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Google’s Santa Tracker returns, this time with elf selfies

Google’s Santa Tracker returns, this time with elf selfies

Google's Santa Village has returned, marking the first of December and the slow countdown to Christmas. As in previous years, Google's festive offering brings Santa and other Christmas-themed content, a countdown timer, plus changes for 2017. Most notable among those changes is an elf selfie tool, enabling kids (and adults!) to take an elf selfie ("elfies") at famous landmarks around the world.

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BLU goes silent

BLU goes silent

This week the folks at BLU Products aren't having a great time dealing with a rather large mishap. They've released a software update for a phone which, in turn, locked up and/or destroyed all information within. That was just the beginning of this nightmare - not only for the company, but for the hundreds or thousands of users who owned that one phone.

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Verizon Pixel 2 deal cuts $300 from Android flagship

Verizon Pixel 2 deal cuts $300 from Android flagship

Want a Google Pixel 2 but couldn't quite stomach the new Android flagship's price tag? Happily, Verizon might have the deal you've been waiting for - particularly if you don't have a device you want to trade-in first. Still, you'll need to act fast.

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Google Paper Signals: Tiny, cute, and useful

Google Paper Signals: Tiny, cute, and useful

Paper Signals from Google controls tiny paper contraptions with Google Assistant. This set of experiments is not something completely inaccessible by the average user. Instead, it's a super-inexpensive (or super free) set of instructions for creating moving objects that are controlled by a set of equations, activated by Google Assistant.

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Google Home Mini reportedly crashes when used at high volume

Google Home Mini reportedly crashes when used at high volume

The Google Home Max, launching in less than two weeks, is supposed to be Google’s audiophile contender. The old Google Home was more or less decent but the Google Home Mini was probably never meant to be used to jam. Still, you wouldn’t expect it to crash and burn, not literally thankfully, when you do use it for rocking out to your favorite music. Unfortunately, some owners are discovering exactly that and Google is still in the dark as to its cause.

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Google Assistant will soon connect you to nearby home services

Google Assistant will soon connect you to nearby home services

Today’s (and yesterday’s) generation are often chided for being a generation of instant gratification. Many probably don’t even know what “yellow pages” are. They can just google for a nearby plumber or cleaner and get their answer in an instant. Our predecessors might roll their eyes (or in their graves) if they knew what Google has coming next. Soon, you won’t even have to type in Google search. Just ask Google Assistant for the a local home service and make a call.

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Google AIY Vision Kit brings computer vision in a cardboard box

Google AIY Vision Kit brings computer vision in a cardboard box

Google Cardboard, the previous VR platform, might be dead, but Google is finding other ways to put cardboard in people’s hands. Last May, it introduced its AIY DIY AI Voice kit that leveraged the power of the Raspberry Pi to help you make your own Google Assistant in a cardboard box. Now it is making another RPi-based DIY kit, this time focusing on computer vision and on-device machine learning instead. Introducing the AIY Vision Kit, your Google Lens in a box.

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Google bans apps with lockscreen ads, Amazon phones in question

Google bans apps with lockscreen ads, Amazon phones in question

Like it or not, and many definitely don’t, ads have become part and parcel of the modern digital life. It’s not that ads themselves are bad. In fact, for some, it’s the only way to generate revenue for something they offer for free. What makes ads the villains, however, are the way people have unscrupulously used every trick they can come up with to inconvenience or, worse, mislead users. Google has been cracking down on inappropriate uses of ads on Android, and the latest to get the banhammer are apps that put those ads on phones’ lockscreens.

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Google Home Max launch isn’t going to miss the holidays

Google Home Max launch isn’t going to miss the holidays

Apple has received an amusingly large amount of backlash over its decision to delay its HomePod launch past the holiday and shopping season. It seems that Google won’t make the same mistake with its equivalent Home Max speakers. According to Best Buy’s very early listing, the speakers will become available for purchase mid-December, just as Google promised. It remains to be seen, however, if Google will be able to avoid the problems that Apple might have been trying to steer clear from with an early launch.

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Google Search adds audiobook results with public library links

Google Search adds audiobook results with public library links

Search for a book in Google Search and the top results pane will now feature a section dedicated to audiobooks. As podcasts regain popularity, many people are turning their attention to audiobooks with renewed interest. Life is busy and audiobooks offer a way to "read" when you're on the go, filling those daily commute hours or downtime at the office with chapters from your reading list.

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Is Datally by Google necessary?

Is Datally by Google necessary?

Google app Datally was released on November 30th, 2017, to make a big, sweet attempt at helping users understand data use. Right in time, too - just as we're about to destroy Net Neutrality and all of our data bills go irreparably skyward. "Mobile data is expensive for many people around the world," said Google, "And what’s worse, it’s hard to figure out where it all goes."

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Google Maps iOS update adds iPhone X support

Google Maps iOS update adds iPhone X support

Google Maps has received an update on iOS that adds support for the iPhone X's display. With the support comes a better experience for iPhone X users, though all iOS users benefit thanks to some bug fixes tossed into the mix. Google hasn't gone into detail about what those bug fixes pertain to, saying only that they improve the user's ability to find new places and travel to them.

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