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Start the weekend with 22 temporarily free and 13 on-sale apps

The end of another week is here, which seemed longer thanks to the holiday. Whatever your plans for the weekend, kick it off with a small selection of app sales! And if you haven't yet, be sure to check out Wednesday's list.

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Google's Linux workstations are switching from Ubuntu to Debian

Like many companies, Google uses a variety of operating systems in-house. macOS and Windows are used by a large number of employees, a modified build of Debian Linux is used on its servers (as of 2014, at least), and Chrome OS and Android devices are commonplace. In work environments where Linux is needed, Google uses a customized version of Ubuntu 14.04 called 'Goobuntu,' which has never been released publicly.

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[Update: 2 Home Minis for $37.49] Deal alert: Verizon Business customers can get a Google Home Max and Home Mini for just $337.48 (25% off)

Like many Google products, the Home Max isn't easy to find at a discount, especially given its very recent entry to the market. However, Verizon Business is offering a Home Max and Home Mini bundle for just $337.48, or $112.50 off the combined MSRPs of both Home devices. That's pretty nuts. Unfortunately, you will need access to a Verizon Business (B2B) account to take advantage of this deal. And no, your run-of-the-mill Verizon account won't do.

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Android Pay adds support for 80 new banks and credit unions in the US

Even with the tremendous amount of banks and credit unions already participating in Android Pay, there will always be even more to join in the fun. Case in point: 80 new banks and credit unions in the US have just been added to Google's support page, making the first mass addition in 2018 a big one.

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Google offering a free pen loop to anyone who bought the Pixelbook

Google's Pixelbook comes with a big trackpad, a touchscreen, and (obviously) a keyboard. If that's not enough input for you, there's the Pixelbook Pen for an additional $100. This fancy stylus lets you write, draw, and access Google Assistant. One thing it can't do is dock inside the computer. Recognizing the obvious storage conundrum here, Google has decided to send out pen loops to all previous purchasers.

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Android Wear v2.8 app update adds darker background and 'improved notification glanceability'

Gone are the days when OTA updates were necessary to add new features to your Android Wear watch. Now, Google can add new features via the Android Wear app. A new version of the Wear app is rolling out today with a few notable changes. The theme is darker, and notifications are getting some potentially interesting changes.

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Huawei endorses Google Jibe RCS, will start including Android Messages on phones

Adoption of RCS, the successor to the SMS/MMS standard, has remained relatively slow among carriers and devices. Google has spearheaded the effort by building its own 'Jibe' RCS hub and integrating it into its Android Messages SMS app, making it easier for carriers to support it. Samsung opted to build its own RCS hub, but Huawei has decided to get behind Google's technology.

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It's Wednesday, so here are 29 temporarily free and 22 on-sale apps

Wednesday is here, and the week is more than half over. It's a slim list today, about the same as Monday's, but that's okay. Dig through and see if you find something you like, and I'll see you all Friday.

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Google could block access to hidden and undocumented APIs in Android P

We're probably just a few months away from the first developer preview release of Android P, but there are some hints of what Google's cooking in AOSP. According to a report at XDA, Google might be planning a move that'll upset some developers. New commits suggest Google will remove access to unofficial APIs in the next big Android release.

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Google designer Ivy Ross shows off prototypes of Pixel 2, Pixelbook, Home Mini, and more

Prototypes are always cool to see, but us consumers don't often get to do so. It's nice to take a look at how the designs of products evolve from the drawing board all the way to our homes, pockets, and backpacks. An interview with Google hardware designer Ivy Ross recently went up on The Keyword, and embedded within are photos of several Google products' prototypes.

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