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APK Teardown

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Play Services v8.3: Curious Things With Nearby And Smart Lock, Screenshot Annotation For Feedback, And More [APK Teardown + Download]

It has been a busy month for Google. Marshmallow was officially released, YouTube finally has the subscription service we've been asking for, and some new Nexus phones are shipping. Also on the docket for this month was a new version of the Play services apk. A couple of weeks ago, v8.2.98 began rolling out to a short list of handsets. It was followed a few days later by a .99 release, and then another minor bug fix pushed it up to v8.3.00. There hasn't been a blog post to discuss new features or APIs, which is a bit unusual, but there are a few interesting bits in the apk waiting to be seen.

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Keep v3.2.415 Prepares New Drawing Mode And Image Annotations For Notes [APK Teardown]

Google Keep received a seemingly minor update this week, bringing the version number up from v3.2.354 to v3.2.415. There aren't any visible new features or even any particularly notable changes, but that doesn't mean the only changes are bug fixes. A teardown shows that Keep is due to receive its own built-in drawing mode so users can easily record their own doodles, scribbles, and sketches. Additionally, users will be able to annotate imported images like photos and screenshots.

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YouTube Gaming v1.1 Promises Background & Offline Playback, Cardboard Support, And Battletoads [APK Teardown]

Not everybody is into live streaming gameplay, but for those that are, and particularly those that play a lot of games on Android, this week's update for YouTube Gaming was a pretty big deal. It brought much-needed support for recording and live broadcasting your screen directly to YouTube. While the update is significant for the features we now have, it also happens to include some signs for a few more things we can expect in the future. We can see a few of YouTube's newer features are going to hop over to the gaming side, including background playback, offline playback, and even Cardboard support.

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Play Store v5.10: Support For Books Listed By Series, More Visible App Sizes, And More [APK Teardown]

Yesterday brought a brand new update to the Play Store, bringing the version up to 5.10.29. There are some new UI elements, even if most of us aren't allowed to see them yet, and we can now copy text from the what's new and description sections. Naturally, Google included a few hidden tricks and treats just waiting to be discovered. We can expect to see books organized by series, apps described with size, and some friendlier welcome and exploration messages.

Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
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Google App v5.4 Adds An Easier Way To Set Home And Work Locations, Fixes The Card Swipe Animation, And Points To A New Wear App [APK Download + Teardown]

The Google app was treated to an update late yesterday, bringing the version number up to 5.4. This bump seems to be mostly dedicated to bug fixes, but a couple of changes deserve to be mentioned. A previously screwy animation has been restored to its original beauty, and we now have a more convenient way to set Home and Work locations. Evidence also turned up that suggests the Google app will play host to its own mini-app for Android Wear.

What's New

Fixed Card Swipe Animation

2015-10-09 09.45.322015-10-09 09.46.14

Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

Last month's v5.3 update introduced a very unsightly bug into the Google Now stream.

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Google App v5.3: Launcher Auto-Rotation May Be Returning To Phones Soon [APK Teardown]

The Google app is an interesting beast within the Android Ecosystem. It provides speech recognition, Google Now, multiple APIs, and even a launcher. Next to Google Play Services, the Google app is by far the most multi-faceted apk most of us have on our phones and tablets. The latest couple of updates teased users of the Android M Developer Preview 3 with brief access to Now On Tap before it was quickly taken away with a promise that it was still "coming soon". There were also a few other smaller details waiting to be found in a teardown, including the likely return of rotation support on the Google Now Launcher and some more forward motion for offline voice commands.

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YouTube 'Red' Might Be The New Name For Music Key

It has been nearly a year since YouTube launched its own music-focused subscription service called Music Key. In the meantime, Google quietly renamed Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Unlimited. Now it looks like Google is about to bestow a similar rebranding on Music Key, turning it into "YouTube Red."

An update to the YouTube app includes text that describes a product called YouTube Red as the service that enables background playback, a feature that has long been restricted to Music Key (and Music Unlimited) subscribers.

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Photos v1.5 Points To Collaborative Album Editing, Naming People In Photos, And Impending Chromecast Support [APK Teardown]

Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases.

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Play Games v3.3 Prepares To Add Screen Recording And Live Streaming To YouTube Gaming [APK Teardown + Download]

After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.

Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
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Play Music v6.0.1995S Adds Gapless Playback To Chromecast, Continues Playing When Casters Leave, And May Soon Offer Subscription Gifting [APK Teardown + Download]

In a rare twist, Google was quick to update a changelog on the Play Store, and this one is definitely worth it. Some big improvements have been made to the Chromecast (Google Cast) support in the latest update to Play Music, including some stability improvements, gapless playback, and continuous playback after a caster leaves the area. On top of that, a look inside turned up evidence that Google may soon allow users to "gift" subscriptions to other people. If you just can't wait to get the goods, we've got a download link at the bottom.

What's New

It's highly unusual, but a changelog was posted right away with the release of the latest update.

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