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Google Home is available in stores today for $129

Today is the day you've been waiting for... maybe. Google Home is available for purchase from Google and other retailers. The voice-activated Assistant hub is priced at $129 and works with many of your smart home devices, assuming you have those.

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Google makes RCS support in Messenger official, will be default SMS/RCS app on all Sprint Android devices

The ultimate goal of RCS is to completely replace SMS, but moving the millions of daily SMS users away is no small feat. Yesterday, we posted that RCS support was being rolled out to some Messenger users on Sprint and Project Fi. Now Google has made the feature official, and should be available to all Sprint customers starting today.

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RCS is going live for some Google Messenger users, enabling "enhanced features" for messaging

A little over a week ago, we first detected several less-than-subtle hints of Rich Communication Services, more commonly known as RCS, in Google Messenger 2.0's code. In case you don't know what RCS is, it essentially adds some useful features to SMS that are similar to what you'll find in Apple's iMessage. Now, for a select few, Google has flipped a server-side switch for RCS.

Google's initiative to make RCS more commonplace isn't new, though; last year, the Mountain View-based company purchased Jibe Mobile, a startup with an RCS platform. Allo was expected to receive RCS support, but since that didn't pan out, Messenger is the very first Google app to support it.

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Google Play services v10 can show a notification with player controls anytime a device on the network is Casting [APK Download]

If the people in your home get regular use of a Chromecast, you're probably more than aware of just how inconvenient it is when the Casting device isn't handy. Sure, you can always pick up your phone or tablet and track down the Google Home app (formerly named Google Cast), but that takes a lot of taps – and most people don't have it installed or even realize it has player controls. The latest update to Google Play services takes care of this little issue by adding a long overdue and oft-requested feature: it pops up a notification with player controls anytime a Cast session is active.

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[Update: Nixon now available] Michael Kors Access, Nixon, and Polar smartwatches, Philips Hue Starter Kit, now on the Google Store

Earlier this month, Google removed a number of products from the virtual shelves of the Google Store, most notably the Nexus 5X and 6P. Today the Google Store has begun selling a few new Android Wear wearables and the Philips Hue Color A19 Starter Kit.

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YouTube now allows creators to pin comments, add moderators, blacklist words and phrases, and more

The YouTube comments section - you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Part of the reason comments can be so unbearable at times is the dreadful moderation tools, but YouTube is seeking to fix that. Today on their Creator Blog, they announced a number of changes to how comments can be moderated.

YouTube creators can now blacklist certain words or phrases, with comments violating the list requiring manual approval. In addition, creators can now opt-in to YouTube's almighty algorithm determining which comments are "potentially inappropriate," and holding them for approval.

There are some public-facing changes to YouTube comments as well.

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OTA updates rolling out to the SHIELD Tablet and Tablet K1 with Vulkan API patch, a boot loop fix, and more

If you've been waiting for Nougat to miraculously appear on your SHIELD Tablet... keep waiting. This is not the update you're looking for, but it's an update nonetheless. There will be minor improvements to both SHIELD Tablets including, but not limited to, an updated Vulkan API and security patches.

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Samsung's Gear S3 smartwatch available in the US on November 18th, starting at $350

It's been around two months since Samsung announced the Gear S3, the third generation of its premium Tizen-powered wearable, at the IFA trade show in Berlin. Things have been surprisingly quiet since then, and certainly not so breathless as previous Samsung wearable launches... perhaps reflecting the cooling of the market towards smartwatches in general. Anyway, you'll soon be able to pre-order a new Samsung watch, and wait then wait a couple of weeks for it to arrive: pre-orders begin on Sunday, November 6th, with orders shipping out on the 18th.

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Amazon Rapids is a $2.99 subscription for short kid stories written as chat conversations

 

By now, you need a $100 monthly Amazon budget if you want to subscribe to all of the company's paid plans and features. But if you still have a couple of dollars left in your pocket by the end of the month and you have kids that would enjoy an innovative reading experience, then you might be interested in adding another subscription to your payments.

Amazon Rapids is a quick reading and storytelling experience built around instant messaging. Stories unfold like chats between the different characters, a modern way to entice young readers between the ages 7 and 12, and introduce them to reading in a medium that they're familiar with.

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Motorola partners with Indiegogo to foster development of new Moto Mods

I don't want to say Moto Mods are a universally bad idea, but most of the Mods that have been released so far are mediocre at best, and the prices are crazy. It's been a while since Motorola released a new Mod, but there could be more ideas floating around soon. The company has partnered with crowdfunding site Indiegogo to get developers interested in making Moto Mods.

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