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2 weeks ago

Galaxy S8 Oreo + Samsung Experience 9.0 beta launches in U.S., UK, South Korea

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Galaxy S8

Now you can sample the latest tasty treat.

After an early roll-out that saw a couple people get in on the update early, Samsung has officially announced that it has opened its beta program for testing Android 8.0 Oreo on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Not only does it bump the core Android version to 8.0, but the beta update also includes the latest "Samsung Experience" version 9.0, which is shaping up to be a nice jump up from version 8.5 launched with the Galaxy Note 8.

Samsung says that the software being previewed here will be closely related to what launches on the "next flagship Galaxy device" — aka the Galaxy S9.

As usual, there are a few caveats here. For those of us in the U.S. to get in on the beta, we'll need to have a Sprint, T-Mobile or U.S. unlocked version of the Galaxy S8 or S8+. (For what it's worth, I wasn't prompted for the registration until I put an active SIM in my phone.) If you're in the UK, you need to have a non-carrier SIM-free model. Unfortunately the Note 8 isn't included in the beta at this time — though we can expect to see very similar software on the Note 8 when it exits beta.

The process of signing up for the Oreo beta is pretty simple. Just download the Samsung+ app from Google Play (or Samsung Members app outside of the U.S.), sign in with your Samsung Account and wait to see if you receive the prompt to enroll in the app — it'll show up right on the main screen.

Galaxy S8 Oreo beta programGalaxy S8 Oreo beta programGalaxy S8 Oreo beta program

Last year's beta program for testing Nougat on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge was severely limited at first to just several thousand people, but Samsung has bumped that up this year to 10,000. It does say that there will be "additional rounds" of registration, but it isn't clear if that means it will open up more slots overall.

Have you enrolled in the beta program on your Galaxy S8 or S8+ yet? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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Press release:

Samsung Experience 9.0 Beta Now Available

Samsung Electronics today announced the launch of the Samsung Experience 9.0 beta, part of the Galaxy beta program which offers select customers a chance to experience new features available through the Galaxy ecosystem.

Previously known as TouchWiz, Samsung Experience is based on the Android OS and has expanded beyond the user interface to provide Galaxy users with a consistent and seamless experience across all Samsung mobile software, apps and services. This change is in recognition of the increasing suite of unique services Samsung has developed for the Galaxy devices.

Following Samsung Experience version 8.5, which was released with the Galaxy Note8, Samsung Experience 9.0 is based on the latest version of the operating system built on the Android Oreo UI and UX, and will be available on the next flagship Galaxy device.

Samsung is launching a Samsung Experience 9.0 beta program for select customers. Starting on November 2, 2017, Galaxy S8 and S8+ users based in South Korea, the U.S. and the U.K*. will have the opportunity to preview the upcoming Samsung Experience 9.0 before its official release, with additional rounds of registration.

The beta period will allow Samsung to gather helpful insights and feedback from customers on their first impressions of the Samsung Experience 9.0 beta's performance** and usability during the testing period*** to develop a more reliable, high-performing software package and provide Galaxy users with an improved and optimized experience.

To apply for the program, users must have an active Samsung Account and meet certain requirements. The Galaxy beta program may be provided via the Samsung Members app or the Samsung+ app for the U.S., which are available through the Google Play store or Galaxy Apps, depending on the user's country of residence.

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2 weeks ago

Latest OnePlus 5 update resolves KRACK vulnerability

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OxygenOS 4.5.14 is rolling out to some users starting today, with a larger rollout taking place over the next few days.

Say what you will about OnePlus, it's no secret that the company does a solid job at pushing out speedy software updates to its latest devices. Although the OnePlus 5T is right around the corner, the latest update for the OnePlus 5 is here, and its main focus in on making the phone more reliable and secure.

The biggest thing to take note of is that updating to OxygenOS 4.5.14 will get rid of the WPA2 vulnerability that was introduced with KRACK in mid-October. This is big news for all OnePlus 5 users, and it's great to see OnePlus pushing out a fix so soon.

