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Google Contributor has been shut down

Back in 2015, Google launched a service called Google Contributor, which allowed users to pay a small amount of money per month to see fewer AdSense ads on their favorite websites. The service never expanded outside the United States, and last month, Google announced it would shut down "mid-January 2017."

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Google+ getting comment filters, return of Events, and more; Classic UI going away forever on January 24

Google+ refuses to die, much to the joy of people like me who actually enjoy the service. The development team behind the social media platform has been making changes over the years, including some pretty massive ones to both the mobile and desktop interfaces. Today brings us some new additions: a low-quality comment filter, layout adjustments, and the return of Events.

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LifeProof FRĒ waterproof cases for the Pixel and Pixel XL are now on the Google Store for $90 a pop

Unlike some other flagship phones, Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are not officially water-resistant - their Ingress Protection rating is a mere 53, much less capable than some Samsung and Motorola designs. If you're left feeling a little exposed, LifeProof has a case to sell you. Previously only available on the manufacturer website, the FRĒ series of cases are now being sold on the Google Store alongside the phones themselves. The good news is that the cases have an IP68 rating, meaning they're dust-proof and submersible for up to two hours in 2 meters of water. The bad news is that the cases cost $89.95, for either the Pixel or Pixel XL.

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The Play Store should soon tell you if your device is GMS certified or not

In October of last year, Cody found strings in his teardown of the Play Store 7.1 that hinted at a mysterious "Device Certification" label. Back then, he theorized that it could be an indicator of whether your device was indeed GMS certified and thus supposed to have the Play Store or it could be a SafetyNet check to see if your firmware was modified in any form. The correct answer turned out to be the first one.

Several users have reported the appearance of a "Device certification" menu in the Play Store's settings over the past couple of months, but the option was buggy and not so widespread.

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[Deal Alert] Daydream View headset price reduced to $49 in the Google Store until February 25th

Google's official VR headset for the Pixel and Pixel XL, the Daydream View, isn't absolutely necessary to enjoy the phones. But since owners have one of the only pieces of hardware on the planet currently compatible with the Daydream platform, it would be a shame to let the opportunity to check it out pass by. Google agrees... or at the very least, they have an overabundance of stock since the initial freebie preorders ran out. At the moment the headset is $30 off on the Google Store.

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Android Wear 2.0 to land on February 9 according to Evan Blass

Google has been releasing Android Wear 2.0 dev previews for several months and after a couple of delays that saw the launch pushed into 2017 instead of 2016, we now have a date to look forward to: February 9.

Just last week Google sent emails to developers to ask them to update their apps for Android Wear 2.0 ASAP because the new firmware would be released in early February, so the February 9 date just leaked by Evan Blass fits well into that timeframe.

We don't know which watches will get this update and how quickly they will, but we are slated to see more new watches come out with Android Wear 2.0 soon, including Google's own smartwatches which should be coming in Q1 2017 and LG's unknown round LTE watch.

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PSA: Chrome Dev allows you to modify recommended sites or articles, sort of

Many weren't happy with the change that shows recommended sites and articles in Chrome 54 - Android Police team members included - and while I personally do not mind them, I can see why you would prefer not to have Google recommend stuff you may not like.

In light of this, Chrome developer evangelist François Beaufort has come to the rescue. A new Chrome internals page, in the latest builds of Chrome Dev, allows modification of the recommended sites and articles, at least somewhat. chrome://ntp-tiles-internals controls what is shown on the page, with an update button to update the popular sites and function to change the region you get sites from (for example, I'm in the UK so I see the UK versions of sites).

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5 things I'd like to see Google improve on in the next Pixel phone

I'm coming up on month three of near-uninterrupted use of the Pixel (specifically the Pixel XL), and as I've spent more and more time with Google's chosen phone, I think I've got a solid list of areas where I think Google could improve the device when a successor is released. While I still think the Pixel is quite easily the best Android phone currently on sale, it's not without compromises, some of which were not readily apparent to me until well after I started using it. Here are five areas I think are ripe for improvement on the Pixel, and that I hope are addressed when we see a new Pixel (again, hopefully) later this year.

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Android Pay gets support for 40 new banks including BMO Harris

Every time it seems like Android Pay must now, finally support all the banks, there are more of them. Google has just confirmed support for 40 more banks in its payment service. That's in addition to the 46 that were added just a few weeks ago. Let me just save you the trouble of scanning the list and being disappointed—Simple Bank is not among them.

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YouTube is killing Fan Funding feature, new monetization options coming soon

One of YouTube's many problems is video monetization. With the site changing its discovery algorithms constantly, many major creators have turned to services like Patreon to ensure a steady source of income. Now YouTube has decided to shut down its Fan Funding feature, which allowed users to donate to channels with it turned on.

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