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Chrome Dev 58 seemingly removes option to disable New Tab page recommendations

Until Chrome 54, the New Tab page only showed a grid of commonly-visited pages and quick shortcuts to Bookmarks and Recent tabs. Then the shortcuts were removed, and replaced with a list of recommended articles (much like Google Now/Google Feed). I wasn't a fan of the change, and the comments on that post indicated many of you were not either.

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Google Cloud Search is the latest addition to the G Suite, brings the power of search to internal workflow

What if businesses could leverage the power of Google Search to find internal information faster than ever before? Cue Google Cloud Search, the answer to that question. Replacing the service formerly known as Springboard, this new product uses machine learning to provide a unified experience across the G Suite.

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Google's researchers explain the challenges and calculation process behind the new Parking Difficulty feature in Maps

A few weeks ago, a new Parking Difficulty icon started showing up in Google Maps 9.44 beta in some cities in the United States, then Google officially announced it and specified where it's available. It also said that the estimate is "based on historical parking data," similar to how traffic and popular times and visit durations are calculated, but it didn't go into a lot of details. Now those details are further clarified in a post on the Google Research Blog.

The difficulties of calculating parking availability stem from the many, many factors that can influence the equation: time and day and weather and holidays/events, permit or illegal parking in park-meter areas, vacant spots with paid park-meters from cars that left early, parking lots with multiple levels and different structures, and so on. Even with these issues accounted for, there's the false data coming from private/gated parking spots, taxis dropping users who look like they immediately found a parking and reached their destination, and bus stops showing up in the data sets as popular parking spots.

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Google is working on ways to help identify page-freezing code in Chrome

Modern websites are extremely complex, composing of code running on both the user's device and the web server. Trying to perform all the tasks required to load a page, like rendering the content and executing JavaScript code, can often cause the browser to become unresponsive.

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Google is trying to make AMP pages less confusing, will change how links are handled

Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is a decent idea, with not-so-great execution. AMP pages are designed to be extremely lightweight and load almost instantly, as a solution to mobile web sites being generally terrible. Sites have to opt-in to generating AMP pages of all existing pages, which Google then caches on its own servers for faster loading.

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Google releases February security bulletin, OTA and system images available for Google devices

It's that time of month again where Google releases security fixes for Android. The Android Security Bulletin for February 2017 has just been posted, addressing 35 critical bugs - most of which affect Nexus and Pixel devices. The most severe issue that the February patch level fixes could enable remote code execution when processing media files.

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Verizon is sending a free Daydream View headset to some Pixel customers whose orders were late

Because Google vastly underestimated the number of people who would want a Pixel smartphone, many had, or have had, delayed shipments - some up to 2 months - and other issues with actually getting their hands on the device they had purchased. Telus even sent out an email saying Google had stopped production, although this was later proved false. To make up for this, Verizon, the exclusive carrier for the Pixel, has started sending out Daydream View headsets to "a subset" of its customers.

For people who experienced late shipping on their Pixel (although it's not clear what exactly 'late' means in this context), they will receive a phone call from a number, (844) 340-4325, which is a third-party service being used by Verizon for this very purpose.

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Google Maps makes the bottom bar for exploring places, real-time traffic, and transit info official

It's been more than 4 months since we first spotted a new bottom bar navigation interface in Google Maps, and now the layout is official. Google has announced it on its blog, saying that "when you're on the go, there's no time for apps that can't keep up," and this is exactly why this change is important.

You'll no longer have to swipe the left menu to get to the Driving Mode, or tap to search to explore nearby places, or start driving to check the traffic around you. All of these will be accessible from the bottom bar that you can simply swipe up.

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[Deal Alert] Google Home bases are 50% off ($10 and $20) on the Google Store

We don't really know how popular Google Home is, although it's got a lot of things missing, such as sending text messages and identifying songs. However, presumably so people start buying them, Google has reduced the price of the different bases by half, to $10 for the cheaper fabric ones and $20 for the metal variants.

That means the mango, marine, and violet bases, which are made from fabric, are only $10 instead of $20. While the latter is maybe a little much, the former seems like a steal. Meanwhile, the carbon, copper, and snow bases, which are made from metal and, at least to my eyes, look much cooler, are $20.

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Chrome Beta 57 adds WebAssembly support, improved media notifications, and more [APK Download]

Two days ago, Chrome 56 was released for Android with several major changes to both to the app itself and the web features it supports. As always, a new stable release means the next version - Chrome 57 - has entered the beta stage. Let's dig into the new features that Chrome 57 brings.

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