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Google confirms speed limits on Google Maps only available in two areas

For years, Google Maps didn't support speed limits at all, a massively helpful feature on any navigation software. This finally changed last year, when the speed limit began to appear on Maps for Android Auto (and later the phone app). But it hasn't been available everywhere, and now Google has finally confirmed which areas have the feature.

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New Chromecast Ultra firmware update adds "video smoothness" feature, turns it on by default

Resolution is important on displays, but for now, there's not really much point obsessing about it given that most consumer TVs and many monitors now have 4K screens onboard. However, frame rate is just as crucial, if not more so; I'd much rather have a slightly lower-res stream with a more stable fps count. Google seems to have had the same thought process, given its latest "video smoothness" feature addition to the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra with firmware version 90308.

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Google is working on a new touchscreen-optimized launcher for Chromebooks

In the last two weeks, Google has been revealing a ton of new features for Chromebooks. The latest reveal is the biggest change in recent memory, though. Google is working on a new launcher for Chrome OS that is built for touch. With Chromebooks providing most of the same utility that Android tablets do now, these further optimizations for a finger-pokin' interface are more than welcome. 

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Android platform distribution numbers for July 2017 show another modest increase for Nougat

Google has provided updated numbers on what versions of Android are out there in the world, and again Nougat is showing a respectable, though not impressive rise. Nougat has increased by 2% across both versions, which is a bit weaker than last month's 2.4% rise. Some older versions of Android saw larger than expected decreases, but Nougat has still fallen behind the pace set by Marshmallow last year.

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Google Home is coming to France, and it (predictably) speaks French now

Get ready to say "bonjour" to Google Home, French speakers. Google's Assistant-powered speaker will soon be available for purchase in France, and as you might expect, that means Assistant can also speak French now. This comes on the heels of Google Wifi launching in France late last month.

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Google's new Blocks for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive lets you model and share 3D objects with VR

Today Google has announced Blocks, a new tool for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift for making 3D objects. Think Google's Tilt Brush, but with a 3D spin. As the name might suggest, Google's motivation seems to have been making 3D modeling easier for everyone. Crafting objects literally with your hands should make Blocks much more approachable for users compared to the regular keyboard-and-mouse-driven method on a 2D screen. 

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Google Maps now lets you contribute accessibility details

Google Maps began showing data on a location's wheelchair accessibility late last year, and now it's going a step further. Users are invited to help Google build a more robust database of accessibility details in Maps by adding their own observations. You even get contributor points for it.

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[Update: Only T-Mobile/Project Fi NKG47M builds] July OTA update is failing to install for 5.0" Pixels, Google is looking into it

Google began rolling out the July security updates to the Pixel family and newer Nexus devices earlier today, as is traditional for the beginning of every month. However, owners of the Pixel have found themselves unable to install the OTA, with their phones simply telling them "Couldn't update" and "Installation problem." Not to worry, though - Google is already aware of the issue, and is looking into it.

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Google releases Samba client for Android, adds Windows file shares to the Downloads/Files app

If you're not familiar with it, Samba is an open-source implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol. It allows many Unix-based operating systems to connect to Windows file shares and printers, making it easy to transfer files over a network between operating systems. Out of nowhere, Google has released a Samba client for Android.

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Google Assistant thinks Arizona is on the East Coast, Google still working on a fix

Google Assistant is pretty great, as far as virtual assistants go. You can ask it questions, play games with it, and order stuff from Google Express. But it also has a few problems, like it can't set reminders on the Google Home and it doesn't know where Arizona is. Yes, you read that last part correctly.

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