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New Google music streaming service YouTube 'Remix' could launch in March 2018

It's clear Google sees a benefit in owning a music service to rival Spotify and Apple Music, but making it happen is proving incredibly difficult. Google Play Music hasn't exactly captured the imagination, in no small part due to its terrible app, and YouTube Red (previously YouTube Music Key) hasn't fared much better. Fear not, another attempt is on its way.

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Google Photos adds holiday-themed movies in time for the festive season

Last year, Google Photos introduced 'Movie Concepts,' which are videos automatically created from the photos and videos in your account. They're much like the vacation videos the app puts together when you go on a trip away from home, but based on different themes. The first example was a movie about your kids growing up, but Google said it would be expanding the feature to include other life events and holidays in time.

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Google Play Store starts showing free and premium filters for searches

Some users have been seeing these green suggestions when performing a search on the Play Store app for almost a year, but the feature began rolling out more widely in June (I still don't have it). However, it only seemed to provide keywords to further specify your search, not proper filters to separate the results according to price. Now it looks like Google is testing the latter kind.

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The 'Check for update' button on Pixel/Nexus devices still isn't pulling the latest OTAs as promised, but it'll be fixed in 2018

There was much celebration in the Android Police virtual HQ earlier this year when Googler Elliott Hughes revealed that the much-maligned "Check for update" button was getting an overhaul. After so many pointless presses, this button would finally do something on Pixel and Nexus devices. If there was an update available, the button would download it. However, this feature still isn't working. According to Hughes, the bug that broke this feature will be fixed in early 2018.

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Google is pushing final 8.1 OTA updates to Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices on the beta

Android 8.1 Oreo is final just a few weeks after the second developer preview rolled out. You can get the system images and OTA files for manual installation, and OTAs are hitting phones running 8.0. That's not all—devices in the developer preview that were running DP2 are also seeing an OTA update today.

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[Update: YouTube too] Google switches to white nav bar in Chrome 65 (Canary) and Google Photos

The navigation bar on Google devices has been black since time immemorial, but that's starting to change. In both Chrome and Google Photos, the navigation bar has switched to white with black navigation buttons. It's just those apps so far (and the Chrome change is in Canary), but maybe this is only the beginning.

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[Update: More carriers in Latin America] RCS messaging coming to Telia subscribers in Sweden

Just over 25 years ago, the first text message was sent. Not all technology can last a quarter of a century, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. RCS is the cloud-powered standard designed to eventually replace SMS, but adoption has been slow. The next carrier to support the technology isn't Verizon, or AT&T, or T-Mobile - it's one that operates in northern Europe.

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Contacts sync is breaking on some devices running Android Oreo

One of the most basic and convenient features of life in Google's ecosystem is contacts sync. From email to phone numbers and Google+ profiles, you know that whatever platform you are on, you'll be able to reach out to the people you need to with a minimum of fuss. But for some this essential feature isn't working correctly, and contacts aren't being successfully synced to their Oreo-powered Android devices.

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Google pauses accessibility app ban while it considers 'responsible and innovative' uses of the accessibility services

Google started contacting developers last month with a bit of an ultimatum: make sure accessibility mode is only used to help disabled users or risk being banned from the Play Store. Android's accessibility services have been used for a great many things over the years, so this change in policy caught many developers off guard. However, Google is now notifying developers that it's pausing the ban as it looks into how apps can make "responsible and innovative" use of accessibility features.

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Google releases web app version of Chrome Remote Desktop

Google is trying to phase out Chrome Web Store apps, in favor of more modern (and cross-platform) Progressive Web Apps. One of the most well-known Chrome apps is Chrome Remote Desktop, a remote management tool similar to VNC or TeamViewer. While it was originally designed to give Chromebooks a proper remote desktop application, it has also become popular as a TeamViewer alternative.

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