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Sprint is offering up to $325 in account credits if you activate a Pixel, but you might have to ask nicely

The Pixel is kind of, sort of exclusive to Verizon. Actually, Verizon is the only carrier that can sell the phone directly, but Google sells them online as well. Then there's T-Mobile which offers account credits if you activate a Pixel, and now Sprint is doing the same. However, it's not advertising the promo, and you might have to ask nicely in order to get it.

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These are all the apps and services that will work with Google Home [Continuously Updated]

Google first talked about Google Home back at I/O, but the device became official at the recent October hardware event. The speakers didn't go into detail on all the apps and services that Home would work with, preferring instead to focus on a few specific demos. Now, Google has published a list of everything that works with Home, and we expect this will grow over time.

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Google, please kill the horrible ongoing casting notification for all devices on the network

If there's one Google complaint we've received regularly recently, it's in regard to the new casting control notification which started appearing on devices as part of a Play Services update in early November. Namely, the problem is that the notification goes to every Android device on your network. It's a well-intentioned feature, but one which results in a horrible user experience for a number of reasons. Specifically:

  1. People are naturally inclined to dismiss notifications they don't recognize or want (something I'm sure Google agrees with!)
  2. People tend to accidentally hit buttons
  3. People are jerks

Number one: Listen, just because you gave Uncle Steve the Wi-Fi password so he doesn't use up all of his gee-bees during his holiday visit this year doesn't mean you were also interested in giving him authority over your casting controls that he does not understand.

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Some Nexus 6Ps have developed a battery early shutoff problem, and it's becoming a safety issue

A number of Nexus 6P owners have reported an alarming battery problem with their phones as of Android 7.0 being released for the handset, which causes the phone to power down when the battery gauge still shows anywhere from 10 to 60% battery remaining. How widespread the issue is at this point isn't clear, but the main thread on the Google issue tracker has 229 stars. There are also a significant number of threads describing the problem on Google's Product Forums (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Owners have linked it to Android 7.0, but even those who have attempted flashing back to Marshmallow report the problem still occurs, though generally at lower indicated remaining battery percentages than on Nougat.

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The Google Pixel appears to have a widespread speaker issue, but a software fix could address it

We've received a number of tips about this one, and it's definitely a bit annoying: the Google Pixel appears prone to producing harsh clipping or distorted sound through its speaker when playing certain audio at maximum volume. This trailer of The Mummy demoes the problem well - the first clip you'll hear is around 10 to 11 seconds in, and the issues continue thereafter. The problem appears to be widespread and currently is part of a post on r/android with nearly 1800 upvotes, as well as a long thread on the Google Product Forums. The issue does not seem to affect all Pixel handsets - some do not produce the distorted sound even at maximum volume, and there does not seem to be any consistency in terms of Pixel versus Pixel XL handsets being affected.

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[Deal Alert] Best Buy offering Pixel phones for $10-15 per month plus $100 gift card when you activate on Verizon

Verizon had a killer deal on the Pixel and Pixel XL for Black Friday, and now Best Buy is running an even better version of the promotion. Pick up a Pixel from Best Buy, and you can get it for as little as $10 per month. They'll also throw in a $100 Best Buy gift card for your trouble. There wasn't a gift card included with the Verizon deal on Black Friday.

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The first Waymo self-driving car is a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan

Google announced last week that it was getting out of the self-driving car business. That doesn't mean self-driving cars won't be a thing around Mountain View anymore; the project is simply being spun off into its own Alphabet company called Waymo. Now, Waymo CEO John Krafcik has posted some details of the company's first self-driving vehicle. It's a minivan built in cooperation with Chrysler.

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Google Assistant can track Santa, tell holiday jokes, and spin the dreidel

Google has added a few entertaining Easter eggs to Google Assistant since its release, including fully interactive quiz games. In the spirit of the season, a few new holiday-related commands have made their way to Google Assistant.

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Android Pay supports 31 new banks and credit unions

One of the disadvantages of Android Pay is that banks, credit unions, and credit card companies have to support it (as opposed to Google Wallet NFC payments). Thankfully, support has greatly expanded in the past few months, with Chase being the last major holdout in the United States.

Now Android Pay has started working with 31 additional banks and credit unions. Here is the full list:

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Less headache for Creators: YouTube channels will no longer have two types of URLs

For the few of you who have a YouTube channel, there was one headache-inducing issue that everyone kept running into: channel URLs could take one of two formats: youtube.com/ChannelName or youtube.com/c/ChannelName (the latter being based on Google+). While this seems like an innocuous annoyance, it used to cause plenty of confusion for viewers who weren't aware of the difference and tried to reach a channel but didn't find it there. Silly.

Now YouTube is consolidating these two URL formats. Either of the two will take you to the YouTube channel, regardless of which format you set up first as a creator.

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