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Google

InBrief
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LG's Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE Appears On The Google Store, But You Can't Buy It There

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Inviting Someone To A Video Hangout No Longer Requires Them To Have A Google Account

Hey, do you use [insert instant messaging or video chatting service here]? No? Well, what do you use? Weird, no one else I know uses that. Here, just create an account real quick. Please?

Yeah, we're all tired of this conversation. Hangouts has managed to dodge it to some degree because so many people already have the required Google account. But what about those folks who don't? And do you really want to share your email address with this guy who's reaching out to you?

Soon, you won't have to. This week Google is pushing out an update to Hangouts that removes that requirement.

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Google Expanding 'Ad-Supported' Labels To All Apps, Developers Must Update Listings By January 11th, 2016

Google announced a badge to make users aware of ad-supported apps in the "Designed for Families" program at I/O this year (see what that looks like above). Now, all apps will be subject to the same requirement going forward. Developers are getting email notifications of the change right now, and they have until January 11th to log in and state whether or not an app has ads.

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Google+ App Updated To v6.8 To Begin Rolling Out The New UI [APK Download] [Update: Force New UI]

The Google+ app has gone through more UI revisions than Android itself, and the latest one is starting to roll out now. Version 6.8 of Google+ is starting to show up in the Play Store, and of course, we've got the APK below if you don't want to wait. Be aware, installing this APK won't immediately kick you over to the new design. It looks like this is a server-side switch that's only active for some users.

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The New Google+ Website Is Crazy Fast, Super Light, And Very Responsive

Yesterday brought the beginning of the rollout of a new and fresh Google+ website on both desktops and mobile browsers. The focus in Google's announcement was on the redesign, the bold colors, and the improved access to Collections and Communities, but there's a better story hiding there for everyone, especially me. (Excuse my selfishness.)

The previous Google+ page was a complete nightmare to load. I am bound by a stupid slow 512Kbps connection, and if you had ever tried to check Google+ on any connection slower than a few Mbps, you'd have a different outlook on life. While waiting for the home feed to load over the previous years, I've questioned the meaning of life, my annoying luck of being born in a country with such slow ADSL speeds, I've thanked my lucky stars for having access to an Internet connection to begin with, I've wanted to smash my computers and routers, I've laughed and teared up and played a bit of basketball and ate falafel and dispensed a few prescriptions to my patients, I've done some introspective thinking, watched half an episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine, and more...

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[Update: It's Back] Google Removes Another App From The Play Store For Dodgy Reasons, This Time It's Tasker

This isn't the first time we've reported about Google's deplorable policies for removing apps from the Play Store. One day you're the developer of an extremely popular app, distributing it to thousands of users, the next it's poof gone with no warning, no explanation, and no way to easily communicate with the team to understand what has gone wrong.

The latest victim is the famous and ridiculously powerful Tasker app. Tasker has been available on Android since time immemorial and has made many a user extremely happy with its extensive featureset. Want to turn on the popcorn machine when you yell "movie time!" at your phone?

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[Update: How To Get It Now] Google Begins Rolling Out New Google+ Design With Big Focus On Communities And Collections

Google consists of at least one, maybe two, trillion departments, and they each adopt new visual styles at their own pace. Even then, interfaces can vary from one device to another. Google+ looks one way in the Android app and another way entirely when you sign on from a PC. Now this particular Google department is pushing out a more unified look across devices, starting with the web.

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Google Lowers The Minimum Purchase Price For Play Store Apps And In-App Purchases In 17 Countries

Last month Google raised the maximum price of apps and in-app purchases on the Play Store in many markets, sometimes doubling the highest available price tier. Now they're going the other way, lowering the minimum price for a handful of countries that currently have access to paid apps on the Store. Oh, and this time they wrote a blog post, so your friendly neighborhood tech blogger doesn't have to track down each individual change and write them out. Thanks, Google!

Here's the list of changes by country:

  • Brazil: R$ 0.99 (was R$2.00)
  • Chile: CLP $200.00 (was CLP $500.00)
  • Colombia: COP$ 800.00 (was COP$ 2000.00)
  • Hungary: Ft 125.00 (was Ft 225.00)
  • Indonesia: Rp 3,000.00 (was Rp 12,000.00)
  • Malaysia: RM 1.00 (was RM 3.50)
  • Mexico: MXN$ 5.00 (was MXN$ 9.90)
  • Peru: S/.
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Google Will Add The Ability To Downgrade Original Quality Photos To High Quality And Reclaim Space Wednesday, Nov. 18th

Google gives you a choice when you back up your images to Google Photos: do you save them at their original size or do you let Google store a compressed "high quality" version? The former counts against your storage space, while the latter doesn't. Unfortunately when you choose one, you're kind of stuck with the decision. You can opt to change how you save future photos, but you can't go back to compress those shots you previously saved at their original quality.

This is about to change. Tomorrow, Google will introduce the option to downgrade those previously uploaded images.

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[Update: Fixed] If The Play Store Is Saying "You Don't Have Any Devices" For All Apps, You Are Not Alone

Living in Lebanon, I'm used to seeing limited app compatibility on the Play Store. Some apps are just not available in my country for a logical reason, others aren't because who-knows-why, and a few are limited to carriers or specific devices. I am, however, definitely not used to seeing "You don't have any devices" on every single app that I visit on the Play Store, which is what happened to me yesterday. I chalked it off as the Play Store being the Play Store, which is to say sometimes weird and slow to realize that I have at least 7 different Android devices that the app can be installed on, and moved on.

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