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Google Messages v4.1 prepares Verified SMS support to eliminate spam, Google Assistant integration, and more [APK Teardown]

The latest update to Google Messages hit earlier this week, and while it's featuring a few visible changes, including a new setting to enable Suggested Actions and a new About screen, the most interesting changes aren't intended to go live quite yet. We already know Google is adding Assistant integration to Messages, and now some of that is manifesting in the app. But the most exciting addition is support for a great new carrier-level feature called Verified SMS that may put an end to scam messages (and calls).

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'Suggested actions' come to Google Messages in version 4.1.065

Using the increasing power of its AI smarts, Google is getting better at anticipating our next move and offering us convenient suggestions that make our lives easier. We've seen this with App Actions in Android and suggested edits in Google Photos, and now a similar feature has arrived in the Google Messages app.

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Samsung pushes One UI to its Galaxy Wearable app

Samsung introduced its revamped One UI interface in November. The company claims the new design is more intuitive and requires less finger movement on large screens. In addition, it brings a dark mode for stock apps and system elements, which looks sleek and saves battery on OLED displays.

Since then, almost all Samsung-branded software has been updated to reflect the new theme, but the Galaxy Wearable app seemed to have been left aside, despite the release of a new version mid-February (APK Mirror). The company appears to be fixing this with the rollout of an update that gives it One UI's new looks.

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Google Duo v49 prepares video effects for Holi and video invites [APK Teardown]

Duo has left us waiting on the launch of some big new features, including group calling, but the latest update to v49 doesn't appear to be launching either of those quite yet. However, there are a couple of smaller touches to discuss, including special effects for the Hindu festival of Holi and some type of new video invites.

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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]

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]

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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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]

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'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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