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Google Assistant gets playful with new Halloween-themed Easter eggs

Google Assistant doesn't need to do a whole lot more to earn the "spooky" tag, but that's not stopping the team behind it from trying — but this time for smiles, not shivers. The virtual assistant is now equipped with interactive, intentionally humorous responses to some Halloween-related questions and commands.

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Google drops the price of Type-C to headphone adapter from $20 to $9

I have bad news, and I have good news. The bad news is headphone jacks are dying, and Google is helping to kill them. That means you need adapters to keep using your existing audio devices with 3.5mm jacks. The good news is you can buy a Type-C adapter on the Google Store for much less money than you could a few days ago. Silver lining, and all that.

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Google confirms original-quality photo uploads from the 2016 Pixels are grandfathered for life

Ever since Google went out of its way to put a (very short) expiration date on unlimited photo uploads for the new Pixel 2s, there's been some concern about the original 2016 Pixels, as they never had a limit placed on them. We reached out to a Google representative for some clarification and were told that nothing has changed when it comes to the original Pixels. Both the 2016 Pixel and 2016 Pixel XL will continue to receive free unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos with no time limitations.

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Google's awesome Science Journal just received a huge update with more sensor types, a tweaked UI, and more

Back during 2016's I/O festivities, Google quietly launched what I consider one of its biggest sleeper hits: Science Journal. I could wax poetic about the app (and I will later), but the name is quite descriptive. Yesterday it saw a significant update, with support for more sensors, UI changes, and a new snapshot feature for capturing data points. An iOS version of the app was even released, so people of all platforms can more easily engage in the pursuit of quantitative inquiry.

Armchair science has never been so easy, or fun. 

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Google's Android Messages app hits 100 million downloads

Google has a long and often complicated history with messaging. For a time, there was no core Android SMS app while Google dabbled with SMS in Hangouts. Well, the Nexus 6 debuted with the Messenger app, later renamed Android Messages. Hangouts has since lost SMS capabilities, and now the Messages app has hit 100 million downloads in the Play Store.

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Google partners with Udacity to offer 50,000 new scholarships for aspiring developers

Grow with Google is the company's educational initiative offering free training and tools to help kickstart the careers of budding developers across the United States. The platform has several partners with which Google works to create learning programs and provide support. One such partner is Udacity, which offers free and paid online courses for a range of different technical disciplines.

Together, Google and Udacity are offering 50,000 new scholarships in the US. They will specifically target Android and mobile web developers with a view to training them up and getting them into work. The courses are intended to prepare students for Google's Associate Android Developer and Mobile Web Specialist developer certifications.

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Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One) review: Almost the perfect budget phone

Xiaomi phones always have the same problem. While the company's devices have generally great specifications and design for the price, the software experience is usually not very good. If you've read one of our Xiaomi device reviews, or used one of the company's phones yourself, you probably know what I'm talking about.

All of Xiaomi's phones and tablets ship with MIUI, a heavily modified version of Android that has countless problems. Some of these include Bluetooth connectivity bugs, terrible notification handling, and over-the-top power management that can outright break notifications for many apps. Jordan went in depth about MIUI's issues here, if you're interested in details.

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[Update x2: Motion Photos and more with v5.0] Hands-on with the updated Google Camera 5.1 app from the Pixel 2 [APK Download]

After the updated Google Launcher from the Pixel 2, we have the APK file for the updated Google Camera app that will come on the new Pixel as well. You can install this one on your current Nexus, Pixel, or other OEM-branded phone and give it a try to get a taste of what the Camera app will be like on the Pixel 2.

However, you'll be sad to know that the two most interesting features of the Pixel 2 won't work on your current device: the AR stickers are nowhere to be found and Motion Photos are, as we reported previously, exclusive to the Pixel 2 and Google Clips (for now at least).

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[Praise Slow Google] It's now possible to control Chromecast music and TV playback from your phone's Assistant, not just Google Home

The fragmentation of what Google Assistant can do on which device is, to say the very least, beyond frustrating. You issue a command on your phone and it works, then you try the same on your Google Home and it says it can't do that yet. You try something else on your Google Home and it works, but it doesn't from your phone, or your watch, or your TV, or Allo. It's disheartening when you know the Assistant could be so cool, but its implementation is so heterogeneous that it's impossible to explain that to a regular human.

Take for example the action of playing something on your Chromecast, be it a Chromecast connected to your TV, a Chromecast Audio, or a speaker with Chromecast built-in.

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Hands-on with the updated Pixel Launcher, including the new Pixel 2 features [APK Download]

If you spent the past week looking at videos and images of the Pixel 2 phones and wishing you could have them in your hands, well today you can have your first taste at them. We got the APK file for the updated Pixel Launcher that will ship on the Pixel 2 with its bottom Google Search bar and At A Glance widget, and it should work on all devices from Android 5.0 Lollipop and upward.

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