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APK Teardown

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Google Home v1.24 prepares to give Google Home users an option to automatically cast to specific TVs and speakers without naming them each time, Bluetooth support coming soon [APK Teardown]

Quite a few Google apps were given minor version bumps today, but nothing has been all that interesting until it was teardown time for the latest release of the Google Home app. It doesn't seem to have any changes in the live interface quite yet, but there are a couple of things from the resources that deserve a look. To begin with, we have a status update on the subject of Bluetooth pairing. On top of that, it looks like it will be possible to set default TVs and speakers to be used as output devices for Google Home.

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Google Play Music v7.9 adds search history and notification channels for Android O [APK Download + Teardown]

There's a new version of Google Play Music rolling out to users this afternoon, but the changes aren't terribly noticeable if you aren't looking for them. Hidden away in the Settings screen is a shortcut to view your music search history, and buried away in the system settings is a set of new notification channels so you can customize just how much Play Music interrupts you. A teardown also suggests audiophiles can look forward to some even more precise sounds coming from some tracks in the future.

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YouTube Kids v2.28 sets up for user profiles and better offline video management [APK Teardown]

YouTube doesn't talk very much about what it has to offer for younger audiences, but through its Kids app, parents have easy access to a great library of child-friendly material. Not long ago, the app introduced a "reading" category built around the theme of books and literary characters. Regular updates to the app are also occasionally introducing new features. The latest update includes a few hints about some improvements that may be coming soon, including more control over offline videos and profiles for easily swapping content for different kids.

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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 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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Android Messages v2.3 from Developer Preview 3 adds "mark as read" to notifications, replaces settings with Notification Channels, and prepares to add smart replies [APK Download + Teardown]

The third developer preview of Android O came with a stack of new versions for Google's assorted apps. Many of them are essentially unchanged from the regular versions available through the Play Store, but there are a few offering up some excellent new features. Android Messages falls into that group as it adds the option to mark a message read from the notification shade and customization for contact notifications has been completely reorganized to take advantage of Android O's Notification Channels. A teardown also reveals that Android Messages is going to join the ranks of semi-intelligent chat apps that offers suggestions based on context.

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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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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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Android Pay v1.24 prepares to suggest linking unknown membership cards after they're used in a purchase [APK Teardown]

The Android Pay team has been going strong with the expansion into new countries and forging partnerships with even more banks, but that doesn't mean the app hasn't been given at least a little bit of attention along the way. The latest version doesn't appear to have any changes on the surface, but a teardown does turn up the signs of one interesting new addition. It looks like Android Pay will begin offering to add membership cards to your account if they are used in an Android Pay transaction. We're still looking for other changes in the app, especially at the terminal, so let us know in the comments if anything interesting turns up.

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