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Playboard will be discontinued at the beginning of this month, many channels already gone

Playboard, the Google Play Store and Apple App Store aggregator with various channels and lists, has announced it will be discontinued at the beginning of February 2017 (i.e. any time now), in lieu of a new company, 42matters, taking its place.

Many pages on the Playboard website 404, with most channels for various apps and games not being found. Other pages redirect to the new website of 42matters, the successor company, which is focusing on app market analytics, mobile app data, and APIs.

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Google is shutting down the Hands Free pilot test on February 8

Ever since March of last year, Google has been testing a new payment method called Hands Free. The premise was that you could pay for goods with your smartphone without ever having to remove it from your pocket. The pilot was limited to the Bay Area and to only a few businesses. But now, the experiment has hit its end of life for the time being.

As of February 8, Hands Free will shut down.

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Google Maps v9.45 beta brings redesigned arrival cards and timeline emails, prepares for sharing user-created lists [APK Teardown + Download]

Google Maps was recently promoted to v9.45 in the beta channel. This update includes a partially redesigned arrival card when users reach their destinations and introduces a feature where Google will send emails with highlights from your timeline. Turning to the teardown, it's clear that Google will soon allow users to share their custom lists with others. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom of the post, but since the v9.45.1 update came out shortly after the .0 release, both versions are linked.

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SoundCloud update adds Charts, showing what music is popular right now

If it's indie music and new, unknown artists, chances are it'll be on SoundCloud. The Berlin-based company has long pioneered a music platform that doesn't focus on the big, stadium-filling artists, but on the small, independent ones. An update to the app adds in Charts, letting users see what others are listening to on the service and what is popular at any given moment. While these were actually implemented in the previous version, they've just been added to the changelog, indicating it's possible they were rolling out on a server-side basis.

 

The charts are separated into two sections - Top 50 and New and Hot.

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Shazam gets updated with app shortcuts for faster song recognition

Shazam is one of the oldest and most popular song recognition services. Although I personally have long since ditched it for the recognition software built into Google Search, it's still used by hundreds of millions of people each month (well, that's what Shazam says, anyway). The app's latest update adds the app shortcuts that Android Nougat brought support for.

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YouTube v12.03 hints at intelligent auto-download for offline viewing, Picture-in-Picture support for Android TV, and viewer polls [APK Teardown]

YouTube has been racking up a long list of features awaiting release – some discovered in teardowns and others have even been announced. The version that began rolling out late yesterday doesn't appear to have introduced anything like live broadcasts or a wide release of the quick seek button, but it does add to the list of things we know are coming. A teardown of the APK turns up evidence of a new feature to intelligently fill a device with videos for offline enjoyment, online polling for live broadcast viewers, and Picture-in-Picture support on Android TV.

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Google Opinion Rewards update adds a hamburger menu and notification sounds

Google Opinion Rewards has been around for a while, allowing Android users to answer various surveys to receive Play Store credit. Now Google has updated the Opinion Rewards app to version '20170119,' adding a hamburger menu and new notification options.

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TomTom fitness wearables and sports watches get a brand new companion Sports app

We don't talk about TomTom wearables almost ever at Android Police, and that's because of one particular reason: the TomTom MySports app sucks. It's a shame because TomTom makes very interesting products spanning from the simple Touch band to the Spark 3 GPS and HR watch with storage for music, and all the way to the multi-sport Adventurer with multiple outdoor modes, compass, and barometer.

But whenever we talk about any smart gadget here, on Android Police, we mention its app, and in this case, we couldn't gloss over the fact that no matter how good TomTom's products were, their app frankly sucked, which made the whole line-up irrelevant for our coverage.

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Hangouts v16 reorganizes its contact list and search results [APK Download]

Hangouts v16 began rolling out earlier this week, followed this morning by an updated changelog that speaks of making it "easier to find the right contacts quickly" and the obligatory bug fixes and performance improvements. There aren't any major changes, but the contact list and search results are organized differently. Additionally, an old part of the interface has been removed.

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Snapchat 10 arrives with redesigned interface and updated search [APK Download]

Earlier this month, Snapchat began to test a redesigned user interface. The test featured an updated interface with brighter colors and an enhanced search, and has now left beta with the release of Snapchat 10.

As you can see in the screenshots below, Snapchat 10 has a more unified visual appearance across the whole app. Both the chat and story screens have filled-in title bars, and the duplicated search buttons on both have been re-located to the Camera screen. Tapping that search button now brings up a list of commonly-contacted friends and groups for quick access, but otherwise works exactly as before.

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