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13

Chrome 86 steps up the fight against notification abuse

Chrome 86 steps up the fight against notification abuse

One more noteworthy feature snuck its way into Chrome 86. It's a small change, but it should help make a further dent in the growing problem of notification abuse. In this latest release, sites known for abusive notification content (things like distributing malware or falsely scaring users with fake system messages) will get the same silent treatment as sites that try to trick users into enabling notifications.

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14

Google Docs passes one billion installs on the Play Store

Google Docs passes one billion installs on the Play Store

Google Docs is one of Google's most useful products. It's practically unrivaled when it comes to collaborating on documents and easily sharing them across the web, which is why it's so popular. The Android app for Docs achieved 500 million Play Store installs in 2018, and now it's time to officially welcome it to the one-billion club.

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18

A secret, unreleased option lets users invoke Assistant on smart displays without saying 'Hey Google'

A secret, unreleased option lets users invoke Assistant on smart displays without saying 'Hey Google'

Google's latest smart displays come with ultrasound sensing, a neat tech that uses ultrasonic waves to measure distance to nearby objects and adapt the UI depending on how near of far you are. Timers, weather reports, media controls, and other elements grow larger when you step away, to make it easier for you to spot them at a distance, then return to their regular size when you come close. This same technology appears to be at the heart of a new feature Google is working on, which proactively triggers Assistant the moment you come near without you having to say "Hey Google" first.

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2

Get a single Nest Wifi router for $130 ($39 off) and lay the groundwork for mesh networking

Get a single Nest Wifi router for $130 ($39 off) and lay the groundwork for mesh networking

Google's Nest Wifi system is designed to work as a set, but if you'd rather assemble your setup piecemeal, a single router works just fine on its own. Today, you can grab an individual Nest Wifi router from Woot for $130, $39 under the normal going rate.

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19

Google Assistant is adding support for third-party podcast services, starting with Spotify

Google Assistant is adding support for third-party podcast services, starting with Spotify

Explaining which services Google Assistant supports and in which form isn't an easy feat. While it might be compatible with many music and podcast players on your phone, it only supports a limited list of approved services on speakers and other smart devices. That list was limited to music streamers only (YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio,...). Now, podcast services seem to be getting the same treatment.

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11

Stadia offers a free Humankind demo and announces ARK: Survival Evolved support

Stadia offers a free Humankind demo and announces ARK: Survival Evolved support

Stadia is on a three-day roll right now: Following yesterday's free Pac-Man demo announcement, the game streaming service today has shared information on the next free demo coming to anyone with a Google account — Humankind. It has also announced that the first Orcs Must Die! 3 expansion pack and ARK: Survival Evolved are coming to the platform.

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13

Acer wants you to party like it's 1999 with its new Google Assistant-powered smart speaker

Acer wants you to party like it's 1999 with its new Google Assistant-powered smart speaker

As part of its annual GPC event, Acer has announced a whole slew of new products, including laptops, desktops, beamers, displays, concept devices, and much more. The Chrome OS expert has also presented a new Chromebook and Chromebox, the Spin 513 and the CXI4. They're joined by a Google Assistant-equipped smart speaker with a low-res LED display and RGB lighting, making for some crazy Nest-Audio-meets-gamer-hardware aesthetics.

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443

RCS support in Messages seems to be spreading in even more countries

RCS support in Messages seems to be spreading in even more countries

After Google deployed RCS (Rich Communication Services) in the U.S. without the help of the four three big carriers, the company seems to be set to repeat that effort internationally. People in multiple, mostly European countries report that they're able to use RCS features in the Messages app. That might indicate that we'll soon see RCS functionality in even more parts of the world.

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12

Chrome exempts Google sites from user data settings — but supposedly it's just a bug

Chrome exempts Google sites from user data settings — but supposedly it's just a bug

Earlier this month, software developer Jeff Johnson wrote about a strange issue he'd discovered that allowed Chrome to keep certain data stored from Google sites like YouTube and Search even after it was supposed to be deleted. This isn't a good look from Google, especially in light of recent events — but the company has responded with an explanation.

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