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Chrome Beta 56 adds official Web Bluetooth API support, experimental WebVR, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 55 marked the arrival of many user-side changes, including Chrome's built-in download manager and saving pages for offline reading. Normally I separate posts about Chrome releases into new features for users and new abilities developers can use, but this release (at least in its current form) is almost completely about new APIs.

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Project Fi vending machine at San José International Airport offers free travel goodies to subscribers

There's a new vending machine in the San José International Airport, which is not usually something we would have any reason to care about. However, this is a Google Project Fi vending machine, and it gives away free stuff. Not to everyone, though. It's only for Project Fi subscribers.

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Google makes it easier to switch from iOS to Android with Google Drive backup tool

Apple has a switch tool in the Play Store that helps Android people switch to iOS. It's unlikely Google would get such an app approved by the Apple bots in the App Store. However, it's done a bit of an end-run around that with an update to the Drive app. You can now back up your iPhone data to Drive, then restore it all on Android.

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CyanogenMod 14.1 nightlies arrive for the Galaxy S III carrier variants, Moto E 2nd gen LTE, Moto X Play, and more

Got an old phone that the manufacturer or carrier has stopped pushing updates to? Chances are, there's a CyanogenMod ROM that will breathe life back into it. This week, CM maintainers have brought CyanogenMod 14.1, which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, to the AT&T and T-Mobile versions of the Samsung Galaxy S III, the LTE model of the second-generation Moto E, the Moto X Play, and more.

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The definitive Google Pixel US carrier compatibility guide

Hello! If you've arrived at this post, it may be because you're considering buying a Google Pixel and are wondering if it works on your wireless carrier. This is a fair question, as many smartphones only work on certain carriers here in the US. You may also be wondering what the deal is with the Verizon version of the Google Pixel, versus one you buy from the Google Store, Project Fi, or Best Buy. The good news is that there actually isn't much to know: every version of the Google Pixel sold in the United States is SIM unlocked and works on every major carrier, including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

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Google spins off its self-driving car division into a new company, Waymo

We've been hearing about Google's self-driving car ambitions for years, but lately the company seems to have slowed a bit, while would-be competitors like Tesla and NVIDIA are nipping at its heels. To give its efforts a boost (or possibly just make the expense and organization more manageable), the formerly Google-branded self-driving car project is being spun off into a separate company under the Alphabet parent company. The new venture is called Waymo, as in "a new way forward in mobility."

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Some T-Mobile stores will soon have Google Pixel display units, but won't be selling them

According to sources familiar with T-Mobile's plans, the company will announce either today or tomorrow that the Google Pixel will be displayed in some T-Mobile retail locations. The device will not be sold at T-Mobile retail locations (or T-Mobile's website). Instead, store employees will direct customers to the Google Store (and help them with the process) or Best Buy to complete their transaction. The "carrot" for T-Mobile here is obviously that it hopes to gain subscribers, and sales reps will be pushing the provider's current Pixel promotion as part of the pitch to customers.

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Google teams up with Rogers to bring Jibe RCS texting to Canada

Rich Communications Services, the next-gen upgrade to standard texting and MMS on conventional carriers, might just be the quietest, subtlest trend in 2016. It's being adopted by a ton of mobile-focused tech companies, including Google, in the somewhat nebulous hope that systems more than a decade old can be either replaced or augmented with more capable tech. To that end Google is partnering with Canadian carrier Rogers, the first company to join the Jibe standard in the country.

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Google's 'Brillo' Internet of Things platform is now 'Android Things,' developer preview available for download

Google dipped its toe in the waters of the ambiguously defined "Internet of Things" (IoT) at I/O 2015 when it announced the Brillo operating system. Today, Google has announced Android Things, the new name for Brillo, is ready for public testing. Developers can grab the images right now for several hardware platforms.

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Google acquires smartwatch company Cronologics to work on Android Wear

Google pushed back the release of Android Wear 2.0 a few months ago, which is currently expected to debut in early 2017. There's been a great deal of uncertainty about the future of the platform, but Google isn't giving up. In fact, it just acquired a company (founded by former Googlers) that created a smartwatch OS. It's called Cronologics—or rather it was. The company is being absorbed entirely by the Android Wear team.

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