Spend less time searching and more time surfing
Typing the correct URL in your web browser's address bar is critical for getting to your desired destination. A single typo can send you to a dead page, an inappropriate site, or even a malicious one. Thankfully, Google Chrome has introduced new measures to ensure you end up where you intended, saving you from those awkward or risky misadventures.
There are new settings and you might soon see loyalty cards pop up when you visit appropriate stores
Google’s At a Glance widget is a hard-coded part of Pixel phones, including the brand-new Google Pixel 8 Pro, showing up on both the first home screen and the lock screen. Other than displaying the current date and weather, it gives you contextual information about upcoming events, weather warnings, flight details, timers and stopwatches, and more. While a big design update is rolling out to non-Pixel phones, Google’s handsets have to make do with a settings redesign and the addition of a location-based loyalty card shortcut.
Joining Maryland, three more states get a taste of the future
Smartphones may have started out as pocket computers, but their unique combination of sensors and always-on connectivity has led them to become so much more. As manufacturers aim to make life more convenient with features like contactless payments and wireless transfers, a byproduct of this is the integration of virtual government-issued ID cards into phones using the secure NFC element.
You no longer have to reset your wearable to migrate it to a different device
If you’re a dedicated smartwatch user, you already know the hassle that can come with connecting one of these devices to your phone. In order for the wearable to sync and function properly, however, this connection is critical. Yet even the best Android smartwatches require you to fully reset the device if you want to transfer it between phones. Now, Google is making this process easier for owners of Wear OS 4 devices — a new system update bypasses the need to reset and start from scratch.
Wheelchair users find a friend in Google Maps' latest update
As our world becomes more interconnected through technology, the importance of universal digital access cannot be overstated. Google, long recognized for its efforts in accessibility, has unveiled a series of enhancements to several of its core apps. These latest updates are specifically designed with the needs of individuals with disabilities in mind, aiming to make daily digital interactions smoother and more intuitive.
Available across the US for $70, with some exceptions
The Google Pixel Buds Pro is comfortably among the best wireless earbuds in the industry despite launching roughly a year and a half ago. These earbuds were refreshed with a couple of new colors during the Made for Google event earlier this month, albeit with no internal upgrades on board. Google has now started offering replacement charging cases for the Pixel Buds Pro through its online store, though it requires navigating through a couple of support pages.
Your steps streak and the battery percentage on the Today tab are making a comeback
Fitbit has been undergoing a transformation since Google took over, including a recent app redesign. The goal was to streamline the user experience with a simplified three-tab layout, making it easier to navigate and access curated health and fitness content. However, the redesign didn't go quite as smoothly as planned. Many Fitbit users were disappointed to find that their Steps streak, a motivating feature that tracks consecutive days of reaching step goals, had vanished from the app. Additionally, the handy battery level indicator that used to reside on the Today tab was gone. Acknowledging the user feedback, Google is bringing those features back.
The company wants to make sure regulators don't make it collect too much data
Child safety on the internet has become a big topic, with different regulators proposing different solutions to keep minors safe from harmful content they may come across on the web. Google is chipping in this discussion with a new framework of its own that prioritizes appropriately designed products over mandatory age verifications in many cases, limiting more intrusive identification measure to higher-risk services.
A fresh interface tweak might change how users navigate the Play Store
Every so often, the Google Play Store undergoes modifications to its interface to improve the user experience. One of its latest endeavors is a notable one since Google is experimenting with a permanent search bar on the app's homepage. For frequent users of the Play Store, this will be a fresh deviation from the familiar.
Wireless debugging was the standard for bootloader access on its predecessor
If you own a Pixel Watch and use custom ROMs, you likely already know how much of a hassle it is to unlock the device’s bootloader. ADB commands can be executed via Wi-Fi, but a hardwired connection is necessary if you want to access the bootloader for more tasks. The first-gen Pixel Watch charges wirelessly, but it has data pins hidden under the watch band connecter, and you can splice a USB cable into them if you want to hardwire the device. However, this often takes more time and skill than most people have. With the Pixel Watch 2, Google has made things a bit easier, which may give you an incentive to upgrade.
