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APK Teardown

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Google app v6.10 beta prepares to add a "search gesture" and enable keyboard input for Google assistant [APK Teardown]

We're barely into the new year and Google isn't wasting any time getting updates out to some of its apps. A new beta for the Google app turned up on Tuesday, but like the last few versions, there aren't any apparent new features jumping off the screen. However, there are a few clues hidden inside the apk that tell us about a few changes coming down the pipe in the future. On the docket this time is a new(-ish) input method for Google assistant and a mysterious gesture-based search action. The first steps have also been taken to bring Google assistant to Android Wear.

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Google+ v9.3 reveals plan to move Location Sharing to Google Maps and make a more useful cropping tool [APK Teardown]

This week has been busy with updates, but many are just checking bugs off the list before everybody takes off a couple of weeks for the holidays. The web interface was given adjustments for how frequently Recommended and Trending posts are shown, and there are now better recommendations and a new horizontally scrollable view on the mobile site, but only the improved recommendations made it over to the app (so far). The interesting part of the apk update is in the teardown, which confirms plans to relocate the location sharing feature to Google Maps. There is also evidence of a new improved image cropping tool in the works.

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Google Maps v9.43 beta adds a shortcut to contributions and changes a couple notification settings, prepares to offer recommendations from the menu and more [APK Teardown + Download]

There's an update for Google Maps v9.43 rolling out to beta testers. This one isn't loaded with changes, but there are a few things worth checking out in this release. There have been a couple of changes to the notification options in the Settings screen and a new home screen shortcut is now available. A deeper look through a teardown reveals plans to display recommended dishes from the menu. There is also some follow-up to an odd teardown topic from a few weeks ago.

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Play Music v7.1 prepares to add an autoplay option and sound quality settings for Wi-Fi and downloading [APK Teardown]

An update to Google Play Music began rolling out earlier this week, but there aren't any signs of changes in the UI. However, a couple of interesting things did turn up during a teardown. We can look forward to new settings to control audio quality for each of the major situations for downloading music. Additionally, there will be an option to allow the app to begin playing music as soon as it launches. If you're eager to grab the latest version before it comes to your device naturally, there's a download link at the bottom.

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Android Pay v1.12 prepares for launch in Japan with Rakuten Edy and other e-money providers [APK Teardown]

Android Pay made its first Asian appearance in Singapore back in late-June. A couple months later, in August, rumors began circulating that Google was in negotiations with numerous financial companies to prepare for a launch in Japan. Names of the likely partners included: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, East Japan Railway Company, Rakuten, NTT Docomo, and JCB, to name a few. Since then, details have been sparse; but with evidence discovered in the latest update to Android Pay, it's now clear that a deal has been struck with Rakuten.

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Google app v6.9 beta is preparing to offer smarter autocomplete suggestions, search offline maps, and introduce a custom image viewer [APK Teardown]

Android Auto users were given a pleasant surprise when v6.9 of the Google app enabled the 'OK Google' activation phrase while driving (for many people). We haven't spotted any other visible changes with this release, but there are some interesting things buried in the apk that are also worth checking out. It looks like the search bar's autocomplete is about to gain some new tricks and there's a new (or at least improved) native image viewer in development that appears to have custom support for some of Google's custom search results.

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Google Keep v3.4 adds 'Grab image text' to Drawing mode and prepares some new tools for crafting better images [APK Teardown + Download]

There's a new version of Google Keep rolling out to Android devices, but it's not going to look very different unless you are looking in exactly the right spot. The screen for drawing notes is now equipped with the "Grab image text" function. Shifting gears slightly, a teardown also reveals some new drawing functions are going to be added to the same screen in a future update. As usual, there's a link at the bottom where you can download the latest version.

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Android Pay v1.10 includes clues about a promotional "game" with real prizes [APK Teardown]

Most teardowns show a list of fairly predictable features or changes, but every once in a while something will turn up that isn't so expected. A look inside the recently released Android Pay v1.10 update is a good example. The typical things can be found, like a line about a second tier for loyalty programs and some stuff to encourage users to visit nearby vendors, but the really interesting bit is some text about a "game" that may have real prizes.

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Google Play services v10.0 prepares for Tap 'n Pay with Android Wear and makes progress on Instant Apps [APK Teardown]

As we close in on the end of the year, Google's developers are lining things up for possible late-2016 launches or preparing to test features they plan to launch next year. With the rollout of Google Play services v10.0, a couple of those things stand out as current projects. There are signs final testing has begun for Instant Apps, Google's way to give users a way to use apps without actually installing them. It also looks like some progress has been made towards enabling Android Pay to work through Android Wear.

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YouTube v11.45 resumes work on quick seeking and live broadcasting from mobile [APK Teardown + Download]

YouTube v11.45 began its rollout to users yesterday. There aren't any obvious changes within the app, but there are a few things to see outside of it if you're running on a device that sees either round launcher icons or app shortcuts. But that's not all there is to check out. A teardown of the APK lends some new details about a couple of previously discussed features coming to YouTube in the future.

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