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Chrome Beta 59 adds Animated PNG support, works with more payment apps, and disables some security risks [APK Download]

Chrome 58 just recently hit stable, which means Chrome 59 has been moved up to the Beta branch. This time around, Chrome is finally adding support for the Animated PNG standard. There are also a few other important changes, so let's take a look.

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Now anyone can create a Google Classroom

Last month it was announced that Google Classroom would be opened up to anyone with a Google account — the collaboration tool for education was limited to those with a G Suite account, previously. That change meant that normal users could join classrooms, but now Google is expanding the functionality and allowing anyone to create and manage classrooms, too.

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Google TalkBack 5.2 is out of beta with speech verbosity settings, Select to Speak, and more [APK Download]

It might not matter how high the DPI on a screen gets cranked by each new model if you have trouble seeing it. Thankfully we have Google's TalkBack, Android's accessibility service for the blind and disabled. It reads what's on your screen, but it also provides feedback for actions allowing users to fully interact with their device. Now the latest update has left beta after a few months of testing, bringing with it even more features, like verbosity (an adjustment for how much or little content it reads, based on your preferences), character counts for password fields, and a new Select to Speak service that allows you to tap content to hear it spoken, and more.

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Google Photos v2.14 is preparing personalized experiences and sharing suggestions based around facial recognition [APK Teardown]

When the Photos app launched in 2015, Google had already been working on computer vision for many years. It was no surprise that object recognition was a major draw for the app, and automatic sorting of pictures by person with the use of facial recognition became a must-have feature. Google is now looking to leverage this technology to make the Photos app a bit more social. A teardown of the latest Photos update reveals the service will soon offer additional features based around facial recognition, and even encourage users to share pictures with the people detected in them.

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Walmart Grocery is a new Android app for all your food shopping needs

US retailer Walmart has just added another app to its burgeoning selection on the Google Play Store. The oft-maligned company already has several Android apps available with varying degrees of success. With Walmart Grocery, food shopping could be a whole lot easier. The new app allows you to select your items, make a payment, and organize delivery or collection. A similar experience can already be had at its regular, non-grocery stores with the Walmart app.

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Google App 7.1 beta is testing a search bar in the notification panel and may begin showing pollen counts [APK Teardown]

The Google app is responsible for a pretty staggering number of features ranging from the standard search interface, a voice assistant, and even a fully functional launcher. The latest update coming through the beta channel doesn't seem to have any new features going live quite yet, but there are a lot of changes to text and other resources, including the removal of all references to Bisto from the last teardown. Most of them are minor tweaks to features we've covered in the past, but a couple point to things we haven't explored yet. Users can look forward to pollen counts with their local weather and possibly a search bar located right in the notification shade.

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Spotify and Genius bring "Behind the Lyrics" feature to Android

Last year Spotify teamed up with lyric knowledge base Genius to add an interesting new feature to its iOS app. Behind the Lyrics takes the same annotations from Genius and bakes them directly into the Spotify app. According to the music streaming giant, millions of iPhone owners make use of this every day. And now, it's finally bringing the feature to Android.

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Android Messages v2.2 cleans up the setup for solo and group messaging, allows adding new people to conversations [APK Download]

Not all updates have to introduce a big feature to make a big difference. The latest version of Android Messages demonstrates just that. It includes a couple of relatively small changes to the way group messaging is set up and should be a little faster for most people, and might remove some confusion for a few.

The screen for creating a new conversation in earlier versions was geared in favor of group chats. To be more specific, tapping on a contact would put them into a list of recipients and allowed users to keep adding more people until the user pressed a button to finalize the list and begin typing messages.

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Google Fit v1.64 for Wear 2.0 can now identify strength training exercises and automatically count reps [APK Download]

Google Fit stands as one of Google's only flagship apps on Android Wear, and may be the only one of its apps that matters more on a watch than it does on a phone. There's a new version of the app available on the Play Store for both watches and phones, but this update is all about adding a big feature for Wear. There's a new mode for recording strength training and similar activities that involve counting reps.

This update is for Wear 2.0 only, so quite a few people will have to wait until the rollout is complete before testing this out, but it works on the last developer preview as well as any watch that already has the official 2.0 firmware.

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Google Maps v9.51 beta adds new details about parking, prepares to improve route planning with parking suggestions and traffic charts [APK Teardown + Download]

It's time for another update to Google Maps. Like so many other version bumps, this one includes a couple of great gifts to get users where they want to go. The focus of this release appears to be directed at parking. There are now indicators to show if there is on-site parking and whether it's free or paid. The theme continues into the teardown with a feature that will help drivers plan to find parking near their destination before getting there.

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