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New mapmaker feature available for Local Guides in Google Maps

You might have received notifications from Google Maps for the last few months, asking you some information about places you've visited. For example, after I left McDonalds a few days ago Google Maps asked me if it was a "good place for parties" (I guess?). Answering those questions gets you points on Google Maps' Local Guide program, and after accumulating enough points, you can level up.

I myself am just a Level 2 'Local Guide', but Google has released new features to Level 4+ guides. Numerous people have sent us tips about a new 'Improve the map near you' section on the Contribute tab.

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New YouTube UI with navigation bar on bottom rolling out server-side on Android

YouTube's Android app seems to be getting yet another design revamp, this time in the form of a navigation change. This news comes just a few weeks after it was reported that the YouTube app is getting a new UI for comments and video descriptions (which many people, including myself, still don't have).

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Google and Box partner to make working in the cloud more powerful

Today, Google took to its Work blog to announce the new partnership between Google Apps for Work and Box. The latter will now integrate with Docs and Springboard for further efficiency in business practices. Box will also serve as a third-party repository for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The cool thing about that is users will be able to create new files and edit collaboratively within Box itself.

Google also announced that it is working to integrate its Springboard enterprise search tool with Box. Through this, users can find the information or files they need regardless of where that all may be hosted — whether that is in Gmail, Drive, Docs, or Box.

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Android Pay comes to Apple Federal Credit Union, C&F Bank, United Bank, and over 30 others

Android Pay is spreading. If you manage your finances with a big bank, chances are you can make payments by tapping your phone against a payment terminal -- yes, even if you use Chase. If you do your banking with a smaller institution, you may have to cross your fingers.

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[Update: Security bulletin is live] Nexus factory images and full system OTAs are now available with September's security updates, still missing Nougat images for the Nexus 6P, 6, and 9 LTE

The first round of security updates for Nougat is ready. It has only been eleven days since the official release of Android 7.0, but keeping with the regular schedule, new factory images and full system OTAs are now available for installation. There are also Marshmallow-based images with the latest security updates for many devices, including the Nexus 5, which will no longer officially receive major version updates. (Note: it looks like the OTA page lists the new updates, but the files aren't linked properly.

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InBrief
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[Update: rewards through PayPal] Google Opinion Rewards now available in France

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[Update: no modular phone in the works] Project ARA founder now working for Nexpaq, designing modular phone

Following the death of Google's Project ARA, it has been revealed that Dan Makoski, founder of Project ARA and former head of design at Google ATAP, has now officially been confirmed to be working at Nexpaq. In case you don't know what Nexpaq is, it's a startup that campaigned on Kickstarter to create modular phone cases for popular phones like the iPhone 6, Galaxy S6 edge, and Galaxy S5.

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YouTube Music v1.42 adds Chromecast Audio support, updates player controls, and hints at a future on Android TV [APK Download + Teardown]

If you're a YouTube Red subscriber, it's well worth taking a moment to try out the YouTube Music app. It's still in the process of filling out its feature set, but each update fleshes out areas that really make it a very compelling way to consume music. The latest version bump adds one of the most needed features yet: streaming support for Chromecast Audio. It also brings a partial redesign to the player controls. There is also a subtle change that gives some hope that we may finally see YouTube Music make the jump to Android TV in the near future.

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[Update] Report: Google has stopped working on Project Ara

It has been a long and winding road for Google's Project Ara, and a new report claims this is the end of the road. Sources tell Reuters that Google has suspended work on Project Ara as part of its efforts to bring together its disparate hardware projects. Google, as you might imagine, refused to comment.

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Google will announce Pixel phones, 4K Chromecast, Google Home, Daydream VR viewer on October 4th

According to a reliable source, Google plans to hold a major event focusing on hardware October 4th. It will use the event to announce its new Pixel-branded smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL, a 4K Chromecast, fully detail Google Home, and reveal the company's in-house design for a Daydream VR viewer device (Google previously confirmed this was happening). Here is what we know.

  • The 4K Chromecast will do 4K and be called either the Chromecast Plus or Chromecast Ultra (makes sense - ultra HD). We aren't sure which.
  • The Daydream device may be called Daydream View.

Google was allegedly planning to announce a 4K version of the Chromecast last year, but seems to have scuttled the launch for some reason.

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