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Google Search is testing more local predictive search suggestions

In its never-ending quest to improve the way you search and speed up your way to more information, Google appears to be trying a new approach with its Search suggestions. As you can see in the screenshot above, at the bottom of the list after recent searches, there are 4 more locally relevant suggestions.

These are for movie timings nearby, the latest cricket scores, word translations, and the latest Bollywood movies. As you can guess, those suggestions are relevant to our tipster, and carry a grey icon next to them probably to denote that they're different from recent searches and other suggestions.

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Actions on Google open new languages (CA, IN, BR, IT, ES), better discovery, and more interactions for Assistant apps

Google Developers is rolling out a huge update to Actions on Google, the backbone through which developers can create those Assistant apps and integrations that are still a little hidden but can be very useful if you interact with your Home or phone a lot through voice. Both developers and users stand to benefit from these changes as there are a lot of improvements that will add up quickly for a better experience.

First, in terms of discovery, the Assistant's Explore tab / "app directory" will see two new sections for "What's new" and "What's trending." Now there's only a list of categories, which makes it impossible to spot popular services or new additions.

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Google Maps is about to get a lot more colorful

The design of Google Maps doesn't get updated very often, so when it does, it's kind of a big deal. The latest tweaks are all about adding a bit more color to the interface and making things a little easier to pick out as a consequence. What you see will also be more relevant to the mode of transport you're using, too.

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BlueBorne vulnerability affected Google Home and Amazon Echos, but both have been patched

Vulnerabilities. There's a new flavor of the week every few days and in this highly connected world, it's tough to keep up, whether it's for users who don't know which of their devices are vulnerable and have/haven't been patched or for companies who are scrambling to fix one bug only to see the next one around the corner.

The BlueBorne vulnerability affected Bluetooth devices and could be exploited by hackers to completely take over a device with Bluetooth just turned on, without pairing with it first. Android patched it in September, but it appears that Amazon Echo and Google Home devices were left vulnerable for a while.

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Google Assistant gets 'trending' and 'new' sections, additional subcategories, and more

Finding Assistant services can be a pain. Unless you're constantly scrolling through all the available options, you're going to miss things. Google is rolling out a number of changes to Assistant that will make it easier to find apps and services. Developers will also have a few new tools at their disposal to build Assistant apps. 

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Bootloader unlocking appears to be disabled on some Pixel 2 phones purchased from Google [Update: Fixed]

Many people, like myself, look at Google's phones for one specific reason: they have an easily unlocked bootloader. That means when software support runs dry, or you get the itch to root/ROM, you can modify things without having to compound any potential security concerns with additional issues like exploits or undocumented software. If that's your motivation too, this news could be a small concern. Some Pixel 2s purchased directly from Google seem to have locked-down bootloaders. 

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The Pixel 2 uses "Fused Video Stabilization," and the technology behind it is incredible

With its new Pixel 2 phones, Google introduced something called Fused Video Stabilization which fixes the so-called "terminator effect" the original Pixels suffered. It's a proprietary combination of optical image stabilization, electronic image stabilization, and the company's fancy machine learning tech. Its results are stellar, giving Google's Pixel 2 phones one of the best, if not the best, video capturing results out there. Since we know that it works well, now the burning question is: how does it work?

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YouTube partners with Ticketmaster to show artist gig listings with music videos

Music has always been integral to the success of YouTube, and the platform is well aware of the importance of its relationship with the entertainment industry. As good as watching a music video or live performance can be, it's no substitute for actually seeing your favorite artists live. YouTube wants to connect the two experiences and has partnered with gig ticket seller Ticketmaster to do just that.

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Nexus Player gains Google Assistant functionality with November security patch

The Nexus Player, Google's first (and only) digital media player (see note) has received support for Google Assistant as part of the November security update. This is the third Android TV device to receive the Assistant, after the nVidia Shield and select Sony Bravia televisions.

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Google Assistant now supports Singapore English on phones

Google Assistant's language support between different platforms is a confusing mess that I won't pretend to be able to understand, but the good news is that over the past year, more languages and variants have been added. We've seen Spanish and Italian recently, but today's addition is different: Assistant on phones should now work in Singapore English.

So if you live in Singapore and have set your phone to Singapore English as a language, you should start seeing Assistant soon (already?) when you tap and hold the home button on your phones, instead of the Google Now on Tap / Screen Search that was before it.

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