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Google's education app Expeditions is getting a new AR mode

2 years ago at I/O, Google introduced Expeditions, an educational tool allowing teachers to take their classes on virtual reality field trips, and it's since been experienced by more than 2 million students around the world. It could be used with an inexpensive viewer such as Google Cardboard to tour a variety of virtual spaces, such as Antarctica or the International Space Station. During this year's I/O keynote, Google's VP of Virtual Reality Clay Bavor announced a new feature for the app — it now includes an AR mode.

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Daydream comes to the Galaxy S8 this summer, a future LG phone later this year

Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 with support for the Gear VR (obviously), but Google's VR platform got the cold shoulder. The GS8 could have had both if Samsung wanted, and Samsung and Google have apparently come to an understanding. Yes, Daydream is coming to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

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Android O feature spotlight: Smart Text Selection automatically highlights the right words at a double tap

One of the new features in Android O that was recently announced at I/O is Smart Text Selection. Selecting the right text can be hard on a small screen, but Google's data shows that most of the time when we are selecting information it's something like an address or phone number. Now in Android O you can double tap text, and the selection automatically expands as needed. It even shows a convenient predictive shortcut so we can use it in another context, or save it. Of course, we can use the Assistant to do all those things if we remember, but it's good to have multiple ways of solving the same problem.

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Google announces Daydream standalone VR headsets with beacon-free position tracking, HTC Vive and Lenovo onboard

VR has slowed in both improvements and public excitement recently. But that hasn't stopped Google from bettering its Daydream platform, its take on so-called "smartphone VR." Like Samsung's version, Daydream requires a phone to operate. As cool as this was, it led to some issues, notably battery life and heat. During this year's I/O keynote, Google announced the Standalone VR headsets that were rumored yesterday. As the name suggests, these devices won't require a phone to operate.

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Google Photos is also getting Google Lens integration

Google has announced at I/O that Google Photos will also be seeing Google Lens integration. Now we'll be able to get contextual information about the images we have previously taken as well, not just whatever we can snap right now. From looking up the details and name of that plant or piece of artwork you liked, to checking to see what that cool old building you saw was, now you can apply those same Google Lens tools to the past as well as the present.

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YouTube in the living room now supports 360-degree video

I can't say I watch 360-degree videos much on YouTube... or at all. But I'm sure some people do, and if you are one of those people, you'll be happy to know that you can now easily view 360-degree content on your living room TV.

Google says the new functionality should work on any YouTube television apps, be it on your Xbox One or Android TV. I assume it will work on the Chromecast as well, but that was not explicitly mentioned. When viewing 360-degree content, you can use your remote's directional keys to move the viewfinder.

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Android O feature spotlight: Notification Dots put notifications on your icons

Android has handled notifications in pretty much the same way since its inception. Oh, there have been refinements over the years, but you go to the same place for notifications. That's changing in Android O with Notification Dots. You've probably seen something like this on custom launchers, but this is much more integrated with the OS.

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Suggested Sharing, Shared Libraries, and photo books in Google Photos utilize machine learning to group photos together

Google Photos is something many people use every day; the automatic backup feature is so convenient, and the free unlimited storage is a major selling point. At I/O 2017, Google unveiled three new features: Suggested Sharing, Shared Libraries, and photo books. All of these use Photos' excellent machine learning technology to group faces together.

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You can now make photo books with Google Photos

No matter how easy or simple storing all your photos in the cloud is, some people prefer to have hard copies of their favorite memories. There is no shortage of services and companies that offer easy creation of photo books, but now Google Photos has the functionality built-in.

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YouTube has passed 1 billion hours of videos watched per day, watchtime on TV increasing rapidly

YouTube is no pushover. It's a gargantuan platform for content creators and, odds are, there is something on there for everyone to enjoy. Personally, I watch stuff there more than on Netflix, Hulu, or Plex — it's usually about something involving video games. Turns out that all of us who watch YouTube collectively view 1 billion hours of videos per day. Think about that for a second.

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