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Google app v7.19 beta prepares Assistant to go bilingual, expands on smart display details, and hints at TV show identification [APK Teardown]

It's already time for another update to the Google app, and this version bump carries a little bit of the post-CES glow with it. Of course, there are some new details related to the smart displays we've been expecting. Also joining the round of topics are clues that suggest we'll be able to use Google to identify TV shows by sound and that Google Assistant is going to become bilingual. There's even a sign of a new feature called summer time mode, though it's still a mystery for now. We haven't spotted any changes to the UI yet, but you can grab the latest version from the APK Mirror link at the bottom and let us know if you come across anything.

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The Google Home has a hidden API that local devices can use

The Google Home works with a massive number of smart home products, but developers looking to tinker with it are usually out of luck. It doesn't have any kind of public API, so custom functionality can really only be added through IFTTT (or by writing your own Assistant app). Now there is a way to obtain some data from a Google Home, as one developer has discovered an undocumented API that the Google Home uses.

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Google Maps returns to China after eight-year absence [Update: Nope]

Google famously pulled its services out of the Chinese market in 2010 rather than comply with the government's censorship requirements, but it's dipping a toe back in today. Google has re-launched Google Maps for China, but not via the same app we have in the rest of the world. Most people will access it via a web page, but iPhones get an app. Hey, it's a start.

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Here are 27 temporarily free and 22 on-sale apps for your holiday

I've officially recovered from CES (and I'm not sick like some people). Despite it being MLK Day, I'm here to provide you with some more app sales! The list today is a bit smaller and fairly so-so, but we press onward regardless. Have fun, and I'll see you all again on Wednesday.

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Google finally preparing a fix for Nexus Player remote sleep bug from last November

Since late last November, Nexus Player owners have had the frustrating experience of erratic behavior from the remote. After about 5 to 10 minutes, the remote would seemingly go to sleep. Pressing any button causes the remote to blink for a few seconds, then hopefully reconnect. While not precisely broken, the erratic functionality from the remote has been a point of pain for owners of Google's streaming hockey puck. Finally, Google is preparing to roll out a fix.

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CES 2018 wrap-up: Even more things to connect to Assistant

Two of the big trends at CES 2018 were AI and smart home stuff. The former was actually a major buzzword, and it became so overused that I stopped caring (thanks, Huawei/Honor). However, the smart home ecosystem continues to thrive and we saw a ton of new products that are launching with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This post will focus on Assistant; you can expect the Alexa wrap-up a little bit later.

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30 days later, Chromecasts still aren't available on Amazon

30 days ago, Amazon announced that it was in the process of assorting Apple TVs and Chromecasts to start selling them again. Since then, the Apple TV and Apple TV 4K have been available and sold on the site, but the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra are still showing as "Currently unavailable" from Amazon, with no third-party sellers at all. Even searching for "Chromecast" on Amazon doesn't bring up the product pages linked above, you'd have to know the URL to see them. We've reached out to Amazon several times over the past weeks to ask about this and to inquire about an exact availability date, but were told there were no details to share.

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Wrap up CES with 52 temporarily free and 37 on-sale apps

Hi, there! Welcome back to Android Police's app sales roundup! I've returned from CES (lots of fun) and my PC is back up and running, so I figured that it was time for me to dive back into the messy world that is Android app sales. The list today is not that bad, all things considered. Think of today as being a sign that I am getting back on the normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule for these posts, which I shall try to adhere to.

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The US smartphone market is devolving into a Samsung and Apple market - and that's bad for Android

If you live in the United States and walk into a Verizon store, you have essentially four options when it comes to choosing a premium smartphone brand: Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google. Yesterday, we learned that continuing to expect LG will be one of these options probably isn't the best bet.

While there may yet be a premium LG phone that launches on Verizon, the Korean conglomerate looks poised to join Motorola as one of Verizon's when-it's-convenient handset partners, and is quite possibly on its way to the Verizon graveyard with the likes of HTC, Sony, and BlackBerry.

The same can generally be said of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

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InBrief
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Hangouts Meet's dial-in feature now works in nine additional European countries

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