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Google adds more Local Guides levels and ways to earn points

Google Maps has a lot of data, some of it contributed by users. Google is keenly aware that you can get people to contribute to a service rather easily as long as you give them points. The points don't even have to be good for anything, although Local Guides points do come with some rewards. Today, Google is adding new levels to the Local Guides program and offering new ways to earn points so you can reach these higher levels.

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The largest of Google's 2017 devices, codenamed 'Taimen,' may be built by LG

Back in March, we learned that Google may be working on a third device for 2017, called 'Taimen' (Google traditionally names products after fish). This third model would be bigger than the next Pixel and Pixel XL, codenamed 'Walleye' and 'Muskie' respectively. It's not known for sure that Taimen will be a larger Pixel phone, just that it will be larger in size than Walleye and Muskie.

Earlier today, we reported that Muskie has likely been cancelled, leaving Walleye and Taimen the only phones Google will reveal this year. Now it seems that Taimen may be manufactured by LG. 

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[Update: Out of beta] Gboard v6.3 beta is rolling out with improved search interface, search emoji by drawing, and more [APK Download]

There's a new version of Gboard hitting devices tonight, right after Google accidentally sent an internal v6.3 "dogfood" test build out to some users. Oh well, the version that's rolling out in the Play Store right now (also v6.3) is the proper consumer build, and it has some cool new stuff. Searching is now quicker and more powerful, whether you're looking for a webpage, emoji, or a GIF.

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Google's Daydream View VR headset is now available in India from Flipkart for 6499 INR

We've had the Daydream View VR headset here in the States for nearly half a year now, but the same can't be said for many other countries. However, Google has just announced that the Daydream View can now be purchased in India from major retailer Flipkart for 6499 rupees.

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[Deal Alert] Kick off your Monday with 24 temporarily free and 25 on-sale apps

Welcome to the start of yet another week. It's Monday (again), which means it's time for some more app sales! As is typical for the first round of the week, the list is a bit larger than the other two. Still, there are a few gems here to note, which will be bolded.

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[Deal Alert] Finish off the week with 19 temporarily free and 18 on-sale apps, including 5 Noodlecake Studios games

Welcome to Friday! I am back after taking a short, but much needed, vacation. I'd like to give a huge shoutout to our very own Matt for holding down the fort while I was away — he did a great job. Moving along, today brings us a decent selection of apps for you to check out, including a few in here that I personally recommend (which will be bolded). And if you're itching for more, be sure to go check out Matt's post from Wednesday.

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Android O feature spotlight: Camera app updated to v4.4, with small UI tweaks [APK Download]

After the surprise early release of the 3rd Android O developer preview yesterday, everyone is busy searching for any subtle little changes here and there. The stock Android camera app was last updated back in February with new zoom and exposure controls. The new dev preview brings the camera up to version 4.4 and includes some minor UI tweaks.

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Android O feature spotlight: Ongoing media notifications are now colored based on album art / thumbnails

Android O's third developer preview has just landed, and we're already spotting some pretty cool changes. Among the first we spotted is color-coding for rich media notifications, meaning that these notifications will be themed based on album art / video thumbnails.

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Android O Dev Preview 3 is rolling out with final APIs [Update]

Google dropped the second Android O developer preview on the first day of I/O last month, but here we are just a few weeks later and Dev Preview 3 is available. The full system images are available for immediate flashing on supported devices, and beta program devices will probably be updated soon. Importantly, this update should include the final APIs for Android O.

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Google launches 'Be Internet Awesome' program to help kids be smart online

Some people use the anonymity afforded by the internet to be jerks. Meanwhile, other people share too much personal information or get taken in by fake news. Google is looking to help the next generation be better at using the internet than we are, and it's doing it with the "Be Internet Awesome" campaign. It's a program that includes resources for parents and educators, and some games for kids. Well, they're educational games, but that still counts.

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