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Gboard expands keyboard GIF support beyond Android 7.1

One of the few substantive changes in Android 7.1 was the addition of GIFs in the keyboard. When typing in a supported app, you can use the GIF button to drop in an image. This was only working on Android 7.1 previously, but the new Gboard keyboard update changes that.

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Most Wanted: The Google Pixel is Android Police's staff pick for 2016 Smartphone of the Year

In an internal poll of the Android Police staff, the Google Pixel has won overwhelmingly as our choice for smartphone of the year.

As I pick up my Google Pixel XL, nestled in its artwork Live Case (which, annoyingly, is cracking), I don't find myself missing much. I don't miss the almost artful curves and subtle refinement of the Galaxy Note7, the vast display canvas of LG's V20, or the Moto Z's... whatever. The Pixel XL just seems right, and if you were to ask me to give it up for any other smartphone today, I'd politely decline: this, for now, is as good as it gets.

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Project Fi offering $20 'Share the Fi Love' referral credit until January 11

Google's Project Fi has always been about saving money, as long as you don't consume a lot of data. Now Project Fi customers can "Share the Fi Love" with a new referral credit, accessible via the carrier's website. For each new Fi subscriber that uses the referral code, both the new subscriber and the original subscriber get a $20 Fi credit.

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Google Assistant can now control Nest thermostats from the Pixel, not just Google Home

For those of you who have used OK Google in regular Google Search before, then got a Pixel and a Google Home, the inconsistencies in what each of these can and can't do should be baffling. There are so many actions that Assistant struggles with on either the Pixel and Home that good'ol Google Search never had trouble with, and even within Assistant, there's a disconnect between what can be done from the Pixels or from Google Home.

One of the latter inconsistencies is that changing your Nest thermostat's temperature was possible with Google Search before and works with Assistant on Google Home, but for some odd reason, was not interpreted by the Pixel's Assistant.

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[Deal Alert] Save $100 on the 64GB Pixel C and $50 on the Pixel C Keyboard from the Google Store

Android tablets are in a bit of a lull right now, so I understand if you think this may not be the perfect time to invest in a Pixel C. But if you do want a new Android tablet, maybe for yourself or as a Christmas gift for someone, then the Pixel C should be a top contender. It runs Android 7.0 Nougat, has a 10.2" 2560 x 1800 display, 3GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, and the Tegra X1 may not be the hottest processor on the bloc, but it does the job fine enough. The big deterrent however, is probably the hefty price tag, but that is changing for the next couple of weeks.

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Most Wanted: The top smartphones of 2016

The end of the year has arrived, and it's time to make our picks for the phones that represented the best of what the [Android] smartphone industry had to offer in 2016. Without further ado, here are the recipients of the Android Police Most-Wanted award in 2016 for "Top Smartphone," in no particular order.

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[Update: Austria] Google Opinion Rewards is now available in Switzerland

Hé, les Suisses, vous étiez jaloux des Français et de leur accès à Google Opinion Rewards? Bah maintenant, il n'y a plus aucune raison de rester envieux: Opinion Rewards est disponible en Suisse!

Of the national languages in Switzerland, I only speak French, so excuse me if I can't write that sentence above in German, Italian, or Romansh. But I'll translate the general sentiment to English for those of you who are still reading me: Google Opinion Rewards is now available in Switzerland.

According to a couple of tips we've received, the app is now downloadable from the Play Store in Switzerland and users can sign up, start answering surveys, and earn a little bit of cash for each of them. Four languages are available for surveys: French, Italian, German, and English.

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Google is testing new search suggestions in the Play Store

Google likes to continually tweak the interface and features of its tools and apps, especially the most widely-used ones. Today an Android Police reader spotted new search suggestions in the Play Store, in a way that's familiar for general Google searches but hasn't actually been seen on Android's app listing yet. The new UI element shows suggested additions to your search term after the query has been entered - not to be confused with search suggestions that expand from the bar itself.

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Netflix and Google Photos integration for Google Home going live for some users

Google showed off Netflix integration with Google Home at the company's October 4 event. The feature would allow users to play Netflix content on Chromecasts, or Chromecast-compatible devices, with simple voice commands. Now the long-awaited feature appears to be going live for some users, along with Google Photos integration as well.

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Netflix VR for Daydream is now available on the Play Store

Google is making no small effort when it comes to lining up content for its new Daydream virtual reality platform, and that content isn't restricted to games and 360-degree video. Following in the footsteps of HBO and Hulu, Netflix now comes in VR flavor for those subscribers with a Pixel phone and a Daydream View headset. The app is live on the Play Store right now, though it's not compatible with non-Daydream systems - sorry, Gear VR owners.

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