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Google app v6.1 Beta allows users to disable local trending searches, includes first tangible elements of Google Assistant, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

A fresh beta update just started rolling out for the Google app, popping the version number up to 6.1. There aren't many immediately obvious changes with this release, but it does contain a switch that will allow users to turn off trending searches in their area. But if you're looking for some potentially exciting new things, a teardown reveals the first physical pieces of the recently announced Google Assistant. There are also a couple bits related to deep search for apps and background retry for failed searches.

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Super-pretty drag racing sim CSR Racing 2 is now available following geo-limited beta

The greatest challenge in racing is clearly going as fast as possible in a straight line. Turning is for chumps. That's the only explanation for the ridiculous popularity of the original CSR Racing. Now, the sequel is out after a geo-limited beta test. CSR Racing 2 is free-to-play, but you get to drive pretty cars very fast in a straight line. What else do you want?

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Her Story, a trippy crime thriller game-movie hybrid, comes to the Play Store for three bucks

If you follow the indie game development scene you've probably heard of Her Story, if only in passing. It's an incredibly unique game where you play a homicide investigator trying to solve a murder. But unlike most games with that description, Her Story doesn't task you with running around a noir-inspired city or shooting hundreds of criminals. Instead you have a series of police interview videos, all delivered in live action by actress Viva Seigert, which you must organize and decipher to solve the case.

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[Update: Winners] Cinemute makes sure your phone never goes off at the theater, and we have 100 codes to give away

When I go to the cinema, one of the things I hate the most is people using their phones. You've paid good money (I live in the UK so have no idea on the cost in the US, but I'm told $12 is around average) to see this movie, and you can't even be bothered to turn your phone off. Even more annoying is when someone's phone rings in the middle of the movie. Luckily, we've got a giveaway for an app that should go some way to fixing this issue...

Cinemute, from developer NorthShore Digital, mutes your phone when in a movie theater, then restores the original ringer level when you leave.

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Google app tests notifying you when search results are ready in background

Most of us probably use the Google app for searching on our phones, rather than through Chrome or - *gasp* - another search engine. I've often found that on slow connections, the Google app can take ages to bring up results - think 2G or even 3G mobile networks. To combat this, it appears that Google is either testing or rolling out a notification to tell you when the app has completed searching and showing results.

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Three Google Search notifications. Note: this is MIUI, which is why it looks a bit... iOS-y.

This may not be used only for slow connections, but will probably come in handy the most on a network where speed is hard to come by.

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[Update: APK Download] Amazon Page Flip lets you skim an ebook without losing your place

There are some things you can do with a dead tree book that you can't do with the Kindle app. For example, get a paper cut or flip quickly between two pages. Actually, Amazon has figured out how to make the app do one of those things. Don't fret, your fingers are safe; it's the second one. Amazon's new Page Flip feature lets you jump to a different page while reading, then go back to your previous location.

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HTC is secretly testing a Sense Home launcher for non-HTC Android devices

About a week ago, we started getting tips of HTC asking its HTC Preview program members to enroll in a new project to test called "GOOGLE_PLAY_SENSE_GP" with two requirements: you have to have a non-HTC Android phone and it has to be running Android 4.4 and above. You could have surmised from the title and requisites that HTC was working on a new Sense launcher for non-HTC phones. And you would have been right.

HTC Sense Home 8 Beta has just started getting into the hands of HTC Preview members and it's a home screen replacement app with optional Blinkfeed panel, app drawer support, app search, widget drag-and-drop, and...

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The Play Store Early Access program seems to be rolling out to everybody

If you're the type of person that has to flash developer previews and sign up for every beta program available, being the first to try new apps is probably also pretty high on your list of things to do. Google has you covered. Announced last month during I/O, the Play Store is launching an "Early Access" program to give people like us a place to find apps that are mostly operational, but not quite ready for prime time. A few people found that they had early access to Early Access a few days ago, but now it looks like everybody is welcome to the club.

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Inbox gets Direct Share to frequently emailed contacts on Marshmallow and above [APK Download]

Messaging and communication apps are some of the best targets of Marshmallow's Direct Share API. Instead of first picking up an app to share something to and then selecting a target contact, if an app has implemented the functionality, your most frequently contacted people within it will appear at the top-level of the Share menu, above the different app icons. It's a faster and more streamlined experience that I personally love and use several times a day on WhatsApp.

Now Google's own Inbox app is implementing the same feature. Contacts you email often will, presumably, show up in the Share menu so you can quickly send stuff their way without having to choose Inbox first and then manually enter them as recipients of the email.

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Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides show comment notifications on Android and Web [APK Download]

When you're working on a shared Google Drive document, spreadsheet, or presentation, you often get lots of comments highlighting specific sections and pointing out things to change, fix, or work on. Previously, those comments would be condensed into an email and that was your only way of knowing someone has something new to say about one of your files.

Now, comment notifications will show up on the web as well as in all three Google apps. Docs, Sheets, and Slides already got a notifications setting in a previous update, but they'll now use that to also surface comments on your shared documents, just like in the screenshot above.

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