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Gboard v7.0 Beta adds email auto-completion, Chinese and Korean language support, universal media search, and more [APK Download]

Gboard almost never fails to add an assortment of new, and sometimes unusual features with each update. The latest version bump doesn't disappoint. In this release, Gboard can now auto-complete email addresses from your contact list, adds support for Chinese and Korean keyboards, and launches a new universal media search feature that brings together emoji, stickers, and GIFs. There are also some other smaller improvements that will make it easier to set up multiple keyboards within a language and perhaps get suggestions and autocorrections for languages you've never even set up.

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Google Pay v1.53 rolls out major redesign, prepares transit tickets and custom card art [APK Teardown]

Google announced earlier today that it's taking the plunge with the Google Pay branding, meaning the Android Pay and Google Wallet names and branding are officially canned. To go along with the shift, a new version of the Android Pay...err, Google Pay app is rolling out with an updated look. It's going to take a little while to get used to that name. There are also some clues about what's to come, but we'll get to that in the teardown.

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Hands-on: Google's 'Reply' gives other apps concise Smart Replies - when it isn't throwing shade

Around a week ago we heard that Google was going to test a new app called Reply, which allegedly ports Allo's Smart Reply functionality over to a wider number of apps. Looks like the test has started rolling out, and we've gotten our hands on the APK. So far, Reply seems to fulfill its promises: you get mostly-apt automated response shortcuts in message notifications. 

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Google Home v1.27 includes several cosmetic changes and shortcuts, smaller APK, and hints at new devices and reversible controls [APK Teardown]

The latest Google Home update is rolling out with a handful of small-ish changes. Some of them are mostly cosmetic, and a few others are convenient links to matching features normally found in the Google app. A teardown also turned up some vague teases for new devices. There is also a new setting for devices that have reversible controls, but it's not clear if that's live for anything yet.

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Google Maps v9.72 beta prepares to warn you about packed mass transit, improve road closure reports, and more [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Maps slipped out late last night, just in time for the weekend. While there are a couple of small cosmetic changes showing up, we haven't spotted any big additions yet. A teardown tells a bit of a different story. The Google Maps team is getting ready to add a new form for reporting road closures, and another for creating new accounts with Uber. There will also be a new notification for confirming your mode of transportations during commutes, and best of all, you'll soon be able to tell how full busses and subways are likely to be.

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Android Auto v3.0 prepares to launch Wi-Fi projection support [APK Teardown]

Since the launch of Android Auto, drivers have been disappointed by the requirement to have their phones tethered to a cable. Not only was it inconvenient to plug in each time you got in the car, especially if you had a lot of quick stops to make, but it was also problematic when most cars didn't feed enough power through the designated port to keep phones from draining. Google finally let it slip that Wi-Fi support would be launched for Auto, and with the latest version, it looks like Google is just about ready to make it a reality.

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Google Phone v17 adds floating "chat heads" for quick access to in-call functions, prepares RTT support [APK Teardown]

There's a new update to the Google Phone app rolling out to Google-supported devices (e.g. Pixel, Android One, etc.), and this one brings a long-awaited feature: Chat heads. More specifically, this is the floating widget with the contact photo of the person you're talking to. Also coming in the future, or possibly already live for some, is support for the new Real-Time Text protocol.

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Google is testing 'Reply,' a new app that adds smart replies to popular messaging apps

One of Allo's highlight features is Smart Reply, where the app guesses what you might respond to a message with, and adds a button to send that response. A few other apps have implemented it as well, like Android Messages, but usually not in notifications. Google seems to be testing an app called 'Reply,' which adds smart replies to other messaging apps.

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Google Photos v3.14 may have dropped support for Jelly Bean, prepares to launch Favorites, teases Austin's Mysteryer feature [APK Teardown]

Version 3.14 of Google Photos just started rolling out a little earlier today. This one doesn't appear to have any new features or major changes, but it might possibly be leaving behind some older versions of Android. This update could also be preparing to launch the Favorites feature spotted in a previous teardown. Looking further into the APK's resources, there are also signs of more options related to Shared Libraries. And finally, Austin's Mysteryer feature takes yet another turn.

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Update Notes for Gmail, Photoscan, Google+, and Trips (Feb 11, 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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