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1 month ago

What color LG Watch Sport should I buy?

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What LG Watch Sport Model should you buy? That depends...

The LG Watch Sport is a big watch for thick wrists, or at least people who are willing to carry 89.4 grams and 14mm of stainless steel goodness.

And while the rounded aesthetic may be the most universally appealing shape for watches these days — practically every Android Wear watch released in the past 18 months has been round — color also matters, and that's where things can get a bit tricky.

Unlike the LG Watch Style, which is, well, stylish in three colors, including rose gold, the Watch Sport is a bit more sedate in its palette options, offering just two: Titanium (black) and Dark Blue. In reality, as different as those depictions sound, the two colors are very similar — almost to a fault. Let's explore them, and which one you may want to buy.

Note: The Dark Blue version is currently a Google Play exclusive in the U.S., and like the lighter blue Pixel at its launch, it may be a little hard to come by for a while.

Titanium (black)

This is the standard model, the one that you will likely see sold in stores and on wrists, and the one that Google, LG and its carrier partners will push — hard. That's OK, because it's extremely attractive, with a lovely brushed stainless steel chassis and dark grey band to match. The dual tone is lovely, complementing one another, and that's a great thing, because the bands are not user-replaceable.

Dark Blue

As noted above, this is currently a Google Store exclusive in the U.S. so it may be hard to come by for a while — and it may never come to other regions. That's OK, too, because it looks very similar to the Titanium model, and may even be confused for the more ubiquitous version in some lighting conditions. The brushed stainless steel has a blue tinge, and the rubberized band is slightly darker than its Titanium counterpart, but otherwise the two models have considerable similarities.

Which should you get?

The quick answer is that you should probably get the Titanium model. It's going to be much easier to find, and combines the simple elegance of a dark silver bezel with a dark grey watch band, making it appropriate for almost any situation.

If you're more adventurous, or covet the things that few people are allowed to have, the Dark Blue model is going to be up your alley. The way its subtle cobalt hue glimmers in the right light helps it stand out from its more familiar counterpart, but at the end of the day there is very little between it and the Titanium Watch Sport.

Where to buy the LG Watch Sport

Android Wear

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1 month ago

LG Watch Sport vs. LG Watch Style: What's the difference?

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There will be plenty of Android Wear watches in 2017, but LG has the latest crop to look at.

Lots of people are getting excited about Android Wear 2.0, and that means answering the next inevitable question: do I want the LG Watch Sport, or the LG Watch Style? Though both watches run the new software and launched at the same time, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of size, hardware and capabilities.

For those who are trying to get acquainted with the two new watches from LG, and perhaps make a decision between the two, we have all of the information you need.

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1 month ago

How to update Kodi on your Amazon Fire TV Stick

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Now that Kodi 17 is out for Android, that means you can update on your Fire TV Stick. Here's how.

Because Kodi isn't available to download through the Amazon Appstore, getting the latest version requires a little more effort on your part than it would on anything with access to the Google Play Store. Fortunately, if you've installed it once, you're probably familiar enough to update it.

Whether on a Fire TV Stick or the larger Fire TV, this guide applies to both.

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1 month ago

Best ways to use your Android phone with your PC

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Best ways to use your Android phone with your PC

Make your Android phone interoperable with your PC.

Getting your Android phone to seamlessly connect to your PC isn't as daunting as it used to be. There are several services that let you mirror notifications, reply to messages, and sync data between your phone and PC. Here are some of the best options currently available on both platforms.

Pushbullet

Pushbullet

Pushbullet is the easiest way to send files between your Android phone to your PC. The app started out as a way to "push" links, files, and documents between devices, but has since evolved into a robust messaging platform. Along with the ability to mirror notifications from your phone onto your PC, Pushbullet lets you view and send text messages from your computer.

Pushbullet also lets you send files and links to your friends. All you need to do is add the email ID your friend used to register for the service, and you'll be able to share messages, links, and files with ease. Then there's the Channels feature, which offers notification feeds across categories, including news, sports, gaming, entertainment, and tech.

Pushbullet is available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, and you can download the Android app from the Play Store. The browser extensions let you access most of the functionality that Pushbullet has to offer, but if you want to access files on your computer remotely via your phone, then you need to install the Windows client.

Pushbullet is still the service to beat for notification mirroring and seamless transfer of files.

Using the native Windows client lets you remotely access files on your computer through your phone, and vice versa. Setting it up is easy: all you need to do is enable Remote Files access on both the Windows client and Android app, and you'll be able to access files on your computer through your phone.

