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24 temporarily free and 27 on-sale apps and games for Friday

Welcome to Friday, everyone. Now that the end of the week is here, I have a bunch of new Play Store sales to pore through, and I've highlighted the interesting titles in bold for easy discovery. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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Google Podcasts introduces personalized episode recommendations

As far as podcast-listening clients go, Google Podcasts still lacks a fair amount of functionality when compared to the competition. Today, Google's taking a step towards doing something about that by adding a new feature that could encourage users to spend more time listening to and discovering podcast content within the app: personalized recommendations.

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Pixel lockscreen PIN bug is making phones unusable (Update: OnePlus, Sony devices affected)

Dozens of Pixel owners are reporting that they can't authenticate into their devices because every time they put their PIN in, the phone loops them back to the lock screen. The issue, which was first reported on the Pixel Phone Help forum nearly a month ago, seems to be affecting Pixel XLs the most, though there have been mentions of other Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 series devices. So far, product experts have been encouraging affected users to escalate the issue with Google directly or reset their device from recovery.

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Google Search improves top stories results by adding more carousels grouped by topics

Google may work on hundreds of different projects these days, but its core product remains Search. The company keeps improving this vital part of its enterprise with small changes all the time, though every once in a while, it has bigger news to share. As such, the company has announced that it's redesigning results for timely topics like news, which will be intelligently grouped in multiple carousels, divided into highlights and more specific subjects.

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Assistant’s interpreter mode comes to Android for on-the-fly translation

Back in 2011, Google Translate made it easier to interpret live discussions thanks to Conversation mode. The app also got a fresh coat of paint more recently, making it easier to summon it. In parallel, Assistant-enabled speakers got the ability to translate live conversations in April, which essentially turned them into digital interpreters. Unfortunately, the functionality was exclusive to smart speakers and displays and wasn't available on phones until now. Google just released the feature on mobile devices as well, making it easier to have a conversation with someone who speaks a different language on the go.

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Pixel 4 and 4 XL are up to $150 off across retailers, Amazon throws in $100 Google Wifi for free (Update: Free Nest Hub)

In case you missed the recently concluded Black Friday and Cyber Monday extravaganza, this is your chance to grab a pretty sweet deal on Google’s latest flagship pair. Both the Pixel 4 and the 4 XL are down by $100 and $150, respectively, across major online stores. And if that wasn’t enough, Amazon is throwing in a free Google Wifi on top of these discounts.

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21 temporarily free and 36 on-sale apps and games for Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone. The week is halfway over, which means it's time once again to check out all of the sales on the Play Store. Today I have highlighted the more interesting titles in bold, to make discovery easier, and a couple of the standouts include the games Chuchel and Human Resource Machine along with a few interesting live wallpapers from DotCode Apps. So without further ado, here are 21 temporarily free and 36 on-sale apps and games for your Wednesday.

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Google's acquisition of Fitbit under review by the Justice Department

Google’s recent agreement to purchase Fitbit has hit a bit of a speed bump as the U.S. Justice Department will be reviewing the transaction for antitrust issues. The deal is valued around $2.1 billion, and several watchdog groups are concerned that the acquisition would give Google unprecedented access to consumer data.

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Spotify is gifting more Google Home Minis, this time to all subscribers (Update: Offer is back, students eligible too)

Back in November last year, Spotify was giving out free Google Home Minis to Premium for Family account holders, in order to encourage people to sign up to its plan. The company is renewing its offer this year but is now making it available to both Family and individual subscribers, regardless of whether they're new members or have already been using a paid subscription.

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Google Assistant on Android TV gains support for Hindi and Vietnamese (Update: Swedish)

The Google Assistant may be a polyglot among its AI-powered virtual brethren, but what mars the experience is its lingual inconsistency across supported platforms. Even though it’s been conversing in Hindi and Vietnamese on phones for long, the support for Android TV was just added. The two Asian languages join a small list of languages that the Assistant can understand and speak on your big screen.

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