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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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May Nexus Factory Images Are Now Available For Download

It's the first Monday of May, and that means there are some new factory images and OTAs for the Nexus line. As usual, these new firmware packages include the latest security patches from the preceding month, and possibly some bug fixes and optimizations, as well. While we'll be looking for changes in the AOSP changelog (coming soon), Google has posted the security bulletin to explain the major risks that that have been fixed in this release.

Google took special care to point out that the security bulletin has been renamed (from "Nexus" to "Android") to reflect its relationship to all devices running Android, not just those directly supported by Google.

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Google Keyboard Gets A Huge Update To v5.0 With One-Handed Mode, Optional Key Borders, New Gestures, And More [APK Download]

Keyboard apps aren't the most exciting things, but they're one of the apps you interact with most on your phone. Think about how much you type, and how much that experience has improved over the years. Google hasn't added anything important to the Google Keyboard lately, but apparently they've been saving it up. The new v5.0 update is rolling out, and it's huge. There are UI tweaks, new gestures, layout changes, and so much more.

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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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Google Photos v1.19 Allows Custom Music In Generated Movies, Adds Better SD Card And Folder Management, And Makes A Bunch Of UI Tweaks [APK Download]

Update Wednesday went by a bit quietly with relatively few rollouts. However, the tail end of the day brought a bump to the Photos app with a lot of unusual and interesting changes. There are plenty of visual tweaks throughout the app, not to mention a couple of new features. Auto-generated movies now support custom music and there are some improvements to folder management and SD card support, such as it is. As always, hit the bottom of the post for download links.

What's New

Official Changelog: (summarized from Google's post)

  • Provide your own music for automatically generated movies
  • Folder renaming and partial SD card support
  • Replaced the FAB that launched Search with a search bar
  • New search interface
  • Many other small visual tweaks

Substitute Your Own Music in Generated Movies

2016-04-28 16.37.492016-04-28 16.54.38

Photos, like many other apps and services that have cropped up over recent years, is pretty awesome at stitching together short videos from our pictures and movies, then adding background music to give them some extra punch.

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Google Maps v9.25.1 Adds Batch Photo Submission, Puts Contact Addresses In Your Places, And Gives Suggested Searches On Location Pages [APK Download]

Developers usually use version numbers to convey the amount of change an app has gone through from one release to the next. But what does it mean when Google Maps not only jumps over v9.24 entirely, but also skips forward a patch release to give us v9.25.1? Let's assume it's a sign that there are a lot of new features and not too many bugs. This version certainly doesn't disappoint on new features. There are a bunch of additions to be seen, so let's get right into it.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (there may be more)

  • Contact addresses appear in Your places screen and on maps.
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[Updated] Google Camera v3.2 From Android N Preview Is Rolling Out To All Devices [APK Download]

Android N won't be out for at least a few more months (and much longer for most devices), but you can get a little taste of the dev preview on your phone right now. The new Google Camera build that shipped with the new N preview is hitting the Play Store, and we've got an APK you can install.

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Google Drive v2.4 Adds Inline Uploads And User-Selectable Colored Folders, May Soon Add Various Smart Recommendations And More [APK Teardown + Download]

While Google has been pushing out a ton of OS and app updates, the Drive team got out one of its own. This is a perfectly good update on its own, but it also includes clues to some upcoming features, too. In this update, you'll find a newly revised look and operation for uploading files, and there's even a color picker for folders. (Yey!) On the teardown side, we can look forward to recommendations for files, a shortcut to "Team Drives," and possibly even another form of device backup. Oh yeah, and the FAB changes color.

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Play Books v3.8 Brings A New Search Bar, New Book Notifications For Favorite Authors, Performance Improvements, And Much More [APK Download]

This is certainly a week for updates. Between the latest dev preview for Android N, the rest of the April security updates, and a decent stack of apps from Google, things have been really busy. Play Books joins the lineup, bringing with it a number of visual and functional changes. Of course there is a new icon to join the rebranding effort, but it also includes some updates to the search bar, the reading experience, and more. As always, we've got a link to the download at the bottom.

What's New

Many thanks to the Play Books team for providing a very thorough changelog!

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Google Photos v1.18 Adds Manual Backup For Local Photos And Video [APK Download]

Cloud storage is probably the greatest thing to happen to casual photography since manufacturers started putting decent shooters into smartphones. There's nothing like snapping a couple of group shots and throwing them up on Google Photos without the hassle of hooking a computer to a phone just to move them over first. The catch is that most of us choose not to sync pictures over cellular, instead waiting to get back within reach of Wi-Fi so our data plans don't feel too much abuse. However, there are times you still need to back up a few shots right away, and that's where the latest Google Photos update comes in.

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