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Android 7.1.2 adds the fingerprint swipe gesture for notifications on the Nexus 5X

Android 7.1.2 started rolling out a few days ago with bug fixes and cryptic "enhancements" for Pixels and Nexuses. One of the more visible changes you'll notice if you own a Nexus 5X is a new option under Settings -> Moves. There's a new Swipe for notifications toggle that enables you to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor on the back of the 5X to drop down the notifications. It's a nice gesture that lets you check notifications without removing your index from the back of the phone or trying to reach the top of the display with your thumb.

You might remember that there was a bit of controversy over the feature back in November.

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New Google Artworks Live Cases feature Opening Ceremony designs worn by the New York Ballet

The simulation hypothesis is a scientific proposal that the world in which we live is, in fact, a massive and incredibly complex computer simulation. Many people in the United States are being won over by this theory, because lately it feels like we're all tiny characters in an increasingly cruel game of The Sims, right about the time that the omnipotent player-god gets bored and starts to screw with us. In completely and totally unrelated news, here are some fresh Live Case designs from Google. Enjoy.

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Google is shutting down the Hands Free pilot test on February 8

Ever since March of last year, Google has been testing a new payment method called Hands Free. The premise was that you could pay for goods with your smartphone without ever having to remove it from your pocket. The pilot was limited to the Bay Area and to only a few businesses. But now, the experiment has hit its end of life for the time being.

As of February 8, Hands Free will shut down.

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Google Messenger RCS support is likely not in public testing for T-Mobile after all

Yesterday, we reported that T-Mobile was in the process of testing Google's/Jibe's RCS implementation. T-Mobile has had its own version of RCS (called Advanced Messaging) since 2015, but like most implementations of the RCS technology, it is not compatible across carriers like SMS.

T-Mobile implementing the Jibe Universal RCS Profile, which Sprint and (soon) Rogers support, would certainly be better for users than the current Advanced Messaging system. Unfortunately, there is no substantial evidence that it is happening at this point.

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RCS support in Messenger going live for some T-Mobile users

RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, has been aiming to replace SMS for years. But unlike the universal SMS standard, there are multiple RCS implementations that don't work with each other. Google has been trying to solve this, by adding RCS support to Google Messenger and working with carriers to implement Jibe's 'Universal RCS Profile.'

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Google adds more enterprise-grade security controls to G Suite

While on the face of things, it may seem like Google steals data and invades privacy, the company is actually very serious about security. That doubles when it comes to the security of G Suite, Google's enterprise accounts product range. Today the company has announced it's adding a few things to make the accounts even more secure.

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Android 7.1.1 will be the end of the line for the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 - no 7.1.2 updates seemingly planned

Google's blog post announcing Android 7.1.2 today came with some implicit news for owners of the Nexus 6 and 9, but they probably could have seen it coming: this is the end of the line. Both devices are not included in Google's "final release" list for 7.1.2.

We're expecting to launch the final release of the Android 7.1.2 in just a couple of months, Like the beta, it will be available for for Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and Pixel C devices.

Google generally doesn't comment on specifically which updates will EOL a given device, but both the 6 and 9 are past the end of the support windows published by Google - October 2016.

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Google announces Android 7.1.2 Beta, includes Pixels, Nexus 5X, Player, 6P, and Pixel C [update: images]

Google has just announced Android 7.1.2, a maintenance release focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. The initial devices eligible for the update are the Nexus 5X, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and both Pixel phone models. The Nexus 6P will be eligible, but not yet, with Google saying they expect the 7.1.2 beta will be "released soon."

Factory images don't yet appear to be live. Factory images are live here. Be sure to enroll your device in the beta program if you want to receive the OTA, which Google says will start rolling out soon.

As for what's changed? Google doesn't really say beyond a cryptic reference to "enhancements for carriers and users," whatever that means.

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[Update: Better shots] Google's LG-built Android Wear 2.0 watches appear to have leaked in low-res form

We're just a few weeks away from the release of Android Wear 2.0, and along with that we expect Google's new watches to arrive. Google has confirmed it's working on these devices, but little else. Following a spec-heavy report last week from VentureBeat, there's now a new piece of the puzzle. An image has leaked that purports to show the two watches, and they look very much like we'd expect them to look.

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Is your Google Pixel's rapid charging feeling less rapid lately?

I put out a question on Twitter a few minutes ago asking if anyone else was feeling like their Pixel was charging more slowly lately. The response was mixed, but some definitely concurred with me: For whatever reason, the Pixel's (and/or Pixel XL) rapid charging definitely isn't feeling so rapid sometimes.

I've consistently noticed when putting my Pixel on the official Google rapid charger (the one in the box) that it's taking much longer to charge than it should, regardless of whatever the indicated battery level is. At very low levels, I've seen the phone take nearly three hours to reach peak charge, which is well above what should be happening based on what we know about the charging speed.

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