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Use Google Pay with Visa in the UK and win up to £50 or Home Mini, Aussies can win a golden KFC bucket (no joke)

Google is always keen to encourage more people to use its contactless payment service, which often means enticing promotions for us to make the most of. The latest such opportunity in the UK offers up to £50 in Google Play credit or the chance to win a Google Home Mini.

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Chrome 71 includes Duet UI tweaks, changes to autoplay, new APIs, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 70 was a relatively minor release (at least when it came to user-facing changes), and it seems like Chrome 71 is much the same. The latest version of Chrome is now rolling out to desktop platforms and Android, with a few noteworth changes — particularly involving the 'Duet' interface and autoplay.

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The December update for the 2016 Pixels is here a day late (but at least it's better than last month)

When the December security patches arrived yesterday excluding the 2016 Pixels once again, original Pixel owners no doubt wondered if they would have to wait until the end of the month to nab their update like they did in November. Thankfully, that's not the case this month as the factory images and OTAs have arrived just one day late for the first-generation Pixels.

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A smaller, less distracting version of Google Assistant is now rolling out to Maps

After teasing a navigation-optimized Google Assistant for Maps at I/O 2018, Google is now rolling out the feature to Android users. The new version of Google Assistant in Maps is smaller, less distracting, and executes more commands in the background.

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Google Pixel 3 / Pixel 3 XL case reviews: Because breaking an $800+ phone would really suck [Updated continuously]

If you thought the Pixel 2 and 2 XL were expensive, you probably weren't very happy when you saw the Pixel 3's $799 and Pixel 3 XL's $899 MSRPs. The Pixel 3 XL received a modest $50 jump in price from the 2 XL, but the Pixel 3 went up by a whopping $150 when compared to the Pixel 2. In other words, those who've purchased a new Pixel, regardless of the model, are probably going to want to protect it.

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Google Lens now has an album shortcut to search photos

Google Lens made its debut in the Google Photos app on select devices a while back, but now it's available everywhere. You can still search from the Photos app, but Google just added a new shortcut to make it easier to scan your photos. From Lens, just tap the album button at the top of the screen, and you're all set.

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Sleighing it: Google Santa Tracker is back for 2018 [APK Download]

Google's Santa Tracker and Santa's Village are both making a return this year, with a couple of new additions. This year Santa has decided to enable location sharing in Google Maps, giving you another way to follow his location come Christmas. This year's app seems mostly the same as last year's, with a minor bump in version to 5.3.0 from 5.1.4, but it's available now for your kids (or your inner kid) to enjoy.

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Google Sounds appears on Play Store promising Pixel-exclusive ringtones and audio visualizations – but it doesn't work yet [APK Download]

According to reviews on the Play Store, the Google Sounds app that just popped up on the platform is super addictive, a great time waster, can turn two speakers into a surround sound experience, and prevents baldness. How is this possible? It's not. It's just an app that updates your sound settings so you can get ringtones that were previously only available on Pixel, and see some funky audio visualizations. At least, that's what it will be - neither of those features are live yet and, at the moment, downloading the app provides users with no real benefit at all. 

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The YouTube app's auto-playing home screen video previews are expanding to non-Premium users

YouTube Premium subscribers have been able to preview videos on the app's home screen for months now — videos play silently with captions until you scroll away from them. More people will be able to enjoy the feature soon, though, as the YouTube team has shared that "Autoplay on Home" is coming to non-Premium users over the next few weeks.

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Sprint, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and others will soon support the Pixel 3's eSIM

The Pixel 2 was one of the first smartphones with eSIM — a feature that allows devices to connect to cellular networks without inserting a physical SIM card. The Pixel 2 and 3 both have eSIM, but it's only used for Google Fi. That will soon change, as multiple carriers are working to support the feature.

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