Google and Apple team up to make Bluetooth tracker tags safer
The tech giants are collaborating in an effort to stop unauthorized tracking
Wireless location-tracking accessories, like Apple’s AirTags and Google’s upcoming Nest Locator Tags, are designed to help people track down missing items, but they have also led to the emergence of safety issues with unwanted tracking and stalking. There have already been targeted efforts to prevent misuse, such as Apple launching an app to find unknown AirTags, and Tile threatening a $1 million fine for those who misuse its trackers. Now, Google and Apple are teaming up for an overarching solution to combat the misuse of Bluetooth trackers.
Google’s answer to AirTags has a new name and icon
The Nest Locator Tag is in the pipeline
When Apple introduced the AirTag almost two years ago to this day, it made waves because every iPhone could passively help identify and locate the object trackers. Earlier this year, we got word of Google’s plans to follow suit with an AirTag replica as well, codenamed Grogu at the time. Now, it appears Grogu has an official-sounding name and an icon you should get used to seeing.
Judge the Pixel Fold's bezels for yourself with this leaked new look
The inner display opens up in a late reveal
The Google Pixel Fold, the company's first foldable, is expected to debut at Google I/O on May 10th. As the event's date is fast approaching, more leaks and rumors about the Fold keep surfacing online. In the last few days, the Pixel Fold was spotted in a quick hands-on video, with another leak detailing almost everything about it. And now, high-resolution press images of Google's first foldable have made their way to the internet, giving us our best look at its design and the big cover display.
Google TV's built-in free channels are now arriving for everyone
The free channels were announced earlier this month
Google stepped up efforts to bring its fight to many of the best streaming platforms by unveiling more than 800 free channels for Google TV earlier this month. The expansion has made the smart TV operating system a great option if you're looking for a way to watch your favorite shows and movies without having to pay for a subscription. The free channels are now making their way to a wider set of users in the United States.
Google vows to fix a glaring omission in Authenticator's cloud backup
End-to-end encryption will be added eventually
Google recently added a long-requested feature to its Authenticator app: the ability to back up 2FA codes to the cloud. The new feature syncs 2FA tokens across your devices via your Google account, addressing a major inconvenience in the app's previous implementation of two-factor authentication. However, shortly after the rollout, a team of security researchers warned against enabling cloud backup in the app, saying it's not end-to-end encrypted. According to a product manager at Google, this will be fixed down the line.
Google gets legal approval to utterly wreck CryptBot malware
An international restraining order is no substitute for safe browsing practices
Companies like Google play a critical role in keeping software users safe in the ever-evolving world of modern cybersecurity. While oftentimes that takes a technical approach, plugging vulnerabilities prone to exploitation, it can also involve legal efforts to drag bad actors to justice. Right now, we're looking at a mix of both of those, as Google moves against the distributors of the CryptBot malware, with a little help from the courts.
You can finally use Gboard's Emoji Kitchen stickers in real life
Google is selling sheets of emoji mashup stickers for three bucks a pop
The Gboard Emoji Kitchen is arguably one of the best things about Google's software keyboard. It lets you create practically limitless digital stickers by fusing your choice of hundreds of existing emoji, making for some cute and creepy combinations. Now, Google's bringing part of that experience into the real world with Emoji Kitchen sticker sets, which you can buy starting today.
Get the best look yet at the Google Pixel 7a and its cases in new leak
The cases are likely to have similar colors as the phone itself
Historically, Google has unveiled its top-of-the-line Pixel smartphones in October each year, and we expect this to continue in 2023. Before autumn rolls around, though, we have another phone launch to get through. Leaks about the Google Pixel 7a have kept our eyes glued to the search giant's next budget offering, with one reliable leaker showing off official-looking renders of the next-generation device and a few phone cases to boot.
Google isn’t feeling the AI pressure in 2023 Q1 earnings
Google’s ever-growing search business is under pressure, but still proves to have healthy growth
Google announced its quarterly earnings this week, looking back at a surprisingly successful first quarter of 2023, managing to exceed expectations. Even though it’s a bit slow in the race to AI, hastily reacting to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Bing Chat with a slapped together event, the company is still widely profitable, and its operations don’t seem to be affected by the downturn hitting businesses across the tech sector.
Google’s new DeepMind division wants to take ChatGPT head-on
The company is scrambling to catch up with Bing and ChatGPT
Ever since ChatGPT and after it Bing Chat took the internet by storm, Google has been scrambling to come up with a competent answer. The company quickly held a thrown-together AI event in Paris, even though it announced its big ChatGPT competitor, Google Bard, a day before in a blog post. In an effort to further streamline its AI strategy, the company has now announced a restructured DeepMind division, gathering its AI experts in one central place to accelerate development.
