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Playground v2.2 (AR Stickers): AR Shopping, International Women's Day, and animals with answers [APK Teardown]

Playground v2.2 (AR Stickers): AR Shopping, International Women's Day, and animals with answers [APK Teardown]

After a few years of ups and downs with VR and AR, Google has achieved some notable wins, most recently with the Childish Gambino dance off. Naturally, they're not stopping there, and the latest update to the Playground app (formerly AR Stickers) shows some of what's in store. There will be integration to allow for furniture viewing and shopping, an informative life-sized collection of animals, and a special celebration for International Women's Day.

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YouTube Music v3.03 and earlier: Device limits, personal audio library, autoplay, and more [APK Teardown]

YouTube Music v3.03 and earlier: Device limits, personal audio library, autoplay, and more [APK Teardown]

With YouTube Music set to eventually replace Google Play Music entirely — the last GPM update with any appreciable change was a year ago — the developers are in the process of migrating features  so users won't be left wanting for too much. Since the last several versions have only contained minor visual tweaks and some of the signs of feature migration, we've been waiting for something more substantial to cover, and with the version number jumping to 3.0 and adding Android Auto support, this seemed like a good time. This post will contain the collective changes and teardown topics from the last few versions.

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[Update: Emoji UI tweaks] Gboard v8.0 brings back the clipboard, prepares tool for helping other users enable languages [APK Teardown]

[Update: Emoji UI tweaks] Gboard v8.0 brings back the clipboard, prepares tool for helping other users enable languages [APK Teardown]

A new version of Gboard hit last night and it appears to be taking a second run at enabling the clipboard that began going live a few months ago. Unfortunately, there are still some problems. Gboard is also taking a run at adding a feature to help your friends and family enable additional languages on their devices, and a tool for exporting your personal dictionary. And as usual, there are dozens of new languages supported for people from around the world.

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54

YouTube Music finally comes to Android Auto [APK Download]

YouTube Music finally comes to Android Auto [APK Download]

There's probably no other feature that's more often cited as missing from YouTube Music than Android Auto support. Sure, you can manually start and control the app on your phone while it's connected to the car and get music, but this is clearly not what people are asking for. Hints about in-car support were added to the apk a few months ago, but that promise has finally come through. As of version 3.03, you can now use YouTube Music directly through the Android Auto interface.

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Google Hangouts v29 adopts notification channels while dropping some ringtone customization, and more [APK Download]

Google Hangouts v29 adopts notification channels while dropping some ringtone customization, and more [APK Download]

Hangouts "Classic" is set to retire somewhere around the end of 2020, at which point users will be transitioned to Hangouts Chat and Meet. That leaves quite a bit of time that people will get to continue on with regular communications. Unlike Allo, Hangouts seems to be getting more attention now that there's a ticking clock on it. A new version of the Hangouts app is out and it's making some noteworthy changes. In fact, this is more activity than we saw in the last year leading up to this point.

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Google Messages v4.0 enables renaming of group chats, changes colors for unpictured contacts, and more [APK Teardown]

Google Messages v4.0 enables renaming of group chats, changes colors for unpictured contacts, and more [APK Teardown]

Google's Messages app came out with a brand new update this week, and while it's sporting a major new version number, the changes are fairly moderate. It's now possible to give custom names to your group chats, and there's a tweak to the UI that makes Messages look a lot more like Google's Contacts and Phone apps. There are also several things to discuss in a teardown, particularly with regards to RCS.

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YouTube v14.06 prepares to raise the limit for offline video quality, and more [APK Teardown]

YouTube v14.06 prepares to raise the limit for offline video quality, and more [APK Teardown]

If you're just about to leave the comfort of Wi-Fi to risk expensive data fees and dead zones — or, you know, get on a plane for 2 hours — you might plan ahead and download some YouTube videos to kill some time. If you're like most people, you still want to see the highest possible quality, so you might have been disappointed that YouTube caps offline downloads at a measly 720p. That may be changing as it looks like the cap will be rising to a cool 1080p in the future.

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Google Duo v47 prepares a drawing mode to doodle on your video messages [APK Teardown]

Google Duo v47 prepares a drawing mode to doodle on your video messages [APK Teardown]

Google's video chat app Duo has always been a pretty lightweight app, seemingly focused primarily on keeping the interface simple and prioritizing video and audio quality over flooding it with features. We've seen a few features slowly emerge over the last couple of years, and just about as many have been implemented and subsequently removed before launching. While we wait to see the eventual launch of a favorites list for contacts, there's another new feature in development that may liven up your video chats: Drawing mode. There's also another reminder that group calling is on the way.

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Choose Your Own Adventure books enter the world of voice AI with new Amazon Alexa skill

Choose Your Own Adventure books enter the world of voice AI with new Amazon Alexa skill

Netflix's recent interactive film Bandersnatch received mostly mixed reviews, but was wholly successful in driving interest in Choose Your Own Adventure-style (CYOA) stories. That was both a boon and a frustration to Chooseco, the owner of the CYOA registered trademark and publisher of the famous book series of the same name. There was finally a resurgence of interest in CYOA stories, but the company didn't feel it was getting proper recognition. After filing a lawsuit with Netflix, Chooseco has now taken its first step into taking advantage of its newfound popularity in the digital age with a CYOA Alexa skill. 

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Google app v9.10 beta update reveals Face Match for Assistant-enabled devices with multi-user support [APK Teardown]

Google app v9.10 beta update reveals Face Match for Assistant-enabled devices with multi-user support [APK Teardown]

At this point, it's no mystery that Google is digging deeper into facial recognition technology. Earlier today, XDA posted details found in a leaked Android Q build that contains code related to facial recognition, and now a beta update to the Google app adds its own details to the story. It's safe to say that Google will not only support per-device recognition, but will also support it across Assistant-enabled devices with the proper hardware and even allow detection for multiple users where appropriate.

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