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Project Fi launches group plans, Nexus 5X and 6P will continue to be available on Fi

Last month, an APK teardown revealed that Project Fi, Google's wireless network, was preparing to offer group plans. Now group plans are official, and admittedly, the pricing isn't spectacular.

Project Fi already offers $20 a month for Fi Basics, which is unlimited talk and text. Every GB of data is $10, but Fi credits back any data you don't use. Now you can add up to five additional people to your Fi plan, who each pay $15/month for Fi Basics and the same $10 per GB. So by going with a group plan, you're saving $5 per person.

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Panoramio shutdown scheduled for November 4, 2016; Google details image export options for its users

Before Street View and PhotoSpheres and Local Guides programs with millions of user-submitted photos, there was Panoramio. The site launched in 2005 as a way for users to share geotagged photos around the world and was later acquired by Google in 2007. Its Google Earth and Maps layers boast nearly 100 million user-contributed images, with many locations around the globe offering more pictures than what's available from Maps user submissions.

However, back in 2014, Google had decided to shut down Panoramio and fold it into Maps. That decision was met with some push back from the community, and thus resulted in the delay of the final doom and Google working to implement more social features and contributions in Google Maps to make the Panoramio shutdown more tolerable.

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Google Assistant can be enabled on non-Pixel devices running Android Nougat

Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 6.5.35.21 or newer.

If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup.

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Samsung to permanently discontinue production and sales of the Galaxy Note7

Following two days of non-stop news on carriers halting sales, reports of Samsung temporarily stopping production, and official partners disabling apps on the device, the only piece of news that could conceivably be next has arrived: Samsung will permanently discontinue production and sales of the Note7 worldwide, with filings made to regulators in South Korea.

The Note7 fallout has deeply damaged Samsung's brand, so it is no surprise to see the company make this decision. This is in light of multiple 'safe' replacement handsets also catching fire, just like the originals, 2.5 million of which were recalled. Samsung is known for its expertise in manufacturing - it originally said the fires were due to a faulty battery component from a manufacturer - so this botched device will have repercussions for some time.

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Oculus disables Gear VR app on the Note7

I've not been near a Note7 when it explodes, but having watched videos and seen pictures of said event, I'm assured fire, heat, and general explosiveness are involved. Probably best, then, not to use it with Samsung's Gear VR headset. With that said, Oculus has duly disabled the Gear VR app on the Note7, in the interests of safety.

reddit user /u/Bahaman23 posted on the official Galaxy Note7 subreddit (sidenote: that must be hot right now), saying that the Gear VR app on his device no longer worked. Upon opening the app, a message is displayed:

Customer safety is Oculus' top priority.

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Samsung advises all Note7 owners to power down their phones while it investigates fires

The latest chapter in Samsung's ongoing Note7 nightmare has unfolded with the company's official statement on the new wave of battery fires. It says all owners of the Note7 should immediately turn off the phone while Samsung continues its investigation. This includes any original Note7 devices that might still be floating around as well as the replacements.

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PSA: Pixel and Pixel XL do not work with Google's USB-C to HDMI dongle

Even in a world with Chromecasts and other streaming devices, it's often just easier to plug your phone directly into your TV with an HDMI cable and an adapter. Some people depend on this functionality quite a bit, and for those of you that do, it might not please you to hear that Google's Pixel smartphones will not support the company's own USB Type-C to HDMI adapter.

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System dumps for Pixel and Pixel XL are available for download

Google will be shipping the Pixel and Pixel XL in a few weeks, but you can download the system dumps from the phones right now. Developer and occasional leaker LlabTooFeR has posted the files online, but don't get excited thinking these dumps will let you install Android 7.1 on your device. This is still a chance to get a look at the Pixel's software a little early, though.

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Samsung will need to use extreme care handling a second Note7 recall, and it will suffer regardless

The Galaxy Note7 is in full-on product free-fall right now. Retailers are pulling it off shelves, Samsung has stopped production, and the once-deemed-"safe" versions of the phone are very obviously not. Things, frankly, could not have gone worse for Samsung. The Note7's launch has been brought to a screeching halt, and while many consumers may have been OK with Samsung's first battery fire flub given the relatively quick turnaround and response, this second round simply has no hope of retaining that goodwill.

This means Samsung will have to be walking-on-glass-covered-in-vinegar-and-angry-snakes levels of careful in how it manages what happens next.

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[Update: Sprint and Best Buy too] Verizon halts Galaxy Note7 sales, replacement devices can be exchanged

After AT&T and T-Mobile confirmed they are both halting Samsung Galaxy Note7 sales, and reports claiming Samsung is temporarily halting production of the device, Verizon has followed suit and halted its selling of the handset as well. The phones - both original and replacement models - can still be exchanged for something less, um, likely to explode, though.

This follows after it was claimed a replacement Note7 - i.e.

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