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Google's December 2017 security bulletin is up, system updates go live tomorrow (December 5th)

It's almost time for another round of updates to Google's Android devices. The currently supported Pixels and Nexus phones should begin seeing new builds tomorrow, but Google already has the latest security bulletin up to detail what's fixed in the new version. There don't appear to be any functional updates this month, though.

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Lens in Google Assistant is rolling out widely on Pixel phones today

Google announced a few weeks ago that Lens was coming to Google Assistant, but the deployment would take some time. It's showed up sporadically for users since then, but it appears to be rolling out widely on Pixel phones today (in select markets). Open Assistant, and you may very well have the Lens button down at the bottom.

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[Update: OTAs going out] Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 is now available for Pixel and Nexus devices

Google dropped the first developer preview for Android 8.1 last month, and now it's time for an update. The second dev preview build is now available for download via system images on the developer site. This is your chance to be on the bleeding edge of Android, but as usual, running beta software comes with some risks.

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[Deal Alert] Verizon Pixel XL is just $5/month ($120 total) at Best Buy

The Pixel 2 XL may be the new hottest thing on the block, but it's been privy to quite a few of issues, the latest of which concerns random reboots. So if you're a Verizon customer who'd like to distance yourself from the problems (and save a lot of cash), perhaps this Pixel XL deal is for you. For a stunningly low $120 in total, one of these can be yours.

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Google's November system images and OTA files for Nexus and Pixel devices are (mostly) live [Update: Pixel 2 XL OTA rolling out]

The month is getting underway, and that means it's time for Google to issue its monthly raft of Pixel and Nexus updates. The updates will filter down to phones in the next day or so, but the system images and OTA files for most devices are available now if you want to sideload. There's not a ton new here, but as this is a November patch level, you should have protection from the KRACK vulnerability.

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Google Photos v3.8 has a fancy new Lens animation [APK Download]

Google Lens is taking its sweet time getting ready for its full-fledged debut. The juiced-up version of Google Goggles is already available to those who use the first- and second-generation Pixel smartphones, but it's cooped up in the Photos app and has yet to appear in Assistant, as promised back in May at I/O. One of the reasons for this delay appears to be aesthetic, as Google Photos v3.8 shows off a new animation while Lens is analyzing a photo.

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Google announces Android 8.1 developer preview, final release planned for December

Google launched the new Pixel phones with Android 8.0, which is what last year's Pixel's have been running since the update. A new version of Oreo is on the way, though, and you can try it right now. Google has launched a developer preview for Android 8.1. As usual, it's supported on recent Google devices and can be installed in two ways.

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Despite being live in Photos, Google Lens is only coming to Assistant in a few weeks

Google Lens has been a long time coming since its announcement at I/O in May. It officially launched with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL and yesterday it also started rolling to the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL. However, that was and still is only in the Photos app. Lens, if you recall, should work both for Photos you've already taken but also for instantaneous visual searches in Assistant without requiring you take a photo first.

The latter part isn't live yet and everyone's been wondering why. The answer came a few days ago by way of two Googlers on Twitter who explained that the Assistant integration of Lens is still in the making and will be live "in the next few weeks." It seems that it's still not ready to go live, even as a Preview, and requires a bit more polishing before its grand debut.

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Google Lens is rolling out to the first-gen Pixel and Pixel XL in Photos app

Google Lens made its official debut at Google's October 4th event alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but we first checked it out nearly a month before that. In Corbin's hands-on, he found that Lens was pretty impressive overall, with some room to improve. Now, it seems to be rolling out to 2016's Pixel and Pixel XL through Google Photos.

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Google says fix for Pixel SMS issue will roll out with November security patches

Reports of missing text messages on the original Pixel and Pixel XL began popping up as soon as the Oreo update rolled out several weeks back. Owners of affected devices collected their experiences in the Google Product Forums, and Google pledged to look into the matter. That was just a few days ago, and now Google says it's tracked down the cause. You can expect a fix soon.

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