22
Aug
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When you perform a Google search and an answer appears alongside the list of results, this tidbit of goodness comes thanks to the company's Knowledge Graph. It provides much of the brainpower for Google Now, pulling down information from a variety of sources such as the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia. The thing is, Google thinks it's still too dumb, so the search giant has already started working on something better.

20
Aug
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One complaint many Glass users have voiced since the Explorer Program began is that Glass has very limited contact management capabilities. Users could add contacts in the MyGlass interface, but those manually added contacts were the only ones a user could correspond with using Google's eye-mounted computer.

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The Glass team is fixing that - and a number of other things - in an update to XE20.1, announced today. The update will allow Glass to see all a user's contacts, with starred contacts showing up for quick voice access.

20
Aug
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Maybe you held off buying a Chromecast, even though it's totally awesome, or perhaps you just need another one. Either way, you can pick one up right now on Groupon for $25. It's refurbished, but $10 off isn't bad.

2014-08-20 14_58_58-Google Chromecast (Refurbished) Deal of the Day _ Groupon

19
Aug
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Last Updated: August 21st, 2014

Update #1 (8/12/14): It looks like Google deleted the tweet embedded below. Between that and the lack of an update to this support page, someone might have pulled the trigger early. But if those countries don't have access yet, they probably will sometime soon.

Update #2 (8/19/14): After a false start last week, the Play Music expansion now seems to be live. The official Google Play country availability page has been updated to reflect this as well.

18
Aug
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Google has big plans for both YouTube and Google Play Music. We've heard a lot about YouTube's potential subscription music playback service, background audio, and offline playback, and there's been much speculation about what such an arrangement would mean for Play Music All Access. What we've got today gives those rumors and clues some clarity.

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Here's the basic rundown - YouTube is set to launch a service called YouTube Music Key, and Google is set to rebrand Google Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Key.

13
Aug
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According to Florian Kiersch (who has uncovered many in-progress Google projects including Google Stars), Google is testing a new Hangouts experience for now codenamed Ultra Violet.

Kiersch says (and shows) that Ultra Violet will present significant interface changes for Hangouts, including a new Chrome extension that would introduce a floating, Chat Heads-style icon on the desktop, which users could move around freely.

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Once the circle is clicked, Kiersch says, the Hangouts welcome screen would appear to introduce users to the new experience.

13
Aug
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You know what's better than being able to stream Netflix, Hulu, Play Movies, Play Music, and loads of other content to a TV in your house? Having the option to stream it to more than one TV in your house. Sometimes the living room just isn't he place to be, but you're out of luck without a Chromecast in the bedroom. That's a bummer. Thankfully Best Buy is ready to save the day.

12
Aug
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It's that time again! Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, showing the current state of Android version distribution among devices that have recently checked in to the Play Store.

As expected, KitKat has grown a bit more, up to 20.9% now (vs 17.9% last month), while Jelly Bean is down from 56.5 to 54.2%. Still hanging above the 50% mark and encompassing 3 API levels, Jelly Bean is the new Gingerbread.

12
Aug
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Update: Opening up email to a greater number of characters is a good thing for users, but it's also exciting for spammers. Certain characters - such as ဝ, ૦, ο, and the letter o - look very similar. Too similar, really. So Gmail will now block email addresses attempting to take advantage of this, and it will use the Unicode Consortium's "highly-restricted" specification to do so. Wဝ૦ο!

It may seem to many of us that there are an endless number of email addresses available out there, but if your name contains characters that don't fit somewhere between A-Z, that illusion is shattered pretty quickly.

12
Aug
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Back in May, Google announced "a new classroom," powered by Google's own tools. Appropriately, the effort was dubbed Google Classroom and previewed to educators around the world. Today, Google Classroom will become available to all Google Apps for Education users in 42 languages, optimized for both desktop and mobile use.

For those unfamiliar, Google Classroom is basically a web platform for managing assignments and projects - educators can assign projects, dispense information (through announcements or real time discussions), and collect assignments using Google's tools to spend "a little less time at the photocopier and a little more time doing what you love—teaching."

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