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Gboard v6.9 prepares Smart Replies to messenger notifications, deeper Bitmoji integration, and more [APK Teardown]

Yesterday brought us a new version of Gboard, bumping the version number up to 6.9. There's not much in the way of changes that you'll see right away, but there is now a semi-hidden feature that will tell you about changes when they happen. However, a deeper look into the APK does reveal plans to add a feature that provides suggested responses to go with messaging apps that implement Direct Replies. Also, the MAKE A GIF feature from the iOS version is making the jump to Android, Bitmoji support is getting baked in, and there's a universal search feature in the works.

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Google Photos v3.12 prepares to redeem free storage codes, better support SD cards, and lets us know Austin is up to his most mystery-er feature yet [APK Teardown]

With that other major news event out of the way, it's time to move on to more interesting news – Google app updates. Late last night brought us a version bump to Google Photos. While there haven't been any notable changes popping into view yet, a teardown does present some pretty interesting revelations for the future. Fans of the free original storage promotion might soon have some options to enjoy that with other phones. If you've felt like SD card support wasn't up to snuff, there's reason to think that might be getting better soon. And finally, Austin has reappeared with the my curious of features yet.

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Google app v7.19 beta prepares Assistant to go bilingual, expands on smart display details, and hints at TV show identification [APK Teardown]

It's already time for another update to the Google app, and this version bump carries a little bit of the post-CES glow with it. Of course, there are some new details related to the smart displays we've been expecting. Also joining the round of topics are clues that suggest we'll be able to use Google to identify TV shows by sound and that Google Assistant is going to become bilingual. There's even a sign of a new feature called summer time mode, though it's still a mystery for now. We haven't spotted any changes to the UI yet, but you can grab the latest version from the APK Mirror link at the bottom and let us know if you come across anything.

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YouTube v13.01 continues development on dark mode, may enable swipe-to-skip ads, and relocates autoplay setting [APK Teardown]

YouTube just took a big version jump from v12.49 to v13.01, but you probably won't notice a lot of changes if you're just tapping around. In fact, this update appears to be pretty average for for most of YouTube's releases, which usually include a couple tweaks here and there, and sometimes some interesting material for a teardown – and this update has both. You'll find a new page in the Settings screen for autoplay options, and a teardown turns up some inspiring progress on a dark mode and possibly an adjustment to the ad-skipping experience.

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Duo calls can now be made with some users that don't have it installed, Allo chats also improved

Google recently began rolling out a slightly updated look to the contact list on the Duo video calling app. Alongside this fun rearrangement of pixels, there was also a very real, very significant change made: You can now call people that haven't installed or registered with Duo in the past. It works almost exactly like a normal Duo call, including the Knock-Knock feature.

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Google Duo is getting an updated contact panel with suggestions and full contact list merged into one

One thing is certain in life: Google apps are going to get regular interface tweaks. Okay, somebody might have said something about death and taxes, but we all know at least one of those can be avoided with the right accountant, but I digress. Google appears to be testing some new interface changes to the contact list in Duo. These are essentially cosmetic changes, but they serve to make the list a bit more fluid and streamlined, as well.

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Google v7.18 beta hints at screen sizes for Quartz devices, image donations to Google Lens, and more [APK Teardown]

Developers are freshly back from a long holiday break and the first of Google's updates are starting to trickle out of Mountain View. The first to make an appearance is a new beta release of the Google app itself. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't appear to be a particularly feature-laden build, at least not from a user's point of view. However, there are a couple of topics to discuss through the lens <cough> of a teardown.

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HBO NOW passes 10 million installs on the Play Store

HBO NOW has been the top grossing entertainment app on Google Play for a little while now, but the app just reached another significant milestone. It's ringing in the new year by the numbers, having just hit 10,000,000 installs on the Play Store. That's a lot of downloads, with some big implications for the number of subscribers the service has, though it's impossible to know for sure. 

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Android Wear app hits 10 million downloads on the Play Store

Android Wear has been out for several years now, though it can't be considered a commercial success. After all that time, the companion app has just reached 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store. That being said, that figure doesn't allow us to draw any conclusions about sales figures.

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Google Duo v25 prepares to help users deal with a low battery and low volume [APK Teardown]

As we hit the last few days before Christmas, app updates from Google have gone from a firehose to a slow trickle. It's only natural that most of the developers don't want to ship any major updates right before their holiday plans for fear that they might be called in to fix a catastrophe. Hey, I've done it too. Nevertheless, there's a new version of Google Duo rolling out today. It probably comes as no surprise that this one isn't taking any unnecessary risks either. There are a few very minor tweaks to the interface. However, there is a little bit for a quick teardown, so let's get into it.

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