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Play Store app's "People" area, +1s on app pages may be getting phased out

It seems that two features of the Google Play Store app, the "People" area and the "+1" option on app listings, are disappearing. At this time, I've personally checked five of my devices, and only one which hadn't been powered on in months still had them.

There is a chance this is a bug or some kind of unforeseen consequence of Google making another change to the Play Store, but it seems much more likely that the removal of these features is completely intentional. Google+ doesn't get much love these days, and Google has dramatically reduced the prominence of it in its various other products, rebranded the "Sign in with Google+" button as just Google, and started to pivot the platform as a whole into more of a meeting place for interest-driven communities rather than a "social network." In light of that, killing off the more social-network-y features of the platform in connected products is only logical.

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YouTube's New Card-Style Video Options Menu Seems To Be Rolling Out Widely

Want to change the streaming quality of the YouTube video? Tap the overflow button in the top right corner. Options will appear in the middle of the video for Captions, Quality, Report, and Cardboard.

Except, maybe they won't. Months ago many people started seeing a card-style menu instead. Now judging from the onslaught of tips in our inbox, a lot more people are seeing them. Some of us are as well.

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YouTube Is Testing A New Progress Bar Showing How Far You Were In A Video

When you start watching a video, you don't always finish it right away. Distractions happen. Someone hit you up with a Hangouts message. You needed to restart for an update. Whatever.

Now you're back to finish watching, but where did you leave off?

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YouTube Redesigns Home, With Bigger Videos And More Relevant Personalizations

Times are a-changin', and so is YouTube's Home on both Android and iOS. It's not quite equivalent to moving houses; more redecorating, giving things a lick of paint where the wallpaper has got a little tatty.

The most noticeable change is videos are getting bigger. Instead of the small, thumbnail-like videos of the past, the video preview now takes up almost the entire width of the screen. This means that fewer videos can now fit in a single scroll - on my Nexus 6P, the old layout could fit six previews, just about, whereas the new design can only fit a measly two.

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Facebook Messenger's Material-Infused Redesign Is Now Official

Facebook Messenger is the regular Facebook app's cooler cousin. It may not always know which look is fashionable, but it isn't afraid to experiment and adapt. If the app doesn't come out looking sharp the first time, it has no problem with returning back to the store, spending some time in the dressing room, and coming out with something different.

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WhatsApp Documents Are Going Live For Users (PDF-Only For Now) Plus A Minor UI Tweak

The signs have been here for months for WhatsApp's support of document sharing, but the feature has just started rolling out to users over the past several hours. It doesn't seem like the option is baked into a specific version of WhatsApp since we've seen users from 2.12.453 (official Play Store release) to the latest 2.12.493 (beta) reporting it suddenly becoming available to them, while others still don't have it. Odds are it's a server-side trigger that's spreading the feature, and at a very fast pace according to the tips in our inboxes.

So how does WhatsApp Documents work? Sending a document is a matter of tapping the attachment icon in any chat and choosing the new blue Document icon.

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Google Play Music's Podcasts Interface And Functionality Is Live For Some Users

We've known since last October that Google Play Music was getting ready to welcome podcasts into its fold of audio entertainment, but yesterday Sportscaster Bill Simmons broke the news that the feature was going live this month. It turns out that the option is already active for a few Android users through the weird magic of server-side A/B testing.

Our own Cody had already gone through a mini teardown of version 6.3 of Google Play Music that was released last week, and found lots of hints that podcast support was being thoroughly implemented. It seems that the feature was almost ready by then and the switch has been flipped for a few users who have started seeing a Podcasts icon in their app's side menu.

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Google Play Newsstand Gets A New Cleaner Article Layout

Google Play Newsstand is gearing up to get an update, at least according to its Play Store listing on the web, but even though the new version is still on a slow rollout, another change is hitting the app. This one doesn't require an update and seems to have been server-triggered widely. At least 4 Android Police members are seeing it and we were able to confirm it shows up on other friends' devices too.

A new layout is greeting us on the article view of Newsstand. All other screens appear to be untouched, but if you open an article, you'll notice a few new things.

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Facebook Is Testing A Slightly More Material Look For Messenger, FAB Included

Facebook Messenger on Android doesn't look exactly Material, but it seems modern. Well, at least more modern than the regular Facebook application. And often times it feels like the developers working on these two apps are completely different teams because the Messenger one seems willing to experiment and try new things and go in weird and fun new directions, whereas the Facebook app team is just stuck in its ways.

One change that might be headed to Facebook Messenger is a cleaner look with a hint of Material Design inspiration. The most visible change is the switch from the full-width bottom blue bar to the blue floating action button (FAB) that lets you start new conversations.

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