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Google's researchers explain the challenges and calculation process behind the new Parking Difficulty feature in Maps

A few weeks ago, a new Parking Difficulty icon started showing up in Google Maps 9.44 beta in some cities in the United States, then Google officially announced it and specified where it's available. It also said that the estimate is "based on historical parking data," similar to how traffic and popular times and visit durations are calculated, but it didn't go into a lot of details. Now those details are further clarified in a post on the Google Research Blog.

The difficulties of calculating parking availability stem from the many, many factors that can influence the equation: time and day and weather and holidays/events, permit or illegal parking in park-meter areas, vacant spots with paid park-meters from cars that left early, parking lots with multiple levels and different structures, and so on. Even with these issues accounted for, there's the false data coming from private/gated parking spots, taxis dropping users who look like they immediately found a parking and reached their destination, and bus stops showing up in the data sets as popular parking spots.

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Optimum shows it is clueless about Android in a single tweet

Sometimes companies get it wrong - it's a fact of life, that we all make mistakes. While this is true, some are totally inexcusable, such as this example from Optimum support agents when dealing with a question from a customer (and Android Police reader). The regional US company provides internet, phone, and TV service to New York, Cleveland, and Boston.

The customer/reader in question, Matthew O'Sullivan, tweeted Optimum to ask when Android Nougat support will be arriving on its app. Optimum answered by saying Nougat support is not 'mainstream.' Now, it would seem that Optimum was referring to the distribution numbers from January, where it states only 0.7% of phones run Nougat.

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[Update: Moto Mod bundle deals] Deal Alert: Get a 64GB Moto Z with a bunch of extras for just $449.99 from B&H ($250 off)

The tech market is getting competitive these days, and smartphone manufacturers that aren't named Apple or Samsung must price their products aggressively to survive. Motorola didn't seem to get that memo when it launched the unlocked Moto Z with an MSRP of $699.99, but with this latest discount, it appears that the company has seen the light. For a limited time, B&H is offering the Moto Z in unlocked guise with a bunch of freebies for just $449.99 - that's $250 off retail, for those of you who aren't math people.

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[Update: More] Tip: To copy a URL in Chrome, tap the (i) button, then long press the URL shown

Copying and pasting text on any mobile operating system is kind of a pain, and Android is no different in this regard. Though text selection on our beloved OS has improved over the years, it's still just not an enjoyable experience. However, for those of you that use Chrome and copy URLs often, there's now a feature that may just become a staple of your lives.

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Vizio fined $2.2 million for collecting customer viewing histories without consent

Looks like Vizio is pulling itself out of some hot water. The popular television manufacturer (among other products) has been fined $2.2 million, payable to the FTC and the State of New Jersey, for some pretty serious privacy violations. Starting in 2014, Vizio has sold Internet-connected TVs that track what the customers watch and send that data back to its servers.

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YouTube officially enables double-tap gesture to jump 10 seconds forward or backward

If you've been following along with various teardowns and reported tests, you know YouTube has been working to select an implementation for quickly and easily shifting small increments in a video's timeline. The wait appears to be over. Earlier today, the YouTube app's Play Store listing was updated to note that the quick seek feature is new in the app – that's probably about as official as we're going to see.

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Google is working on ways to help identify page-freezing code in Chrome

Modern websites are extremely complex, composing of code running on both the user's device and the web server. Trying to perform all the tasks required to load a page, like rendering the content and executing JavaScript code, can often cause the browser to become unresponsive.

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A really fake 'HTC 11' leak is fooling a depressing number of people

In an era where #fakenews awareness is at an all-time high, we should all be doing our part to combat the problem of false information spreading online. Even if it's about something as benign as phone specifications. But sometimes the speed and breadth with which some rather obviously fake information is picked up can be a little scary. Take this "leak" of the 'HTC 11' (a phone by which name does not and will not exist).

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Humble Mobile Bundle RPGs offers eight role-playing games of different shapes and sizes

We've not had a Humble Mobile Bundle since November, so it looks like it's time for another one. In this bundle are RPGs, including a Star Wars title and two Shadowrun games.

Paying more than $1 will net you three games; Symphony of Eternity, Doom of Destiny, and Evoland. The first, Symphony of Eternity, is an anime fantasy role-playing adventure, which has the classic top-down, pixel art approach. It's $3.99 on the Play Store, so... yeah. Doom of Destiny (these titles are like some awful self-published fantasy series) is described as the 'nerdiest adventure of your life' on the Play Store.

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Google is trying to make AMP pages less confusing, will change how links are handled

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is a decent idea, with not-so-great execution. AMP pages are designed to be extremely lightweight and load almost instantly, as a solution to mobile web sites being generally terrible. Sites have to opt-in to generating AMP pages of all existing pages, which Google then caches on its own servers for faster loading.

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