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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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SwiftKey Beta v6.7.8 appears to fix annoying bug when typing in comment forms like Disqus in Chrome

SwiftKey remains the keyboard of choice for many Android users, myself included. While the app is undoubtedly bloated, its autocorrect and next-word prediction are tops. Sadly, those strengths have gone to crap lately when using SwiftKey to type in comment forms like Disqus in Chrome. The latest SwiftKey Beta appears to fix the issue.

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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 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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Google app v7.21 beta adds image donations to Lens, prepares for shopping on smart displays, making the Assistant repeat after you, and more [APK Teardown]

There's a new beta update to the Google app making the rounds. Like so many others, this one doesn't bring a lot of changes when it is first installed, but there are plenty of bigger things under the surface waiting to break out. While you can begin donating images to Google Lens today, the future also promises to have smart displays with shopping and YouTube suggestions, more places to set your default output devices for Assistant, and more.

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Google Maps 9.71 Beta prepares to show battery stats in location sharing and make several improvements for mass transit [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Maps began rolling out this week. Unlike most recent releases, this one doesn't seem to be packed to the gills with new features. Even the teardown brings a fairly minimal number of clues for new things. Nevertheless, it looks like Google may be adding battery stats to shared locations and lining up several small-ish improvements to mass transit support.

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Android Messages v2.9 prepares to launch Allo-like web interface, Google-enhanced chat features, and payments to businesses [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of Android Messages rolling out to our phones. So far, we haven't seen any significant changes to the UI, but huge things are happening under the surface. A teardown reveals Google is getting ready to launch a web interface that would allow users to pair their phones with a computer for all of their texting needs. Google may also be planning to offer its own enhanced chat features to work with RCS messaging. And finally, it looks like we'll be able to buy things from companies right from within Android Messages. Grab the APK at the bottom of the post if you'd like to get your hands on it before everybody else.

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