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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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YouTube Music v2.19 hints at new Premiere subscription service [APK Teardown]

In the later half of last year, we saw the first hint that YouTube may be launching a new subscription tier or service called YouTube Plus. Aside from seeing that particular name spread to the other apps in the YouTube family, there hasn't been anything new about the 'Plus' branding specifically. However, it seems there's yet another name popping up: YouTube Premiere.

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Both Google Classroom and YouTube for Android TV pass 10 million installs on the Play Store

Google Classroom first showed up on the Play Store in 2015, as an organization tool for teachers and students. The YouTube for Android TV app is a bit older, as it first showed up in 2014, just one day after the Nexus Player went on sale. Now both apps have passed 10 million installs on the Play Store.

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Update Notes for YouTube Music, Google Fit, Gboard, Keep, Calendar, and many more (Feb 4, 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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YouTube is rolling out funding notices for more transparency in news reporting

With a platform as huge and open as YouTube, it's difficult to ensure that information distributed on it is honest and transparent. This issue has never been more apparent than it is now, with the spread of fake news and the labeling of real news as fake making it damn near impossible for viewers to know which sources they can trust.

Google, like many other large tech organizations, should do all it can to maintain transparency in news reporting and that's apparently a big goal for the company in 2018. This latest addition to YouTube videos is a good start. From now on, notices will be displayed below news videos if the publisher is in any way government-funded.

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YouTube TV is now live for both Rokus and Apple TVs

YouTube TV looks like a pretty sweet deal for those in supported markets. But, there are a few drawbacks. Most notable among them used to be device support, popular set-top streaming devices like Rokus and Apple TVs didn't have apps to support the service. If that was holding you back from being a YouTube TV subscriber, you should be happy to hear that Google just rolled out apps for each. 

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YouTube Go expands to more than 130 countries starting today

Google launched YouTube Go late last year in India, and then it rolled the app out to a dozen or so other nations. Today, it's pushing YouTube Go to most of the world with support for more than 130 countries. No, the US still isn't included, but it wasn't really designed for the developed world. YouTube Go includes features to make the most of a limited mobile data package.

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Bizarre OnePlus ads show implausibly odd series of smartphone tests

I've been told that smartphone enthusiasts are often a bit prickly about their preferences, though OnePlus is taking things to a bizarre new extreme with their latest campaign. Apparently titled "The OnePlus 5T Smart Tests," the first in the series features two men in underwear—one holding a OnePlus 5T, the other holding a Samsung Galaxy S8—having bits of cactus thrown at them, only able to leave after they open 20 "everyday apps." Truly, this takes advertising to a bizarre and unwarranted new level, and you should trust me on this because I live in Japan.

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YouTube's offline video downloads are rolling out to more countries

YouTube has allowed offline downloads of videos for several years now, but only if you were lucky enough to live in a country where it's supported. (I know India at least had the function in both the full YouTube app and in YouTube Go.) Now the option seems to be rolling out to more countries. One tipster in Iraq told us about it and I was able to confirm it on my device and several of my friends in Lebanon. Other AP team members in the US, UK, and Japan don't have it, so this appears to still be a geo-limited function with what could be a Levant-only rollout, a Middle Eastern one, or a wider one for more countries.

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YouTube is rolling out unified official artist channels

Many people consider YouTube their go-to source for music, but a lot of artists have a mishmash of official channels. YouTube is aware of the confusion this causes, and it's looking to streamline music on its platform. Starting soon, you'll see a new "Official Artist Channel" label on YouTube, and your subscriptions might change a bit.

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