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3

New Google Maps layer lets you toggle off 3D buildings

In many cities around the world, Google Maps shows a 3D view of all buildings around to help you navigate and figure out what places look like without having to individually open each listing to check photos. The feature is nearly as old as Maps itself on Android, but until now, you were stuck with this rendering and couldn't turn it off. A new layer lets you toggle 3D off to enjoy a flattened map.

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Google Files lets you cast local media from your phone [APK Download]

Google Files started out as a Go app and has since been promoted and shrugged off that denomination. It's still a lightweight application aimed primarily markets with low-bandwidth internet, so most of its features don't rely on the internet, such as device cleaning and peer-to-peer file sharing. The app has now also gained support for local media casting, finally bringing it on par with many third-party apps that have supported this for almost as long as the Chromecast protocol has existed.

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Play Store navigation becomes simpler on Wear OS [APK Download]

Google may have just bought Fitbit, but it still has to take care of its home-grown wearable OS, Wear OS. While you could argue that the platform feels pretty much dead in the water, the company still adds new software features every once in a while, like a redesigned system navigation a year ago. Now Google has decided to give the Play Store on watches a facelift and has released a new version that makes it easier to navigate it on the small screen.

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53

(Update: Newer APK) Google Camera 7.2 rolls out to older Pixels with new UI, social sharing, and astrophotography

Pixel 4 owners have had Google Camera 7.2 for a couple of weeks, but those of us with older Pixels were left behind, way behind on version 6.3 of the app. Now, users are reporting that both the Pixel 3 and 2 are getting officially updated to Camera 7.2 on the Play Store. If you haven't installed any intermediate APKs, you'll notice a huge interface change, plenty of little additional features, and a couple of drawbacks.

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24

(Update: Live, APK) Top Shot will be available for short videos on the Pixel 4, 3, and 3a

Launched with the Pixel 3, Top Shot is an AI feature that smartly recommends saving a better photo than the one you snapped. Until now, Top Shot required you to have Motion Photos enabled, to save the brief moments before and after the pic was taken and be able to get a different photo if needed. The feature will soon be enabled for short videos too and it'll be available on the Pixel 4, 3, and 3a.

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35

(Update: LG G8X) ARCore renamed to Google Play Services for AR, adds support for Pixel 4 and more devices

Google is always hard at work on adding ARCore support to new devices. This time around, those include the brand-new Note10 and 10+, but other than that, a bigger shift has occurred on the company's AR front – that is, if you count marketing and naming schemes as big shifts. The catchy ARCore Play Store listing makes way for the cumbersome phrase "Google Play Service for AR." The change has already been visible for a while, but the company only introduced the new name in the app's changelog last week, along with announcing support for 60fps rendering on capable devices.

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19

Firefox Lite 2.0 for Android is out now [APK Download]

Mozilla Taiwan's Firefox Lite — previously Firefox Rocket, then Lite, then Rocket again — is pleasingly snappy to use, with a focus on light browsing and privacy. The Chromium-based app blocks ads and trackers by default, allowing for lightning-fast browsing under the decreased bandwidth. After having its name changed four times, Firefox Lite has been updated to version 2.0.

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12

Google Crowdsource app gets gamified leaderboards and new 'Smart Camera' feature [APK Download]

Earlier this year, Google rolled out a fresh coat of paint for its 2016-era Crowdsource app, which lets volunteers like you and me help assemble data sets for Google products to improve their machine learning chops. Now a new update is rolling out to further gamify the process, bringing a leaderboard for different categories of submissions, plus a whole new "Smart Camera" feature for improving real-life object recognition.

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35

Android Auto v4.8 is ready to add app drawer customization and persistent weather [APK Teardown]

The latest update to Android Auto is making the rounds and it's potentially a pretty major update, even if it's not immediately obvious. There aren't going to be any major visible changes upon installing the update, but one of the most requested features, a customizable app drawer, appears to be ready for launch. Also on the lineup is a persistent temperature display, which may also be rolling out soon.

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102

(Update: Now available, APK) Google says it'll soon release a new 'Android Auto for Phone Screens' app

Android Auto has experienced a major shift over the past few months. At I/O, Google announced Assistant Driving Mode and a spokesperson confirmed that this new experience would replace the Auto app's phone interface. Additional signs pointed to the demise of the standalone mode on phones, like the full Auto redesign that only rolled out for head units and the fact that Auto became a built-in feature with Android Q, not requiring an app. We were bracing ourselves for never being able to use Auto on our phone displays, but a new statement from Google brings us a little bit of hope.

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