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Google Assistant adds shopping functionality, works with all Google Express stores

One of the more common uses for the Amazon Echo (and other Alexa-compatible devices) is ordering items online. In this glorious future, you don't even need to touch your phone to order products online - just tell your smart speaker to buy it for you. Now Google has added 'smart shopping' to Assistant, including the Google Home.

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[Brutal] Android market share is still rising, decimates Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS

The Android army marches on, killing other operating systems left and right, leaving carcasses of once vibrant and flourishing platforms in its wake, dangling them more and more from the Gartner and IDC market share tables, until there's no place left for them but the ambiguous "Others" row.

The latest report is brutal for both BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone / Windows 10 Mobile / whatever Microsoft is calling its platform nowadays. It's the Q4 2016 report from Gartner and in it we learn that smartphone sales have grown 7% compared to Q3, that overall 2016 sales also increased a little, that Samsung lost its top spot as smartphone vendor for the first time in a while to Apple (likely thanks to the Note 7 kaboom), but most importantly, we also learn that Android still managed to grow its market share by 1% year-on-year, despite having crossed 80% worldwide.

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Google and Telenor launch RCS messaging in some European and Asian countries

Rich Communication Services (RCS) are one of the hottest topics in messaging circles nowadays, despite the fact that plenty of users have already committed to one or several non-SMS solutions for talking with everyone in their lives. But hey, you can't blame operators for wanting to keep you using their services instead of some third-party ones. Even if all RCS solutions are not created equal and the fragmentation of standards makes this an inelegant proposition, carriers are moving forward with their implementation.

The saga of RCS on Android started with Google acquiring Jibe, followed by the official launch of RCS support in the Google Messenger app and its first partnership with Sprint in the US, then another collaboration with Rogers in Canada, and now we're seeing it spread to Europe and Asia with Telenor.

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Google's TensorFlow hits v1.0 with upgrades to speed, flexibility, and production-readiness

At the TensorFlow Developer Summit, Google announced that its second-generation machine learning platform has reached the v1.0 milestone. In the time since it went open-source, TensorFlow has helped many professionals in several fields make huge strides in things like language translation, early skin cancer detection, and diabetic blindness prevention.

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Material redesign for YouTube rolling out to more users

Back in April 2016, YouTube began testing a new look on the desktop site. This time, the web interface is heavily influenced by Material Design - something that has been in the works for other Google web apps recently. Now the redesign appears to be rolling out more widely.

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WSJ report: Google and Amazon are hoping to make Home and Alexa into home phones

Quite a lot of us have done away with the landline telephones that used to be a staple of homes in the developed world. A 2013 survey concluded that over 40% of US households had ditched their standard landlines phones, driven by younger users relying exclusively on their cell phones. But according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, both Google and Amazon are looking to revive the landline (well, VOIP line anyway) as a bonus feature in their voice-controlled Wi-Fi speakers, the Google Home and Amazon Echo/Tap/Echo Dot.

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Google expands fact-checking to Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico

News is extremely vital to how our societies function — making sure you find solid, fact-checked stories is an important aspect of that. Google has already taken steps to assist in that endeavor in the United States, France, and Germany, and now Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico are getting the same treatment.

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Google Assistant in Allo can now share personal data in chat, if you allow it

Google Assistant in Allo isn't quite as feature-packed as Assistant on other platforms, but it's still one of Allo's most compelling features. It can quickly perform a web search, tell a joke, set reminders, and more - all by just tagging it in the middle of conversations. Google has added a new trick to Assistant on Allo - it can share your personal data, if you grant it permission.

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Nest app updated with automatic door detection, app shortcuts, and more

Most home security cameras have mediocre apps (if you're lucky), but Google's Nest app is the exception. It tends to support more OS features, has better integration with other services, and it looks nice. It's getting better today. Nest is rolling out an update that includes some cool learning features, support for some Android 7.0 features, and more.

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