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[Deal Alert] Groupon's Refurbished $20 Chromecast Deal Is Back For A Limited Time

Even at full price, you could stick a [Deal Alert] tag on just about any box with a Chromecast in it. I mean, the thing costs $35 bucks and turns any TV from a blank screen to something that can play most of what us cord cutting types want to watch these days.

Of course, slashing that price in half makes it even more of a deal. We've seen Groupon offer the Chromecast for just $20 before, but the deal is back, and it's still a great buy.

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Google+ Link And 'Share' Shortcut Disappear From The Google Bar

It looks like Google is performing some surgery on the Google bar, the familiar toolbar that appears across the top of many of Google's web properties (including Chrome's new tab page). Until recently, the bar held a G+ sharing shortcut, a profile switcher, an "app drawer" to switch between Google products, and a link shortcut to your Google+ profile.

Today it looks like two of those things have been axed - specifically the Google+ link and the sharing shortcut.

Of course, while "Google+ is dead" sentiments have been floating around virtually since the service's inception, we'll resist the urge to speculate about the rationale behind removing Plus-specific functionality from the bar for now.

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Google Calendar's SMS Notifications Will Not Be Available After June 27th

There was a time, several years ago, when SMS notifications were very handy. Twitter, Google Calendar, and many other services, used the 160 characters to let you know of any changes to your schedule, new mentions and direct messages, and surfaced other useful information to you. But in today's age, where smartphones are so ubiquitous and you could get one for less than $100, SMS is taking a step back to regular notifications from installed apps. That's why Google is canning SMS notifications for its Calendar service on June 27th.

Important: SMS notifications not available after June 27th

Starting on June 27th, 2015, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be sent.

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InBrief
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Google's Cardboard App Updated To Version 1.5

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Android M Developer Preview AOSP Changelog Posted, Probably Not A Complete Platform Release

The Android M Developer Preview was released just yesterday and we're all very closely examining the changes. While there's still quite a bit to dig through, it looks like Google is getting some of the source code up right away. Before anybody gets too excited, it's likely that this code dump occurred to ensure GPL compliance. However, there are quite a few projects in the changelog that wouldn't normally require updates due to licensing, so there may be quite a bit more going live on this release.

The entire changelog totals about 29,000 commits and weighs in at about 4.7 MB. It's not entirely clear where the official starting point would be, but we generated the changelog from 5.1.1_r4, which is currently the latest release available.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Deep Linking Without Selector Prompts Can Be Changed Or Removed By Users On A Per-App Basis

We reported yesterday on Google's announcement that Android M would support deep links that skip the sometimes-annoying app selector prompt. Details were scarce at the time and many were worried that this would shut out third party apps or make it hard to view content with a browser when it might be more appropriate.

Screenshot_20150528-145229 Screenshot_20150528-153957

If you go to an app from the list within the "apps" section of the system settings, you will see something like the first picture. You can set defaults and decide whether that app should open its own links without asking. If you go to the advanced area instead of selecting an app, you will see the second screenshot.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The New Share Menu Is Simplified, Shows Many More Apps At Once Instead Of One Option Per Line

For many, this one falls into the category of "fixing problems you didn't know you had." If you have a lot of apps installed, though, you probably have already been frustrated by the share menus on previous Android versions. God forbid the app you want falls too low in the alphabet, because you will be scrolling like the dickens to share with it. Android developers clearly recognized that they were really wasting some space, so the Android M version is a lot more efficient.

Screenshot_2015-05-28-15-48-01 Screenshot_2015-05-28-15-48-08 Screenshot_20150528-154820

Left and middle: the old share menu Right: the new one

If you look closely, you'll notice that you can actually see more share options in the compact version of the new menu than you could in the fully expanded view of the old one.

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Google Cast Gets New APIs, Allowing For Second-Screen Functionality, Autoplay, Queuing, And More

Google Cast is one of those things that just seems to keep getting better, and with Chromecast sales doing so well, it's no wonder Google is throwing resources at the platform to make it even more robust. While not technically a part of Google I/O, Google did announce yesterday that some very awesome new Cast APIs are coming... right now. As in, they're here - for both iOS and Android.

There are a few major new features, so let's go over them.

The first is second-screen functionality. Casting graphically intensive apps from your device is no longer limited to simple mirroring - the new Cast Remote Display APIs (which are betas, so beware) will allow full-on second-screen functionality when casting something like a video game.

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