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The beta release adds support for third-party password managers
While strong passwords can truly secure your online accounts, they inherently come with a few drawbacks — they are hard to remember and can end up in the hands of bad actors. Google, Apple, and other tech giants want to replace passwords with passkeys, which eliminate most of the drawbacks of traditional passwords. With Credential Manager, Google wants to offer you an easy way to access passkeys on Android, and some of its user-facing changes could be just around the corner.
A Texas jury ordered the company to pay more than $300 million in damages while Google wants to appeal the decision
Google got into a lengthy legal dispute with Sonos over its smart speakers and their audio casting capabilities, with the audio company winning a $32.5 million trial against the California behemoth. This isn’t the only trouble Google is in for its casting endeavors, though. A Texas jury has decided that the company violated patents with its Chromecast’s video streaming capabilities, and is supposed to pay $338.7 million in damages.
A far cry from Google's current Android apps
If you've owned an Android phone at some point over the past few years, it's impossible not to have come across Google Photos. It's the default gallery app on Pixel phones and has a wide range of editing tools built-in to make it a complete package for anyone, regardless of their experience level with photography. This handy gallery app is now working on a visual refresh for many of its UI elements, which also involves the removal of the bottom navigation bar.
'E2EE everywhere' could be another RCS-like pie in the sky
Security is critical wherever sensitive data is involved, like cloud storage, password management, and communication. The best encrypted messaging apps today don’t shy away from their responsibility towards the consumer’s privacy, but breaches and loopholes like WhatsApp’s flawed account deactivation system serve as constant reminders we can make more headway. Google believes the answer lies in an industry-wide interoperable standard for messaging that’s platform and app-agnostic. However, recent examples suggest this is but another pipe dream.
New laws could let developers keep more revenue, changing the digital economy
Even though Google is attempting to fall in line with new regulations, the company is continuing to draw the scrutiny of lawmakers across the globe. The Play Store fee imposed by Google on in-app purchases has become a popular target of global regulators, closely mirroring the heat Apple's App Store has been receiving. This is a deja vu moment, harking back to the 2020 scuffle between Google and Epic Games, where Epic challenged Google's exclusive control over the Play Store and its 30% cut from in-app purchases.
Google wants to provide a 'personal assistant' for journalists
Tech giants spent the first few months of 2023 pumping out AI chatbots, with Google taking its biggest swing in the AI wars with a flurry of new AI-powered capabilities for its Workspace apps. For instance, Gmail has a generative feature that writes email drafts for you by taking older emails in the thread into account. Google Docs' "Help me write" tool has also been a massive help in quickly composing generic text for things like job descriptions, which would otherwise take a while to finish. The search giant has now found yet another place it can cram in generative AI: the newsroom.
One change, while seemingly small, enhances the app's visual appeal and functionality
For the first time in what seems like forever, Google is focusing its attention on improving the user experience of its Weather app. As part of its pending Material You redesign that has already soft-launched on the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, Google Weather is introducing a completely transparent system navigation bar. This update follows design trends visible in other Google apps, such as Chrome, which integrated a similar transparent nav bar back in May. Although this particular element of the update may seem minor, it's clearly an essential component of the eagerly anticipated redesign.
Enable this feature if you don't mind letting Google access more information about your browsing habits
Data breaches have unfortunately become commonplace these days, and consumers navigating the dodgy internet landscape are the usual targets. Affected users are often advised to change their passwords. Thanks to Google Chrome's Enhanced Safe Browsing, online threats can now be predicted before they happen, and users are able to receive a warning when their credentials are exposed in a data breach. However, the feature is buried deep in Chrome's Settings menu, which makes enabling this web protection tool quite a chore. Google is now promoting it in an app with billions of users: Gmail.
Feature updates include a redesigned interface, curated podcast feeds, and offline playback for all users
In the dynamic world of music streaming services, other platforms are often judged against the long-established standard set by Spotify. Spotify had a 30% market share in 2022, leaving rivals Apple Music and YouTube Music in the dust with 15% and 9%, respectively. The battle is still far from finished, though, as YouTube Music keeps working to close the gap and provide users with a more complete media platform.
