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The Pixel 2's camera displays photos using the "Google Photos filmstrip" and not some standalone gallery app

By now you've probably overdosed on all the Google Pixel reviews (here's ours by the way), but one thing we wanted to focus on was an interesting change in the way the Camera app will handle photo viewing on the phone.

Previously, whether you were on a Nexus or the first-gen Pixel, when you took a photo and tapped it from the Camera app, you'd be taken to a slightly barren interface like the one below: back button and All photos on top, sharing and editing and deleting and info on the bottom. The problem? This was a standalone gallery activity that only displayed local photos and didn't integrate in Google Photos.

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Google Calendar on the web finally moves to Material Design

Google unveiled Material Design all the way back in 2014 (has it really been that long?). At the time, the company promised that it would use that design language across all its products, on mobile and desktop. It has taken a while for Google to deliver on that claim, at least for its desktop apps and websites.

One of the major holdouts was the Google Calendar web app, which has changed very little over the past few years. Back in May, Google announced during a G Suite presentation that Calendar would receive a redesign in Q4 2017. Then in August, the interface began a limited rollout, but it was never fully released.

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[Lolz] Google warns you not to cut the cord between the two earbuds on the Pixel buds

I'm not sure about you, but when I see a wireless earbud set connected with a rope/cable/cord/something, I don't immediately grab my scissors and start cutting it to make the whole thing completely wireless. Just like when I see a set of wired earphones I don't cut the cord and hope that'd make them work over Bluetooth. It's common sense.

But maybe the trend toward completely wireless buds has become common enough that people could assume things about the new Pixel Buds. Things that aren't true like the fact that the cord between them is completely optional: maybe it's just for decoration, or Google doesn't want you to lose one, or to avoid you looking like a dork with things pointing out of your ears, or to stop freaking people out when they see someone with long hair talk to themselves...

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The Pixel Launcher on Pixel 2 has automatic dark and light themes based on your wallpaper

There's a lot to like about the new Pixel phones—they're fast, the battery life is improved, and Google fixed the Bluetooth. You also get a lot of thoughtful software features that aren't available on other phones. For example, the launcher theme changes automatically based on your wallpaper.

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Mobvoi launches pre-sale for the TicHome Mini, its Google Assistant-powered portable speaker

Back in the summer, Google announced that we would be seeing Google Assistant-powered speakers this fall from a range of third-party manufacturers, including Sony, Panasonic, Anker, and Mobvoi. So far, only Sony's offering is available for purchase, but today Mobvoi is joining in by putting the TicHome Mini speaker up for pre-sale.

First announced at IFA 2017 in Berlin, the device is small and portable, with a handy carrying strap. It has all the functionality you would expect from an Assistant-powered device, essentially making it a Google Home that you can take with you as you move around your house.

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Google Wifi now available in Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden

Up until recently, the Google Wifi router and mesh network system was only available in 7 countries on the Google Store: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. The country availability support page of Google even officially attests to that. But Google Wifi is now up for sale in 5 more countries, mostly from Northern Europe.

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Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review: The best gets (mostly) better

We were all a little concerned to see the Nexus program come to an end, but Google assuaged our fears with the 2016 Pixel phones. They weren't the prettiest devices on the market, but the Pixels showed what was possible when Google got serious about making a phone. These devices had terrific cameras and consistently fast performance—even to this day the Pixel and Pixel XL are robust experiences. They were not perfect, though.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are a chance for Google to address some shortcomings from last year while keeping the things that worked. Google has done that for the most part.

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Some Nougat users can't back up their phones with Drive as it incorrectly shows "disabled by admin"

Another day, another inexplicable Google bug. This time we have Google Drive and backups in Android's settings. Some users, all of whom appear to be on Nougat, are seeing this message when they delve into their phone's settings to turn on backups to Google Drive: "Disabled by your admin."

You might think that this would happen if a G-Suite account is on the device and there's an admin blocking the feature, but nope. The users complaining don't have a G-Suite account on their device: they either never had one or they had it and removed it. You might think that this could be related to the device being recently factory reset and switched to a new account, but nope.

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The Pixel 2 has a Google-designed image processing chip, and it's not even turned on yet

We've known for a while that Google was interested in making its own chips. Recently their hardware efforts even bore some fruit, but most of us assumed that it would be quite a while until Google made anything at a consumer level.

Well, it turns out that the new Pixel 2 phones have a bit of Google-designed hardware inside them. It's called Pixel Visual Core, and it brings even better camera performance to the phones — or it will, once it's turned on. Pixel Visual Core augments Google's HDR+ implementation, improving latency, power efficiency (using 1/10 the power), and speed (5x faster).

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Tip: Get the ding sound after your "OK Google" command by enabling one accessibility service

Oh Google, all the mysterious ways in which you work will continue to elude us, but now we shall shed the light on one very important puzzle that's been making us scratch our heads for months, nay years. One day you say "OK Google" to your phone and it responds with a ding letting you know it's listening. A few weeks later, you try again, and there's no ding so you have to look at your display and spot that tiny animation on the bottom to figure out if it's listening to you or not. What's the difference? It's not your phone's volume level - you sometimes hear the ding even with Do Not Disturb on and then other times you don't hear it with the volume up to maximum.

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