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First Chromecast Preview firmware removes all Chrome branding

Not too long ago, Google began offering users the chance to test unfinished Chromecast firmware. The first preview firmware, version 1.21.72444, began rolling out to users recently. Google's release notes for the update only state, "General bug fixes and stability improvements." Really helpful, Google.

Thankfully, tipster Rafael sent us the screenshots above and below. They indicate that all references to the word 'Chrome' have been removed. The current public firmware shows the Chrome logo when the device starts up, which is now replaced by a Google logo.

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Allo hits #1 in the Top Free Apps chart, but for how long?

Allo was finally released earlier this week, much to my own excitement. Google's latest messaging app seems pretty appealing in some regards and I am always willing to try something new. Thus far, I am enjoying it.

It seems that I am not alone. Allo is listed as number one in the Top Free Apps chart in the Play Store. That means it is beating Facebook/Messenger, Snapchat, and Instagram. It is mirroring its cousin, Duo, which also reached number one in the Top Free chart shortly after its release just over a month ago.

From this vantage, it is pretty easy to draw parallels between the two apps — both were announced together as Google's new messaging solution.

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Android and its first purchasable product, the T-Mobile G1, celebrate their 8th birthdays today

Eight years - that's how long Android has been available to the public for. September 23rd, 2008 marked two huge events in Android's history: T-Mobile's release of the G1, the first Android device available to the masses, and Google's release of the Android 1.0 SDK. Happy birthday, Android!

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Exclusive: Google Home will cost $129, Chromecast Ultra will cost $69

Speaking to Android Police, two sources claim that Google will announce its Google Home and the 4K 'Chromecast Ultra' devices will be priced at $129 and $69, respectively, at its October 4th event.

Google Home was announced at Google I/O in May. Our sources also confirmed that the personalized base covers Google showed at I/O will be a feature of the final device. The $129 price point for Google Home matches that of the previously-unrumored Google Wifi, a router that will allegedly be able to create a single, large wireless network using multiple access points. $129 also undercuts Amazon's Echo by a full $40, and though it matches the price of the portable Amazon Tap, it's clear Google has Amazon's flagship smart home product in its sights with Home.

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Exclusive: Google will introduce Google Wifi, a $129 home Wi-Fi router, on October 4th

OnHub-schmonhub: two sources are now telling us that Google will introduce an own-brand Wi-Fi router called Google Wifi, and that the device will cost $129. A source that has proved reliable in the past has told us that the device will be launched alongside Google's Pixel phones, Google Home, and the 4K 'Chromecast Ultra' on October 4th.

That source additionally claims that Google will advertise the router as having "smart" features - probably similar to OnHub in some respects - and that Google will claim it provides enhanced range over typical Wi-Fi routers (a claim we see basically every router make, to be fair).

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Micromax phones will be the first to come with Google Duo pre-installed

I would argue that Duo is a better product than Allo, at least in this early stage. Duo makes video chatting as simple as possible, and the result is a simple but easy to use application. Micromax, an Indian electronics company, has announced that four phones they are releasing in the near future will have Duo pre-installed.

Micromax didn't reveal too much about the phones, besides that they will be LTE-capable and will be under $100 USD. Google Product Manager Amit Fulay has said, "In the first month alone we have seen over 10 million downloads, with US and India being among the top countries." It seems like Google is betting on the growing 4G network in India to help make Duo a success.

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[Fixed] Chrome Beta and Dev are now properly showing up and updating in My Apps on the Play Store on Nougat

Earlier this month, we reported an issue with both Chrome Beta and Dev on Nougat. Despite both apps being installed on your phone, they didn't show up in the list of My apps & games in the Play Store, which meant that they were never automatically updated and you had to manually search for them, open their listing, and then see if an update was available or not to download it.

The issue, as we rightfully suspected, was related to the change of the signature keys in Chrome. As Googler Alexander Mineer explained to us in the comments on the original post, the keys had to be changed due to Chrome's new ability to act as a WebView provider in Nougat.

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Google VR SDK graduates out of beta ahead of expected October 4th Daydream viewer announcement

At this year's I/O, Google announced Daydream, a VR platform for phones and the headsets that go with them. We expect Google to reveal its in-house design for a Daydream VR viewer device on October 4th.

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Android apps show up in stable Chrome OS for the first time

Android apps on Chrome OS are not a new thing. In 2014, Google announced that it was working with a few select partners to bring certain apps to Chrome OS. Only a small number became available, and it was never really a consumer-facing project. Earlier this year, Google said that the experiment was scrapped in favor of a different system. Android apps would now run in containers, which would open the whole Play Store to Chrome OS users. This new approach would come to only some Chromebook models which had to be running the dev and beta channel builds.

Now, according to both the Chromium Projects page and the Chrome Releases blog, Android apps are coming to the stable channel for the Asus Chromebook Flip and the Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T.

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Chatting with Google: The many ways Assistant replaces or augments OK Google, Google Now, and Now on Tap

Hi Google, it's me Rita. I believe we've met before. Somewhere between Gmail, Google Photos, and Chrome, you must know a lot about me. Things I might not want others to discover, so hushhhh. (There are thousands of people reading us, let's not tell them about my love for Winnie The Pooh.) But our relationship doesn't feel equal; I barely have any information about you. Your new guy, this Assistant you've sent here to talk to me, I'd like to get to know him better. He looks a lot like the other guys you've sent before, Now and On Tap, but he seems special.

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