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Google+ For Android Hits 1 Billion Installs, While Google Play Games And Google Drive Both Reach 500 Million

There comes a moment in the life of most pre-installed Google apps where they hit the big 1 billion installs mark. This is measure less of how many users have sought out the software on the Play Store and more the number of times people have set up devices in the years since the app became available. Though in the case of Google+, the latest app to reach this milestone, there are surely people out there who didn't get the software out of the box and decided they wanted in on the fun.

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Google Announces Cast For Audio, A Chromecast-Style Standard For Streaming Directly To Connected Speakers

Google's inexpensive Chromecast is already popular for streaming audio from sources like Play Music and Pandora to your television, but now it looks like the company wants a more specific approach for music. To that end Google has announced "Cast for audio," an audio-only version of the system that streams directly to connected and certified speaker systems, no extra hardware required. The first compatible speakers should reach the market in the spring of this year.

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Play Store May Be Redirecting Some Search Terms To The Predefined Categories

The user experience on Android is never standing still, which is no more evident than in the Play Store itself. It seems Google may be trying out a new behavior for search queries that match the names of the Play Store's predefined categories. Instead of presenting a list of apps, searching for a term like 'action' or 'puzzle' can bring up structured lists like those that would appear in the category itself.

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Google Hangouts Rings In The New Year With A Dancing Emoji

One of the best things about tech companies is that they believe in having a little fun around the holidays, and there's no better time to take a beat to enjoy the festivities than New Year's Eve. Facebook just featured a themed selfie frame in its Messenger app, and Google is matching with a dancing emoji when you type the words "Happy new years" to somebody.

This easter egg has actually been around for a few days, but we thought today was the perfect day to highlight it.

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[Deal Alert] New 2013 Nexus 7 16GB Going For Just $135 After Coupon At Groupon

The Nexus 9 is the new hotness, but last year's Nexus 7 is still a speedy piece of tech. I have one on my desk right now, and I'll vouch for it. The little tablet has handled everything I've thrown at it with ease.

Anyone looking to pick one up may want to hop over to Groupon right this moment. The site is currently offering the Nexus 7 for $149.99, which you can get down to $135 with a coupon code.

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All Variants Of The Nexus 6 Are Available On Motorola.com Right Now

If Santa, the Chanukah Zombie, or Kwanzabot didn't bring you what you wanted this year, why not take matters into your own hands? The Nexus 6 is finally available again from Motorola, and they have all variants in stock. Yes, even that fabled unicorn, the 64GB cloud white.

2014-12-26 13_26_55-Nexus 6 by Motorola

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Hands-On With Google's Official Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio: A Great Case, Subpar Keyboard

While I don't personally do a lot of work from a tablet, the option of a keyboard has always been appealing to me. I'll occasionally use my tablet to take notes for whatever review I'm working on at the time, pen a quick email, or some other third thing that I can't think of right now. For anything more than a short sentence or two, the software keyboard just doesn't cut it for me.

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The Google Self-Driving Car Prototype Is Complete And Ready To Drive Itself Around California

Google's self-driving car program has been one of the company's most visible and high-profile "moonshots" over the last few years. When Google showed off the primary development stages, the self-driving vehicles were basically production cars (like the Toyota Prius and Lexus SUVs) stuffed with huge amounts of robotics, communications, and processing equipment. Now the first self-driving "Google Car" prototype, built from the ground up to demonstrate the autonomous system, is complete and ready to roll out.

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Android One Coming To Bangladesh, Nepal, And Sri Lanka In Just a Few Weeks

 

On the heels of its September launch in India, Google has announced further expansion of the Android One program into three new countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The choice of locations seems to suggest that Google’s efforts with the One initiative will radiate outward geographically from India. No precise availability date has been set for any of the new markets, but devices will be out “in the coming weeks.”

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Google Play Games Introduces New Publishing API And Leaderboard Tamper Protection, Improves Unity Plugin And C++ SDK

Game developers integrating with Google Play Games have seen a lot of improvements since the service was launched a year and a half ago at Google I/O 2013. There have been a lot of refinements to the experience for both players and developers, and new tools have made many of the tedious and time consuming chores much easier. Google has just launched a new Play Games Publishing API inspired by a similar interface that was added to the Play Store earlier this year.

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