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Google Messenger v1.5 Adds Support For Marshmallow's Direct Share Feature For Quick Access To Recently Used Contacts [APK Download]

Just because there's a big announcement tomorrow, it doesn't mean the app updates have to take a break. Version 1.5 of Google's Messenger app popped up today, bringing with it a cool treat for users on the Android M Developer Preview 3. This update brings an implementation of the new Direct Share API in Android 6.0, allowing Messenger to add multiple contacts right to the share menu and saving us all a few taps when we want to send a link to our favorite friends.

2015-09-28 22.58.092015-09-28 23.42.242015-09-29 00.42.52

Left: share menu before without targets. Center: new conversation pop-up. Right: Share menu with group and single targets.

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[Update: Official Changelog] [APK Download] Google's Clock 4.2 Adds Gradual Alarm Volume, Separate Timer Alarms, And More

Google seems to really love tinkering with its Clock app. The latest version of the app, 4.2, should be rolling out in the Play Store now. This one is available to everyone running Android 4.4 or higher (we didn't grab it from one of the Android M preview builds). It has exactly one new notable feature: the ability to gradually increase alarm volume, which is a fairly typical feature of alarm apps (and even real, physical clocks). The rest is a bunch of visual tweaking.

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Photos v1.5 Points To Collaborative Album Editing, Naming People In Photos, And Impending Chromecast Support [APK Teardown]

Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases.

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Play Games v3.3 Prepares To Add Screen Recording And Live Streaming To YouTube Gaming [APK Teardown + Download]

After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.

Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
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Play Music v6.0.1995S Adds Gapless Playback To Chromecast, Continues Playing When Casters Leave, And May Soon Offer Subscription Gifting [APK Teardown + Download]

In a rare twist, Google was quick to update a changelog on the Play Store, and this one is definitely worth it. Some big improvements have been made to the Chromecast (Google Cast) support in the latest update to Play Music, including some stability improvements, gapless playback, and continuous playback after a caster leaves the area. On top of that, a look inside turned up evidence that Google may soon allow users to "gift" subscriptions to other people. If you just can't wait to get the goods, we've got a download link at the bottom.

What's New

It's highly unusual, but a changelog was posted right away with the release of the latest update.

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Gmail v5.6 Sets The Stage For Rich Text Formatting And Integration With Calendar Events [APK Teardown + Download]

The app updates hit quickly yesterday as about a dozen Google apps were given new versions. Among them, Gmail made an incremental bump to v5.6. There aren't any new features to speak of, but a look inside the apk gave up the goods on a couple of interesting additions we can look forward to in the future. Users will soon have the option to send email with richly formatted text. On top of that, there are signs that we'll soon have deep calendar integration, which should make for smarter and more intuitive auto-suggest results.

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Google App v5.3 Is Rolling Out To Finally Enable Google Now On Tap For M Preview 3 Devices [APK Download] [Update: Brings Android M UI To Google Now Launcher Too]

Update Wednesday isn't over yet, and this is a big one. Google is rolling out v5.3 of the search app and it enables Google Now On Tap for M preview 3. The app will  install on Android 4.4 and higher, but it won't add On Tap functionality, obviously.

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Android Pay Is Starting To Roll Out To Replace Your Google Wallet App [APK Download]

Google made announcement earlier today that Android Pay had arrived. But arrived where? Someplace, but now you can get it on your device right this moment. It will replace your old Wallet app and you need to have the latest version of Play Services, but this is the future of paying for things with your phone.

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Hangouts Updated To v4.2 With Tweaks For Marshmallow's More Granular Permissions [APK Download]

There's a new version of Hangouts rolling out to devices today, and it's a big jump from 4.0 to 4.2. I know that you're wondering. Does it fix that thing that you personally hate about Hangouts? Nope, that thing (whatever it is) is unaffected. This update is laying the groundwork for Android 6.0.

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