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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Phone app switches to Do Not Disturb while on a call, new call notification, and more

If you think Chrome's rapid updates are annoying, Google's Phone application might send you over the edge. The last 4.0 update came in August, then 5.1 was included with Pixel devices, then another 4.1 update for non-Android 7.0 users, and now we are at 6.0. So what warrants a major version bump? Not much.

Google Phone 5.1 actually added most of the UI changes you might notice (check out our post about it). The first noticeable change here is when receiving a call, the notification now has larger Answer and Decline buttons. This is also on the Phone 4.1 APK, but it is worth mentioning here.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Google Camera actually takes a photo on voice command

Trying to set a timer on cameras, both on smartphones and dedicated units, can be a pain. Google Camera 4.2, which currently can only be installed on Android 7.1 or higher, allows you to take photos with the "OK google, take a picture" voice command.

Once you say the magic words, the Camera app will open (if it isn't already) and start a 3-second timer. After the time is up, the photo will be taken. Previously, using that command would only open the camera - not actually take a photo. You can also say "OK google, take a selfie" to take a picture with your device's front camera. This should make using a selfie stick much easier.

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Verizon launches the Pixel and LG V20 today

It's a big day for Nougat-powered Android on Verizon. Starting today, you can mosey into your local Verizon store and buy a Pixel or a V20. The V20 is available through a few channels, but this is the only place you can go in the real world to get a Pixel.

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Chrome 54 adds background media playback, colored tabs in tab switcher, and more [APK Download]

It's time for a new Chrome release, and as always, there is both new features for users and new abilities developers can use. Let's take a look at what's new.

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Chromecast Ultra and Daydream View now available in the Google Store, but won't ship for 2-3 weeks

Google announced the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra and Daydream View VR headset at the October 4th event, but only said they would ship sometime in November. Now, we've got that narrowed down. Both devices are available to purchase right now on the Google Store, but they won't ship right away.

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The Pixel and Pixel XL are guaranteed Android version updates for at least 2 years

Updates are still a huge pain point for many Android OEMs, but Google's usually been okay with them. Historically, devices with the Nexus nameplate have received around two years' worth of updates; for instance, the LG-made Nexus 5, which was released in late 2013, is stuck (officially) on Marshmallow, which was released in late 2015. That trend seems to be continuing with the Pixel phones.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: The notification panel now has room for an extra Quick Settings tile and easier access to Settings

The Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 1 just came out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C, and we're already seeing quite a few improvements over 7.0 Nougat. Some of the most noticeable changes are in the notification panel; not only are there now six mini Quick Settings toggles, but Settings is easier to get to.

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G Suite update includes Action items, improved voice typing, Forms improvements, and more

Google recently renamed their Google Apps for Work service as 'G Suite,' which I still think sounds silly. However, the features Google announced today for all G Suite users are anything but.

Possibly the most important new feature is Action Items, which are Docs files assigned to a person or group of people. You can assign documents to others, which then appear on the recipient's main Drive screen with a special badge. Additionally, when you create a comment on the desktop site along the lines of "Phil to enter numbers for this week," Docs can figure out whom you are talking about and assign it to them automatically.

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Verizon's Pixel phones will get a small update to build NDE63P tomorrow

Google's Pixel smartphones have just begun shipping in most countries (some lucky Aussies got them last week), but Verizon, a carrier notorious for slow updates, will be pushing an update with build number NDE63P out to their Pixels tomorrow. Impressive.

The update is so small that the changelogs for both the Pixel and Pixel XL only have five words: "This update improves Wi-Fi connectivity." It's almost definitely just a fix for a small bug that Google caught before the public release of the phones. It's likely that phones from the Google Store will also receive this update, if they don't ship with it already.

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Google's Project Tango gets an official gallery app on the Play Store

So far there are only two devices that officially support Google's neat-o Project Tango spatial detection technology: the original developer kit (no longer being sold) and the shiny new Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. The latter is set to release next month, so Google is preparing the way with a new first-party app, simply called "Tango." It's available as a free download in the Play Store right now, but without access to either the tablet or the phone, you won't be able to play around with it.

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