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16

After YouTube and Maps, Google app becomes third app to get 5 billion downloads on the Play Store

After YouTube and Maps, Google app becomes third app to get 5 billion downloads on the Play Store

Over the weekend, the Google Maps app reached 5 billion downloads on the Play Store and we celebrated that momentous occasion with virtual champagne and confetti — well, just a short post really. However, our eyebrows were a little raised when we noticed that the Google app still hadn't made it to that coveted number, but now they're dropping as it has just caught up.

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10

Google Maps hits 5 billion downloads on the Play Store, does it after YouTube but before the Google app

Google Maps hits 5 billion downloads on the Play Store, does it after YouTube but before the Google app

Being physically lost is apparently a much bigger incentive for app usage than being at a loss from an information perspective. The Google Maps app has just hit over 5 billion downloads on the Play Store, beating Google's own search app to the punch. The latter still hasn't reached that coveted number, but we all know it's a matter of time.

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39

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

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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0

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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InBrief
12
Google Sheets hits 500 million installs on the Play Store

Google Sheets hits 500 million installs on the Play Store

65

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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25

[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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17

Opera for Android version 50 introduces a more publisher-friendly ad blocker, faster scrolling, and PiP [APK Download]

Opera for Android version 50 introduces a more publisher-friendly ad blocker, faster scrolling, and PiP [APK Download]

For its latest big Android update, Opera is including a key new feature that makes it easier to whitelist websites from the in-built ad blocker. Other enhancements include the addition of Picture-in-Picture video and a new fast-scrolling handle.

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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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33

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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