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Android Messages v2.9 prepares to launch Allo-like web interface, Google-enhanced chat features, and payments to businesses [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of Android Messages rolling out to our phones. So far, we haven't seen any significant changes to the UI, but huge things are happening under the surface. A teardown reveals Google is getting ready to launch a web interface that would allow users to pair their phones with a computer for all of their texting needs. Google may also be planning to offer its own enhanced chat features to work with RCS messaging. And finally, it looks like we'll be able to buy things from companies right from within Android Messages. Grab the APK at the bottom of the post if you'd like to get your hands on it before everybody else.

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YouTube Music v2.19 hints at new Premiere subscription service [APK Teardown]

In the later half of last year, we saw the first hint that YouTube may be launching a new subscription tier or service called YouTube Plus. Aside from seeing that particular name spread to the other apps in the YouTube family, there hasn't been anything new about the 'Plus' branding specifically. However, it seems there's yet another name popping up: YouTube Premiere.

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Play Store v8.9 hints at modular APKs, peer-to-peer sharing of app updates, and viewable edit history for reviews [APK Teardown]

Version 8.9 of the Play Store began rolling out earlier today, but as usual, you're probably not going to spot a lot of changes. However, I've been watching the last few updates and there have been clues for a few projects that are slowly coming together. Some truly cool things may be coming to us later this year, including what appears to be apps that can be downloaded in separate pieces. It also looks like users in data-constrained regions will soon be able to share updates with each other. Finally, we may soon be able to see a history of the edits users have made to their app reviews.

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Google Wifi adds app shortcuts, prepares batch testing and something called port opening in BV10144 update [APK Teardown]

If your home or business is keeping wireless devices connected through a Google Wifi, you'll be getting an update to the companion app today. The new version brings a pair of app shortcuts for those of us using it on Android 7.1 or above, but that's about it for visible changes. A teardown adds to the subject with hints of a new batch testing feature and settings for something called "port opening."

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Google Play Services 12.2.09 appears to fix Android's 'Check for update' button [APK Download]

For the longest time, we've suspected that Android's "Check for update" does nothing to actually get you the update. If you were in the group that is supposed to receive the update, the button simply sped up the process instead of waiting for the next automatic check to reveal it, but if there was an update and you weren't in the group, it did nothing to push you forward in the waiting line. Then in September, we were promised that manually pushing the button on Nexus and Pixel devices will get you an available update even when a passive background check wouldn't, and it worked momentarily.

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Motion Stills v2.0 adds animated AR stickers, gets a new look, and prepares Facebook integration [APK Download]

Motion Stills is getting a big update to v2.0 today, and with it come AR stickers. Now you'll be able to breathe new life into your already lively GIFs. This release isn't just about small animated characters, there are also some updates to make the UI a little prettier and more intuitive. As always, we've got a download link at the bottom if you want to get your hands on the update right away!

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BBC America launches new catch up app for Android TV [APK Download]

Here in the UK, you get used to the convenience of catching up on any BBC show using the fantastic iPlayer app. It hasn't been so easy for Stateside users, even though the BBC iPlayer Radio app is available outside the UK. BBC America has just released its very own app, so US viewers can get some of the same benefits as we do this side of the Atlantic.

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Update Notes for YouTube Music, Google Fit, Gboard, Keep, Calendar, and many more (Feb 4, 2018)

Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.

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[Update: Official changelog] Google Voice v5.7 prepares to enable VoIP directly within the app [APK Teardown]

Google has been dabbling in the realm of Internet-based calling for years. First it was Gmail, then Hangouts got in on the action. While there were ways (and even third-party products) to use the Google Voice service for VoIP, it was probably the least enjoyable calling experience we've seen that didn't involve MacGyver-style shorting of exposed wires to dial a number. Now an update to the Google Voice app reveals that it's finally going to make its VoIP capabilities an official feature, and it'll be usable directly from your phone without any hacky workarounds.

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