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Happy Anniversary: Nine years of Android love

Dear Android,

It’s been nine years already. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Froyo. But Oreo just came out, and we've even got two more Pixels on the way. After all these years, Android, you’ve never looked better. So much has changed since we first met. 

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Mash no more: The 'check for update' button on Nexus/Pixel now always pulls the latest OTA

One of the biggest memes in the Android community has been the "check for update" button. Until now, pressing that button never actually did anything; if you were in the update's rollout group, it would obviously reveal a pending OTA, but if you weren't, hitting it did absolutely nothing. However, Googler Elliott Hughes has informed us that that elusive button is actually useful now.

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Google starts asking for audience reviews in movie search results

Late last year, Google started showing like and dislike buttons on movie and TV shows' search results card. That allowed it to add its own ratings next to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. But it was only a percentage of likes based on how many people tapped the thumbs up or down icon, so it didn't provide any context or explanation to the rating, thus making users head elsewhere for a more detailed opinion.

Now it appears that Google is testing a more elaborate rating system with full reviews. You can still like/dislike the movie, but if you scroll down you might also spot a new "Audience reviews" section.

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Android Pay adds 24 new banks and credit unions in the US

Android Pay continues its expansion into small banks and credit unions across the United States and today brings us 24 additions. At this point, given the long list of banks supported, I'm starting to doubt that there's a bank for every 10 persons in the US. But then again, The World Bank says there are a little over 32 bank branches per 100K adults in the US. That's branches, so banks should be a lower figure. (Oh the things we search for when writing dull articles here...)

So if you were still waiting on your local bank or union to get Pay support, I wish you luck in finding it when browsing the list of additions below:

  1. Bank of Idaho
  2. Beehive Federal Credit Union
  3. Citizens Bank (WI)
  4. Community National Bank & Trust of Texas
  5. Duke University FCU
  6. First Community Bank (TX)
  7. Great Plains Bank
  8. Guaranty Bank & Trust Company of Delhi
  9. Gulf Winds FCU
  10. Mascoma Savings Bank
  11. Meadows Bank
  12. Meriwest Credit Union
  13. Nascoga Federal Credit Union
  14. One Bank & Trust, N.A.
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Google+ has new content restriction modes for G Suite admins

If your business uses G Suite that means your employees have access to Google+, and like any social media platform it's full of distractions. That's where content restriction settings come in handy for administrators, and Google is making some changes to these by splitting them into three new modes.

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A year and a day: The short history of Google's Allo so far

Allo was released on Google Play just over a year ago, on September 20th. It suffered a bit at the hands of hype between its early announcement at 2016's I/O and the actual release, which didn't come for months. But since then it has been a major part of the conversation when it comes to Android. Google made a big decision and faced a lot of criticism when it resolved to launch another messaging service. Now that it's been a year, how has it held up?

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Google announces Android 'zero-touch enrollment,' makes rolling out Android devices in organizations easier

Usually when a company purchases smartphones (or computers) for use by employees, there's a long setup process involved. Taking every phone out of the box, setting everything up, and installing management software can eat up a lot of time. Google is trying to solve this problem with 'zero-touch enrollment,' a way to make Android rollouts in the enterprise more seamless and secure.

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Bose's Google Assistant-optimized QuietComfort 35 II headphones are now official

It's been known for some time that Google was planning to release its own Google Assistant headphones (Bisto), and we also knew that third parties would be releasing headphones with similar functionality. Thanks to a couple of leaks, we knew that Bose would be launching the QuietComfort 35 II with the Assistant built-in, and today that news has been officially announced by both Google and Bose.

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Google+ posts on desktop get more conversational with new UI tweak

G+ may be going through some stuff right now, but that isn't stopping Google making little changes here and there to improve the experience for anyone still using it. The Android app is updated fairly frequently, and now the desktop site is getting some attention, too. I'm not sure how many people this tweak will make a difference for, but I'm sure someone, somewhere will be pleased about it.

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Google is testing a new search suggestions design and it looks cluttered

What's another week without another Google app server-side test that few will see and even fewer will like? In today's edition, we have a new search suggestions look in the Google app and search widget: blue words inside a rounded rectangle (TIL the shape is called a stadium) at the bottom of the search suggestions overlay.

We've only received reports of this design from two readers, so it doesn't look to be widespread and that's a good thing in my opinion. If you see the search overlay in the image above, you'll notice there's the suggestion based on the user's search history (clock icon), the ones based on Google's search algorithms (search icon), and then the blue word bubbles that have 2 duplicate suggestions from the ones above.

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