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The Google app's dual-tab 'Upcoming' UI is now official, rolling out to all Android users

For months a small subset of Android users have been seeing a new dual-tabbed interface in the official Google search app's UI. The second tab, initially labelled "Dashboard" and then changed to an icon-only "Upcoming," is now official. Google announced the big change on its Keyword search blog, revealing that the feature should roll out to all Android users starting now, with the iOS version of the Search app following suit later.

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Support for AMP links rolling out in the Google+ Android app

If you're not familiar, Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages project aims to make the mobile web faster and less data-heavy. Websites that choose to support it offer AMP versions of their pages, which are then loaded in the place of the full site. Google mobile search and the mobile Google+ site already load AMP pages when available, and now the native Android app is joining in.

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Google Duo gets updated to 5.0, brings "major" video quality improvements and some other fixes [APK Download]

Duo hasn't been the hit success that Google expected it to be, but that should only serve as motivation for engineers to make it better. The video-chatting app has just been updated to version 5.0, which not only fixes a few bugs, but also improves on the entire user experience.

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Google brings street art to the Live Cases with En Masse

More and more Live Cases are becoming available, bringing a wide variety of phone protection to suit most aesthetic preferences. In keeping with this, Google announced the En Masse line of Live Cases in collaboration with the multi-artist collaborative group EN MASSE, who specialize in large-scale, "spontaneous" drawings.

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Lenovo can't even pay people to make the Phab 2 Pro seem exciting

The Phab 2 Pro is the first phone to feature Google's Tango. Tango is, to put it lightly, not really ready for anyone aside from curious tech reviewers and maybe developers looking to get into AR content. The Phab 2 Pro itself also isn't a very good phone, and frankly costs too much to justify a largely gimmicky feature. In short, this product has "commercial flop" written all over it, and I think even AR enthusiasts and Tango phones can understand that. I honestly didn't ever expect it to be commercially marketed: this is a gadget that has some novelty and development value, but essentially zero real consumer appeal at this time.

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InBrief
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Chromecast Ultra owners can choose a free movie from Google Play Movies

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Project Fi's holiday-themed site offers $10 Google Play credit and cheerful activities to subscribers

Are you a Project Fi subscriber? If so, you're in for a pretty cool treat this holiday season. Open up fiholiday.withgoogle.com to check out Project Fi's World of Thanks site. Awaiting you is an assortment of interesting and cheerful online activities. You'll find cute tools to create custom digital cards and snow globes, a trivia game, a suggestion to set a seasonally appropriate voicemail greeting – sure, why not? – and best of all, a $10 Google Play gift code.

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Android 7.1.1 update seems to fix some LTE Band 4 issues for the Pixel

Every new phone has at least a couple of issues out of the gate that need to be addressed (and can hopefully be fixed with a software update, rather than scrapping a billion-dollar product line). So it is with Google's Pixel and Pixel XL: last month a subset of users reported spotty connection problems with the flagships, apparently when using LTE Band 4 (1700MHz) on certain carriers outside the US. Owners aired their grievances on Google's product forum, and were heard fairly quickly.

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Google makes 4K video official in Google Play, but only for the US and Canada right now

We started getting reports of 4K videos rolling out in Google Play several weeks ago, but not everyone could see the 4K option and Google didn't list a separate price for it. Google has now made it official—4K video is available for rental or purchase in the Play Store. However, there isn't very much of it right now, and you can even get 4K everywhere.

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Google commits to 100% renewable energy for its global operations, starting in 2017

Google is one of the largest and most far-reaching companies in worldwide tech, but it's also known for progressive (if not necessarily selfless) projects that go beyond its standard interests. Those include sponsorships and massive purchases for renewable energy, like buying portions of solar and wind energy production from farms in the US, Chile, and Sweden. According to the latest post on Google's Keyword blog, those purchases combined with renewable energy credits will account for 100% of the company's business operations in 2017.

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