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LG G Pad 8.3 GPE And NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Get Chromecast Screen Casting Support In What Continues To Be The Slowest Rollout In History

Google added screen casting support to a select few devices earlier this year, but the wide rollout has been very, very slow. Today there are two new devices listed on Google's screen cast support page—The NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and the LG G Pad 8.3 GPE.

2014-11-21 19.19.30

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Google Play Services 6.5 Spruces Up Android's System Update Screen Too

Google Play Services version 6.5 began rolling out to users a few days ago, and as we work on an APK teardown to see what's under the hood, it looks like there's at least one more user-facing change in the update. Specifically, Android's system update screen is prettier.

The screen which, until now, consisted of the same drab title, horizontal break, "last checked" text, and "check now" button, has been granted a better design treatment.

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Google Play Music Starts Providing Shortcuts To Relevant YouTube Videos

Over the last few weeks, we've heard of a feature popping up for Google Play Music All Access users here and there (thanks for the tips!), whereby the app or web interface would link users to relevant music videos inside the app. When listening to or browsing music, the app would show a YouTube icon, sometimes in the center of the screen, sometimes weirdly positioned in the "now playing" bar. It was clear Google was still testing the feature but it looks like now, with the publication of an official change log for Play Music's latest update, Google may be flipping the switch on a wider basis.

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[APK Teardown + Download] Google Maps 9.1 Offers Helpful Tips About Your Destination And More

Since Google Maps got its update to version 9.1 yesterday, we've been taking a closer look to figure out exactly what's new, and - of course - taking a quick look inside as well.

So far, it doesn't seem like a huge update, but there's at least one big change worth highlighting. In 9.1, Maps will provide helpful information about your destination or a location you look up. The app will give you the current weather and time at the given location, and will provide some fun facts too.

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Google Play Newsstand Joins The 500 Million Download Club

Joining the likes of other Google apps like Play Movies, Play Books, and Play Music, and Facebook's Messenger app, Google Play Newsstand became the latest Google app to reach the 500 million download mark, reaching it some time this month. This number obviously reflects only downloads/installs, not active users, but it's still an impressive figure.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 4.31.49 PM

Of course this count is including downloads from the days when Newsstand was still Google Play Magazines, before it superseded both Magazines and Currents as Google's de facto news-and-magazine reader.

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Google Releases Invite-Only 'Divide Productivity Preview' Suite For Security-Minded Corporate Users

Half a year ago, Google purchased Divide, a security-focused startup that isn't exactly a household name in the consumer space. The company appealed to enterprise clients by separating personal data from work-related stuff using containers. The acquisition, we figured, came as part of Google's efforts to make Android a better option for corporate users that have traditionally acted squeamish towards the mobile OS.

Now we're seeing at least one byproduct of that arrangement.

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[APK Teardown] Google Play Services 6.5 Adds Android Auto, Smart Profiles, Lockbox, Kid Accounts, And Expands On The Mysterious Firmware Updater

Since the launch of Android 5.0 last month, the sheer number of app updates has been magnificent – and downright overwhelming. Believe it or not, most of the new versions haven't done much more than add Lollipop support and splash a fresh coat of Materialized paint on the UIs. Seriously, we've been checking. This isn't entirely a bad thing, as it's giving me time to work on some other projects...

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Google Opens Up Merchant Support To China, Allowing Developers To Distribute Apps In 130+ Countries (But Not China)

In an interesting bit of news this evening, it looks like Google has opened up merchant support to China, allowing developers to distribute free or paid apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions in over 130 countries.

The news comes in a post to Google's official Android Developers blog, which goes on to explain that Chinese developers distributing paid apps through the Play Store will receive payment via wire transfer to a Chinese bank account in USD.

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You Can Now Read Google Play Books In Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, And Uzbekistan

The debate between physical and digital books is a heated one. Some people prefer the look of a tome on their bookshelf and enjoy the smell of each page as they hold their nose to an old favorite. Others like the convenience that comes with having access to an entire personal library of books whenever and wherever they have their phone. One clear disadvantage of digital books, though, is the ability for a single company to determine when and where you can buy them.

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Google Runs A Fit Developer Challenge To Fatten Up The Ecosystem And Make Everybody Healthier

We've all seen it happen. A great technology, service, or platform comes out, but without a solid base of users and apps, it fails to gain traction. Google wants to see the Fit API work out, and developers have been called upon to help make that happen. If you know how to write an Android app, and you've got a great idea for something that will get people off the couch and into the gym, you're invited to join the Google Fit Developer Challenge.

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