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Google Assistant can be enabled on non-Pixel devices running Android Nougat

Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 6.5.35.21 or newer.

If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup.

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PSA: Pixel and Pixel XL do not work with Google's USB-C to HDMI dongle

Even in a world with Chromecasts and other streaming devices, it's often just easier to plug your phone directly into your TV with an HDMI cable and an adapter. Some people depend on this functionality quite a bit, and for those of you that do, it might not please you to hear that Google's Pixel smartphones will not support the company's own USB Type-C to HDMI adapter.

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Google testing numerous UI changes for Play Store, including renamed Entertainment section

The Play Store, like many other Google apps, is no stranger to server-side UI updates; however, it's pretty rare for Google to be testing multiple changes at once. Currently, Google is not only testing a renamed Entertainment section, but also a different look for the carousel, the removal of the search bar, and a new Google Play Store banner.

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Google Search now has a RGB/Hex color converter

Google has been working to bring more and more functionality directly into search results, without the user having to visit a seperate site. You can now find your IP address, run a speed test, convert units, and more all from Search. Following that trend, now Google has added an RGB to Hex converter.

If you're unfamiliar, RGB and Hex are both color spaces used to identify colors. For example, #000000 in Hex and (0,0,0) in RGB both refer to Black. Searching 'RGB to Hex' brings up a simple color picker that shows results in RGB and Hex. You can search any Hex or RGB value, and it will show the color in both formats.

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Google+ communities will now sort posts algorithmically instead of chronologically

Social networks have started to embrace algorithmic timelines (that is, where posts are sorted based on how the service thinks you will like it), instead of showing each post in chronological order. First Facebook introduced the feature, then Twitter and Instagram, and now Google+ is enabling it for communities.

Google+ already sorts posts in the home feed based on relevance, and now Communities will do the same. Algorithmic timelines actually make sense for Communities, which are often loaded to the brim with spam. Presumably, content that users actually interact with will be pushed to the top, and the spam will be invisible for most users.

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[Update: It's back] Screenshot button gone from Now on Tap/Screen Search

Google Screen Search, formally known as Google Now on Tap, is a feature I don't use often - but it's incredibly helpful when I need it. If you're unfamiliar, it provides information to you based on the text on your screen, and works on any Android 6.0+ device with the Google app. For example, a few days ago I received a text message confirming an appointment, and Screen Search created a calendar event from the message contents.

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Google will have a Pixel popup store on October 20th in New York

Are you just dying to get your hands on Google's new Pixel phones? Well, you might be able to do so a little early if you live in New York. Google will have a popup store for its new devices on October 20th in the Big Apple.

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Runtastic and Google Play Music team up to bring you the tunes

While I enjoy working out, I will admit that going without my favorite music makes it much more difficult — especially with cardio. For me, good music equals gains. Equally important, though, is keeping track of progress, but that can often require switching between two or three apps. That is, unless you go old-school and carry a notebook.

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Pixel phones on Verizon include some bloatware, can be uninstalled

Verizon is known for bundling large amounts of pre-installed applications with little value, hence the term 'bloatware.' Unfortunately, it seems like the Verizon-sold Google Pixel phones are no exception.

According to a page on Verizon's website, the Pixel includes eight "Preloaded Play Store Apps," besides the usual Google-made apps bundled with most Android devices. The included apps from Verizon are My Verizon, Go90, and VZ Messages. There are other Google apps pre-loaded outside of the usual bundle as well, including Allo, Duo, Android Pay, Docs, and Keep.

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Nexus 9 LTE is receiving official Android 7.0 Nougat with September 6th security patch

Like the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9 LTE didn't receive Nougat when most other Google devices did; however, since the Nexus 9 LTE sold significantly fewer units than the Nexus 6, there wasn't much outcry. Not too long after that, Google told us that updates for both devices would be arriving "in the coming weeks." Two days ago, the Nexus 6 finally got the update to Android 7.0 Nougat, and now, the LTE-equipped Nexus 9 is also receiving it.

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