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Galaxy Note7: Six days with Samsung's latest

It's Galaxy Note7 review day here in the US! ...Our review isn't ready. I received my evaluation device less than a week ago, and we've been swamped here with various leak posts and bringing on some new faces (say "hi!" to the newest members of our team when you spot their bylines), and there just hasn't been time for me to fully formulate thoughts and compile them into a 5000-word-plus post for you. But would you take an abridged review/extended hands-on until I can make good on that promise? If so, read on.

Early review notes

  • Industrial design and attention to physical detail continue to climb to ever-greater heights at Samsung.
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Google is using Opinion Rewards questions to improve YouTube video recommendations

If you've never used Google Opinion Rewards, it's an app from Google that periodically sends you surveys and rewards you with Play Store credit. Most questions are usually location-based, asking if you've been to a certain place recently and how you would rate it. But it looks like Google may be using Opinion Rewards to improve YouTube video recommendations.

Earlier today, I received a survey asking about my YouTube history. It's worth noting that if you have YouTube Watch History disabled, you won't get these surveys.

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Left: A YouTube survey?! Right: Here it asks about a video I watched earlier today.

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Google planning to focus Hangouts on business consumers after Allo, Duo release


Just a few hours ago, Google started the rollout for the first of its two new messaging apps, Duo. For me and some of us here, the Play Store listing still shows "Pre-Registration," but this is the typical Google way. As a refresher, Google is releasing the dynamic messaging duo (ha) to compete in this mobile-first market. Both the text-based Allo and the video-based Duo will be tied to a phone number instead of a Google account. This, obviously, directly contests with Hangouts, Google's all-in-one messaging platform, and is more in line with services like WhatsApp.

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Earlier, Google announced that they would be transitioning Hangouts On Air into YouTube Live, separating the feature from Google+.

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Google is moving Hangouts On Air to YouTube Live for future broadcasts

Coming as an inevitable surprise to no one, Google has announced today that Hangouts On Air will be leaving Google+ and moving to YouTube Live. All future broadcasts will need to be scheduled in YouTube Live, and events in Google+ will shut down after the hard date of September 12.

Google says that recorded Hangouts On Air will still be available on YouTube, and that Google+ event content will be available in read-only format in the Activity Log.

In regards to Q&A, Google's suggestion to broadcasters is to use Slides, which has the same feature, in conjunction with broadcasts. The company also suggests that questions are gathered ahead of time via social media.

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The 2016 Nexus "Sailfish" may have a "recycled" design, but does it even matter?

Making the rounds now is a GIF by Android Police alumnus Ron Amadeo. In it, Ron uses our leaked photo of the 2016 "Sailfish" Nexus device and frames it against a perspective-shifted image of the HTC One A9. The comparison has absolute merit: there is clearly some relationship between the front panels and overall proportions of these two devices.

But there are now claims that Sailfish has simply "recycled" the HTC One A9's design. In short: the growing sentiment is that Google phoned it in with Sailfish. But I would argue strongly that, aside from proportional similarities, dismissively calling Sailfish a reworked 2015 HTC phone is doing an unreleased handset a complete disservice and ignoring a vast, gaping chasm of nuance in favor of tired arguments about Nexus phones just being OEM leftovers that have persisted for years.

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HTC Nexus Marlin and Sailfish get certified by FCC

It's been reported that this year's Nexus devices will be built by HTC for quite a while now. We've had recreations, we've had photos, and now we've got FCC certifications. These applications were granted earlier today for both Sailfish and Marlin.

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Although these labels don't look like they'd tell us much, we can learn a few things from them. First off, we now have further confirmation that there will be two Nexus models. From the weights listed, it's clear that G-2PW4100 is the larger Marlin, while G-2PW2100 is the smaller Sailfish. In addition, the font of the labels looks very similar to that of Google's new logo.

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Google releases new ad that highlights Photos' auto backup capabilities

About a week ago, Google released an advertisement about how Google Photos would prevent us from missing the important moments with its "Free up space" feature. The commercial was a big hit - it had to be, considering it was played before videos on YouTube and it aired during the Olympics. For some extra Photos publicity, Google's official Instagram page also released a short video with a generic slab of a phone (with an iOS prompt, mind you) that some crazies thought was an unreleased HTC Nexus. Now, Google has released another ad for Google Photos.

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Rotating video in Google Photos returns after long hiatus

It has been often said that when Google redesigns a product, features are often removed. A good example of this would be the material Google Maps release, where a lot of 'classic' features of Maps were absent. Said features do, however, get added back in, and today one returns to Google Photos after being left out of the Google+ Photos split: rotating video.

As of version 1.25 (we can't find it on any version earlier than that, although it may exist) the ability to rotate a video at 90° intervals is a feature in Google Photos. To do this, select a video and choose to edit it.

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Exclusive: Photos of the 2016 Nexus "Sailfish" in the [metallic] flesh

It may be safe to say that 2016's Nexus phones are the most anticipated devices in the brand's history. And we've been rather prolific in our coverage of what, frankly, would qualify as minutiae here at Android Police were it in regard to any non-Google device. And we get that. We initially showed you renders of Sailfish and Marlin (and yes, they still look the same - just different sizes) back in July.

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Google testing Top Features and other changes in reviews section of Play Store app

 

Less than a week after we reported that Play Store reviews no longer require a Google+ account, it seems that Google has begun testing another change in the same arena - Top Features, a new element that aims to make determining what functionality an app has easier. In addition, the reviewing process has been tweaked. As of now, these changes do not appear to be rolling out to all devices; while I have the feature on my Nexus 6, it's nowhere to be seen on my HTC 10 that is running the same version of the Play Store.

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Top Features' scrollable bar

Top Features is situated above Review Highlights and contains user feedback about certain abilities of the reviewed app.

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