The service is now offered in two tiers — a free option that has most of the features you're likely to use, and a pro version that costs $4.99 a month or $39.99 yearly that comes with universal copy and paste across all your devices, actionable notifications, and increased storage and file transfer limits. The free tier lets you send files up to 25MB in size and has a storage limit of 2GB, while the paid service lets you transfer files up to 1GB and offers 100GB of storage. You'll also be able to send unlimited SMS messages on the paid plan, whereas in the free tier you're limited to 100 per month.

Of all the pro features, the one that stands out is actionable notifications, which lets you reply to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Allo messages directly from your computer. Regardless of the tier, Pushbullet offers end-to-end encryption using AES-256 for notification mirroring, SMSes, and universal copy and paste.

Pushbullet offers tremendous value, and while its pricing leaves a lot to be desired, the free tier should be adequate for a majority of users interested in transferring files and syncing notifications between devices.

Download Pushbullet (free/$4.99 monthly)

Join

Join

Join is very similar in functionality to Pushbullet, with the service also offering notification mirroring, the ability to reply to notifications from your computer, send and receive texts, share links, files and documents, as well as a universal clipboard. Tasker and Google Assistant integration is baked in as well, letting you extend the functionality of the service.

Join also offers end-to-end encryption, and you can locate your device remotely by making it ring. Join is available as a Chrome extension, a Windows 10 native client, and an Android app.

The main difference is that unlike Pushbullet's yearly or monthly subscription plans, Join requires a one-time fee of $4.99 to unlock all the features. If you'd like to take a look, Join offers a 30-day trial with all the features enabled.

Download Join (free for 30 days)

Syncthing

Syncthing is similar to Lenovo's ShareIt in that both services let you transfer files across devices. That's where the similarities come to an end. Syncthing is a decentralized file sharing service that relies on an open source framework and encryption to secure your data.

With Syncthing, you essentially set up a server, and use it to connect to other devices. For instance, you can run a server on your phone, and connect to the server from your desktop computer to sync files between the two devices. Best of all, Syncthing is a free service, and its interface isn't riddled with ads. You don't even have to create a user account with the service, as it relies on unique identifiers for each device. Just enter the ID of the device you want to connect to, and you'll be able to transfer files between the two with ease.

Download Syncthing (free)

Cloud storage services

Drive

Cloud storage services are different from utilities like Syncthing in that they act as centralized repositories of data. You can pick from a multitude of services based on your needs, including the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and so on. Each service has a free tier that gives you a certain amount of storage, and you can upgrade your storage quota by paying a monthly or annual fee.

A free Dropbox account comes with 2GB of storage, and Dropbox Pro offers 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month or $99.99 yearly. You get 15GB of free cloud storage with Google Drive, and you can increase your quota to 100GB for $1.99 a month or $19.99 yearly. If you have more storage requirements, you can get 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month or $99.99 yearly.

All services mentioned above have robust native clients for Windows, as well as feature-rich Android versions. If you're looking for a hassle-free way to sync files across several devices, a public cloud storage service is a good place to start.

Your turn

What service do you rely on to transfer data from your Android device to your computer? Let us know in the comments.

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1 month ago

How to update to Kodi 17 on your OSMC-powered Raspberry Pi

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Raspberry Pi

Kodi 17 has been released now to OSMC, our favorite build for Raspberry Pi. Here's how to update.

If you followed our guide on getting Kodi on the Raspberry Pi, then there's a good chance you're also using OSMC. It's definitely one of the more attractive Kodi builds out there and it has now been updated underneath, and out front, with Kodi 17 Krypton.

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1 month ago

How to set up and use Kodi on your Android device

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Getting Kodi set up on Android might take some time initially, but it's worth it in the long run.

Kodi is a powerful open source media center, which is available across a multitude of operating systems, but its rise to prominence is mostly thanks to its Android version. This is due to the rise in popularity of Kodi boxes — essentially cheap Android TV boxes sold with the Kodi app pre-installed. This has garnered Kodi a lot of press and attention lately, because its open source add-on feature can be used for media piracy purposes.

But it's an unfair situation because the piracy add-ons are unofficial, unsupported, and the Kodi box industry is unwelcome, according to the Kodi developers. The base app is perfectly legal, and what you do get is one of the best experiences for organizing and streaming media onto any device — even your phone. Bring your own content like you would with Plex — or even link to your Plex server within Kodi if you've already got one set up.

It's entirely customizable, so let's walk you through the basic setup.

Kodi is optimized for Android

Previously, when you downloaded Kodi on your Android device, you would be required to go into the Appearance setting and swap over to a more touchscreen-friendly skin. With the latest update for Android, the developers have swapped over to a much more user-friendly skin by default, so you'll be able to just load it up and go.

