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japan

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Google Pay international growth brings new options to Spain, Italy, and Japan

We know: the best news about Google services expanding is when the company finally gets around to bringing one of them to a whole new country. And with Google Pay we've been pretty lucky over the past few weeks, seeing Google bring its payment solution to users in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and most recently Chile. But in addition to these new nations joining the Google Pay family, we've also been keeping track of new banks and card providers coming online in nations already covered by Pay. Today we're getting you caught up with some of that latest action, as new payment methods land for users in Spain, Italy, and Japan.

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Japan reportedly planning to boycott Huawei and ZTE equipment for government use

Chinese technology companies have faced numerous difficulties overseas this year owing to a lack of trust, particularly in the US where Huawei's proposed carrier deals with AT&T and Verizon fell through due to political pressure and ZTE was forced to pay huge fines and sack board members to resume trading. US government agencies were then banned from using technology made by either firm, and it looks like Japan may be following suit with similar sanctions.

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Sharp's Aquos R2 Compact has double the notches, double the fun?

Sharp has been making strides in the bezel-elimination race for years. In 2014, it released the Aquos Crystal, which had practically no bezels at all on three sides of the display (and a huge one on the fourth). Then, in August 2017, the company beat Apple and even Essential to the punch with the first commercially available notched-display smartphone. Now, Sharp is continuing to try new things with the Aquos R2 Compact, which has not one, but two display cutouts.

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YouTube Premium and Music Premium are now live in 7 new countries

YouTube's paid offerings are expanding to more and more countries. After an initial launch in the US in June, they have now reached over 25 nations worldwide and don't seem to be slowing down.

The latest additions are seven new countries spread across several continents:

  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine

To get started, go to youtube.com/premium and sign up. YouTube Music offers music streaming without the videos, and it's free with ads and no offline downloads. If you want ad-free access and offline streaming, you can get Music Premium. The more all-encompassing YouTube Premium gives you the same benefits as Music Premium plus an ad-free experience across all of YouTube's videos and access to exclusive content.

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Expanded Google Pay bank support arrives for Australia and Japan

Little by little, Google's recruiting the world's financial institutions to support its Google Pay ecosystem. At least, we regularly see dozens upon dozens of US banks line up to work with Google Pay, but sometimes international compatibility is harder to come by. Earlier this month we spotted a few such additions, with new Pay banks popping up in Poland, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Australia, and now we've got a bunch more to share, with even more Australian banks joining the gang, as well as new options landing for Japan.

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Google's designer Pixel 3 cases in Japan will include their own AR experiences

Google's first-party cases might be a bit on the chunky side, but they're nice enough to make up for the added thickness, and customers in Japan will be getting an extra benefit with their phone protection. Google's doing a whole collection of regionally exclusive (and super snazzy) cases for the country, and they come with their own AR experiences.

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The INFOBAR xv is a gorgeous Japanese feature phone that can run a limited number of Android apps

This fall will mark the 15th anniversary of the original INFOBAR feature phone in Japan, and telecoms corporation KDDI is releasing a new edition of the device to celebrate. The INFOBAR xv will be the third in this series, and it's by far the most striking of the bunch. And sure, it will run a very short list of Android apps, but let's be honest — this is more about indulging our eyes than anything else, because this feature phone is a stunner.

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InBrief
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Google Pay adds support for Suica and WAON prepaid cards in Japan

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[Update] You can now set up a Google Assistant payment method in six countries outside the US

Your Google Assistant settings have had a "Payments" section for quite some time where you can set up a payment method and address. This is used for both making purchases through Google Express merchants as well as sending payments to other users. However, both options are only available to users in the US. So if you tried to add a new payment method outside the US, you wouldn't be able to complete the setup. But that seems to have changed.

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Google Pay v1.54 continues ride toward transit tickets, merging P2P money transfers [APK Teardown]

The first update to the Google Pay app since the rebranding has been making its way out into the world. The new version doesn't appear to bring any visible changes beyond a few pixel-level adjustments, but it includes a couple of neat topics for a teardown. We'll briefly discuss the imminent merger of Google Pay Send, then dive into the subject of supporting transit tickets, where they might be supported first, and some of the other quirky details to look forward to.

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