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Google

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Google Assistant adds shopping functionality, works with all Google Express stores

One of the more common uses for the Amazon Echo (and other Alexa-compatible devices) is ordering items online. In this glorious future, you don't even need to touch your phone to order products online - just tell your smart speaker to buy it for you. Now Google has added 'smart shopping' to Assistant, including the Google Home.

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Google's TensorFlow hits v1.0 with upgrades to speed, flexibility, and production-readiness

At the TensorFlow Developer Summit, Google announced that its second-generation machine learning platform has reached the v1.0 milestone. In the time since it went open-source, TensorFlow has helped many professionals in several fields make huge strides in things like language translation, early skin cancer detection, and diabetic blindness prevention.

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Material redesign for YouTube rolling out to more users

Back in April 2016, YouTube began testing a new look on the desktop site. This time, the web interface is heavily influenced by Material Design - something that has been in the works for other Google web apps recently. Now the redesign appears to be rolling out more widely.

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Google expands fact-checking to Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico

News is extremely vital to how our societies function — making sure you find solid, fact-checked stories is an important aspect of that. Google has already taken steps to assist in that endeavor in the United States, France, and Germany, and now Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico are getting the same treatment.

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Google Assistant in Allo can now share personal data in chat, if you allow it

Google Assistant in Allo isn't quite as feature-packed as Assistant on other platforms, but it's still one of Allo's most compelling features. It can quickly perform a web search, tell a joke, set reminders, and more - all by just tagging it in the middle of conversations. Google has added a new trick to Assistant on Allo - it can share your personal data, if you grant it permission.

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Nest app updated with automatic door detection, app shortcuts, and more

Most home security cameras have mediocre apps (if you're lucky), but Google's Nest app is the exception. It tends to support more OS features, has better integration with other services, and it looks nice. It's getting better today. Nest is rolling out an update that includes some cool learning features, support for some Android 7.0 features, and more.

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Google Assistant, four months later: Still fragmented, still unfinished, still the best

Back at Google I/O 2016, we got a first look at Google Assistant. It was designed to be a conversational assistant, as opposed to the search-based Google Now. Then when Allo was released in September, it shipped with a beta version of Assistant. Finally when the Google Pixel phones were released in October, Assistant was a major selling point.

Google has a tendency to rush products out the door without fully finishing them, and Assistant was no exception. So now that about four months have passed since the official introduction of Google Assistant (roughly five months if you count the Allo beta), has anything changed?

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InBrief
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Google adds 9 new (mostly smaller) Android Pay banks

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Google's Verify Apps now shows apps that it has recently scanned

Google rolled out the Verify Apps framework many years ago to scan apps as they were installed. Then, in 2014 it added the ability to constantly scan apps to watch for malicious behavior. You were sort of taking Google at its word as a user that Verify Apps was indeed rummaging around to keep tabs on things. Now you can see some of what it's doing—the settings menu now shows which apps have recently been scanned.

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[Update: Wider rollout] Google is rolling out a new feature called 'Instant Tethering' in Play Services 10.2

The mobile hotspot on your phone can be super useful, but it's also a little tedious to get it set up when you need it. There's a new feature rolling out as part of Google Play Services 10.2 that makes it much easier. It's essentially automatic with a feature called Instant Tethering. Not everyone will have it right away, though.

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