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Google announces Nearby Connections API v2.0 with full offline functionality, more bandwidth, and less latency

Some of you might remember the Contextual App Experiences talk at I/O this year. The seemingly convoluted name actually held some pretty big news, as it was during that talk that Google revealed its plans to refresh the Nearby Connections API. That set of APIs is used to provide communication between your phone and other things in physical proximity to you, further expanding your ability to share info and data locally. Well, as of today version 2.0 of that API is now available, bringing new features for developers. 

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[Update: Now on Google Play] Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1

With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel. We're now on the third Android O Developer Preview, and the official clock app has been treated to a visual refresh, its first meaningful update since February.

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Google Chrome's native ad blocker is now live in Canary and Dev builds

Earlier in the year, we learned that Google would be introducing a native ad blocker in its Chrome web browser, both on desktop and mobile. The company confirmed as much last month, saying that the feature would be available in 2018. That date likely relates to the stable build, but we're now seeing the 'Ads' setting in Chrome Canary and Dev on Android.

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[Deal Alert] Get a Verizon/unlocked Pixel refurb for $399.99, Pixel XL for $499.99

Despite being nearly a year old, Google's Pixel and Pixel XL still haven't seen very many non-carrier related discounts. It's honestly pretty impressive how well they've held their value, but that's not good news for those of you who don't want to pay full price. Don't worry - Woot has refurbished units of both the 5.0" and 5.5" models for just $399.99 and $499.99, respectively.

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Google is recruiting Google+ beta testers

Do you have unusually strong opinions about Google+ and what Google should be doing with it? Then today is your lucky day. Google is seeking people to help test new features and give feedback on the direction of G+. Not all who apply will be accepted, though.

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[Free Alert] Google is handing out free $1 Google Play credits to select accounts

Everyone likes free things, right? If you are one of the many billions of people who do, you should enjoy this Deal Alert, which I have dubbed "Free Alert." Google is giving free $1 Play credit, which can be used anywhere on the Google Play Store, to select users.

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Essential's head of UX quits to go work for Google

Andy Rubin's new tech company, Essential, hasn't had the greatest luck. After receiving a cease-and-desist from Spigen, missing its 30-day shipping period, and having two other key employees leave the company, Essential has now lost Liron Damir, its head of UX, to Google. Damir will be joining the Google Home team.

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Multiple Google Home users are reporting issues with Philips Hue light bulbs

A number of users are having difficulties controlling their Philips Hue light bulbs via Google Home, the help forum for which is brimming with activity on the subject. The problem seems to manifest itself when trying to turn the lights on and off with a voice command, which leads the Google Assistant to respond with, "Sorry I can't do that, I'm learning every day."

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Google is ditching Instant Search because most searches happen on mobile

Google announced an incredible, revolutionary thing in 2010. No, not Android 2.2 Froyo. I'm talking about Instant Search, a feature that would load suggestions and search results dynamically as you typed. It was hailed as a major advance in 2010, but today Google announced Instant Search is dead, and it was mobile that killed it.

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Here are 36 temporarily free and 40 on-sale apps for your Wednesday

Here we are on the final Wednesday app sales post for July. Crazy to think about. Today's list is a lot longer than we're used to on Woden's Day, but we'll manage. Be sure to check back at Monday's post. Let's get down to it.

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