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app updates

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Google Pay branding is starting to replace Android Pay in the app and on the web

Alternative title: Android Pay is dead, long live Google Pay

Since mentions of 'Google Pay' and 'G Pay' started popping up at the turn of the year, we knew some changes were likely afoot. Then the new marks started rolling out more widely, as Google officially announced that it was unifying its payment branding.

Today seems to be the day we say goodbye to Android Pay for good, as the website is now redirecting to the Google Pay site, four new YouTube videos have been released, and the Android Pay and Google Wallet apps are getting rebranded.

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[Update: Available now] Google's Tez app will soon be able to process bill payments

A couple of months back, Google introduced a brand new mobile payments app exclusive to India. The country's banking landscape is a little different to many of the territories that currently have access to Android Pay, and so it needed a different approach. Until now, Tez has only been able to pay participating merchants or transfer between users, but it will soon be possible to pay utility bills, too.

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Samsung Internet v6.4 stable rolls out with Web Bluetooth, improved download manager, and more

Samsung's own web browser used to be exclusive to its phones, but that was fine because no one really wanted to use it. More recently, Samsung has stepped up its game and made Samsung Internet a capable Chromium-based browser. After pushing v6.4 as a beta some weeks back, it's now stable with a few more features.

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LastPass finally gets support for Oreo autofill, keeps accessibility option

LastPass began its winding path to support Android Oreo's autofill API in August, but the day is finally here: The popular password manager has pushed support for Oreo autofill to its stable, non-beta app. Accessibility-based autofill is still available for older apps (and Chrome) that don't yet support the new implementation.

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Hulu updated with easier timeline scrubbing

Sometimes apps are updated with a plethora of new features that transform the experience. This is not one of those times. Yet, the latest Hulu update does bring something that many subscribers will probably enjoy. You can scrub through a video by pressing anyplace, not just on the timeline.

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Latest Nest app update lets you merge duplicate familiar faces of the same person, and more [APK Download]

Nest's been in the news a lot lately, with word that it's being folded into Google's hardware division closely followed by the announcement that its last remaining founder is leaving the company. Nest's in that position because of its great connected home products, and thanks to a new app update they stand to get even better.

If you have a Nest Cam IQ, you might have encountered an issue whereby you have multiple familiar face entries that it just doesn't understand are the same person. Thankfully, Nest has solved that problem in the latest update by allowing you to merge those duplicate entries together.

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[Update: It's working!] WhatsApp payments now showing for beta testers in India

We've known for a while that WhatsApp has been prepping a built-in payment service for its users in India, and the beta version of the app is now showing the new payments interface. The feature plugs into the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) program that includes many of the country's most popular banking institutions.

Although not officially announced by the company yet, beta testers have noticed a payment option in the attachment menu between Document and Gallery. According to TechCrunch, iOS users have been able to make payments with the service already. Gizmo Times has tried this out on Android, but it shows a "Couldn't add bank account" error message (below right).

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Essential Phone camera update adds autoHDR mode and improves performance

The Essential Phone has the hardware to compete with phones that cost much more than its revised $500 price, but specs aren't everything. Case in point: the camera. The Essential Phone has a pair of 13MP camera sensors, but the performance was poor. Essential has been working to improve it with updates, and the latest one claims to address HDR. There's finally an autoHDR mode and a new HDR algorithm.

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Google adds 'Winter Sports' and 'Blocks' AR stickers to Pixel camera [APK Download]

Google's AR efforts go back a few years to the Tango developer devices. It took time for Tango to become a consumer product, and Google killed Tango after just two phone releases. Now it's all about ARCore, which you can experience in the Pixel camera. There's a new version of AR Stickers today that enables two more sticker packs. Strangely, the stickers are a separate download this time.

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Google Photos gets new sharing previews for users who don't have the app installed

Towards the end of 2016, Google introduced an API called App Preview Messaging. It debuted with Allo, where it lets you message anyone regardless of whether they have the app installed. They receive a preview message, handled by Google Play Services, which they can respond to as though they do have the app.

Duo recently added support for this, too, so you could receive and answer a video call from a contact even if you've never heard of the app. Next to add the feature is Google Photos, which now lets you share media with friends or family members who don't have the app via their phone number.

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