3 beta prepares for podcast subscriptions, data saver for Now Cards, and more [APK Teardown]

Version 7.3 of the Google app began rolling out to users in the beta channel earlier today. There are a few odd little changes to be found poking around in the UI, like a new menu shortcut on many of the Assistant settings screens that leads to the Activity Controls settings, but it's all pretty innocuous. We'll surely see more significant features going live as Google activates them remotely over the coming weeks™. Nevertheless, there are some interesting things to be found during the course of a teardown.

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Google Phone v10 enables post-call messages for failed calls, prepares for enhanced incoming calls on RCS and voicemail backup [APK Teardown + Download]

With the dust settling after the deluge caused by I/O 2017, it's time to take a closer look at some of the many other things that came with out last week. Some interesting changes came with a brand new version of the Google Phone app included with Android O Developer Preview 2. There's a new prompt suggesting users send a message after a call fails to connect. A deep dive into the apk also turned up signs that Google is working on new RCS calling features and preparing some kind of backup option for voicemail.

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Android O feature spotlight: Downloads of system updates can now be paused

Downloading massive files isn't always convenient, especially if you don't have great Internet. And unless you've still got an unlimited data plan, letting the download continue while you're on the move without WiFi is just a bad idea. Google seems to agree, as Android O's second developer preview now features a 'pause download' button.

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Google Maps v9.53 brings back a setting for transit notifications and prepares for better-informed commutes [APK Teardown + Download]

An update to Google Maps began rolling out over the weekend and this one appears to be focused on keeping people in the know on their commutes. This version brings back a toggle to control notifications about delays and interruptions at mass transit stations, and this time it might be here to stay. A teardown also shows we'll soon have traffic notifications for the commute between home and work and that more modes of travel will be respected besides just driving and mass transit.

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Allo 11 adds QR codes and links for joining group chats, prepares for sending messages via Google Now/Assistant [APK Download]

We already covered the flagship feature of Allo - the ability to create a personalized sticker pack from selfies. But Allo 11 has a few other minor features worth mentioning, like improvements to group chats and future support for sending messages with Google Now or Assistant. Let's take a look.

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Google Maps gains Street View images for directions and a bottom bar for location info, directions, and more

Go check out the Google Maps app and you might notice a few things have changed since the last time you poked around. In the last couple of days, Google pushed some changes to the Maps interface that add Street View images to the directions screen. It seems there's also another change showing up on more recent versions that will also move around a few widgets on the screen.

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Duo v11 adds support for Android O's Picture-in-Picture mode and prepares to show your call history [APK Download + Teardown]

There's a new version of Duo rolling out and this one might be a bit more interesting to those of us running the Android O Developer Preview. With this release, you can push the app into Picture-in-Picture mode, freeing your screen up for other activities. A teardown also shows that users will soon be able to check out Duo calling history, although, probably not through Duo itself.

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Google Contacts 2.0 includes a cleaner UI and changes to contact management [APK Download]

The Google Contacts application really hasn't changed much over the years - after all, it just has to store contacts. Last year the app was updated with a hamburger menu and the ability to merge duplicates. Now Google has released version 2.0 of the Contacts app, with more design improvements and changes to how contacts are sorted.

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The Play Store adopts new app and notification icons with v7.8.16 [APK Download]

Google never stops changing things up. A new version of the Play Store app is rolling out to users and it comes with new icons for the app launcher and notifications. They're simple cosmetic adjustments, but these are the types of things you can't help but notice as soon as they're on your screen.

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