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Google's 'Year in Search' highlights solar eclipse, natural disasters, elections, and technology

Google has a yearly tradition of publishing the most-searched terms and phrases, aptly-named the 'Year in Search.' Earlier today, the company revealed the top searches of 2017 with a new video and a detailed Trends page.

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[Update: Releasing December 20th for $4.99] Aperture Laboratories will make a return in Headup Games' recently announced 'Bridge Constructor Portal' [Video]

Imagine a world where Bridge Constructor combines its bridge-building gameplay with Valve's puzzle-platformer Portal. Well, imagine no longer as apparently Headup Games have been secretly working on just that very thing. That's right, Bridge Constructor Portal is a thing and it's coming to Android really soon. There is even a trailer available for your viewing pleasure, so hit that "Read More" button and check it out!

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Most Wanted: The best smart home products you can buy

One of the biggest trends in consumer technology over the last few years has been the rise of the smart home. The number of different device categories that now make up the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) has grown immensely, with connected appliances now found in many households across the US and beyond.

The smart home was once an expensive hobby for tech-fiends only but has now become an affordable aspiration for normal people. You can get started for less than $30 these days, with some lights or a smart switch that can connect to your Wi-Fi network and be controlled with your phone.

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31 new and notable Android games from the last week (12/6/17 - 12/12/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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Nuki smart lock review: A simple to use, reliable, and very smart solution for European-style locks

For the past year or so, I've been looking at smart locks and wanting one yet not able to fully commit to anything. Living in Lebanon means our doors don't have the American-style deadbolts, but what is known as the Euro Style/Profile Double Cylinder - a lock that is quite prominent across France, Germany, the UK, and other countries. So August, Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, and plenty of brands geared toward the US market were mostly out of the question unless I wanted to take a risk and get something that doesn't fit at all with my apartment's door.

That was until I stumbled on Nuki's smart lock, which is compatible with the Euro Profile Cylinder (and a couple of other lock models). At first, I was quite skeptic: I couldn't trust the security of my apartment's door to a brand I'd never heard about.

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Six to Start (developer of Zombies, Run!) releases The Walk, a fitness game with a story that progresses as you move

Modern technology can make us more sedentary and unhealthy, but developer Six to Start has released a few games that aim to do the opposite. Games like Zombies, Run! can make exercise kind of fun, but its latest release is a bit more casual. The new game, developed in cooperation with the UK's NHS and the Department of Health, is called The Walk. To play, just start walking. 

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10 new and notable Android apps from the last week (12/5/17 - 12/11/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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[Update: Google Store and Walmart too] Google Home Max is now available for $399 at select retailers

Google made a big fuss about the Home Max when it announced it in October, but it didn't launch the speaker then and promised it would be available in December. Well, December is almost halfway through and we're starting to see the Home Max pop up on a couple of stores.

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Android 8.0 Oreo beta ROM for Galaxy Note8 leaked

Android 8.0 Oreo was released back in August, but most manufacturers are still working on porting it to their phones and tablets. Unfinished ROMs are available for a handful of phones, like the Essential Phone and OnePlus 5. The next device to see Oreo is the Galaxy Note8, as an unfinished test ROM has leaked online.

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Someone just gave their Google Home Mini a headphone jack (kind of)

We get a kick out of hardware mods here at Android Police. They're fun to see, and occasionally fun to do, especially when they make up for a product's shortcomings. Enter the Google Home Mini, a device which we mostly liked (when it wasn't bugging out). It did have one slight deficiency, though, and that was volume. It just didn't get very loud. But the folks at YouTube channel SnekTek took that as a challenge and installed an audio output jack for external amplification.

That's right, this Google Home Mini now has one feature up over the latest Pixel 2 phones: it's got a headphone jack—sort of. 

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