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Google announces Family Link, a tool for creating and managing Google accounts for kids under 13

Google has never allowed anyone under the age of 13 to have a Google account, and certainly no one would ever lie about their age on the internet. Right? Well, now you don't have to lie with the new Family Link app. Family Link (invite-only and US-only for now) lets you create a Google account for your under-13 offspring with advanced parental controls built-in. There are some caveats, but this seems like a tool many parents will be anxious to check out.

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Google is testing a new interface for the Google Search app

Between the search bar on the Google Now Launcher/Pixel Launcher and Google Assistant, I rarely find myself opening the standalone Google search app on my phone. But now Google is testing a new interface for the application, and it looks quite a bit cleaner.

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The Google Home app gets a new Listen tab for music suggestions and discovery

I listen to music when I am doing most any activity, especially for work, school stuff, and the gym. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to find the right artist or playlist that suits my particular mood at a given moment. Luckily, Google Play Music has those suggestions throughout the day for various activities, and a similar feature has arrived for the Home app.

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After nearly 5 months, Google still can't keep the Pixel in stock

The Pixel and Pixel XL are the best phones Google has ever made. Good luck actually buying one, though. This is something we've been able to say about every phone Google has released, but the Pixel's supply issues seem much more pervasive than any of the Nexus phones were. After nearly five months on sale, the Pixel just went out of stock on the Google Store yet again.

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Google's next Pixel phones are likely codenamed 'muskie' and 'walleye'

Corroborating information provided to us by a source, we can share the first public sighting of Google's next-generation Pixel phones: in the Android Open Source Project gerrit (and yes, that means it's running Android). We've only seen one of the phones - walleye - which we believe will be the smaller of Google's new Pixel devices. Muskie, the larger of the two, has not yet appeared. (For reference, last year, we only ever saw Marlin in the AOSP gerrit - there's no guarantee Muskie will ever show up there.)

At this point, we don't have any more information about the devices that we are yet confident enough to share.

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Google introduces background tab throttling in Chrome 57

Chrome on Android already heavily throttles (or outright kills) background tabs, but Chrome on the desktop has mostly allowed inactive tabs to do whatever they want. Unfortunately, having several tabs open using performance-intensive JavaScript code, like timers, can cause Chrome performance and battery life (if you're on a laptop or other portable device) to suffer.

Google originally planned to start throttling background tabs in Chrome 56, but due to some concerns it would break a large amount of web pages, it was put off. Now the feature has finally arrived, as part of Chrome 57.

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You can now send and request money through the Gmail app using Google Wallet

Online payments are bigger than ever before, with more and more people utilizing services such as PayPal, Venmo, or Google Wallet to transfer money; the convenience just can't be beat. You've been able to send payments through Gmail on the web for nearly four years, but now, Gmail is introducing the ability to send and request money through the Gmail app via Google Wallet.

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Google Carrier Services moves to the Play Store, but it does absolutely nothing (for now)

Many device manufacturers, including Google, choose to update pre-installed applications through the Play Store. This way, individual apps can be updated without the need for an entire system software update. Another pre-installed app, simply called 'Carrier Services,' has been moved to the Play Store.

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[Update: It's fixed] The Nexus 6 Android 7.1.1 update brought with it some speakerphone echo

Nexus 6 owners had cause to rejoice a few days ago when Android 7.1.1 finally hit the beastly phone. It sat on 7.0 for quite a bit after its younger brethren received the update. However, now it seems that the celebration has come to a slight hiccup. It appears that the Shamu is suffering from a speakerphone echo bug. Yikes.

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YouTube is testing at least three new video loading animations

If you've been following our coverage of the many separate Play Store experiments, you'll know that Google has a tendency to test several interface changes at once. This time, at least three new video loading animations have been spotted in the YouTube app.

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