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What's Really New

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Gallery: Take a look at Samsung's new "Night theme" dark mode for Galaxy phones

We had a chance to go hands-on with some Samsung test devices running the company's new One UI - the latest in a long line of TouchWiz rebrands - and the feature likely to generate the most attention is almost certainly the new "Night theme" option. Basically, night theme sets nearly every stock app, along with the launcher and lockscreen, to an all-blacked-out look - something Android enthusiasts have been asking of device makers for years. My initial take is that Samsung's done this pretty well, and essentially every stock app on the test device had a dark theme. Here's a quick look at some of those apps in a gallery.

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Google+ 4.2 Feature Spotlight: Check Out The Awesome New User Locations Widget

Earlier today, Google started rolling out a major update to Google+ for Android. Together with our readers, we've examined every corner of the app and found a whole bunch of things that are new to this version 4.2 but haven't been mentioned in the official announcement. You should definitely read through the list if you haven't yet.

However, one new feature that I found fascinating managed to fly completely below the radar because it's located not within the app itself but rather in the widget menu. That feature is a brand new widget called User Locations.

As you have probably guessed from its name, User Locations shows you your contacts' locations.

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[APK Download] Google+ 4.2 For Android Rolling Out: Auto Awesome Movie Maker, New Menus, 'G+ Photos' Is Now 'Photos', And More

Earlier today at a livestreamed event in San Francisco, Google's SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features slated for Google+ and Hangouts.

While we're still waiting for the Hangouts update that will enable SMS support, animated GIFs, and location sharing to hit the Play Store, which should happen in a few days, the Google+ update 4.2 is already live.

What's New?

G+ Photos is now Photos

After playing around with this version for a bit, I'm glad to report that the annoying and superfluous G+ Photos shortcut is now gone.

Update: Doh, G+ Photos is now just Photos, so you still have two shortcuts.

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Google Maps 7.3 For Android Shows Up, Brings Compact Navigation Cards, Better Expanded Notifications, And More [APK Download]

Earlier today, Google started a staged rollout of a new point release of Google Maps. We've been poring over all the UI differences between the new version 7.3 and the previous version 7.2 from last month for the last couple of hours and managed to catch a few interesting changes. Since the official changelog isn't out yet, these will have to do for now.

Here's what we've spotted.

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What's New?

Duration, distance, and estimated arrival time in the expanded notification

The expanded notification now carries a lot more information than before. The additions are:

  • Time to destination.
  • Distance to destination.
  • Estimated arrival time.
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[APK Teardown / What's Really New] Gmail 4.6: Ads Are Coming To Gmail For Android, Unsent Messages Warning, And More

Now that the insane week of Google app updates has passed (gotta love those Rollout Wednesdays, right?), I've had some time to dig into the APKs and have found a number of interesting things in some of them.

We'll start with Gmail, which received a fairly significant Card UI update with version 4.6.

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Ads are coming to Gmail

The most significant under-the-hood and probably not active yet addition to Gmail 4.6 is ads. Yup, ads are most definitely coming to Gmail for Android which managed to stay ad-free all this time, unlike its web counterpart.

If you remember, Gmail on the web contains multiple ads along with the new format that looks like email messages in the Promotions folder.

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Google Play Movies & TV Update 2.7.15 Brings New 'On Device' Menu, Improved 'My TV Shows' Layout, Next Episode, And More [APK Download]

Google Play Movies & TV received an update to version 2.7.15 today (or yesterday, but I haven't seen anyone with an APK until today), and while the changelog is still missing, we have noticed a number of new things.

The previous version was v2.6.9, so these line up with a point release - nothing too significant, but still more than just bug fixes.

Update: I just realized that the changelog, which Google updated on September 18th, is actually current - they just never released the update until now. The changelog, which is incomplete, says:

  • Browse by TV show in "My TV Shows".
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[What's Really New/APK Teardown] Google Maps Update 7.2 Rolling Out: Google Now-Style Navigation Card, Hotel Rates, HTC Contacts Bug Fix, And More [APK Download]

Earlier today, Google started slowly rolling out an update to Maps with version 7.2. This is a point release, up from 7.1, so I expected more than just minor changes. While not as big as the quiet Drive update yesterday, Maps 7.2 brings a few notable changes to the table that Google has not yet (or won't ever) itemized in the changelog. Upon getting my hands on the APK, which you can find at the bottom of this post, I hopped onto the teardown couch and dug in.

What's new?

Route preview and one-tap Start navigation button

One of the most notable changes is the Google Now-style route preview for the first of three possible navigation route cards.

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[What's Really New] Big Google Drive Update Rolling Out - UI Changes, Swipe-Down-To-Refresh, Bottom Action Bar, And More [APK Download]

Google started a staged update to Google Drive earlier today with version 1.2.352.9 and a completely useless changelog that just said "Bug fixes and other improvements."

As it turns out, these fixes and improvements are actually kind of significant compared to the previous version 1.2.228.32. In this post, I will show you what's really new in Drive v1.2.352.9.

Since the rollout is staged, some of you may not see the update in the Play Store yet - in that case, you can find manual APK download links at the bottom of this post.

What's new?

Holo Dark UI is now Holo Light

The new Drive is using Holo Light instead of Holo Dark and looks a lot less gloomy.

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What's Really New In Google Maps 6.12: A '3D' Button, An 'Experiments' Section, And More!

Hello and welcome to a new feature! I'm going to start calling this "What's Really New," the series where we do more than just post a change log with the canned screenshots when something important gets updated. We're going in-depth (as usual). We'll be ripping apart APKs, doing full side-by-side comparisons, and, hopefully, letting you know about all the cool new stuff before it comes out.

timelinewm_2012-09-19 19.06.10

Previous experiments in this area have been a stunning success. We told you all about Google+ events before it was releasedcalled Gift card support in the Play Store and, while we neglected to mention it, Google Maps Timeline was also dead-on.

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