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Google acquires Limes Audio to create "the best online voice quality on the market"

Google today announced that it has acquired Limes Audio, a Swedish sound company specializing in acoustic echo cancellation and speech enhancement. The move reaffirms Google's intentions to continue improving sound and call quality across its suite of products, particularly in Google Hangouts.

Poor internet connections or noisy environments like coffee shops can have a significantly adverse effect on the audio quality in an online chat, making it hard to understand the person on the other end. Hardware solutions like noise cancelling microphones are designed to filter out ambient noise and today come standard in most mid- to high-end phones, but they do little to reduce echos — and do nothing to address connectivity issues.

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Google Calendar goals now have Google Fit integration [APK Download]

For a while now, Google Calendar has let you add goals so you can keep track of your efforts at self-improvement. One of the most popular uses (especially this time of year) is exercise goals. In the latest version of Calendar, you can plug in Google Fit to automatically complete your goals.

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Android 7.1.1 image and OTA files finally available for the Nexus 6

Google's shiny new Pixel phones and the slightly older Nexus 5X and 6P, and the Pixel C tablet have had access to the latest and most tasty flavor of Nougat for a month now, but the Nexus 6 (from 2014, if we're keeping score) has been puttering along on the more outdated 7.0 build. As promised, the 7.1.1 update is now available for Nexus 6 owners in both full system image and over-the-air update form - though of course, it may be a while before you see the actual OTA roll out to your phone.

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Polaroid shows off 4K TVs with built-in Chromecast at CES

Believe it or not, Polaroid does still exist. The company is no longer the entity it once was, living on now as a shell to license the brand and forge hardware partnerships. Still, Polaroid has something new at CES you might find interesting; a new line of 4K TVs with Google Chromecast built-in. They start at just $499.

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Google Assistant coming to Android TV, more actions in development

Until now, Google Assistant has been limited to the Google Home and the Pixel phones (unless you edited your phone's build.prop file). Assistant is slowly making its way to more devices, starting with Android TV. "In the coming months," it will become available on all Android TV devices in the US running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher (sorry, ADT-1 owners).

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Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android get Page setup and ODF/EPUB support

The Android apps for Google Docs can be handy for quick edits, but lack many of the features available through the web app. Today's update for the Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android bring a few useful features to mobile.

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LG's new SJ soundbar series brings Chromecast, high-resolution audio, and Dolby Atmos

LG has been one of the first companies to adopt Chromecast, then Google Cast, in its speakers and soundbars with the LG Music Flow series, to let users stream music wirelessly and without the need for a separate Chromecast Audio dongle. Support for its line-up has been less than stellar though, with the speakers being seemingly abandoned without firmware updates, no sign of multi-room or grouping to make them compatible with other Chromecast devices and Google Home, and leaving users without any hope for the future (check these threads as two small examples of customer frustration). With that grim asterisk in mind, I can tell you about these new soundbars that LG is showing off at CES.

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Google posts January OTA and system image files along with new security bulletin

It's that time of month again—Google has posted updates for Nexus and Pixel devices, and there's a new security bulletin full of scary things. As usual, the OTAs are going to be rolling out to Google devices in the next few days, but you can grab the files right now and do the update manually.

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Hyundai announces support for Google Home control of cars via Blue Link

Hyundai has been pretty quick to take advantage of Google features over the years. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata was the first car with Android Auto at launch, for example. At CES 2017, the company has announced that users of Hyundai's Blue Link service can now use Google Home to issue commands to their cars.

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Gboard (formerly Google Keyboard) hits 500 million installs in the Play Store

There are many, many keyboard apps in the Play Store, but Google Keyboard has long been my go-to option. With the Gboard re-branding, Google added a few long-awaited features like multiple active languages and integrated search. That was enough to push it over the 500 million download threshold, joining apps like Photos, Dropbox, and Super-Bright LED Flashlight.

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