Download Kodi from the Google Play Store

Once you've loaded Kodi up, you'll find the navigation menu on the lefthand side with categories for Movies, TV Shows, Music, Pictures, Add-ons, and more.

Importing your media files

With Kodi, you can keep all your media organized and accessible in one place — from pictures and music to videos, sorted by movies and TV shows. It's quick and easy to import your media into Kodi and simply a matter of setting a source for the media from your phone's internal storage or a microSD card if your phone supports expandable storage.

  1. Tap the type of media you wish to add. We'll use Pictures for this example.
  2. Tap Add pictures….

  3. Tap Browse.
  4. Find the folder containing the media you wish to add then tap OK.

Now when you tap the category from the main screen, you'll find your source available with all your photos, music, or videos organized. If you've ripped your favorite TV box sets onto your computer and transferred them to a microSD card, they will be organized by season within Kodi.

Diving into Add-ons

Beyond your own media, you can also install a variety of handy add-ons from the built-in add-on browser or by adding them from remote add-on repositories. For now, we'll look at what's available from right within Kodi.

When you tap the Add-ons menu from the main menu of Kodi, you may find that all your Android apps have been automatically linked and displayed within Kodi. While it's somewhat convenient to be able to jump right into another app from within Kodi, I've found it to be somewhat buggy and it's caused Kodi to crash on more than one occasion.

You want to get to the add-on menu with all the different add-on types listed along the left side of the screen. There you'll be able to tap the button to browse through the available add-ons.

You can find video add-ons for over 100 different TV channels' online streaming catalogues and media sharing websites such as YouTube and Reddit, along with many international options. To install an add-on and see what it has to offer, simply select it and tap Install.

Along with the add-ons found within the included Add-ons browser, you can go into the add-on settings and install from an online repository. Since those are often hosting add-ons that promote piracy, you're on your own if you choose to go that route.

The Chromecast workaround

Watching Kodi on a tablet or phone when you're on the go is alright, but the best part is the way you can switch over to your Chromecast-enabled TV when you get home. Kodi doesn't support Chromecast directly, but you can cast your phone's screen to the TV.

It's a pretty good workaround if you've got an older Android phone or tablet sitting around collecting dust. If it also happens to feature a microSD slot, it'll be that much easier to load it full of your favorite media. I used a secondary phone for my bedroom TV, which allowed me to cast my favorite shows to the Chromecast while keeping the full touch controls over everything right on hand.

It did take some tweaking, including going into the audio settings and adjusting the volume and audio offset, but once it was set up, it was pretty great. The updated layout that's been optimized for touchscreen controls only makes things easier to navigate

Of course, there's nothing stopping you from [adding Kodi to an NVIDIA Shield] or downloading Kodi for your PC or Mac and streaming your content that way from home. Simply put, Kodi gives you all the customization tools for Android to make it fit into TV setups around your home.

Questions?

Let me know in the comments below!

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1 month ago

How to deal with blurry images in PlayStation VR

Seeing clearly in VR is a priority that you shouldn't overlook.

You're ready to spend some time in VR. The play area is clean, your accessories are charged, and you put on your PlayStation VR headset. Instead of seeing a crisp, clean image displayed around you, everything looks blurry and ill-defined. This issue can cause nausea, along with being a less than amazing experience. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to deal with this problem.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 month ago

How to turn off screen overlay on Samsung Galaxy S7

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This is one of the more confusing error messages afflicting some Galaxy phone owners. The fix is relatively simple — but a little investigation may be required.

Here's a perplexing issue that's been affecting Samsung Galaxy S7 owners — in addition to folks on a handful of other Android devices. It goes a bit like this: You start up an app for the first time and accept the usual permission dialogs. Then you're hit by a message like this:

Screen overlay detected
To change this permission setting, you first have to turn off the screen overlay in Settings > Apps.

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1 month ago

Your phone is part Android and part Google, and probably part Samsung

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The software on every Android phone is different because it comes from several different places.

This is a question that pops up from time to time, but because the Google Pixel ships with different apps and services — namely Google Assistant — than other phones it's become a little more frequent. We saw the same thing when Google Wallet first appeared, and we'll see it again when the next phone from Google has something others don't.

People get a little confused — rightfully so — about what comes with Android and what apps and services are from Google or Samsung or any other company. In other words, why do I have this app and not this app? Not everyone keeps up to date on mobile tech, so if you're coming from an iPhone where there are four or five different models to choose from but even last year's models have the same software on them you might expect it to be the same way on Android.

Android comes in lots of flavors.

