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Google Maps v9.62 relocates layer modes to FAB and adds dedicated tab for videos, prepares enhanced commuting features and more [APK Teardown]

Google Maps is one of the most feature-packed apps in existence, and fitting everything into easily reachable places is a challenge that requires regular changes. The latest update to v9.62 makes a big move by pulling the layer modes out of the navigation drawer to place them in a new persistent FAB (floating action button) right on top of the map. Amonth many other things, this update also adds a dedicated tab for videos uploaded by the community. On the teardown side, there are signs of some more significant improvements coming for commuters, and much more.

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Allo v19 hints at Firefox browser support, icecream-on-head effect, and more [APK Teardown]

It seems like Allo is slowing down a bit as the updates are no longer packed with an assortment of new features on each release. Instead, we're starting to see more things that spend some time in the teardowns before going live. An examination of today's update to v19 hasn't turned up anything notable in the live app yet, but a teardown does promise a few smallish tidbits like Firefox support for the web client and a camera effect that will probably place a sweet dairy treat on your head.

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YouTube v12.37 hints at a new subscription tier called YouTube Plus [APK Teardown]

It has been nearly two years since the launch of YouTube Red, or as I like to say: The subscription that lets you actually watch YouTube. Prior to that, it was called YouTube Music Key and only served music videos and enabled background and offline playback. Now it looks like there might be a new subscription tier called YouTube Plus coming soon.

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Android Messages v2.5 removes the FAB for new conversations, prepares to launch video calls, read QR codes, and exchange money [APK Teardown]

"The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change." That's a famous quote by the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Nobody knew it at the time, but he had been sent back from the future and was actually making a snarky comment about Google's approach to design. It was only about two years ago when every app was adding FABs (floating action buttons) regardless of how much or little they made sense, and now we're saying an abrupt goodbye to the one in Android Messages as it vanishes with the latest update. Alongside that simple change, a teardown also turns up signs that the app will soon provide shortcuts to launch video calls, exchange money with contacts, and read QR codes.

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Google Keep adds 4 new note colors [APK Download]

Call this a teaser or a weird rollout that hit one platform before another... or just typical Google behavior. Google Keep is showing users 4 new possible color options for notes, for a total of 12, but only on the desktop version. If you're using Keep on Android, even if you're on the latest v3.4.881, you get none of these and you still only see 8 colors.

The 4 new colors are dark blue, purple, pink, and some sort of light brown.

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Google Contacts v2.2 updates the contact pages with quick access bar, full-width photos, and other UI improvements [APK Download]

If you've been craving some visual changes on your phone, an update to Google's Contacts app is rolling out with a few tweaks that are pretty noticeable. This version brings back full-bleed contact photos and adds a quick access bar. There are also a few other visual tweaks and a filter for the contact list has been moved. As always, you can grab the latest update from the APK Mirror link at the bottom.

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Xiaomi brings Mi FileExplorer, with FTP server, to the Play Store for all devices [APK Download]

Xiaomi is following in the footsteps of many OEMs and releasing its apps onto the Play Store for faster updates, which avoids the long waits of firmware upgrades. However, Xiaomi is doing something differently: it's allowing users of other brands' devices to use its apps. After the capable Mi Calculator, now we have Mi FileExplorer on the Play Store. The app is still marked as "Unreleased" so it's still in beta, but from my tests it seems to work quite well.

Mi FileExplorer reminds me of the built-in file browser I've seen on my Samsung and LG devices: there's a regular directory browser, but also a per-type categorization that lets you view all your stored images or videos or APKs or documents (and other types) regardless of which folder they're in.

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Play Music v7.12 adds an option to prevent external devices from auto-playing music [APK Download]

Smartphones have become a critical component for many of the things we do in our lives. There are still plenty of bugs and weird little things that don't quite work right on our phones, but it's when they have to connect to other devices that many of the strangest behaviors start to crop up. For years, one particular issue has been plaguing users as they connect a phone to their car stereos, headphones, or other audio output devices. Moments after a connection is made, the phone will suddenly and unexpectedly begin playing music – and anecdotally, they're always quite loud. Google Play Music is often blamed for this behavior because it's the app most likely to respond, but there's now a toggle to prevent that from happening.

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Google app v7.12 confirms squeezable sides on Pixel 2, prepares for multi-step shortcuts, resuming podcast episodes, and more [APK Teardown]

As we close in on Google's October 4th launch event, a new beta release of the Google app itself is rolling out with hints about some of the things we may hear about during the presentation. In this update, we find further confirmation that one or both of the new Pixels will include pressure-sensitive sides that wake up Google Assistant. There are also clues about customizable search bars and interchangeable voices for the Google Assistant. And we can look forward to routines, which are basically shortcuts capable of taking multiple actions.

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Microsoft OneDrive introduces improved navigation in the latest beta release [APK Download]

If you're looking for a decent alternative to Google Drive for cloud storage, you could do a lot worse than Microsoft's OneDrive. Most of us have an old Hotmail account knocking around somewhere anyway, so it's easy to set up and get 5GB free storage. The developers seem to pay attention to it, too, and they've just released a bit of a redesign on the beta channel for users to give feedback on.

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