In addition to this, the update also includes support for Airtel VoLTE in India, Band 66 support for Freedom customers in Canada, optimized battery usage and GPS accuracy, as well as general bug fixes throughout the OS.

OnePlus says that the over-the-air update will start to hit some users' devices starting today, with a larger rollout happening over the next few days.

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Pay in Canada gains new partners, option to use debit cards

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In other words, Samsung Pay is now actually useful for Canadians.

Although Samsung Pay was originally launched in the summer of 2015, it wasn't made available for Canadian users until late 2016. However, even when the service did launch up north, the only supported partner was CIBC. Samsung Pay is getting its first big expansion in Canada, and it introduces a host of new partners and the ability to finally use debit cards.

The new partners for Samsung Pay in Canada include Interac Debit, Scotiabank, American Express Canada, ATB Financial, Visa Canada, and Mastercard. Cards through these partners can be used on Samsung Pay now, and in addition to them, support for Tangerine and Peoples Card Services will also be rolling out soon.

As mentioned above, this expansion also introduces the ability to connect debit cards to Samsung Pay. Users have previously only been able to use the service with credit cards, and while we would have certainly like to seen this feature added sooner than now, we're still happy that it's finally here.

Per Samsung Electronics Canada's COO and Executive Vice President, Paul Brannen, "We are excited to deliver an industry-leading offering with Samsung Pay that redefines how to simply, more securely and conveniently use smartphones for a variety of payment experiences so that Canadians are not without the card they need."

How to set up Samsung Pay with your Samsung Galaxy S8

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2 weeks ago

Fast Pair is Google's vision for fast, effortless Bluetooth pairing

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Available now for Android 6.0 Marshmallow and later.

Bluetooth headphones have always been fairly popular, but with the rapid termination of the 3.5mm headphone jack, that point is only going to become more and more prominent over the next few years. Pairing Bluetooth devices to your phone has never been a beautiful process, but Google is aiming to alleviate this pain with the announcement of Fast Pair.

Similar to Apple's W1 chip that was introduced with AirPods last year, Fast Pair lets you connect to a new pair of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds by simply being within close proximity of them. Just turn on pairing mode on the Bluetooth accessory you want to pair, put it near your Android device, and you'll automatically get a notification to pair said accessory without having to jump through convoluted menus.

The only two headphones that currently work with Fast Pair include Google's Pixelbuds and Libratone's Q Adapt On-Ear, but Plantronics' upcoming Voyager 8200 wireless headphones will also support the new tech.

Unlike accessories for iOS that only work with the special W1 chip built inside of them, Fast Pair is a technology that can be pushed out to virtually any pair of Bluetooth headphones – upcoming or existing ones already on the market. Better yet, as long as you're using Google Play Services v11.7 or greater, you'll be able to take advantage of Fast Pair on devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later.

How much longer do we have to fight for the headphone jack?

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2 weeks ago

Best Android Browsers

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Android has a ton of ways to browse the web, but it's up to you to choose which works best for your needs.

We use our phones for so much more than simply browsing the web that you might not bother looking into the plethora of web browsers available in the Google Play Store.

The default web browser for most Android phones is good ol' reliable Chrome. If you frequently use other Google services like YouTube and Google Drive it's the natural pick. But you do have other options.

There are some truly impressive browser options out there for Android users to enjoy, whether you find Chrome is lacking some features you like or simply want to see what else is available. Here are the best alternatives to Chrome for Android!

Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is an iconic web browser for PC and Mac used by hundreds of millions of people around the world. The Android app delivers most of the features that make the desktop version so popular along with a very familiar look and feel.

The homepage is convenient and a great launching point with tabs for your top-visited sites, bookmarks, and your recent history, so you can spend less time searching and more time enjoying your favorite sites. The browsing interface layout is quite similar to Chrome, with the navbar located at the top of the screen. It's quick to manage and open tabs, including Private Browsing tabs with tracking protection that ensures your browsing history is kept private.

