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Facebook is rolling out a dedicated button for adding GIFs to comments

Sending a GIF through Facebook's Messenger app is pretty easy. It's long been possible to send GIFs quickly using the dedicated button, and the app recently added support for GBoard's GIF search feature, giving you even more choice. Sending a GIF in the main Facebook app has been a little trickier, however, first having to find a one elsewhere and then copy/paste it in. To celebrate 30 years of GIFs (I had no idea they were that old, either), the Facebook app now also includes a GIF button right in the text field, allowing you to search for and send one without leaving the app.

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Google Maps v9.55 adds notification channels for Android O and might add offline maps for whole countries [APK Download + Teardown]

If you're on the Google Maps beta channel, you probably received an update to v9.55 in the last day or so. After hunting for a while, we haven't seen any notable changes on most devices; except if you're running Android O, in which case the latest version enables a full array of notification channels. The hunt for features also brought out a teardown with a hint that users may finally have the option to download offline maps for whole countries.

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Google updates kids animation app Toontastic 3D with new Cars 3 and Fruit Ninja themes [APK Download]

Earlier in the year, Google released the impressive Toontastic 3D. The digital storytelling app was a follow up to the original Toontastic game by educational developer LaunchPad Toys, which was acquired by Google in 2015. The app allows kids to draw and animate their own stories to create a 3D video. The budding directors can even narrate their creations and add built-in songs to the soundtrack before sharing. In the latest update, Google adds new characters and settings as part of two additional themes.

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Google Calculator v7.3 enables text editing and memory actions in the expression field, tweaks the launcher icon, and more [APK Download + Teardown]

One great thing about major updates to Android – and the developer previews leading up to them – is that a lot of the smaller, often overlooked apps tend to get some renewed attention. Google's Calculator app has seen a few builds with each developer preview since it went from v7.21 to v7.3, and each one has included something of note.

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Plex v6.0 adds the ability to open and play locally-stored video files [APK Download]

Plex has been up to lot lately; it wasn't too long ago that the company announced Live TV, a free service for all Pass subscribers. Shifting back to a stronger Android focus, the app is getting a rather interesting update starting today. V6.0 (technically, 6.0.1.523) adds the ability to play locally-stored video files on your phone or tablet.

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Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1

With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel. We're now on the third Android O Developer Preview, and the official clock app has been treated to a visual refresh, its first meaningful update since February.

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Android O feature spotlight: Camera app updated to v4.4, with small UI tweaks [APK Download]

After the surprise early release of the 3rd Android O developer preview yesterday, everyone is busy searching for any subtle little changes here and there. The stock Android camera app was last updated back in February with new zoom and exposure controls. The new dev preview brings the camera up to version 4.4 and includes some minor UI tweaks.

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Duo v12 enables auto-hiding controls, hints at low-bandwidth audio mode and a couple logical notifications [APK Teardown + Download]

Duo remains one of Google's most minimal apps, so it feels like even small changes were carefully considered before earning a place in an update. The latest version of Duo is rolling out now with one such tweak that allows the on-screen controls to disappear when they're not in use. A teardown also reveals plans to make audio calls even more resilient on low-bandwidth connections and to add a couple of notifications that might give users more reasons to open the app more often.

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Wink introduces two new lighting control features alongside the Wink Bright starter kit

There are increasing numbers of people looking into smart home products and services, and Wink provides a pretty robust option for them. "Powerful, but fun and easy to use" was how we described the Wink Home Hub 2 in our review late last year. Since then, compatibility for a variety of products and services has been added, including control of lights and thermostats through Google Home. Now, Wink is introducing a new light bulb starter pack and two new automation features in the app.

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Google app v7.4 beta prepares for Google Home calling, manual rerouting of voice commands, and more [APK Teardown]

There's another version of the Google app floating around in the wild, and as we've probably become accustomed, it doesn't appear to make any notable changes upon installation. However, there are some interesting elements floating around in the apk. In this update, we can see the first signs of support for making calls with Google Home and a new action that allows users to manually reroute voice commands to the device in their hand. There's also a new feature that looks at your notifications in an effort to give easier access and suggests about your contacts and messages.

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