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Google and iRobot team to turn your Roomba robo-vac into an IoT mapper

Google and iRobot team to turn your Roomba robo-vac into an IoT mapper

Your Roomba robot vacuum cleaner is turning into a mapping explorer for Google, with the two companies collaborating on better understanding the layout - and the uses - of the smart home. The project promises more efficient interactions between IoT and connected devices, though owners will have to opt-in to see the benefits.

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Spotify is giving away Google Home Mini smart speakers

Spotify is giving away Google Home Mini smart speakers

Spotify's family plan already offers pretty good value if you've got multiple listeners living under the same roof, but beginning tomorrow, Spotify will attempt to sweeten the deal for those who may be on the fence but haven't taken the plunge. Spotify today announced that it'll be handing out free Google Home Mini speakers to family plan account holders.

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Wear OS is headed down the road of irrelevance

Wear OS is headed down the road of irrelevance

Days before its big Pixel event, Google released its latest version of its wearable spin on Android. Not Android Wear, of course, but Wear OS, this time version 2.0. The release was met with generally positive response, praising the more streamlined UI that finally makes it more convenient to use navigate through the smartwatch. It didn’t take long, however, for the initial excitement over Wear OS 2.0 to die down, for one reason or another. It is, unfortunately, indicative of the problem that threatens to ultimately make Android smartwatches obsolete and irrelevant.

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Gboard selfie-based Minis now come in emoji styles

Gboard selfie-based Minis now come in emoji styles

As stickers and emojis become more common expressions of what we feel or would like to say, they have started to become representations of our selves as well. Except they look nothing like us at all. Not too long ago, Google updated Gboard to introduce the idea of making stickers in our own image and likeness. Well, almost in our image and likeness. Now it is extending that idea into a new style that everyone had grown to love or love to hate: emojis.

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Google Home Hub is secure, says Google, despite insecurity claims

Google Home Hub is secure, says Google, despite insecurity claims

When you have a connected device that’s at the center of your home, both literally and figuratively, it can be frightening to imagine what the consequences would be if such device were compromised to gain access to the rest of your home. That might be the inherent risk of a smart home future if the hubs that become their command center become security liabilities instead. For one hacker, that is exactly the case with the Google Home Hub. Google, however, is unsurprisingly refuting the claims.

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Waymo gets driverless car testing permit for California public roads

Waymo gets driverless car testing permit for California public roads

Waymo has been given permission by the California DMV to conduct self-driving car tests on public roads. The company announced its new permit today, saying this is the first permit in the state that authorizes this type of testing. This follows almost a decade of testing in California, according to Waymo, which has been testing driverless cars in Arizona since 2017.

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Google Home will play sound effects when reading stories aloud

Google Home will play sound effects when reading stories aloud

The Google Home speakers, except the new Home Hub, are a bit of a puzzle. While they are a font of knowledge and power over your home, you might think them pretty boring in terms of entertainment value aside from music. Especially when it comes to kids that seem to gravitate more towards the visual things in life. But both as a sort of counterculture and proof that you can make magic just with sounds, Google and Disney have teamed up to make reading bedtime stories out loud a more memorable and enchanting experience, complete with matching sounds for scenes and moods.

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Google Playground adds cats to AR Pets stickers

Google Playground adds cats to AR Pets stickers

Augmented reality stickers have become quite the attraction on social media, particularly because of the whimsical fun they bring to the table. Or to your face. or to someone else’s actual table. These AR stickers can also be effective vehicles for advocating causes, marketing film franchises, or even just showing your allegiance to one of the biggest debates of all time: dogs versus cats. Google’s new Playground camera mode for the Pixel 3 launched with only dogs under the Pets category. But since it’s National Cat Day, Google is playing fair by adding cats to the scene as well.

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Save Google+ petition pleads for reprieve

Save Google+ petition pleads for reprieve

Google may have signed the death warrant for Google+ but some of its most devoted users are calling for a reprieve, with a Change.org petition demanding the oft-mocked social network be allowed to live on. The search giant announced that the writing was on the wall for Google+ earlier this month, conceding that the site it hoped to eventually overshadow Facebook and Twitter simply hadn't lived up to expectations.

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Galaxy S10 leak ‘confirms’ loss of major legacy feature

Galaxy S10 leak ‘confirms’ loss of major legacy feature

The next generation in Samsung Galaxy smartphones seems to be moving backward, not forward, with power user features. In favor of innovation and the changing of the guard, so to speak, Samsung seems to be moving away from the features that Galaxy owners have been using for over a half decade. I'm talking here, of course, of the headphone jack - and the idea that Samsung might well do away with the feature in 2019.

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Waze Audio Player beta arrives with Pandora, Spotify, Stitcher and more

Waze Audio Player beta arrives with Pandora, Spotify, Stitcher and more

Waze is gearing up to release an update that brings an embedded audio player to its platform, providing drivers with direct access to their favorite audio streaming service. The company has announced a beta for Waze Audio Player in conjunction with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, as well as podcast app Stitcher and others. As well, Waze has a new developer tool suite called Audio Kit.

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This Pixel 3 XL notch glitch is annoyingly funny

This Pixel 3 XL notch glitch is annoyingly funny

As if Google's Pixel 3 XL wasn't notched enough, an oddball bug affecting the Android smartphone is adding a second, even more annoying cut-out to its display. Observed by a number of owners of the 2018 handset, the new notch isn't at the top or bottom as you might expect, but protrudes in from the side.

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