Check if your viewers have learned anything from the clips they've watched
With tons of information always accessible through our mobile phones and computers, there's almost no reason to commit so much knowledge to memory. However, YouTube found a way to facilitate actual learning when it unveiled an experimental feature last September that allows creators to create quizzes in the Community tab to gauge how well their viewers understand the educational content they churn out. The quiz feature has subsequently been rolled out in beta since then before presumably hitting the stable channel in March of this year, though only on Android phones. YouTube has now updated its Help Center page to indicate that quizzes have arrived for desktop computers as well.
Saving you a stern talking-to from the flight attendant
Modern travel often involves flights where passengers carry devices like smartphones or laptops. These devices have wireless features such as Wi-Fi or GPS that can interfere with the plane's systems. So, airlines often ask passengers to use airplane mode during flight, turning off these features.
Fitbit joins other Google apps that have already gotten the MD3 treatment
Google is in the middle of a low-key UI refresh for it apps and services. Going back to last fall, we've been checking out the slow spread of a new interface for switching between multiple Google accounts, one that embraces modern Material You style. This week we're checking out what seems to be the latest app to make the change, as the new account switcher reaches the Fitbit app.
Never leave Gmail again when creating an event from an email
In 2021, Google Calendar introduced a feature that it should have had years ago: the ability to show others your availability when setting an appointment. While the feature was initially available only to Google Workspace Individual subscribers, it opened up for more Workspace accounts last year, as long as you're forking over $12 per month for the Workspace Business Standard plan or a pricier tier. Google finally announced in June that the appointment scheduling feature was coming to personal Google account owners as part of Calendar's integration with Gmail, and the company is now following through.
Project Tailwind has a new name and is now accepting testers
The AI revolution is well underway, and advanced language models like Google's PaLM 2 are at the heart of most recent breakthroughs. Google teased several new machine learning tools at I/O 2023, and the one that got the biggest reaction was something called Project Tailwind. In a demo, someone's notes and Google Docs files were used to generate detailed summaries about subjects that were addressed deep within the notes. Now, Google has given the utility has a new name and is finally opening it up to testing.
This unique experiment lets anyone guide a bird character named Viola as she plays a cello
Artificial intelligence is bringing changes to many areas, including the arts. Google's Arts & Culture team, known for using AI creatively, has introduced several artistic projects recently. One of these was the Blob Opera, a fun tool that used AI to let people compose their own music. Now, they have an even more inventive project called Viola the Bird.
Prepare for a much-needed redesign on third-party Android devices
Google’s At a Glance widget is a staple feature on Pixel phones that has evolved a lot over the years. On Google devices, it shows you all kinds of timely information, upcoming calendar events, and even lets you turn off your flashlight. This same widget is also available on virtually all other great Android phones, but it’s a lot more rudimentary and looks outdated, still sporting the look and feel it had on Android 11 with its centered style. That’s about to change, with a completely novel design different from what Pixel users get.
The company’s AR roadmap is looking increasingly blurred with the departure of Mark Lucovsky
Will the metaverse and augmented reality really change the way we access systems? Even with some really impressive stuff like Apple's Vision Pro on the way, it feels like much of the early hype is already starting to fade. We've already seen Google grappling with the fallout from the termination of its ambitious "Project Iris" earlier this year, and now the company faces yet another stumbling block on its rocky path towards augmented reality and mixed reality, with the unexpected resignation of Mark Lucovsky, its Senior Director of Engineering, Operating Systems, AR.
The app will now launch in edit mode by default
Google has done a lot to improve Docs after a barrage of updates to Workspace that represent the biggest set of improvements for the app in over a decade. For example, the addition of a pageless format was a massive symbolic change for the service, and Google went on to transform Docs into a dynamic smart canvas for your documents, with features like creating polls and assigning tasks to colleagues via @-mentions. However, editing a document hasn't been exactly straightforward, as Docs always defaults to view mode when you open the app on Android. This is finally changing with a new update.
Med-PaLM 2 is already in testing at Mayo Clinic
Google is a crucial player in pushing the boundaries of innovation as artificial intelligence technology has been developing quickly across several industries. The beta release of Bard, an outstanding language model capable of producing fresh content and offering conversational responses, seems like it was only the tip of Google's AI iceberg. The company has now unveiled Med-PaLM 2, an advanced medical chatbot that has the potential to transform the healthcare sector, building on the success of Bard.