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Google is rolling out more than 50 new family-friendly games and activities on Assistant

Google Assistant is more than a way to control your lights or find out how many miles are in a league (it's 3.45 miles). There are also some neat little games and bots with which to interact. Today, Google has rolled out more than 50 new games and activities for families with kids. Maybe just kids at heart, too.

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Google inexplicably removed the "Keep WiFi on during sleep" setting from the Pixel 2 (Updated)

File this under bug or under the inexplicable decision column. For the longest time, Android has had an option under WiFi settings that lets you change the default behavior (always on) to turn off WiFi during sleep all the time or only when it's not charging.

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Lynky is the first Google Assistant-enabled touchscreen smart home hub

Amazon may have been first to the touchscreen assistant punch with the Echo Show, but there's compelling evidence to suggest that Google is readying a Home device with a display, too. In the meantime, another company is offering the first Google Assistant-enabled touchscreen home hub, and it's called Lynky.

The diminutive device includes a 5" multi-touch display, with two far-field microphones and 2W stereo speakers. Two versions are available. One can sit on a flat surface and is powered by USB. The other is to be mounted to a wall where it can be hooked up to pre-existing light switch wiring.

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Despite being live in Photos, Google Lens is only coming to Assistant in a few weeks

Google Lens has been a long time coming since its announcement at I/O in May. It officially launched with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL and yesterday it also started rolling to the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL. However, that was and still is only in the Photos app. Lens, if you recall, should work both for Photos you've already taken but also for instantaneous visual searches in Assistant without requiring you take a photo first.

The latter part isn't live yet and everyone's been wondering why. The answer came a few days ago by way of two Googlers on Twitter who explained that the Assistant integration of Lens is still in the making and will be live "in the next few weeks." It seems that it's still not ready to go live, even as a Preview, and requires a bit more polishing before its grand debut.

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Google Photos awakens your nostalgia with "Then & Now" smart photo collages

Photos is one of the most successful and amazing Google services launched in (relatively) recent times and I love the way it keeps surfacing memories for me and creating awesome animations and collages. One new Photos Assistant smart creation that we've seen over the past week is a "Then & Now" card that puts an old picture of you or one of your people next to a new one. For comparison, and nostalgia, and tears. Photos should get Kleenex as a sponsor.

Artem first spotted it a few days ago and several commenters said the same. The card, if you're lucky enough to get it, will show in the Assistant tab of Photos.

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Google Lens is rolling out to the first-gen Pixel and Pixel XL in Photos app

Google Lens made its official debut at Google's October 4th event alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but we first checked it out nearly a month before that. In Corbin's hands-on, he found that Lens was pretty impressive overall, with some room to improve. Now, it seems to be rolling out to 2016's Pixel and Pixel XL through Google Photos.

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Here are the Pixel 2's all-new alarm, ringtone, and notification sounds

The last time Google made new alarm, notification, and ringtone sounds for Android was for the original Pixel and Pixel XL. Maybe this will become a yearly tradition, because Google has done the same thing for this year's Pixels. We've also extracted them from a Pixel 2 XL, so you can use them on your own device.

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Opinion: The Pixel 2 XL, despite one big flaw, is still my favorite phone ever

I've been using the Google Pixel 2 XL now for over a week. Its predecessor, the 2016 Pixel XL, is what I called the best Android phone ever six months after its release. I'm fairly certain that the 2 XL will take the original's title, at least in my opinion, without issue.

Before flaws, refinements

Around the internet, I am seeing a lot of revisionist history claiming the original Pixel XL was essentially a no-compromise, highly polished smartphone. Here's the thing: it wasn't.

The original Pixel had significant flaws, and in spite of them, I still thought it was the best smartphone I'd ever used.

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Google posts October system images and OTA files for the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, but they only have September patches

Google makes updated Android builds available for its devices every month, and the time has come for October's downloads to go live for Google's new phones. You can grab the system images or OTA files for Nexus and Pixel devices, but not all of them are actually October patches. Google's latest and greatest phones are still only on the September security patch.

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