The Google Play Store will soon prompt you to update crashing apps
Google didn't offer a timeline for the feature's wider rollout
Being the stock app hub for Android smartphones and tablets, the Google Play Store is an integral part of the Android experience. It routinely gets new features and security patches that quash any existing bugs. The changelog from the November 2022 Play Store system update discussed a new prompt coming to the app market that would ask users to update a repeatedly crashing app if a new version is available. Months after we first learned of this, the company announced on its Android developer blog that it is launching the feature.
Google details how Play alternative billing could work in the UK
On today's episode of bending the knee
It seems like yesterday when Fortnite developer Epic Games dragged Google to court alleging Play Store billing practices for in-app purchases (IAPs) were unfair to app developers. Since then, legislators in various countries around the world have investigated Google’s practices and ruled mostly in favor of the app developers. Now, Google Play billing in the UK could change, leaving independent developers free to choose billing systems that suit them best.
Google could sell the Pixel Tablet dock separately, but it won't be cheap
The standalone dock could be available to purchase for $129
Although Google exited the tablet market in 2019, the company surprised everyone at last year's I/O event, where it provided a glimpse of the Pixel Tablet. Not only did the device mark Google's exciting return to a space it had long abandoned, but it also promised a secret weapon that could give many of the best Android tablets a run for their money by combining a tablet and smart home hub in one device. Yes, the Pixel Tablet aims to double as a Nest Hub-like smart display when docked to a speaker device. Last month, we saw a bunch of renders of what appeared to be the Pixel Tablet's charging dock, and a new Amazon listing seems to reveal the accessory's price and availability date.
Google Search now turns your home into a virtual Ikea showroom
This mobile-first experience could save you a visit to a retail location
Technology has come a long way since the first touchscreen phone, and complicated features like augmented reality aren’t outside the realm of everyday tech anymore. Google is well aware of this, and is now partnering with Swedish home furnishings and furniture brand Ikea to make all the latter’s products viewable in AR directly in Google Search results.
Upcoming wave of Google AI chatbots supposedly meant to appease Samsung
So-called Magi project includes revamped search concept, language teaching program, and more
It's becoming more apparent with each story we come across that Big Tech's arms race in generative artificial intelligence has been brewing for even longer than we may have surmised. What we've seen so far with the circus around ChatGPT and its infusion into Microsoft Bing as well as Google's rush to get its Bard chatbot into the public eye seems to only scratch the surface of things. A comprehensive report from The New York Times is detailing the new AI-powered tricks we may see from Mountain View and the crucial reason developers are crunching.
Google Chat on the web freshens up with a major Material Design update
Users can expect the refreshed UI to appear over the next couple of weeks
Ever since Android 12 brought along the third iteration of Material Design — of which Material You is a part of — we've seen all sorts of UI embracing the scheme, one by one. This includes those on both web and mobile apps that are part of the Google Workspace ecosystem. Apps like Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drive on the web received a similar design refresh last month while Gmail got it last July. Google has just started rolling out a refreshed UI for one more Workspace web app — Chat.
Google Messages is making read receipts visible without opening a conversation
The list view is getting a new indicator
If you're one of those people who take forever to respond to messages, turning on read receipts for every messaging platform you use is always a good idea, if only to be transparent with your friends or colleagues. Many of the top messaging apps out there like Signal and Facebook Messenger come packed with this feature so that you know when your messages have been read by your contacts and vice versa. Google Messages has had this ability since the inception of RCS, but it just got new read receipt icons at the bottom of each bubble in a chat. Now, the app is bringing those delivery status indicators to the conversation list, so you won't have to open a message to know if it's been seen or not.
Google Chrome on Android just got a lot faster, but only on selected devices
The speed boost is due to the browser prioritizing speed over binary size
Google Chrome's recent updates have made the browser less of a resource hog than it was previously, thanks to Google's extensive under-the-hood fine-tuning to reduce the browser's appetite for CPU, memory, and battery resources. The latest improvements to Chrome take things a step further by making the browser 30% faster than ever, but only on high-end devices.
Android 13 is now running on over 12% of Android phones
Adoption more than doubled over the last three months
Android fragmentation is a big issue that despite Google's best efforts hasn't been fixed. It has gotten better, but it's far from sorted. Apple frequently flaunts how most of its iPhones are running the latest version of iOS, and Google, understandably tired of being dunked on, just made these market share graphs harder to access. They can still be accessed through Android Studio, but they're quarterly rather than monthly. The latest numbers, though, are showing promising growth for Google's latest OS, Android 13, with numbers doubling over a quarter.
Google Drive's redesigned location picker makes moving files a breeze
It'll save you a few taps when looking for a destination folder
Big changes arrived for Google Drive in recent months, the most notable of which was an updated UI meant to match Google's Material Design 3 language. The revamp was strikingly similar to Gmail’s new look, with a simplified design and less clutter. The search giant is now following that and releasing yet another facelift to the productivity app, though this time it only involves a minor aspect of the service: the location picker.