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Hangouts v12 finally adds the most important ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ever and will eventually ask other people if their messages are important [APK Teardown + Download]

Forget video messaging, direct share, and whatever happened here. The most important update in Hangouts history finally happened and you're all here to witness it. The Master of Meh has come to Hangouts for Android and really wants you to know it's all okay. It's Shruggie! Yep, the latest update brings Google's greatest non-easter egg to the messaging screen in all its unconcerned glory. You're honor-bound to get the update immediately and begin showing just how unimportant things are to you, too.

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Play Music v6.13 adds a sleep timer and shows progress on Samsung Galaxy Edge support [APK Download + Teardown]

If you enjoy falling asleep to some tunes but don't want them to play all night long, the latest update to Play Music is for you. A new version began rolling out last night and it adds a sleep timer so you don't have to worry about burning through your battery or data all night long. A look inside the app also shows more progress toward adding special support for the Edge display on certain Samsung phones. There are also hints about watch-specific addition that suggests music for fitness.

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Google Photos v1.26 clarifies plans for video stabilization and teases a faster way to share [APK Teardown]

The recent theme for Google's app updates has been that they're not really packed with big new features. This isn't unusual, just part of the typical ebb and flow as development teams prepare for bigger things. The previous update for Google Photos wasn't loaded with many new features and the new one appears to have none at all. However, a teardown of v1.26 shows that there's still some work going on under the hood for the previously revealed video stabilization feature and hints at a new way to share photos with people that will be even faster than what we already have.

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Google app v6.3 suggests the Google assistant may launch with very limited language support, expands on user-defined actions, and more [APK Teardown]

Most readers are well-aware Google assistant is going to be the big treat later this year. It will soon become a meaningful part of new apps and products like Allo and Google Home, and it will surely introduce new features and capabilities as it evolves many existing ones into something new. A teardown of the latest Google app update reveals a little more about what we can expect when the assistant comes out.

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The Galaxy Note7 gets torn down by iFixit, is slightly easier to repair than the S7

iFixit's been providing smartphone teardowns for a while, and now they've got one of Samsung's latest and greatest for us to look at. Considering the Galaxy Note7 is a water-resistant phone with curved glass on both sides, it's not unreasonable to think that it would fare poorly. That being said, it does do marginally better than the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge did.

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Android Pay v1.5 prepares to show new users where to find NFC on their phones and might be experimenting with the secure element again [APK Teardown]

There are a lot of factors playing into the success and failure of mobile payment systems. Perhaps the most challenging issue for Android Pay to overcome isn't the slow adoption of compatible payment terminals or the general lack of awareness about contactless payments, it's the confusion people experience once they decide to try it. While many users are nervous simply because they don't know what to expect, some others are confronted with an even bigger challenge: they have no idea where the NFC antenna is on their phone. The Android Pay app has been progressively adding more informative screens to help with educating users about tap-and-go payments, and now evidence from a teardown suggests Google will soon teach users what part of the phone to actually tap with.

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Google Photos v1.25 allows album owners to block access to individuals and promises to add video stabilization [APK Teardown + Download]

We've hit that point in the year where Google's apps tend to feature smaller improvements and knock off some of the smaller to-do items. Yesterday's Google Photos update is no different. The latest version gives users the ability to ban individuals from shared albums and puts a link to the local image removal tool right in the navigation drawer. A teardown also shows we can look forward to a simple video stabilization feature and possible more video editing capabilities in the future.

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Google+ v8.4 adds avatar photos to comment previews, prepares to let users show off their flair, and may auto-hide NSFW images [APK Teardown + Download]

The updates are flowing steadily today and Google+ is playing along with its own set of tweaks and enhancements. This version looks like it's mostly centered around subtle refinements and closing some old to-do items. The biggest visible change seems to be profile pictures that appear in the comment previews below posts. That doesn't mean there aren't a few other things to check out. A teardown adds to the fun the promise of configurable "flair" on your own profile, tap-to-reveal covers for potentially inappropriate images, and the setup for privacy settings.

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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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Play Store v6.9 includes sign of built-in app streaming, a VR purchase screen, a new API Level, and more [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of the Google Play Store rolling out to users right now, but it doesn't appear to be brimming with any big, bold new features. However, there are some interesting bits and pieces floating around inside of the APK that point to some of the things we can look forward to in the future. A teardown of v6.9 points to a built-in app streaming interface and a custom purchasing experience for Cardboard. There are also quite a few odd little tweaks to various other things. We're still looking for more changes, so hit the download link below and take a look around for yourself.

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