Add-ons are another popular Firefox feature and they're available for the mobile version, too. This is where you can find ad-blockers, password managers, and themes to customize your browsing experience further. You're also able to use your Firefox account to sync open tabs from your desktop to your smartphone or tablet. Basically, if you use Firefox on your computer, Mozilla has made it pretty convenient to use it on your phone, too.

Download: Mozilla Firefox for Android (Free)

Samsung Internet Browser

Samsung's default browser for its Galaxy phones is a solid internet browser that you can download and install on any non-Samsung phone through the Google Play Store.

Samsung's browser is so popular in part because it's the default browser on every Samsung phone, but also because it's super fast and easy to use with a convenient navigation bar at the bottom. It also includes cool features such as a video assistant that makes watching videos a breeze, a built-in tracking blocker to ensure your browsing is safe and private, along with compatibility with third-party ad blockers.

If you're rocking a Samsung phone, Samsung's default browser should serve you quite well — it's only web browser that works with Samsung's Ultra Power-saving mode which is pretty great and is optimized for Samsung devices. But it'll work as a great alternative to Chrome on any Android phone, too.

Download: Samsung Internet Browser (Free)

Opera

Opera, for a time, was the darling alternative web browser for many thanks to its sleek design and ease of use. The good news is that it's still pretty great, with a focus on delivering a smart news feed with customizable channels.

The interface is light and easy to use features such as built-in ad blocking, and a data-saving mode for faster browsing on slower networks. You're always able to zoom in on any page, and Opera will intelligently fit the text to your screen with text wrap. If your main concern is saving data, you may want to check out Opera Mini which is optimized to let you do more with less data.

Download: Opera browser for Android (Free)

CM Browser

This browser is the product of Cheetah Mobile who makes a top-rated antivirus app for Android.

What sets CM Browser apart? Well, it's pretty fast and lightweight (like a cheetah!) and has a lot of good features like active ad blocking, a conveniently located navigation bar, quick access to flip on night mode. Because it's developed by an anti-virus company, it will also warn you of all potentially fraudulent or malicious websites in real time. You'll also get download protection for any APK files you may download outside the Google Play Store.

Download: CM Broswer (Free)

Microsoft Edge

Emerging from the ashes of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge is the new hotness for web browsing on PC. Currently available as a pre-release beta in the Google Store, it's shaping up to be a pretty decent alternative to Chrome

It's nice having the navigation buttons at the bottom, especially using taller screens, making it much easier to open new tabs and quickly add articles to your reading list. But the biggest perk here comes if you're also using Edge on your PC. Anchoring that navigation bar is is that you can easily switch over between browsing on your phone to your PC

Microsoft Edge for Android is still in late beta, but it's still worth checking out.

Download: Microsoft Edge BETA (Free)

Chrome Beta

Speaking of betas, there's a separate app for the beta version of Chrome you can download and use in lieu of the stock version that came with your phone.

It's where Google will test out the latest features that might be coming to the official app. It's a solid option for those who enjoy the beta testing process and the occasional bugs that go along with it.

Download: Chrome Beta (Free)

What do you use?

Have any opinions on the browsers we've highlighted? Do you use a different browser that didn't make our list? Let us know in the comments!

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2 weeks ago

YouTube TV has me evangelizing about cutting the cord

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Cutting the cord was a good choice.

Back in September, I decided to give YouTube TV a try and see whether it was actually as awesome as it claimed to be. Like plenty of other folks, I was tired of paying an exorbitant amount of money just to get access to the handful of shows that I wanted to watch on various networks. Suffice to say, I fell in love with the app and its capabilities, and I can't stop talking about.

I've got everything you want to know about whether YouTube TV is worth it for you.

