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Google Launches Slides Q&A, Making Questions And Answers Interactive

I've always found myself nervous when Q&A sessions come up at a talk or presentation - I want to ask a question but can never find the willpower to actually put my hand up and ask it. Slides Q&A, in the latest version of Slides, appears like it might remedy or at least go some way to fixing that situation with its digital, typically Google-y approach to question and answer sessions.

With the update, Q&A is open all through the talk, with a link on the presentation screen. The audience is able to submit questions to the speaker, which can then be voted up or down by other members of the audience.

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Google Begins Rollout Of Improved Photos Smartburst, Burst Management Now Much Easier

Cody found evidence of an improved smartburst for Google Photos in his v1.16 teardown, and on the v1.17 official changelog it listed 'Improved burst photo support' as one of the points. Now, just after the v1.19 update, it seems the new Smartburst is finally starting to rollout to general users via a server-side update.

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The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan Is Google's Next Self-Driving Car Test Platform

Google's self-driving cars have popped up in four cities over the past several months, including Phoenix, Arizona and Kirkland, Washington. Drivers there may have encountered Lexus RX450h SUVs riding around with funky Google cameras sitting on top. Now Google has partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for its next wave of self-driving vehicles.

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Sony Announces Three New Speakers And A Receiver With Google Cast Compatibility, Available Now

A long time ago, Sony Electronics had a reputation for stubborn adherence to its own proprietary formats. Back when the iPod was just an MP3 player, Sony was still trying to promote its own ATRAC standard that was only available on its own hardware. ATRAC itself was a descendant of MiniDisc, another semi-proprietary format that tried to usurp the CD... not long after Sony had lost the BetaMax war. The company doesn't always lose - Blu-ray is a notable exception - but it doesn't learn very quickly, either.

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May Nexus Factory Images Are Now Available For Download

It's the first Monday of May, and that means there are some new factory images and OTAs for the Nexus line. As usual, these new firmware packages include the latest security patches from the preceding month, and possibly some bug fixes and optimizations, as well. While we'll be looking for changes in the AOSP changelog (coming soon), Google has posted the security bulletin to explain the major risks that that have been fixed in this release.

Google took special care to point out that the security bulletin has been renamed (from "Nexus" to "Android") to reflect its relationship to all devices running Android, not just those directly supported by Google.

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YouTube Is Testing A New Material UI On The Web

Google apparently has a Material Design UI overhaul in the works for YouTube and it looks pretty good. While it has not yet been pushed to the masses, it is apparently being tested on a small group of users while the developers look for bugs and Google braces for any negative feedback (people hate change, remember). Here's a look at the goods and a way to enable the new UI for yourself.

First, let's look at the homepage. Here's the current version:

2016-04-30_13-32-32 copy

And the new:

2016-04-30_13-29-15 copy

Not exactly a radical difference, but you do see the modern search bar that should be familiar from Google's Android apps and several web services as well.

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PSA: It's Easy To Get Song Lyrics From Music Apps In Google Now On Tap

Google Now on Tap, the search engine's contextual tool for Android, hides some pretty neat tricks up its sleeve. But perhaps none is so handy to music lovers as this option, spotted by an Android Police reader: Now on Tap can serve up song lyrics directly from music apps with just a few on-screen taps. Google's Knowledge Graph system can already find lyrics fairly easily, but the way it's been integrated into the retrieval system for Android is fairly slick.

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Chrome Beta v51 Adds 'Credential Management API' Similar To Smart Lock, But For Websites, Plus Under-The-Hood Efficiency Improvements

I always felt like one of the big downers to web browsing on mobile was typing in passwords. Of course, the built-in password management for Chrome (and other mobile browsers) can sometimes take care of things for you. But I'm sure if you do a lot of signing in, you know there are some sites whose login system just doesn't work with the browser's password manager. With Chrome v51, now in beta, Google is taking some steps to help smooth things out.

W3C, the web standards group, has created an API to help homogenize the relevant aspects of signing into websites.

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Chromecast 2015 And Chromecast Audio Now Available In Hong Kong And Taiwan, Plus Some Indian Retailers

About a month ago we spotted two new entries in the country availability listings for the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio: Taiwan and India. Today both of those are coming true (though India is somewhat conditional - see below), and you can add Hong Kong into the mix. For both Hong Kong and Taiwan, the streaming gadgets are now available on their respective Google Stores. The Chromecast 2015 and Chromecast Audio are HK$349 (around $45 USD) in Hong Kong and NT$1445 ($44.75) in Taiwan.

In India, things are a little more complicated. The new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio aren't available directly from the Google Store.

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Google Translate Turns 10 Years Old

One of Google's services had a birthday yesterday. Translate, the company's tool for translating words from one language to another, first launched on April 28th, 2006.

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