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Childish Gambino AR Playmoji dances onto your Pixel five months after Google reveal

Some of you may remember when Google showed off an AR Childish Gambino for the newly rebranded Playground app during Made by Google 2018. If you do, congrats! For some reason, Google seems to have edited out that section of the announcement (and perhaps others). Whatever the motivation behind its apparently revisionist take on history, the feature is actually here now. You can download the Childish Gambino Playground plugin today.

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[Update: Now on MacOS] Native dark mode in Google Chrome for Windows 10 now available in Canary channel

The overwhelming demand for dark modes in apps is beginning to see serious results now, to the point where 2019 could be the year we see system-wide dark modes across all the major platforms. Windows 10 has already implemented this, but it relies on app developers to do their part, which Google is now doing for the Chrome browser.

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Louisville becomes the first city to lose Google Fiber

Google Fiber is the tech giant's answer to overpriced, sluggish internet access, provided you live in one of the few areas where it's available. While Fiber has expanded to 9 states, Louisville, Kentucky has the unpleasant honor of being the first market to lose access to Google Fiber.

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Google adds PDF annotation feature to Chrome OS Dev/Canary

If you needed to edit PDF files on your Chromebook, you had to use external tools — either Acrobat for Android, or one of several online web apps. Thankfully, Chrome OS will soon have built-in annotation features, as a new flag for the functionality has appeared in the Dev and Canary branches.

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YouTube Music now lets you add existing playlists to a new one

YouTube has already been the place many people go to build playlists and listen to their favorite new songs. With the addition of the YouTube Music app, it made finding and saving your favorite artists easier than ever. But building playlists wasn't always so easy, though, since you could only add one song to a playlist at a time using the add button through the app. That's been updated, and now you can add entire existing playlists to one of your own creation.

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Adiantum is Google's new fast storage encryption mode for mobile devices

Talking about encryption is difficult because while it's crucial for security and privacy, most people don't understand or care about it. Despite its importance, there's always a trade-off, since it takes a (sometimes hefty) toll on system resources. This can make a device practically unusable with how it slow it is due to the encryption processes. To combat this, Google announced Adiantum, a new mode of storage encryption for low-power devices like Android Go phones, smartwatches, and so on.

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More details emerge about Android Q's improved privacy and permissions controls

Android Q news is starting to arrive bit by bit, largely due to an early AOSP build that's been doing the rounds. Probably the most welcome enhancement — other than the much-anticipated system-wide dark mode — is an overhaul to the privacy and permissions settings.

Thanks to our friends at XDA Developers, we now know a little bit more about what to expect.

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NYPD demands Google stop revealing DUI checkpoints on Maps and Waze

Water is wet, the sky is blue, and police don't like people reporting speed traps and other law enforcement checkpoints. The New York Police Department sent a cease and desist letter to Google today, demanding that the company stop displaying DUI/DWI checkpoints in its Waze and Maps applications.

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Harman Kardon Citation One review: The high-end Google Home you’ve been waiting for

In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.

The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more.

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[Update: Setup video, opt-in confirmed] Your Nest Secure becomes an Assistant-integrated smart speaker starting today

Last spring, the Nest Secure finally picked up Assistant-based controls, letting you do things like arm/disarm, and check the status of your home security setup from your phone or Google Home. It would appear that was merely the first step in deeper Assistant integration following the merger of Nest with Google's hardware team. Starting today, your Nest Secure won't just accept commands from your Google Home, it'll start to behave like one itself. That's right, it's getting the Assistant.

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