Affordable

The first thing that piqued my interest with YouTube TV was the price. I'm used to paying well upwards of $100 in order to access everything that I want to watch. My cable subscription, bundled with internet access, cost $190 every month. While switching to YouTube TV doesn't eliminate that price, it does cut it in half.

A subscription is only $30 a month. The cheapest cable-only package available near me started at $60 a month and was limited to basic channels. Now, I'm pretty thrifty and I try to save money wherever possible. Getting access to Supernatural, The Walking Dead, The Good Place, and more without having to deal with a cable company seemed like it was too good to be true. It wasn't.

With my subscription, I can DVR all of my favorite shows to be watched later, or I can catch them live as they air. I've always been a big fan of keeping up with a handful of shows, but I've never been great at remembering when they air. With Verizon or Comcast, I'd have to pay extra for each DVR, but that just isn't an issue here.

The price gets me everything that I want, without being a major expenditure each month.

Versatile

With a normal cable package, you're essentially limited to the television that is hooked up to a cable box. With YouTube TV, you're able to watch your shows wherever you are. I can catch up on last night's episode of The Walking Dead at home on the TV or right on my phone while I'm on the train. There are no massive hoops to jump through, and the app works great no matter where I happen to be.

Since it has full Chromecast support, I can cast it to the big screen if I want to really see everything that is going on. I was lucky enough to already have a Chromecast in the house, but there is an offer for a free Chromecast after you've paid for the first month of YouTube TV. This means that no matter where I am, I can catch up on my shows, share them with friends, and check out live sports, movies, news and more.

The versatile nature of YouTube TV means that it's great for everyone, no matter what kind of TV you enjoy watching.

Access to my favorites

Of course, the real reason I can't stop talking about how awesome YouTube TV is is the magnitude of programming that I get access to. The CW, AMC, Chiller, BBC America, Bravo, and plenty more are all available. While not every network has opted in, all of the shows that I was already attached to are available.

I can easily add new shows to my DVR, check out the movies playing on cable, and of course, I get access to tons of Football coverage. Since I really only needed access to a handful of networks, the offering from YouTube TV is fantastic. Even better, if I start watching midseason, I still get access to all episodes from that season.

YouTube TV is the complete package

Between the price, the availability of programming, and the versatility, YouTube TV is the perfect package. I supplement it with Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Now, because I binge watch constantly. But I cannot emphasize enough how awesome this app is, which is why I've been telling absolutely everyone about it, from close friends to random folks in the checkout line at GameStop.

If you've been considering cutting the cord, take my word for it: YouTube TV is worth every penny.

Download YouTube TV (free)

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3 weeks ago

Samsung Internet v6.2 includes Night Mode, Content Blockers, Samsung Pay/Rewards

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Samsung Internet v6.2 has a lot of new features – here's what to keep an eye out for.

Google Chrome is easily the most popular web browser on Android, but that doesn't mean there aren't solid alternatives out there if you want to change up the way you access the web while on the go. Samsung Internet has gotten tremendously better since its release, and the latest v6.2 update adds quite a few new features that make it quite appealing.

One of the biggest features is a new Night Mode. This can be enabled by tapping on the menu icon in the top right and then "Turn on Night Mode", and once you do, white backgrounds will be turned to black, black text is turned to white, and the brightness of your screen is reduced to provide as comfortable of a browsing experience as possible while going through your favorite sites late at night.

To go along with this, there's also a new High Contrast Mode. High Contrast Mode works similarly to Night Mode, but rather than decreasing the bightness of your screen, it'll allow you to increase it as much as possible so you can more easily view the content you're looking at. To turn High Contrast Mode on, go to Settings -> Accessibility.

The other biggest feature that's included is the ability to download and install adblocking services through the new Content Blockers page. Samsung Internet will suggest new blockers for you to try out, and the default one (powered by Disconnect Inc.) will prevent any site trackers from following your browsing activity.