These under-the-hood memory management tweaks might be game changers
Android's has historically pushed the limits with cutting-edge developments. But when new systems are implemented, they have a tendency to break existing functionality, so updates can sometimes decrease battery life and performance. Android 14 is bucking these trends by focusing more on refinement than new features, and there are a handful of changes that should help with memory management in particular.
Prepare your eardrums for a symphony of 'bit perfect audio'
Journey back in time to the era of Walkmans and CD players, where music enthusiasts proudly carried their dedicated devices, each holding a curated collection of their favorite tunes. Even before these gadgets graced our lives, vinyl records reigned supreme, spinning on turntables and filling homes with the warmth of lossless audio. In its purest essence, lossless audio is music presented in its original, uncompressed form, preserving every nuance and detail intended for the listener to experience. Sadly, as technology moved on, these dedicated music players were replaced by smartphones and streaming services. While these new options offer a vast library of music, they often sacrifice the quality that makes music so special. In an effort to bring back the richness and depth of original recordings, Google is preparing a handy audio quality upgrade for its latest flagship phone series.
Google's new AI tool lets you describe an image and instantly get multiple versions of it
The world of AI-powered art creation is witnessing an exciting surge as tech giants step into the arena. While OpenAI's DALL-E has dominated this space with its ability to transform simple text descriptions into stunningly realistic images, the competition is heating up. With Google and Microsoft announcing their own text-to-image tools, the landscape of AI art generation is poised for a transformation. And now, Google has made its own offering available to the public.
It's still unclear if this is a widespread issue
After being officially revealed earlier this month, the Google Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro have finally begun reaching customers. Among the many new features bundled with the two flagships, one that went under the radar was the addition of Face Unlock for payments, with the company saying the Pixel 8 series could now use just the users' face for authentication, specifying that the new phones meet "the highest Android biometric standard," i.e., Class 3. A user report on Reddit is now indicating that this Face Unlock system could be prone to misuse in some situations.
A Google product manager confirmed the news during a Q&A on Reddit
If you use widgets on your phone, you understand the value of being able to quickly tap and launch an app action. Depending on the app, the widget you use might be multifaceted, allowing you to manage other connected devices. As Google Home users know, however, this hasn’t been the case for the company's flagship smart home app — specifically for managing individual smart home devices. Now, a comment made by a Google product manager suggests that widgets could eventually become a reality.
The feature will show you content based on your web activity
If you use the Google app, website, or even the Pixel Launcher on your mobile device, you’re likely already familiar with the Discover feature. It populates the page with content based on your web activity and what Google knows about your interests. Microsoft’s Bing homepage is notably similar, but it allows users to customize what they see. Now, Google is testing its Discover feed on the desktop version of the Google search page — and it may soon show up for you, whether you like it or not.
It's a part of Google’s plan to make generative AI and its use more responsible
Google rolled up its sleeves and doubled down its efforts on generative AI as soon as it felt the heat from ChatGPT (based on GPT-3 and now GPT-4). Today, the search giant has a ton of AI-based products in the works, from Bard and Duet AI to Assistant with Bard and an upcoming large language model (LLM) called Gemini. Amidst all the AI buzz, Google wants to make sure that its AI tools are safe for all users. In line with that, Google has decided to defend you in case any AI content generated using its tools lands you in legal trouble — but there is a caveat.
The revamp is live in Chrome Canary with dynamic colors and sleek search bars
The best web browsers aren't just tools; they're windows into our digital worlds, and companies are constantly seeking ways to refine this experience. At the forefront of these efforts is Google, renowned for its innovations in Chrome. The latest in this series of developments is a significant redesign of the new tab page on Chrome for Android.
The Pixel Troubleshooting app is a Pixel 8 exclusive for the time being
In our smartphone-centric world, battery life is always a concern. It's not uncommon to find yourself baffled by why your phone's battery drains so quickly. Google has been working to improve battery life in Android for many years, and now a new app is joining the fight against common battery issues.
Your Google speakers may just get back some long-lost features
Google and Sonos have been engaged in a patent dispute for years now, with Sonos claiming that Google infringes on its intellectual property around audio casting and smart speaker management. In the course of time, Google was forced to remove a few features from Android phones and ultimately had to pay a multi-million dollar penalty. A California judge has now thrown that previous verdict out of the window, saying that the patents in question were not enforceable.