To answer that, you need to remember how Android is distributed to the people who make our phones.

Android isn't a thing that can be wrapped up and given or sold to a company to install. Companies like Samsung have access to the code itself and can build it into almost anything they want. As long as the final product meets the criteria given by Google to make sure it's compatible with applications built for its version, Samsung can have at it with the rest and add to it. That's why Android is so different when you compare phones from one company to phones from another.

Google adds software to Android

But a good bit of Android is still the same, even if the icons and colors are changed. That's because there are specific apps — both part of the source code as well as apps made by Google for their web services which are not part of Android's code but needed to get permission to use Google's Play Store — which also isn't part of the Android code. These are what we call "Google Apps." They are made so you can use Google's products and services on the phone, and they are there for two reasons.

Google adds a few bloatware apps, too.

The first is because some of them need to be installed on every single phone to make sure all the apps in Google Play will work. Even if you never open it, you need a few apps like Chrome installed on your LG V20 or whatever phone you have to make sure it can run apps from the Play Store. The other is that these are the services Google wants you to be able to use out of the box. Google gets it's way here because it's an all or nothing agreement — if you want the phone you're making to be able to use the Play Store, you have to also include these other apps. At least for now, because the EU doesn't like that (and maybe they are right).

The actual agreement about what apps need to be there and what ones don't can change from time to time but some are always part of it:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Chrome
  • Google Search
  • Google Talkback
  • Various apps needed to synchronize all these services

Every phone that has the Google Play Store preinstalled will have these core apps. The model or version doesn't matter. Some are necessary, others are there because Google just wants us to see them. And many of them aren't part of the Andriod code so won't be available for phones built without Google Play Store access.

The company who made your phone is next

The next step is the people who made your phone adding their software or the apps a wireless carrier requests installed. These are included for the same reasons Google apps are. Some of them are essential so things on the phone can work. Others are for services and apps they want you to be able to use right away. And there can be a lot of differences here.

Samsung adds a ton of features and apps to help use them.

Using Samsung as our example again, a very high-end phone like the Galaxy S7 edge or the new Galaxy S8 we expect to see soon will have exclusive features, Right now, these are Samsung's best phones and they want you to think they are worth the cost when compared to other models that are cheaper. Verizon (or AT&T or any other wireless company) does exactly the same thing and has some apps put in place to make sure you see them right away or to help you pay your bill.

Of course, none of these apps go along with Android. All of these apps belong to Samsung and Verizon (in our example) respectively. Models made for specific regions and models made for different carriers can vary a little bit. But this is how the people who made the phone and the people who sell the phone want it to be, and they are really choosy. They want you to be a happy customer and try to offer a mix of features and apps so that there is something there everyone will like,

But what about Google Assistant!

This same process applies to phones sold by Google. Every Nexus Phone and every Pixel phone have all had the core apps from Google to be compatible and to make sure you see an app like Gmail so you don't go looking for a replacement. Sometimes we see a phone sold by Google with an exclusive app from Google. Like Google Assistant.

Google Assistant is there because Google thinks that some people will find it a reason to buy their phone instead of somebody else's, and probably because it is so much easier to deploy on a phone that they can update directly and isn't going to sell tens of millions of units, Slower sales mean far fewer chances for a particular bug to affect as many people.

Google uses Assistant as a selling point for the pixel, but it's also branching out.

We've already seen Google Assistant announced as coming to Android TV and Android Wear. Companies like NVIDIA and Sony and LG will have it in their 2017 lineup. There is no word from Google about Assistant becoming available for any other phone including their own Nexus 6P. Some of us here at Android Central are pretty sure it will because Google loves data. My guess is that they will try to get it into the Play Store eventually so hundreds of millions of people have a chance to use it.

This can all be a bit confusing if you're used to iOS or even Windows or BlackBerry. It gets even more confusing when you see different phones on different versions of Android and they have different features. But it's also a reason so many people prefer an Android phone. There are so many choices that one of them will be what you're looking for.

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1 month ago

How to watch Super Bowl LI on your Android phone or tablet

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How to watch Super Bowl LI on your Android phone or tablet

How can I watch the Super Bowl on my Android phone? Depends: live or after the fact?

Game day approacheth! Super Bowl parties shall abound, but what if you can't make it to one? What if you're stuck somewhere without a TV? What if you wanna watch the Super Bowl in the bath? You can — on your Android phone or tablet. But how?

Here's how:

In the U.S.

If you're in the U.S., lucky you! You have more options than most for watching the Super Bowl live. If you can't be around for the live game, you still have options to watch after the fact.

