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Google introduces Neural Machine Translation to Google Translate

Language is a beautiful thing. Yet, for some, there are large barriers to speaking with natives in other countries. Google Translate has made some strides in overcoming those obstacles in recent years and has always been useful to me as I learn other languages. It's because it is more than just a simple dictionary. So the news announced today that Translate is becoming more powerful and useful with what Google calls Neural Machine Translation is exciting.

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Google announces PhotoScan app to digitize your old photos and improved editing tools in Google Photos

Google is big into machine learning, and one of the product areas that's benefiting from that is photography. You may recall Google said it would use math to fix lens flare on the Pixel, and now it's rolling out a photo scanning app that seems to do something similar. The new PhotoScan app will let you turn your old printed photos into digital ones with the power of computational photography. Plus, the editing tools in Photos are getting better. It's weird that PhotoScan isn't just part of Photos, but Google loves multiple apps.

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Google Wifi can now be pre-ordered from Google Store, B&H, Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy

Google Wifi, the company's latest wireless router, was one of many devices announced at the company's October 4th event. It has much in common with Google's previous attempt at routers, OnHub - painless setup, prioritizing specific devices, a mobile app to manage your network, etc.

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Hulu app updated with support for Daydream

Of the several launch partners announced for Google's Daydream VR platform, a few caught the spotlight because of their cinematic promise. So far, we've had YouTube VR launch with limited content and Google Play Movies & TV just hint at upcoming Daydream support, but we were still waiting for the more exciting services: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and Jaunt. One of these has added support today and it's Hulu.

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Early alpha version of TWRP for Pixels released after work done to combat file-based encryption

It's just under a month after the brand new Pixel devices came out, so naturally developers and custom ROM makers have been hard at work building their wares for the new phones. Included in this is TWRP, the most popular custom recovery for Android (RIP ClockworkMod).

TWRP for the Pixel and Pixel XL is still in alpha format, meaning it is still buggy and should not be used if you're not aware of what you're doing. Specifically, restoring data is not working correctly, because of the new file-based encryption (which enables Direct Boot) that the Pixels employ. TWRP's lead developer Ethan Yonker says in a Google+ post that, "If a restore doesn't work correctly, it can trigger an automatic wipe of your data," which doesn't sound like fun at all.

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Codes for free Daydream View VR headsets are going out for Pixel pre-orderers

Google first revealed that Pixel pre-orderers would receive Daydream Views free of charge at last month's Pixel unveiling, and now, there's finally some movement; promo codes for the VR headsets are being sent out via email to customers who pre-ordered via the Google Store.

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Google announces RAISR, a method of upscaling images with machine learning

You probably know as well as I do that the internet is littered with low-resolution images, either a limitation of a device's camera or purposely-downgraded for faster loading on slow connections. Unfortunately, enlarging an image many times over while still preserving detail is something only possible in episodes of CSI. But thanks to the magic of machine learning, Google has been developing a solution - RAISR, short for Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution.

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Android has an official Instagram account now, complete with obligatory food pictures

Do you love to #engage with your favorite #brands on social media? Android already has a Google Plus page and a Twitter account, but now there is an official Instagram account as well. With the username @android (as you might expect), the only upload so far is the above six-image collage.

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Huawei executive confirms company passed on chance to produce Google's Pixel phones

According to German blog WinFuture, VP of Huawei Consumer Business Group Colin Giles confirmed on the record that the company passed on a chance to be the manufacturer of the Google Pixel. The reason, according to Giles, was as we reported a little over a month ago: branding.

Huawei had no desire to go back to making phones for someone else, and Google didn't want a manufacturing partner's trademark featured anywhere on the Pixels or in their marketing. So, a potentially multi-year smartphone partnership that started with the Nexus 6P instead ended there. What could have been will likely remain a mystery - it's not even clear if Google's plans for the Pixel phones had fully materialized during negotiations with Huawei, or if the resultant decision to go with HTC may have led to larger strategy changes for the products.

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Google posts video showing how to set up Wifi, ahead of shipping in December

Google told us at its event in October that the company's new router, the Wifi, would be available to order some time in November and would then ship in December. Right on cue, an unlisted video has appeared showing how to set up your brand new router.

Setup is reasonably straightforward, from the looks of things: plug in the USB-C cable for power and ethernet to your existing modem, then wait for it to flash blue, at which point the app can be used to configure it. To do this, scan the QR code on the bottom of the router, then wait for the app to do its thing.

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