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Google has only sold about one million Pixel devices, according to Pixel Launcher download figures from the Play Store

Of all the smartphones and tablets that Google has released in recent years, those from the Pixel line have likely sold the most. I've personally seen more "regular people" using Pixel phones than any Nexus devices, and that can be attributed in large part to Verizon officially carrying the Pixel and Pixel XL. However, since Google never releases sales figures for its mobile devices, it's been difficult to tell precisely how many Pixels have been sold - until now.

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Google adds more Local Guides levels and ways to earn points

Google Maps has a lot of data, some of it contributed by users. Google is keenly aware that you can get people to contribute to a service rather easily as long as you give them points. The points don't even have to be good for anything, although Local Guides points do come with some rewards. Today, Google is adding new levels to the Local Guides program and offering new ways to earn points so you can reach these higher levels.

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Google hires ex-Apple chipset veteran to help design SoCs for Pixel phones

Google's hardware plans for the future are getting bigger. Variety is reporting that Google has hired Manu Gulati, a hardware architect, away from Apple. Gulati is reported as having previously played a significant role in the development of Apple's SoCs for the last eight years and was hired sometime in the last few weeks. His new title at Google is Lead SOC Architect, and he's expected to work on custom chipsets for future Pixel phones.

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Android O feature spotlight: System UI Tuner loses features in Developer Preview 3

It's not unusual for Google to add and remove elements during the preview program leading up to a new OS release. It happens all the time and is exactly what we've noticed with while checking out Developer Preview 3. The System UI Tuner is a place for experimental features anyway, so anything found there is always subject to change. The latest Android beta sees the removal of all 3 of the most recent additions to this menu.

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The largest of Google's 2017 devices, codenamed 'Taimen,' may be built by LG

Back in March, we learned that Google may be working on a third device for 2017, called 'Taimen' (Google traditionally names products after fish). This third model would be bigger than the next Pixel and Pixel XL, codenamed 'Walleye' and 'Muskie' respectively. It's not known for sure that Taimen will be a larger Pixel phone, just that it will be larger in size than Walleye and Muskie.

Earlier today, we reported that Muskie has likely been cancelled, leaving Walleye and Taimen the only phones Google will reveal this year. Now it seems that Taimen may be manufactured by LG. 

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[Update: Out of beta] Gboard v6.3 beta is rolling out with improved search interface, search emoji by drawing, and more [APK Download]

There's a new version of Gboard hitting devices tonight, right after Google accidentally sent an internal v6.3 "dogfood" test build out to some users. Oh well, the version that's rolling out in the Play Store right now (also v6.3) is the proper consumer build, and it has some cool new stuff. Searching is now quicker and more powerful, whether you're looking for a webpage, emoji, or a GIF.

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Not just you: Google Play Music isn't behaving in Android Auto for some

A decent number of folk are flocking to Google's Product Forums after experiencing problems with Google Play Music on Android Auto. The issue doesn't seem to be confined to any one car, manufacturer, or phone, and it manifests itself via an error message when attempting to play music from Google's service. Restarting the phone fixes the problem temporarily, but users report they have to do this every time they want to use Android Auto for Play Music to work correctly.

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Google's Daydream View VR headset is now available in India from Flipkart for 6499 INR

We've had the Daydream View VR headset here in the States for nearly half a year now, but the same can't be said for many other countries. However, Google has just announced that the Daydream View can now be purchased in India from major retailer Flipkart for 6499 rupees.

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Android O feature spotlight: Gboard gets an incognito mode for Chrome

Google Chrome's incognito mode is meant to make more suspicious (insert Lenny face here) browsing history invisible at your beck and call. However, Google hadn't previously made incognito mode on Android disable keyboard suggestions. To alleviate this, browsing in incognito on Chrome Dev with a device running Android 8.0 will now make the incognito fedora and glasses appear on your keyboard, and Gboard won't remember unique words that you type.

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Android O feature spotlight: Pixel Launcher gets a new teardrop icon shape

Among a few of the other changes that appeared in yesterday's third Android O Developer Preview, a new icon shape has appeared. Joining its squircle, rounded square, square, and circular brethren, Pixel Launcher users have the option to make their icons teardrop-shaped.

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