Along with all of this, v6.2 also introduces the ability to sync your favorite bookmarks from other web browsers, an update to Chromium Engine M56 with support for CSS Grid and better rendering performance, support for Samsung Pay with Web Payments, and the ability to earn points with Samsung Rewards by using Samsung Internet for users in the United States.

Samsung Internet v6.2 will be available in the coming days on Galaxy Apps and the Google Play Store for devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and later.

6 reasons to use the Samsung browser on your Galaxy S8

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3 weeks ago

There's an app in India that lets you win prizes for taking selfies with cows

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Take selfies with (Indian) cows and win prizes.

Cows have always been viewed with reverence in India, but the rhetoric has reached record highs over the last two years. Cow slaughter has been banned in a few states, and so-called cow protection mobs (called "gou rakshaks") have incited a range of attacks against cattle farmers — in a country that's the world's largest exporter of beef.

And now there's an app now that lets you take selfies with cows, and win prizes for doing so. Called Goseva Parivar, the app bills itself as a platform for "people who want to build a better world by saving the life of Gomata (mother cow)."

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3 weeks ago

Google search now tailors results based on your device's location

5

Google search now delivers search results based on your device's location.

With one-fifth of all search queries being location-specific, Google is making a few tweaks to its search algorithm to deliver relevant results. The company will now show search results based on your device's current location, irrespective of whether you go to a country-specific top-level domain. For example, if you're in India and you hit up google.co.uk, you'll see localized results for India.

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3 weeks ago

How to use V360: Editing your 360-degree videos is finally fun

Edit your 360 videos with just a few taps!

360 videos are one of the big perks off watching clips in VR. While it's easy to snag great video with different 360 cameras, editing those videos has been a bit more complicated. V360 aims to fix that problem by delivering an app that makes editing your 360 videos easy, no matter where you are. You're able to easily clip videos, add music and text, and export your videos so they can be shared on social media.

We've got everything you need to get started right here!

See V360 at Play Store

Read more at VRHeads

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3 weeks ago

Pixel 2 At a Glance widget now available with Action Launcher

10

The v30 update also brings enhanced customization to the search bar, more adaptive icons, and better performance on Samsung devices.

Chris Lacy's Action Launcher is one of the most popular launchers on the Google Play Store, and with the app's latest v30 update, it's gaining even more Pixel 2-esque features to help make your home screen look as great as possible.

As you can tell by the title, the biggest addition here is the new At a Glance widget that Google introduced with the Pixel 2. The At a Glance widget shows the current date, weather conditions, and any upcoming calendar appointments in a sleek and attractive package. It looks exactly how it does on the Pixel 2, and it's a great way to quickly make your phone look a lot like Google's latest.

However, the At a Glance widget isn't the only goodie included with this latest update. The last v29 update gave users the ability to move Action Launcher's Quickbar below the dock, and v30 introduces some wild customization controls for it. There's a new icon editor that allows you to change the appearance of individual icons on the Quickbar, and the number of options present here is insane.

The dock search bar has also been tweaked to more accurately match its size on the Pixel Launcher, Action Launcher's compatibility with the Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8 has been "improved markedly", and there are also 250 new icons for Chris Lacy's AdaptivePack icon pack.

Action Launcher's v30 update is available in the Google Play store now, and you can download it here.

Action Launcher gains Pixel 2-style search bar with latest update

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3 weeks ago

Picture-in-Picture officially supported by Netflix on Android 8.1

3

Still no word when Netflix will support picture-in-picture on Android 8.0.

Android Oreo is filled with all sorts of tweaks and changes compared to Nougat, but one of the biggest user-facing features is picture-in-picture. Picture-in-picture allows you to keep watching a video while doing other things on your phone, and we've seen it supported by the likes of YouTube, Duo, and even Maps. Following the release of the Android 8.1 Oreo beta, it's now been discovered that Netflix is the latest app to support this.

