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Play Music v7.1 prepares to add an autoplay option and sound quality settings for Wi-Fi and downloading [APK Teardown]

An update to Google Play Music began rolling out earlier this week, but there aren't any signs of changes in the UI. However, a couple of interesting things did turn up during a teardown. We can look forward to new settings to control audio quality for each of the major situations for downloading music. Additionally, there will be an option to allow the app to begin playing music as soon as it launches. If you're eager to grab the latest version before it comes to your device naturally, there's a download link at the bottom.

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Play Books v3.11 adopts a bottom navigation bar, sub-lists for series, and a settings link for Night Light [APK Download]

As the holidays close in (at least for many readers), Google is rolling out a stream of updates to various apps. In addition to the major Keyboard update earlier today, Play Books is making some changes, as well. The big change on this release is the adoption of the bottom navigation bar. Digging a bit deeper also reveals improvements to the way issues are displayed for comics and other series, and a couple of other visual tweaks.

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Android Pay v1.12 prepares for launch in Japan with Rakuten Edy and other e-money providers [APK Teardown]

Android Pay made its first Asian appearance in Singapore back in late-June. A couple months later, in August, rumors began circulating that Google was in negotiations with numerous financial companies to prepare for a launch in Japan. Names of the likely partners included: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, East Japan Railway Company, Rakuten, NTT Docomo, and JCB, to name a few. Since then, details have been sparse; but with evidence discovered in the latest update to Android Pay, it's now clear that a deal has been struck with Rakuten.

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Gmail v6.11 fully supports pasted content with formatted text and images [APK Download]

A couple of weeks ago, Gmail v6.11 began its rollout with a relatively small but divisive change to the way quotes are handled in replies. It turns out that there was a much bigger and more important change that went completely unnoticed. Google just posted a changelog on the Play Store to point out that you can now paste content into Gmail and all of the formatting and images will remain intact. Version 6.11 is still current, but there have been a couple of minor bug fix releases since then, so there's also a download link at the bottom if you don't already have the absolute latest update.

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Google app v6.9 beta is preparing to offer smarter autocomplete suggestions, search offline maps, and introduce a custom image viewer [APK Teardown]

Android Auto users were given a pleasant surprise when v6.9 of the Google app enabled the 'OK Google' activation phrase while driving (for many people). We haven't spotted any other visible changes with this release, but there are some interesting things buried in the apk that are also worth checking out. It looks like the search bar's autocomplete is about to gain some new tricks and there's a new (or at least improved) native image viewer in development that appears to have custom support for some of Google's custom search results.

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Google Keep v3.4 adds 'Grab image text' to Drawing mode and prepares some new tools for crafting better images [APK Teardown + Download]

There's a new version of Google Keep rolling out to Android devices, but it's not going to look very different unless you are looking in exactly the right spot. The screen for drawing notes is now equipped with the "Grab image text" function. Shifting gears slightly, a teardown also reveals some new drawing functions are going to be added to the same screen in a future update. As usual, there's a link at the bottom where you can download the latest version.

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Hangouts v15 adds GIF keyboard support on Android 7.1 [APK Download]

Has your meme game been suffering while you wait for Hangouts to add GIF keyboard support? Wait no longer, version 15 enables support for this quirky feature. No longer will you be stuck searching out images on the web and using archaic methods like sharing to get them into Hangouts – unless you're still using Android 7.0 or below, like more than 99% of users. If that's the case, this version appears to bring a few bug fixes and labeling tweaks, but not much else. Either way, there's a download link at the bottom if you'd like to jump ahead of the regular rollout schedule.

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[Update: APK Download] Netflix is finally allowing users to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing

If there's one feature that people have been clamoring for Netflix to add more than any other, it's offline viewing. It seems like the lords of Netflix have finally heard our prayers, as Netflix has just added the option to download and watch content without an Internet connection.

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Android Pay v1.10 includes clues about a promotional "game" with real prizes [APK Teardown]

Most teardowns show a list of fairly predictable features or changes, but every once in a while something will turn up that isn't so expected. A look inside the recently released Android Pay v1.10 update is a good example. The typical things can be found, like a line about a second tier for loyalty programs and some stuff to encourage users to visit nearby vendors, but the really interesting bit is some text about a "game" that may have real prizes.

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Google Play services v10.0 prepares for Tap 'n Pay with Android Wear and makes progress on Instant Apps [APK Teardown]

As we close in on the end of the year, Google's developers are lining things up for possible late-2016 launches or preparing to test features they plan to launch next year. With the rollout of Google Play services v10.0, a couple of those things stand out as current projects. There are signs final testing has begun for Instant Apps, Google's way to give users a way to use apps without actually installing them. It also looks like some progress has been made towards enabling Android Pay to work through Android Wear.

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