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Opinion: As Smartphone Innovation Slows, Google's Nexus Program Is More Important Than Ever

Smartphones are, by their nature, iterative products. But if you've felt that this iteration has started to slow a bit in the last few years, you're not alone - and you're probably not wrong, either.

Think about it: smartphones have a pretty set list of characteristics and features we evaluate in order to judge the overall quality of a device. Some are more subjective than others - design, for example - but many are also quite objective, even if quite difficult to measure objectively sometimes. How fast is the phone? How long does the battery last? How good is the camera [at night, for video, in slow motion, etc.]?

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Google Photos Web Update Brings Uploading Improvements And Keyboard Shortcuts

It sometimes may feel like the Google Photos web app gets a little left behind in the wake of its Android brethren, but today is the day: a post on Google+ from the Photos team has detailed the latest update, which brings improvements in the upload procedure and all-new keyboard shortcuts.

Photos can now be uploaded directly to an album, instead of having to upload photos and then add them to an album after they've uploaded. This should make it much easier to upload large batches of photos from a DSLR or other camera which doesn't connect to Google Photos. The keyboard shortcuts, meanwhile, will hopefully make navigation through the web interface more efficient, making it easier to move through photos or perform actions on an individual photo, such as editing or deleting.

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[Deal Alert] New International Nexus 5X 16GB Available On eBay For $229

Alright, non-US readers, this one goes out to you. A seller has the international Nexus 5X on eBay, and they only want $229 for the phone. Take that in for a moment. Yeah, that's a great price for a current Nexus.

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Chrome Remote Desktop's First Update In Months Adds A Material Interface And A Touch Mode [APK Download]

Chrome Remote Desktop had been stuck on version 44 since July 2015, until an update rolled out today to version 49 (it follows Chrome's version numbers). With it come a few interface improvements that make the app a lot more Material and a new touch mode that creates a new interaction method with your remote desktop.

First things first, the main interface has now gotten a better title bar, a spec-compliant side-menu, and the color scheme has switched from a mix of blue and green to a more unified blue. You will also notice from my screenshots that computers now show their status if they have been offline for a while.

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[What Does The Fox Say?] Google Search Can Teach You Animal Sounds, If That's Your Jam

Google Search can do many wondrous things: set up a reminder item, imitate a metronome, show (reasonably) accurate weather predictions...or play animal sounds. That's right, the newest feature to come to the platform is a function to play a requested animal sound, which may make you feel like you're in a zoo, but might come in handy one day.

So what animals are there to choose from? Well, there're cats and dogs, alongside a range of 'farmyard' animals, such as pigs, cows, horses, turkeys, and roosters. Then there's the 'wildlife' contingency of the animal kingdom - tigers, zebras, lions, apes, raccoons, and elephants.

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Chromecast 2015 And Chromecast Audio Should Be Available In India And Taiwan Soon

The original Chromecast was a streaming sensation thanks to ease of use and a low price point. The second generation, while generally well-received, still hasn't made its way to all of Google's various international markets. The next countries to get a chance to buy the Chromecast 2015 and its little brother the Chromecast Audio appear to be India and Taiwan. Both countries were recently added to Google's official hardware availability page.

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Google Brings Google Play Promo Codes To Austria, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, And Switzerland

Google has added six new countries to the list of countries with the ability to redeem Google Play balance promotional codes: Austria, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. To be clear, this doesn't mean that users can redeem app promo codes generated by developers: that functionality has been available since mid-January, and is available to any country where users can buy apps, as long as the specific app is available to download in that country.

When you buy a Chromecast, usually it comes with some form of voucher for Google Play credit, which is then spendable on apps, music, games, books, movies, or TV shows.

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Google Is Testing A New Group Conversation App Called Spaces

Google probably has tons of projects in testing that we'll never hear about until they come out (assuming they do). One of these unannounced projects is an app called Spaces. It's part of a non-public beta in the Play Store, but we've gotten a look at the app. You can think of it as a group messaging app, but more focused.

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Google Confirms The Physical Google Wallet Card Is Going Away On June 30th

All good things must come to an end, and that goes double for things that aren't very good. Google is sending out emails to everyone who has a Google Wallet card explaining that support for the card is ending on June 30th. We first reported on this a few days ago when strings in a new version of the Wallet app made it clear Google was preparing to discontinue the card.

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Google Introduces Open Source VR View For Easy 360-Degree Photo And Video Embeds On The Web And In Apps

360-degree photos are cool, and they're gaining popularity quickly, but at the moment there's no easy way to get them into web and app content. Google aims to fix that with VR View, a new open-source system for easily embedding 360-degree photos and videos onto web pages and apps, both on Android and iOS. The new system is open source, allowing for (relatively) simple adaptation into a variety of situations. Google made the announcement on its Developers blog.

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