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[Birthday] Google Maps Turns 10 Years Old Today, Let's Take A Look Back

It might be hard to believe, but the Google Maps we know and love launched 10 years ago today. Before Android, Chrome, Google Plus, Youtube, and most of the other services that make up the core of the Google experience, we had Maps. And while it might be saying too much to argue that Maps led the way to Google's recent successes, it is certainly under-appreciated for its role.

The Beginning

Google Maps wasn't the first online map service. It also didn't obviously relate to Google's claim to fame: search. It's important to remember that by 2005, Google was no start-up anymore.

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Google Offers Live Video Helpouts Sessions For Would-Be Nexus And Chromebook Buyers On The Play Store

If you're a regular Android Police reader, you probably don't need any "sales assistance" when picking out a new phone, tablet, or laptop - pretty much everything you could want to know is just a web search away. But some people appreciate the personal touch, which is why those guys in the blue shirts at Best Buy still have jobs. To help out these sorts of shoppers, Google is offering live video chat assistance for hardware shoppers on the Play Store.

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Image credit: TechCrunch

The new service leverages Google's own Helpouts service (an instruction and assistance portion of video Hangouts) and the infrastructure of the Play Store.

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InBrief
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Motorola Has The Blue 64GB Nexus 6 In Stock Right Now—Hurry

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[APK Teardown] Upcoming Google Play Services v6.7 Schedules Android One OTAs For Off-Peak Hours, Adds Experimental Activity-Based Personal Unlocking

As the resident teardown guy, Update Wednesday was a huge letdown this week. After slicing and dicing a dozen or so apks, all I saw were bug fixes, minor adjustments, and updates with full changelogs. Come on Google, I can't write about the neat stuff if none of the secrets are allowed to leave Mountain View. Fortunately, I did get to look at an unreleased version of Play Services, and there are a few interesting things to take away from it. (Sorry, we don't have an APK to share with this one.)

TeardownHero

Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and based on incomplete evidence.
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Official CyanogenMod Is Finally Available For The Nexus 9

The Nexus 9 is Google's new flagship Lollipop tablet, but what if you don't like the software Google put on the device? Well, you can change it. That's how Nexus devices work. Now you can finally install CyanogenMod 12 on the N9. Just head over to the CM downloads page and get ready to flash.

2015-02-06 14_37_35-CyanogenMod Downloads

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Verizon Leak Shows Release Dates For The Nexus 6, The Galaxy Core Prime, And The DROID Turbo In Sapphire Blue

If you've been waiting for Verizon's carrier-branded version of the Nexus 6 to hit stores so you can save a little cash on a subsidized phone, you won't have to wait much longer. A tipster sent a photo to Android Police that appears to show a rollout schedule for Verizon's next round of phone releases displayed on a company intranet or presentation. The Nexus 6 (or at least Verizon's model with a scarlet V) is scheduled to be released on February 26th.

verizon rollout

Verizon's model of the N6 will probably be identical to the ones on the Play Store and other carriers, at least in terms of hardware - the vanilla phone already has a Verizon CDMA-LTE compatible radio.

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[Deal Alert] Get $6 In Google Play Credit For Each Chromecast In Your House

The Chromecast is not an expensive device, and it's even cheaper when you consider all the free stuff Google has given out to owners since it was released. In fact, the Chromecast has probably paid for itself and then some. Right now you can get a $6 Google Play credit if you have a Chromecast on your network, and you can do it multiple times if you have more than one.

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Google's Latest Android Commercial Reaches Cute Factor 11 By Mixing Adorable Animals And Disney's Robin Hood

In 1973 Disney released Robin Hood, a kid-friendly re-telling of the English outlaw legend with anthropomorphic animal characters. There wasn't anything odd about that  - its previous release was The Aristocats. What was odd about the movie was the tonal shift to American folk music, with Texas-born singer Roger Miller providing the songs and narration, and even appearing as Robin Hood's musical merry man Alan-a-Dale (an animated rooster in this version). It is perhaps the most unique of Disney's animated movies in its era.  

What is all this doing on an Android blog? Well, some genius over in Mountain View thought that Miller's opening song for the movie would be perfect for Android's current "be together, not the same" ad campaign.

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[APK Download] Google Maps v9.4 Update Includes New 'Local Guides' Feature, Highlighting Top Reviewers

Coming with the latest Google Maps update is Local Guides, a new program meant to increase the number of reviews original to Google and highlight the best of them. It is both a feature addition to Maps and something that exists independently of it. Guides are people who will be rewarded for their reviews, while you benefit by having them as a more credible source of information.

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This looks similar to Yelp's Elite Reviewers, which is...well, similar. See below for an Elite Yelper in my area. Given that Google has decided to compete with Yelp, it makes sense that they'd want to do this.

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[Duh] Verizon's Nexus 6 Will Have A Carrier Logo On The Back

You probably remember the huff over AT&T's customization of the Nexus 6 several months back. Well, Verizon isn't going to be left out of the fun. Verizon's version of the device will apparently have a logo on the back, according to some leaked pics. Yes, if you look carefully, there's a phone under all those watermarks.

nexus-6-verizon-logo

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