Google Says It’s Really Excited About Wear OS in Least Exciting Way

Google Says It’s Really Excited About Wear OS in Least Exciting Way


Wear OS isn’t a completely dead platform, but as I wrote up a couple of weeks ago, the wearable OS from Google isn’t in a great place at the moment. That was made clearer this week during Google I/O, where there wasn’t a single session or mention of Wear OS throughout the 3-day developer festival.

Because of the lack of Wear OS-related happenings, an I/O attendee asked the Android team during the Android Fireside Chat what was up. Specifically, while wearing what appears to be a Wear OS watch and pointing out the “distinct lack of mention” of the OS from the week’s festivities, he asked the Android team if it was a “dead platform” and if we should be “worried?”

Dave Burke, who is the VP of engineering for Android, responded in a semi-joking way about how there was no representative from the Wear OS team on stage … Read the rest

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Users in Select Countries Can Now Use Cash to Pay for Apps in Google Play

Users in Select Countries Can Now Use Cash to Pay for Apps in Google Play


In some areas of the world, cash is still king. Announced this week at Google I/O, users in select markets, starting first in Japan and Mexico, will be able to pay for apps using good ol’ fashioned paper money.

Called Pending Transactions, a user will initiate the app purchase, but for payment, they can opt for a transaction code. The user will take this code to a local convenience store, show the clerk, and pay for the app however they want to. Google says they should have access to the app within 10 minutes, though in some cases, it can take up to 48 hours.

As for refunds, you’ll only be able to receive Google Play credit.

Not everyone across the globe has access to a digital form of payment, so for those people, this is fantastic addition to Google Play.

Skip ahead to 7:30 for details on … Read the rest

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Google Play App Ratings Will Soon Favor Recent Ratings

Google Play App Ratings Will Soon Favor Recent Ratings


Google announced to app and game developers this week at Google I/O that very soon, app ratings and how they are calculated are getting changed up.

As of right now, an app’s rating is calculated from reviews that can date back to the time the app was initially launched. A rating from that time counts the same as a rating from today does. However, apps change with updates, and with that in mind, Google will soon be weighing recent ratings more heavily than older ones.

For users, this is a great thing. For one, we’ll be able to see the current state of any app we’re previewing. Are users currently happy with it? That should be easy to deduce. However, for developers who have let their apps go a while with no updates and bugs, recent ratings having more weight will highlight any issues associated with the app. But hey, … Read the rest

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Google Showcases Subtle Android TV Changes at I/O

Google Showcases Subtle Android TV Changes at I/O


Google showcased and spoke of a few changes coming to Android TV later this year, changes that include an updated look for Google Play on the platform, as well as an easier subscription signup and login process for Android TV users.

As you may know, logging into services via a controller is never an easy task, simply because you have to go from character to character by way of numerous clicks on a controller. It’s just a pain, but as 9to5 Google reports, Google will soon offer a PIN system in place of full account passwords. This will be extremely useful when purchasing things on Android TV, with a simple PIN replacing a full password. I’m ready for this.

For Google Play’s redesign, there doesn’t appear to be anything too major happening, but overall, it looks clean as you can see in the header image above.

The other focus was … Read the rest

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Google Brings AR to Search, New Features for Lens

Google Brings AR to Search, New Features for Lens


Google introduced a few changes for Google Search on mobile devices today at IO 2019, as well as new features for Google Lens.

For Search, it is bringing AR to supported mobile devices, like great white sharks and animated models from Visible Body.

With new AR features in Search, you can view and interact with 3D objects right from Search and place them directly into your own space, giving you a sense of scale and detail. For example, it’s one thing to read that a great white shark can be 18 feet long. It’s another to see it up close in relation to the things around you. So when you search for select animals, you’ll get an option right in the Knowledge Panel to view them in 3D and AR.

Brands will also being getting in on this AR fun. Companies like New Balance, Samsung, and Target will … Read the rest

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Google Shares What’s New in Android Q, and Yes, There’s a Dark Theme

Google Shares What’s New in Android Q, and Yes, There’s a Dark Theme


Google is sharing what’s new in Android Q, and beyond the things we already knew, the list is quite hefty.

Maybe most importantly, from a very shallow and silly perspective, is the addition of a dedicated Dark Theme. Seriously, it’s coming!

Here’s the full list of what Google is specifically highlighting at I/O 2019.


Dark Theme

Starting today in Android Q Beta 3, users can activate a new system-wide dark theme by going to Settings > Display, using the new Quick Settings tile, or turning on Battery Saver. This changes the system UI to dark, and enables the dark theme of apps that support it.

Naturally, Google goes over the benefits of a Dark Theme, which we’ve known for some time. Why it’s taken this long to add one is beyond us, but I suppose it’s better … Read the rest

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Duplex ‘On the Web’ Will Soon Book Car Rentals, Movie Tickets

Duplex ‘On the Web’ Will Soon Book Car Rentals, Movie Tickets


Google has been using Duplex to help you book reservations at local restaurants for a bit now, but today at I/O 2019, the company announced Duplex on the web.

With it, Google is looking to do certain tasks that are associated with the web, such as booking car rentals and purchasing movie tickets.

We’re extending Duplex to the web and previewing how the Assistant can also help you complete a task online. Often when you book things online, you have to navigate a number of pages, pinching and zooming to fill out all the forms. With Duplex on the web, you can complete these tasks much faster since it fills out complex forms for you.

For example, with National, Duplex can automatically pull in your flight information, get the dates for your car rental set up, then confirm your booking. This is all done with minimal interaction from the … Read the rest

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Google Assistant Gets a Driving Mode

Google Assistant Gets a Driving Mode


Your Google Assistant will get a driving mode starting this summer. It’ll provide you with a specific visual experience that’s been built for use while driving, sort of like Android Auto.

As you can see in the image above, Assistant’s driving mode shows you relevant activities, like navigation, media, calling, or messaging. It’ll pull up info from you calendar, let you continue listening to a podcast from earlier, and announce the names of callers as calls come in.

To fire it up, Assistant’s driving mode will automatically load when connect to your car’s Bluetooth or you could simply say, “Hey Google, let’s drive.”

Again, driving mode launches this summer for all phones with Google Assistant.

// Google

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WATCH: Google I/O 2019 Opening Keynote!

WATCH: Google I/O 2019 Opening Keynote!


Google I/O 2019 has arrived! For this first day, the week of developer chatter is kicked off with an opening keynote that’ll last a couple of hours, as Google takes the stage to announce everything new across their services that we might see over the coming months.

What are we expecting? I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll hear news on Google Assistant advancements. There will be AI talk. Nonstop AI talk. Google Stadia will become more clear, Android Q will get a new beta build, and the first mid-range Pixel phones should be announced (finally). Don’t be surprised if a bigger Google Home Hub shows up too, possibly with a re-branding under the Nest name.

The opening keynote kicks off at 10AM Pacific (1PM Eastern). We’re here live in case anything wild happens, but you can watch below with us.

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Monday Poll: What Has You Most Excited for Google I/O 2019?

Monday Poll: What Has You Most Excited for Google I/O 2019?


Google I/O 2019 kicks off tomorrow, but before that happens, we’re curious what topic you’re most looking forward to this year.

There are some great options, too. From what we expect, Google will announce the new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, a new beta for Android Q, more Google Stadia details, the Nest Hub Max, and probably more Google Assistant stuff.

Who knows, maybe Google even has a few tricks up its sleeve this year? Google I/O is always a blast.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

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