APK Teardown

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Android Pay v1.22 prepares Visual ID facial recognition based on Hands Free and reveals testing for Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, and Canada [APK Teardown]

Android Pay may not have had a massive launch, or has been as aggressively rolled out as Samsung Pay, but it is steadily setting up shop in more countries around the globe. If you don't happen to find yourself in one of the dozen countries that have either already seen a launch or at least have an official promise of one coming soon, you might be interested to know that Google has at least set its sights on a few other countries. Text in the latest update of the Android Pay app hints at four previously unannounced markets. There are also obvious signs Google is merging the recently closed Hands Free experiment into Android Pay and expanding it significantly.

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Play Store v7.8 prepares to add pre-registration rewards, settings for Instant Apps, Play Protect, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

The Play Store has just been updated to version 7.8 as of this morning, at least for some people. This release brings a couple of small changes to the interface and a few bigger changes in preparation for the future. Google has added a little reminder note to get people back on track with automatic updates, meanwhile it has also removed a toggle on some devices that gave users a choice about whether icons should be added to the home screen for newly installed apps. (But don't worry, that's conditional.) On the teardown front, we can see big signs of progress for Instant Apps, a move toward branding the malware scanner, and a clue that pre-registering for apps may finally be worth something besides a reminder notification.

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Google Phone 9.0 prepares to add Android O's Notification Channels, picture messaging, post-call messages, and more [APK Teardown]

Late last week, an update to Google's Phone app began rolling out with no immediately obvious changes to the experience. While users don't have anything to play with quite yet, there are several interesting hints about what is to come in future releases. Hidden among the app's resources are signs of support for Android O's new Notification Channels feature, in-call picture messaging, post-call messaging, hidden menu codes for Motorola phones, and even some odd images of paws. Yes, seriously.

Official changelog posted

Google posted a changelog for the Phone app's latest update with the addition of emergency location display and "call waiting improvements" making up the majority of the new features.

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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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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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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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Google app v7.0 beta includes new Assistant Notification settings, plans redesign of Assistant Services directory, and hints at new device called "Bisto" [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google app went through a major version bump to 7.0 and began rolling out to the beta channel a couple of days ago. A bit of digging around turned up a few new settings, but nothing that explains why the version number went up on this release. Along with the new features, a teardown also raises some light on a few things we can look forward to in the future, including some vital improvements for Services accessed through Google Assistant and what may be a new type of device. If you're not part of the beta channel, you can grab the latest version of the Google app – now with fewer crashes – from APK Mirror.

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Google Photos v2.13 adds video stabilization, hints at possible Google+ integration [APK Download + Teardown]

There's nothing like adding great new features with an update. The latest version of Photos began its rollout yesterday and it enables a video stabilization feature we've been looking forward to for months. A teardown of the apk also raises the question: Would the Photos app ever find itself reintegrating Google+ in some way? If you're not in the mood to wait for this version to hit your device, hit the APK Mirror link at the bottom to get this update a bit early.

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Play Movies & TV v3.24 prepares to feature HDR content, tweaks some layouts [APK Teardown + Download]

If you've purchased a new television in the last couple of years, it might be equipped with a feature called HDR, or High Dynamic Range. We won't get mired in the details, but let's just say it has a pretty noticeable impact on image quality, particularly in very dark or bright scenes. However, this doesn't do much good if the video you have to watch isn't properly encoded. The latest update to Play Movies & TV shows Google hasn't forgotten this fact, and preparations are being made to feature movies and TV shows delivered in HDR.

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GBoard v6.2 adds a Text Editor tool for fine cursor control, resizing the one-handed keyboard, new languages, and much more [APK Teardown + Download]

A new version of Gboard hit the stage late Wednesday night, and this one is absolutely packed with great improvements. The toolbar is now configurable, making space for an entirely new tool for editing text and navigating the cursor. One-handed mode now allows for resizing and positioning the keyboard. There's also a stack of newly supported languages from Assamese to Waray. The teardown isn't empty either, as there are signs Google may be planning to merge in the Handwriting keyboard and introduce an Incognito Mode.

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