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[Praise Slow Google] It's now possible to control Chromecast music and TV playback from your phone's Assistant, not just Google Home

The fragmentation of what Google Assistant can do on which device is, to say the very least, beyond frustrating. You issue a command on your phone and it works, then you try the same on your Google Home and it says it can't do that yet. You try something else on your Google Home and it works, but it doesn't from your phone, or your watch, or your TV, or Allo. It's disheartening when you know the Assistant could be so cool, but its implementation is so heterogeneous that it's impossible to explain that to a regular human.

Take for example the action of playing something on your Chromecast, be it a Chromecast connected to your TV, a Chromecast Audio, or a speaker with Chromecast built-in.

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Hands-on with the updated Pixel Launcher, including the new Pixel 2 features [APK Download]

If you spent the past week looking at videos and images of the Pixel 2 phones and wishing you could have them in your hands, well today you can have your first taste at them. We got the APK file for the updated Pixel Launcher that will ship on the Pixel 2 with its bottom Google Search bar and At A Glance widget, and it should work on all devices from Android 5.0 Lollipop and upward.

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Netflix is suddenly reappearing on the Play Store for some previously banished modified devices

This May, Netflix started blocking rooted and unlocked devices from downloading the company's app on Google Play. It was an unfortunate restriction that locked out many people and stirred up a lot of anger. Over the last week, some of us at AP have started noticing the app reappearing, even though our devices still don't pass SafetyNet/Google Play device certification.

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Hulu for Android TV updated with Google Assistant voice controls

Voice controls are easily one of the best things to have happened to the living room. Gone are the times when we needed separate 'clickers' for every device, and even the universal remote's days are numbered. Now you can even add Hulu on Android TV to the growing list of "yell-compatible" apps, via the Google Assistant. 

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Amazon launches accounts for teenagers, with approval control for parents

If you've got teenage children I can imagine its difficult to get the right balance between allowing them the freedom to develop into responsible adults and watching their every move so they don't mess up. I don't have children myself but I was one once, so I guess I have some idea what it's like. Amazon knows this, too, and so it's launching a new feature that gives teenagers a bit more freedom when it comes to shopping. But not too much.

Amazon's new accounts for teens, specifically those between 13 and 17, give them independence to shop on their own, but with certain controls in place.

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Microsoft Edge now available for Android [APK Download]

Last week, Microsoft made a pretty surprising announcement. The company revealed that it would bring its Edge browser to iOS and Android, making it easier for existing Edge users (and possible converts) to take their browsing history, bookmarks, and other data with them. Now the beta app is available for download from the Play Store.

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Tip: You can remove series from 'Continue Watching' on Netflix, but it's harder than it should be

British English alternative title: You can remove series from 'Continue Watching' on Netflix, but it's a bit of a faff

If you've ever wanted to remove that show you accidentally clicked on from your 'Continue Watching' list on Netflix, then this is for you. Or maybe you watched something a little raunchy that you don't want your flatmates to know about. Either way, we didn't think it was possible before. Now we know it is.

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Alexa catches up to Google Home and adds individual voice profiles

The back-and-forth of feature additions between Google and Amazon on their smart speakers is becoming one long, tedious yet fascinating, tennis rally. "I have this," "Now I have it too, and I added that as well," "I just added that too." It might get tiresome, but it's definitely making things better for all of us consumers. If these two weren't pushing each other that hard, we might have waited longer for Google to implement calling and Alexa to add voice profiles.

And this is what we're here to talk about.

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ASUS releases app for its new ball-shaped 360° Camera

We didn't even know the ASUS 360° Camera existed, but apparently it was announced along with the ZenFone 4 in August. This little ball-shaped camera attaches via USB-C or MicroUSB to your phone and takes spherical images with its two 210° lenses. It can take 4K (4096x2048) photos and 2K (2048x1024) videos, and let you view them as immersive panoramas, asteroids or crystalballs (both a little reminiscent of Tiny Planet).

Now the ASUS 360° Camera has its own app on the Play Store so you can control the camera if you purchase it. It can take photos with multiple filters, videos, time-lapses, and stream live to "popular social media platforms." You can also view previously taken photos in a VR immersive mode too.

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Google Maps is adding new achievement badges for Local Guides

Those of you who contribute as Local Guides on Google Maps (a club I recently joined) will know that as well as the satisfying feeling of helping other people out; you also gain points for your hard work. Those points help you rise through the ranks, getting a new badge every time you level up and eventually leading to certain perks, such as early access to new features.

To add some extra motivation, Google is about to add some new achievement badges that can be attained by completing different types of tasks. Badge fiends will now have four new ones available to them, which can also be leveled up as you submit information to the service.

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