Google Says the 'Google Phone' Is a Reality
Today Google admitted publicly that its employees are using unannounced Android-based devices. However, these phones, which Google shared no details about — and did not specifically call a "Google Phone" — are being used to help Google evaluate Android, Android applications, and experiment with new features and capabilities. Google said that it might share details about the device in the future, but for now it is only for Google testers and what it calls "dogfooding" activities.
Google Assistant Can Now Find Your Phone, Call from Your Mobile Number
Google today said its Home-based Google Assistant product can easily find your Android or iOS smartphone. Home owners need only say, "OK Google, find my phone." The Assistant will ring Android phones, or send a call to iPhones, even when the phone is in silent mode.
Google Music for Android Gains Support for Podcasts
Google today added podcasts to the online and Android versions of its Google Music service. Similar to how Google Music suggests playlists for certain moods or activities, so too will the service recommend podcasts based on interests and activities.
Android Users Can Now Beta Test Google Maps
Google has rolled out a program that allows people to test beta versions of Google Maps. The betas will be published via the Google Play Store, similar to how Google distributes other a few other beta apps.
Google Opens Up Beta Testing for Search App
Google is inviting some Android users to join a new beta program for testing the Google Search app. Google did not call out any specific new features in the first beta release, but warned testers it may be unstable or buggy.
Google Assistant On Phones to Gain Voice-Based Shopping
Google today expanded the scale of its Google Express service with the addition of Target stores nationwide. Starting immediately, people who live in the 48 contiguous states can ask Google Assistant on the Google Home product to purchase items from Target.