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Google removes its own CitizenTube YouTube channel for some reason, reinstates it, but leaves it full of spam

Way back in 2007, Google introduced the CitizenTube YouTube channel as the site's "political video blog." Though it hasn't been used in quite a few years (the most recent video was uploaded in 2012), it was recently terminated for violating YouTube's policy. CitizenTube is now live again, but given the types of videos that have populated the channel's homepage, it looks like it was hacked.

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Lens is now rolling out to Google Assistant

Lens was announced at Google I/O 2017, and began rolling out to Photos a few weeks ago. If you're not aware, Lens is a machine-learning powered spiritual successor to Google Goggles, as it can identify objects and landmarks in photos. Google said it would eventually arrive in Assistant, and now it looks like the time has come.

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Google adds Nest Thermostat E, Secure Alarm System, Connect, and Cam IQ outdoor to the Google Store

When Google recently decided to sell only company-made hardware in the Google Store, Nest products were kept in stock. That's not exactly a surprise, given that it's a subsidiary of Alphabet, just like Google. Now the lineup of Nest security cameras, thermostats, and other smart home security accessories sold in the Google Store is expanding.

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[Update: Decryption working] TWRP now supports Pixel 2 and 2 XL in alpha, plus Moto G5 and more in stable

These days, TWRP is virtually the only custom recovery for Android devices on the market, so it's a relief that it's actually good. It also covers an incredibly large amount of devices, with more constantly being added. This time around, alpha versions have come on the scene for Google's two new smartphones, as well as stable versions for a few others.

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[Update: Fixed in V5.2] Some users are reporting Google Clock alarm failures since updating to Oreo

With any major OS release, in spite of rigorous testing and numerous developer previews, it's not uncommon for random issues to arise. Some users who've updated their Pixel or Nexus devices to Oreo have discovered an annoying bug whereby the alarm in the Google Clock app simply isn't going off. And that's a pretty big problem if it's the only alarm app you use.

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YouTube 12.44 brings pinch-to-zoom to more devices like the Galaxy S8+ and LG V30

YouTube 12.40 brought one small but neat change: a pinch-to-zoom gesture that lets you expand the video to fit an entire 18:9 display. Since most videos are made for the 16:9 format, black bars would sit on each side of the display when you're viewing YouTube videos in fullscreen mode, which sort of detracted from the illusion of having that big shiny nearly full-front display.

With 12.40, only the Pixel 2 supported the gesture, leaving other 18:9 smartphones behind. Now we've verified that v12.44 of the YouTube app makes the gesture available to the Galaxy S8+, LG V30, and possibly more devices.

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Google Assistant is able to troubleshoot problems on your phone (Pixel 2 only, for now)

The Google Assistant on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL is more powerful than ever before, and it can help you do a bunch of things with your phone like change settings or initiate a conversation with support. Thanks to a whimsical request from a reader, we now know about one more ability the Assistant has.

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Google Search is testing more local predictive search suggestions

In its never-ending quest to improve the way you search and speed up your way to more information, Google appears to be trying a new approach with its Search suggestions. As you can see in the screenshot above, at the bottom of the list after recent searches, there are 4 more locally relevant suggestions.

These are for movie timings nearby, the latest cricket scores, word translations, and the latest Bollywood movies. As you can guess, those suggestions are relevant to our tipster, and carry a grey icon next to them probably to denote that they're different from recent searches and other suggestions.

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Actions on Google open new languages (CA, IN, BR, IT, ES), better discovery, and more interactions for Assistant apps

Google Developers is rolling out a huge update to Actions on Google, the backbone through which developers can create those Assistant apps and integrations that are still a little hidden but can be very useful if you interact with your Home or phone a lot through voice. Both developers and users stand to benefit from these changes as there are a lot of improvements that will add up quickly for a better experience.

First, in terms of discovery, the Assistant's Explore tab / "app directory" will see two new sections for "What's new" and "What's trending." Now there's only a list of categories, which makes it impossible to spot popular services or new additions.

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Google Maps is about to get a lot more colorful

The design of Google Maps doesn't get updated very often, so when it does, it's kind of a big deal. The latest tweaks are all about adding a bit more color to the interface and making things a little easier to pick out as a consequence. What you see will also be more relevant to the mode of transport you're using, too.

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