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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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The previously announced Google Play billing for Drive storage is already live for some

Google announced a couple weeks ago that billing for Google Drive would move over to the Play Store subscription system. At the time it said this would happen sometime in January, but it looks like it's already live for some people. Time to check your Google Play account page.

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LG posts January security bulletin ahead of Google with Android and LG-specific patches

Google has been releasing monthly security patches like clockwork ever since it revamped the Android security model in the wake of Stage Fright. Samsung and LG are also trying to keep up with the monthly patches, but not always with the most success. LG's getting the jump on Google today, though. It has posted the January security bulletin a little early with information on Google and LG-specific patches.

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Direct carrier billing starts going live for Airtel and Vodafone postpaid customers in India

Users in India have a couple of options when purchasing content from Google Play: credit or debit cards, gift cards, the newly added Netbanking payment method, and direct carrier billing on Idea. But more alternatives are on the way for customers of Airtel and Vodafone.

The news was actually announced in October at the Google Playtime event in India and was tweeted by attendees at the presentation. Over the past couple of weeks, users have started seeing the option pop up in their payment methods on the Play Store. We've received reports of both Airtel and Vodafone (postpaid) showing up, though the authorization SMS doesn't seem to be working just yet according to our tipsters.

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[Update: Down to just singles] Google Wifi single and 3-packs are back in stock at Best Buy

If you've been shopping for a Google Wifi (or three) lately, it's hard not to notice that all of the direct sales avenues have either been sold out or priced so far above MSRP that you'd think they were scalping playoff tickets. Fortunately, this drought couldn't last forever – Best Buy currently has both single and 3-packs of the mesh wireless router available at regular prices with fast shipping or in-store pickup.

The 3-packs are gone

Holy cow, that didn't last long. About an hour after this post went live, Best Buy ran out of 3-packs.

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Lost Journey becomes the first ever $0.01 Play Store sale (probably by accident) [Update: More]

Google is having a sale in the Play Store right now, and a lot of developers have their apps and games featured in it. One game in particular has the distinction of being really, really cheap. Lost Journey is literally as cheap as it can be without being free. It's $0.01 right now—yes, just a penny. This is probably a mistake.

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[So Smart] This man's smart television with Google TV caught some malware, and now it's bricked

You know what's great? Having lots of streaming content available on your TV. What's not so great is when your quest to stream content results in ransomware bricking your TV. One fellow on Twitter shared the story of an LG TV that caught some nasty malware, and now it's apparently useless. Perhaps technology has gone too far.

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