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News

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Google Home is getting playback speed voice controls for podcasts and news

Any podcast app worth its salt allows you to change the playback speed. People speak at different paces; some podcasters are agonizingly slow and articulate, others talk very fast and are impossible to understand if you don't speak their language (and even dialect) natively. That's why it's important to be able to set the playback speed to a convenient rate for you. Google Home appears to be getting this feature soon - possibly even now.

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Google's new Discover feed is starting to roll out to users, full dark theme in tow

Last week, Google announced a rebranding of its Feed into Discover, tying together multiple server-side changes we had been spotting in the last year. From dividing cards with topic bubbles to having dedicated topic pagesmore/less content controls, a new dark theme, and an asterisk-shaped icon, everything is there in the new update. And that new look is rolling out to more users now.

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Google Feed is now 'Discover,' and it's coming to the mobile Google homepage

Today Google announced that it's rebranding its well-known Feed — a source of news for consumers and referral traffic for providers like Android Police — under the new name "Discover." With the change in name comes the formal announcement of the redesign that's been in testing for a while now, plus more granular control on topics, and multi-language support for different types of content. By far the biggest change, though, is the addition of the new Discover to the Google homepage on mobile.

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Samsung announces LTE-enabled SmartThings Tracker

Keeping track of all your things can be a challenge. You could try just having fewer things, but that's no fun. Instead, why not get more things to keep track of the things you already have? Samsung has announced a device to accomplish precisely that. The SmartThings Tracker uses GPS and LTE to monitor the location of whatever you want, but you'll need to go through a carrier for the LTE service.

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Google Assistant can now brighten your day with a dose of 'good news'

The world can be a depressing place, and the news we all consume reflects that. It can make things seem rather hopeless as you scroll through your headlines, but Google Assistant is here to help. A new feature is rolling out that delivers some "good news" when you ask for it. Just say "Hey Google, tell me something good."

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Google's Smart Displays and Assistant speakers will now tell you about specific news events

Google Assistant-equipped speakers have already been able to give recaps about the news, and Smart Displays took that a step further by also showing relevant videos. However, you were out of luck if you wanted to hear specific topics read out to you. Google is now fixing that, so long as you're in the US.

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Google reportedly working on heavily-censored news application for China

A revamped version of the Google News application was unveiled earlier this year, at the annual I/O developer conference. During the event, Google CEO Sundar Picahai said the company had a responsibility to deliver news to users in need. Unfortunately, Google seems to be throwing that out the window as its ambitions to re-enter the Chinese market grow.

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Assistant can now read sections of news stories highlighted by publishers

Google Assistant is good at performing actions and answering questions for which there's a straightforward answer. If you give it a more open-ended query, Assistant needs to scan the internet for something relevant. Now, it'll be a little better at that thanks to a new structured data specification called "speakable."

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Google is reviving editor's picks in the revamped Google News app

When Google rolled out the new Google News earlier this year, several features went the way of the dodo. Among them were standout tags, highlighting mobile apps, and Editor's Picks. That last one is coming back in the latest update, though.

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Google Express sees big growth spurt, with over two dozen new retailers joining in past month

Do you do your shopping through Google Express? A few years back we saw the service spread across the U.S., and ever since Google's been trying its best to convince users to give Express a shot, luring them with support for big-name stores, as well as offering savings through some tempting deals. Over the past few weeks, though, Google's recruitment drive for new Express stores has seriously gone into overdrive, with over two dozen new retailers signing up for the program.

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