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Google

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Allo's weird SMS support explained, and other answers

The burning question on everyone's mind when Allo was released - "can you send SMS?" The answer, as seemingly common with Google products, is "it's complicated." Allo-w me to explain the answer, and more of Allo's quirky behavior, below.

What happens when I send a text to someone without Allo?

When you tap a contact that has not yet registered for Google Allo, you are presented with the above message warning that you are sending messages through SMS. When you send a message, the recipient receives the following text from a random five-digit number (at least in my tests):

[Your full name] ([Your phone number]) added you on Google Allo to chat.

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Allo is finally rolling out in the Play Store [APK Download]

Google said Allo would be available at some point during the summer, and it's getting in right under the wire. The new chat application is now official, and it's starting to pop up in the Play Store for download. Don't fret if it's not showing up for you quite yet; we have the APK ready for download.

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New Google app beta adds 'In Apps' home screen shortcut

The latest version of Google's Android app has done away with the Google Now branding, but there's something else lurking inside v6.5. That "In Apps" feature that was first officially announced a few weeks ago and mentioned alongside the LG V20 unveiling has showed up. As the name implies, it lets you search inside your apps more easily.

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Google search on mobile rolling out AMP optimized pages for all supported results

If you have never heard of Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, it's exactly what it sounds like. AMP documents are minimal web pages, with the same basic HTML syntax, designed to load as quickly as possible (even at the cost of some functionality). Web developers can create AMP versions of their webpages, with Google mirroring every page on its own servers for the quickest load times possible. For example, here is the AMP version (left) and normal mobile site (right) from Forbes:

screenshot_20160920-141039 screenshot_20160920-142411

What you can't see is that the AMP page loaded in under a second, and the Forbes page took about 20 seconds.

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Google Drive now has enhanced search with Natural Language Processing

Finding that one important file hidden in a sea of unrelated documents is never fun. Thankfully, Google is seeking to help solve that problem - at least for Google Drive users. Starting today, the Google Drive search bar on the web app can use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to help you find documents. For example, searching "show me presentations from last year" brings up all your documents modified in last year with a presentation file type.

nlp

Google claims that this feature will only become more accurate as time goes on, so don't get your hopes up for perfect results quite yet. For example, I have a collection of old operating systems on ISO files, and when I search "iso files," a single JPEG file appears.

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Wi-Fi Assistant is now available in 11 more countries for Fi users, adds ability to secure open networks saved on your device

Project Fi's Wi-Fi Assistant has been in the news more than usual lately, due to its addition to all Nexus devices and its new ability to secure networks that users manually connect to. Now, the team behind Wi-Fi Assistant has added eleven new European countries for Fi users and a new feature that aims to make existing, saved open networks on your device more secure.

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Non-blurry photos of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL leak

Today is apparently Pixel leak day. After getting some new details on pricing and spotting the phone in a Nest ad, some actual photos of the phones have emerged. The image above (and another below) show both phones side-by-side. This marks the first time we've actually seen the phones in the flesh—er, metal. Whatever.

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[Oops] It looks like Nest accidentally aired a commercial featuring the Google Pixel

We get tips on an almost daily basis that purport to show an unannounced device popping up in a commercial or marketing material. These never turn out to be legit... except maybe this time. A Nest commercial aired in the Netherlands features a phone that looks a whole hell of a lot like the upcoming Google Pixel. This is a first for us.

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Pricing for the smaller Google Pixel phone could start at $649, but financing will be available

There's plenty of good evidence now that Google's upcoming phones will not be Nexus devices, but the first in a new breed of Pixel-branded phones. Although they are being manufactured by HTC, we expect Google will be setting the distribution of the phones, and pricing may be much higher than previously thought. A trusted source tells us that the smaller Pixel phone will start at $649. That means the Pixel XL could be even more.

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Google Photos rolling out faster photo sharing and 'Movie Concepts' [APK Download]

Google Photos remains one of my favorite Google products. Unlimited free photo uploads (at a capped resolution), easy organization, automatic tagging, the list of features goes on and on. Google Photos is rolling out two new features today that improve sharing and automatic video creation.

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