Fox Sports GO

This is your best option for watching the Super Bowl live. The Fox Sports GO app will be streaming the game in its entirety, including commercials. The real kicker? It's free. You won't need to prove you're a cable subscriber or any of those shenanigans. Just download the app and the game is yours.

Download: Fox Sports GO (Free)

NFL Mobile (Verizon customers only)

If you're with Verizon, you also get to watch the Super Bowl for free with the NFL Mobile app. Hell, if you want to switch to Verizon, know that next year you'll get all the regular season and playoff games, as well as the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl for free.

Download: NFL Mobile (free, with in-app purchases)

Outside the U.S.

Unless you have a TV subscription, there's unfortunately no way to stream the Super Bowl live and for free on your Android phone or tablet, though there are paid options.

Canada only: CTV GO

If you have a cable subscription that includes CTV, you'll be able to live stream the Super Bowl in the CTV GO app, with proof of subscription.

Download: CTV GO (free)

U.K., India, and everywhere else: NFL Game Pass

This option isn't cheap, but it's virtually the only way you'll see the Super Bowl on your Android phone or tablet. For $34.99 USD, you get the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl (now passed), as well as access to the NFL Network 24/7, coach's film, game replays, and more through February 17, 2017.

For $35, it might not seem worth it, but for the die-hard NFL fan living outside the U.S., it's really your only option.

Subscribe to NFL Game Pass ($34.99)

That's pretty much it

If you're wanting to watch Super Bowl LI on your Android phone or tablet, those are really your only options at this point, aside from some less-than-legal shenanigans.

How are you watching this year? Got another option for streaming on Android? Let us know in the comments below!

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1 month ago

If you're not doing this with all your accounts, you're doing it wrong

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If you're not using a password manager and two-step authentication, you're most likely doing things wrong.*

This 4-minute video may change your life. Or at least convince you that strong passwords and two-factor authentication are a must.

Oh, wait. You already use a password manager? You already have 2FA on all your accounts? Great. But chances are you know someone who doesn't. And you have got to share this video with them. We're to the point that these basic security measures are a must. (Don't believe me? Ask this guy.)

Some MUST-HAVE links that go along with this little rant:

Repeat: Strong, unique passwords and two-factor authorization are two of the most important things you can do online.

Subscribing to Modern Dad is a third. You can do that here!!!

*Unless you're one of those people who has a crazy sort of brain that can do a one-time password sort of thing mentally. In which case remind me to buy you a beer and never ask how you do such a thing.

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1 month ago

How to play Steam games on PlayStation VR

How to play Steam games on PlayStation VR

Can I play PC games on my PSVR?

Sony's entry into the virtual reality world has so far been a hit — their head-mounted display is as comfortable as they get, and the library of quality games continues to grow. For some of you, however, PlayStation VR games might not be enough. Besides, you have that enormous Steam library sitting there just begging to be played.

Thanks to the developers of Odd Sheep Games and their software, Trinus PSVR, you can now enjoy both VR and non-VR games from your Steam library on PSVR. If this is something you've always wanted to do, we're here to show you how to get it all set up.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 month ago

How to replace your laptop with a tablet

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If you're looking for true mobility with your devices, sometimes even a laptop can be too much. Tablets are ubiquitous, and with the right preparation, can easily replace a laptop for your (lighter) work days. If you're hesitant about making the move from laptop to tablet, let me assuage your fears.

I'm Michael Fisher, though you probably know me better as MrMobile, and yes, I'm writing this from a tablet. Sometimes all you need is to sit at a cafe, drinking coffee and typing on a device that can comfortably fit inside a SCOTTeVEST. I know that's all I need. slurp ahhh.

Featured devices

Stay social, my friends

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1 month ago

Get pumped for the big game with our Super Bowl themes!

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ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALLLLLLL?????!!!!!!!

The parties are prepped. The commercials are cued. The fans have completely taken Houston — as an Austinite, you can have it, by the by. Super Bowl LI is Sunday, and that means it's time to give the teams their theming due. Only one team may walk outta Texas with a ring, but both teams and their fans can deck their phones in these simple, sporty themes on their Android phones.

So, I say again: are you ready for some football?

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1 month ago

How to mute Google Home's microphones (and why you need to)

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OK Google, stop listening to me.

I love being able to yell across the room to tell my Google Home to fast forward a song or play the news. But whenever I try to use Google Assistant on my Pixel within earshot of the always-on speaker, the Home almost always intercepts, even if I need something only the Pixel can do, like search my contacts or set a reminder — which Google Home still can't do. Sometimes we need to stop Google Home from butting in, and thankfully, it's really easy to do.

And you don't even have to get off the couch to do it.

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