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Google Allo v24 prepares to start chats with Gmail addresses, continues work on camera effects and other UI enhancements [APK Teardown]

A new version of Allo is making the rounds, and again with an evening release on a Friday. So far, no new features have been uncovered in this update, but we're still poking around for something to reveal itself. In the meantime, there's plenty of material to examine under the microscope of a teardown. We can see that contacting people through their Google account may be coming soon. Allo's upcoming camera effects are evolving as two old ones may have been removed, a new one turns up, and they're all getting new icons. And that's not all.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
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Google Photos v3.10 adds text selection mode to Lens, prepares tool to remove obstructions from photos and videos [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Photos is out in the wild and it's sporting a brand new text selection feature for those with access to Google Lens. A teardown of the APK also reveals that Photos isn't too far from getting a powerful tool for removing obstructions and ghosting effects from images, and it may soon have a new 'themed movie' generator that does all of the hard work of picking out content for short personalized videos.

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Duo v23 hints at new 'Drishti' camera mode, extends video messaging with re-record, and removes some previously spotted camera effects [APK Teardown]

The latest version of Duo began rolling out to users this morning, but there haven't been any visible changes popping up in the live app. As is tradition, especially with Duo, a teardown does turn up a few of the changes we can look forward to in the future. This time, we're looking at yet another camera effect, but this one may actually stick around and make it to users. There is also follow-up on some previous camera effects and the voicemail / videomail feature discussed in previous teardowns.

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Google's 'Triangle' data-saving app renamed to 'Datally', is now available globally

Not everyone has the luxury of an unlimited data plan. Google published a new app back in June, called 'Triangle,' designed to help users micromanage their cellular data usage. Now the app has left beta and become available worldwide, under the new name 'Datally.'

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[Update: Google Lens actions are live] Google app v7.17 beta brings visual changes and Voice Match branding, hints at Android P, new Google Lens suggestions, and search filters [APK Teardown]

A bunch of new updates are rolling out as Google developers prepare to take a long holiday break. One of the big updates for the week is to the Google app itself. Version 7.17 began rolling out to the beta channel yesterday with some visual tweaks and the addition of something called Voice Match, Google's branding for its voice detection features. A teardown also reveals a curious reference to the next version of Android, new features for Google Lens, and in-app searches may finally get filters like the web interface.

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Microsoft working on mobile companion app for Windows 10 Photos

One of the new features in Windows 10 is the Photos app, which obviously shows photos stored on your computer. With the recent Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update (ugh, I hate that name), the Photos app got a major upgrade, with the ability to create videos with 3D effects/music/text. It's like a modern successor to Windows Movie Maker.

Microsoft is working on additional improvements to Photos, including a companion app for iOS and Android.

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Gboard v6.8 adds a handwriting keyboard and enlarges emoji, hints at new theme engine, Motion Stills integration, and more [APK Teardown]

As Cyber Monday was wearing down, Google was already winding up some app updates. A new version of Gboard began rolling out late in the afternoon, and with it comes the long-anticipated handwriting support, meaning we can finally uninstall the separate handwriting keyboard. There are also some tweaks to the emoji picker. As we look to the teardown, there are signs of a new theme system with a few new options for more visual control, a new autospace feature, integration with the Motion Stills app, and more.

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[Update x2: Now fixed] Google Opinion Rewards is broken for some users

At a post-Thanksgiving potluck yesterday, a friend and I were sharing our enthusiasm for Android with someone who recently switched to the platform. One of the first things I always tout in these conversations is Google Opinion Rewards, the app that gives you free Play Store credit in exchange for answering survey questions. As I was talking through it, I took out my phone and opened the app to show my reward history (a shade under $90 since 2014).

Sadly, it appears that some Opinion Rewards users recently lost the luxury to do that at all, thanks to a glitch that loads HTML code instead of readable, formatted text and images within the app.

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Android Wear v2.6 includes a Recent app complication, network status indicators, download progress card, and more [APK Download]

Google announced last month that one of the plans for Wear 2.0 had been to make the platform easier to update with software upgrades from the Play Store rather than relying so much on sending out a barrage of firmware updates. In the v2.6 update, quite a few improvements and little tweaks have been made to the interface, including new connection indicators, download status notifications, a recent app complication, and more.

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YouTube Gaming v2.03 adds playback speed controls [APK Download]

YouTube is a lot of things to a lot of people, but for gamers, it's the ultimate cheat guide to every game, ever. If you can't figure out how Nathan Drake is supposed to get through that tower scene with the snipers or you're stumped over the pattern needed to survive 8 more seconds of Cup Head, you're going straight to YouTube. But depending on the game, you might have to sit through 20 painstaking minutes of slow gameplay to understand a strategy, or you might have to rewatch the same clip a dozen times to spot the timing needed for each move.

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