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Google

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Google launches new central company blog, 'The Keyword'

If you click the source links at most of our posts about Google products, you might notice there is a lot of Google blogs. Almost every Google product has its own blog - Android, Gmail, YouTube, ChromeGoogle Fiber, you name it. I think Google finally realized the need to consolidate, and has created 'The Keyword.'

The Keyword replaces the former Google company blog (googleblog.blogspot.com), which has been mirrored by the Internet Archive if you want to compare. The blog is a mix of product announcements and coverage of various events. In the official announcement post, Google says The Keyword combines content from 19 other blogs - but doesn't say which ones.

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Google Drive adds Quick Access feature, guesses what file you might want

Google Drive has recently added an enhanced search and regular expressions support, but those features have not yet made their way to the mobile apps. Now the Android application exclusively has a new feature, simply called Quick Access. This uses machine learning to predict what documents you are most likely to open, based on your Drive activity and recurring patterns. Google claims this "saves 50 percent off the average time it takes to get to the right file by eliminating the need to search for it."

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Google releases Android Wear 2.0 dev preview 3, confirms public release is delayed until early 2017

Google has started rolling Android 7.0 Nougat out to Nexus devices, but no watches have gotten the corresponding Wear 2.0 update. The beta test has been ongoing for months, and today Google has released the third dev preview. That's good, but there's also some bad news. The developer preview is now expected to continue into early 2017, which is a significant delay.

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Google is rolling out a ton of new navigation voice commands

Driving is serious business—you're in control of a rolling pile of metal and glass weighing thousands of pounds, and one moment of inattention can have very messy consequences. So, for goodness' sake, don't screw around with your phone while driving. Google Maps has voice commands while in navigation or driving mode to help you keep your hands off the phone, and today there are a lot more available.

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Google Allo hits 5 million downloads in the Play Store, is #8 in Top Charts

Google Allo, the second of Google's two new messaging apps, has just hit five million downloads in the Google Play Store. All the anticipation for Allo (let's forget about the subsequent letdown for now) has made its download numbers soar. However, the aforementioned letdown is quite apparent in its current ranking in the Play Store; while Allo sat at #1 in Top Charts just five days ago, it's since fallen to #8.

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InBrief
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Mercedes and Kia add new Android Auto models

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[Finally] Google Play Music now appears to be available in India

Five years - that's how long Indians have had to wait for Google Play Music to come to their country. However, it appears that the massive delay may finally be over. Several India-based AP readers have tipped us that Play Music is now showing up on their devices with songs available for purchase. This news comes just a day after Google's big announcement regarding the Indian market.

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Google Docs now supports regular expressions, not on mobile apps yet

Regular expressions are common in the programming world as a way of finding (and filtering) text based on patterns. regexes can range from extremely simple, such as the example above for finding whitespaces, to longer expressions for more general inputs. If you are one of the wizards who can actually comprehend phrases like (?<=^|(?<=[^a-zA-Z0-9-_\.]))@([A-Za-z]+[A-Za-z0-9]+) (a regex for identifying Twitter usernames), then Google Docs' latest feature is just for you.

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Opinion: My early thoughts on Google's round icons (and consistency for its own sake)

By the time this post goes up, I'm sure most of our readers will have seen Google's circlified icons in the new Pixel launcher, bound for the new Pixel phones. I've been asked a few times what I think about the new launcher and, for the most part, I don't have a strong opinion. But I do have some thoughts about the circlified icons, some guesses at the rationale, and some thoughts about the downsides of consistency for its own sake. As with any written-from-the-outside post about design, I want to note up front that we aren't privy to any research, data, or other information Google used to make its decisions, so the best we can do is respectfully speculate and ponder.

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Google News & Weather 2.8 adds Lite mode, optimizes pages for slow connections

Google News & Weather has an interesting history. After years of being included on Android devices with almost no changes, it moved to the Play Store and received a Material Design facelift in 2014. Now Google has added a 'Lite mode' to the application, designed to save bandwidth for users in India and other regions where data is at a premium.

As indicated in the screenshot, you can set Lite mode to activate automatically, or force it on or off. When Lite mode is on, the application won't load as many images on the main screen. More importantly, opening a link in Lite mode causes an optimized version of the page to load instead of the full content.

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