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Samsung Chromebook Plus now available on the Google Store for $449, with $20 Google Play credit

Most Chromebooks are inexpensive with lacking hardware, because Chrome OS really doesn't need a lot of power. At the opposite end of that spectrum is the Samsung Chromebook Plus, at a more expensive starting price than most Chromebooks - $449. Now the laptop is available from the Google Store, with a $20 Google Play Store credit included.

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Google's VP of communications products teases an early image of Allo on the web

Google announced Allo at Google I/O last year and people were strangely excited about it. Maybe this would finally be the Google chat app to rule them all. When it came out, Allo was lacking in... well, a lot of things. One of the most unsightly gaps in Allo's feature set was the lack of a web version. Google is working on that, and VP of communications products Nick Fox has given us an early glimpse at it.

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Google search on Android can now search through Google Drive files

Hidden all the way at the right end of the Google search app's tabs is 'In Apps' search. As you might guess from the name, it allows you to search within the apps installed on your phone. Now Google has added Firebase App Indexing to the Drive Android app, allowing you to find your documents straight from the Google search app.

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New Google Doodle celebrates the discovery of seven exoplanets

Yesterday, NASA announced that it (along with international partners) had discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single star. Even more importantly, three of them are located in the star's habitable zone, the range around a star where liquid water is possible. The solar system (named TRAPPIST-1) is unfortunately located 40 light-years away from Earth, so sending a probe or a person there isn't really possible for now.

Still, it's a very important discovery, and Google is commemorating the event with a Google Doodle.

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Google introduces Perspective, a machine learning initiative to help police comments

I've said before that comments on internet posts are a double-edged sword; on the one hand, you can have fantastic conversations with them or you get a toxic cesspit with people spitting whatever drivel comes to mind. Google is hoping to combat the latter with its newest machine learning initiative called Perspective.

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Another Play Store UI experiment appears, this time with separated store categories

At this point, I'm convinced everyone has a unique Play Store app layout. Several UI changes are in various stages of testing - including expanded cards on search, a new My Apps screen, a 'Top Features' list, and several others. There's yet another UI change in testing, this time expanding the Play Store categories.

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Google's phone prompts for 2-step verification are getting updated to show more info

Back in June of last year, Google introduced two-step verification prompts to mobile devices. This made using two-factor authentication a lot easier, since it formerly required you to enter codes every single time. However, these prompts looked pretty barren and showed little to no information about the device that was requesting access to your Google account. Now, though, Google is updating them to fix that issue.

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Registration for Google I/O 2017 is live, submit your application by February 27th

The annual Google I/O developer event has gotten hugely popular over the years as Google has increasingly used it to announce major products and OS updates. Getting a ticket to Google I/O is not a sure thing, but you can throw your hat into the ring starting right now. Just make sure you've got enough cash to cover the newly inflated ticket prices.

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The last update to Google's Phone app may be linked to Bluetooth calling issues

Google regularly rolls out updates to the dialer app on its phones via the Play Store. In the most recent update, the changelog claims "bug fixes," but many users are reporting it introduced a new bug. Dozens of reviews on the Play Store say the February 10th update broke Bluetooth calling.

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Refresh button for Play Store updates is now in testing

One of the more annoying aspects of the Play Store is that you can't manually check for app updates. We already covered how Google is testing a new installed apps screen, but we didn't get a look at one of the best aspects of it - a refresh button.

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