If you're running 8.1 Oreo on your Nexus or Pixel device and want to use Netflix with picture-in-picture, it works just like we've seen in other apps that also support it. Just start playing a video within the Netflix app, press the home button, and the video will then shrink down so you can continue watching it while doing other tasks on your device.

Netflix confirmed to Android Police that this is an official feature with its application, but the odd part here is that picture-in-picture is only working with 8.1 and not 8.0. It's unclear when Netflix will move this feature over to 8.0, but seeing as how it's already working with 8.1, we're inclined to believe that it'll be pushed out sooner rather than later.

Android Oreo

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3 weeks ago

WhatsApp now lets you delete messages so recipients can't see them

15

Giving you some protection against drunk texts.

We've all been there before: maybe you made a typo, perhaps you sent a text to the wrong person, or maybe an adult beverage encouraged you to send something you shouldn't have. Whatever the case, there are situations throughout life where being able to recall and delete a message that you sent to someone would be extremely useful. Thankfully, WhatsApp will soon allow you to do just that.

You've been able to delete messages in WhatsApp for a while now, but doing so would only delete it on your end. With this latest update, you'll now have the option to delete a message either just for yourself or for you and the person it was sent to.

With the update, holding onto the message you'd like to delete and tapping the trash icon near the top of your screen will showcase a few different options – Delete For Me, Delete For Everyone, and Cancel. When choosing to delete a message for everyone, the message on your screen will be replaced with "You deleted this message", whereas your recipient's screen will show the text "This message was deleted."

You only have seven minutes to recall a message after you've sent it.

This will likely be a very welcome addition for a lot of users, but there are some things to keep in mind. For starters, WhatsApp only gives you seven minutes to delete a message after you've sent it. Once those seven minutes are up, the person you sent the message to will be able to see it until the end of eternity. Additionally, WhatsApp doesn't give you any sort of notification if you were able to successfully delete a message or not.

I'm currently running v2.17.400 of the WhatsApp beta, so it appears that the rollout is a server-side thing. The feature should be making its way to more and more devices over the next couple days, however, so keep checking now and then to see when it lands on your phone.

WhatsApp for Android: The ultimate guide

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3 weeks ago

Google has a software fix for the Pixel 2 speaker 'clicking' problem

20
Google Pixel 2

Can you hear it? Soon, you won't anymore.

One of the stranger (and more innocuous) issues with the Pixel 2 has been an inconsistently bothersome "clicking" or "hissing" noise when holding the phone up to your ear for a phone call. Some people have it, others don't, and those who do often don't hear it consistently. Well, now Google has identified the actual issue and said a fix is on the way.

The issue, it turns out, is simple: it's the NFC radio in the phone. A fix will roll out via a software update in a few weeks, addressing the problem on a system level. But Google says that in the meantime, turning off NFC will get rid of the issue. Annoying for sure, but great to know there's something we can do right away to stop it before the full fix hits phones.

This surely isn't a software change on the level of the Pixel 2 XL's display, but it sure is something that's annoying if you're experiencing it and great to see Google addressing it quickly.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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3 weeks ago

Google Assistant makes its way to HBO NOW, CBS All Access, and The CW

5

U.S. users can now use their voice to control even more of their favorite shows.

Since its debut last year, Google Assistant has grown into something truly special. Between using the AI to control your home security cameras, check the weather, send text messages, and way more than we have time to talk about, the list of supported actions goes on and on.

One of Google Assistant's neatest features is the ability to start playing videos on your TV by simply using your voice, and even though the Assistant can already do this for a number of different apps, it's now expanding to HBO NOW, CBS All Access, and The CW.

As long as you've got a Google Home and a TV with Chromecast built-in, you'll be able to watch Game Of Thrones, Star Trek: Discovery, and all of your other favorite shows by using just your voice. You'll have to link your HBO NOW and CBS All Access account to start using them with Assistant, but you can start using The CW without any account linking required.

Google Assistant is rolling out to these apps now in the United States.

How to set up and customize Google Assistant

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