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Google Maps v9.34 Beta adds features to keep maps pointed north, plans to give advice about parking difficulty, and may reveal the return of Launcher Shortcuts [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google Maps app is back again with a fresh update, and this one is certainly interesting. As far as live features go, there are some changes related to navigation that will help keep maps oriented north, even with accidental swipes. A teardown also shows that Google is planning to give advice about parking at different locations, and Local Guides can look forward to status indicators for edits. And finally, there's evidence suggesting the return of Launcher Shortcuts.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog:

  • New 'Keep map north up' setting
  • Accidental swipe protection for North-up mode in Navigation

Keep map north up

2016-08-03 05.06.172016-08-03 05.06.37

Left: previous version with tilt map toggle.

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Google Maps Engine App Update Introduces Several Editing Features And Some UI Improvements

When the Google Maps Engine app hit Android in late 2013, it enabled users to view and share custom maps. Now an update has landed that empowers them to create and edit such maps as well. Users can spawn new ones, add layers, and move points around as needed. They can then go back and rename aspects as they wish.

Engine1 Engine2 Engine3

Engine4 Engine5 Engine6

The update has also introduced some UI changes, so while it may look largely the same, it's a little cleaner around the edges. This should improve the quality of the experience overall, though users may still want to hop over to a desktop to really have at things (especially people working for businesses).

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Quick Tip: Press And Hold Selected Text In Android Edit Boxes To Move It Around

For the relentless proof-readers among us, we've got a quick tip pointed out today by Reddit user SuperNanoCat. When writing in an editable text box on Android, users can highlight a word or chunk of text, then press and hold to drag it around.

This feature has actually been around for quite some time, possibly as far back as Ice Cream Sandwich, but it's a feature most users have only used accidentally.

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Wikipedia Beta App Goes Native With Drastic New Redesign, Support For Editing, And More

Good things come to those who wait. Android users didn't get an official Wikipedia app until January 2012, and it was a relatively bare bones release at that. Over two years later, it's really starting to show its age, as those Gingerbread screenshots sitting on its Play Store page aren't impressing anyone. But now we see a new version of the Wikipedia Beta app that finally seems poised to give us the native experience we've been waiting for.

Wikipedia1 Wikipedia2 Wikipedia3

That's right, the app has gone native, offering a faster experience and a UI that looks much better on anything released since Ice Cream Sandwich.

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[New App] Popular iOS App Retrica Comes To Android For The Selfie Lovers Who Are Not Yet Sick Of Filters

Retrica's popularity can be summed up in one word: selfies. If somebody - let's call her Sue - needs a picture of herself right this moment, she needs an app with a minimalist interface that doesn't get in the way. And since Sue Somebody is working with less than optimal circumstances and a mobile phone with a crappy front-facing camera, she wants a wide range of filters that could mask how bad of a photo she's about to take. Retrica fits that bill. She's seen her friend using the app on iOS for a while now, but now it's available in the Play Store for her to download as well.

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Our Five Favorite New Apps To Check Out From November 2012

The Google Play Store, as always, was abuzz with new apps last month. More than just new apps, though, the Play Store gained plenty of well-crafted, quality apps. The kind that have spurred the market's recent growth spurt, and which allow users to discover functionalities they never knew they needed. As always, we've sifted through all last month's new apps and selected our top five picks – a kind of short list for those looking to get the most out of their device with awesome apps.

Pixlr Express

Pixlr Express, despite its name, is an impressively powerful tool for on-the-go photo editing.

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Pixlr Express Review – Autodesk Gets On-The-Go Photo Manipulation Right (Again)

When I first covered Pixlr Express a few days ago, I noted that the presence of a photo editing app was odd in Autodesk's lineup of powerful tools. Having developed apps like ForceEffect, 360 Mobile, and AutoCAD WS, you'd think Autodesk was marketing to power users who want to design, edit, animate, and engineer from the palm of their hand. Still, Autodesk's first foray into the mobile photo editing world – Pixlr-o-matic – was a hit. So much so, it appears, that Autodesk brought to market Pixlr Express.

Despite its name, the only thing "express" about Autodesk's new tool is the speed with which users can edit, manipulate, and overlay photos using a wide library of tools (when I say "wide," I refer to its selection of 600+ effects).

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[New App] Autodesk's Pixlr Express Successfully Combines Vintage Effects With Practical Photo Editing

Autodesk, known for polished, highly functional software like AutoCAD, and apps that allow users to build, manipulate, animate, and plan from their Android device, also found a hit with its Pixlr-o-matic app, an image editor that primarily touted its ability to create "cool looking vintage images." I always thought a vintage filter app was a little out of place in Autodesk's otherwise power user-oriented lineup, but it was still a fun app for quick antique-ification of your mobile photos.

Building on Pixlr-o-matic's success, Autodesk brought to market today another photo editing app – Pixlr Express. From the name, you may get the impression that Pixlr Express is more limited in scope than Pixlr-o-matic, but in reality, it's just the opposite.

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Download The Android 4.2 Camera/Gallery App With New UI, Editing, Photo Sphere [Update: Now With Working Sphere Viewer]

UPDATE: We've updated the links below with an install package that lets you capture and view Photo Spheres right on your handset.

One of the most popular features introduced Monday with Android 4.2 was a revamped camera/gallery app (that we got a peek at early). The camera introduces a new focus/settings UI (popping up with an "options ring" only when you need it), a refreshed gallery interface, and of course – Photo Sphere.

Photo Sphere, for those who missed it, allows users to capture 360° images of their surroundings a la Google Maps, using XML data in concert with an enormous JPG file to help you save an immersive photo experience of where you've been.

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Scalado Remove Gets The Hands-On Treatment Ahead Of MWC, Wipes Out Photobombers With Ease

You may remember a couple of weeks ago when we covered an app by Scalado called Remove that, well, removes strangers from your mobile photos. The app is officially scheduled to debut to the public at this years Mobile World Congress, but ABC News' This Could Be Big segment gave the software a quick hands-on ahead of time:

Remove, as explained in the video above, works by taking multiple photos of a scene and highlighting unnecessary foot traffic/unwanted objects, wiping them out quickly and easily, and patching them with the background your photo was supposed to have.

It's still not clear when we can expect to see the app distributed to individual users, or when we may see the software preloaded on devices, but we'll be here to cover all the details as they roll out next week.

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