Home  ›  Phones  ›

Google

Phones & Info News Forums  

Google Wants Android to Work on Non-Arm Chips

Jan 4, 2023, 10:17 AM   by Rich Brome

At the RISC-V Summit event, Android's director of engineering Lars Bergstrom announced that Google is working to get Android running on RISC-V chips as a "tier 1" platform. RISC-V is an open chip architecture that offers an alternative to the Arm chip designs that are dominant in mobile devices today. As western countries continue economic hostilities with China, some companies — particularly in China — are looking for alternatives to Arm, which is based in the UK. Bergstrom said the process will take years. However, once complete, most Android apps should run on RISC-V with no changes required by the developer; games could be the most common exception.


Google Adds Spatial Audio to Pixel Phones

Jan 4, 2023, 10:05 AM   by Rich Brome

The January software update for Pixel phones adds static Spatial Audio to the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro. An update coming soon to the Pixel Buds Pro will add support for spatial audio with head tracking.


Android and Google Devices Now Support Matter

Dec 15, 2022, 11:47 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Dec 15, 2022, 11:48 AM

Google has updated its Google Home app and Google Home / Nest devices to fully support Matter, the new industry standard for smart home control. Existing Google home hardware can serve as a Matter hub, including the original Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, and Nest Wifi Pro. Matter-enabled smart home devices can connect to your home's Matter network via Wi-Fi or Thread (a low-power standard). Thread devices require a Thread border router; the Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Hub Max and the Nest Hub (2nd gen) can act as a Thread border router. Matter is designed for "Multi-Admin", meaning you can use multiple devices and ecosystems simultaneously to control your home, including both the Google Home and Samsung SmartThings apps. Android's Fast Pair feature also now works for Matter devices, making it faster and easier to set up new smart home devices. Next year, Google will bring Google Home with Matter to iOS. A handful of Matter-enabled devices are already available, "with many more coming in early 2023".


New Pixel Features Drop Today

Dec 5, 2022, 1:55 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has released another "feature drop" software update for its Pixel phones. The update includes several major, previously-announced features, such as free VPN service, Clear Calling, and automatic multi-person transcription in the Recorder app. Clear Calling helps reduce background noise from the other end of a phone call. The updated Recorder automatically separates and labels different speakers when recording a conversation. "And once the recording is complete, you can easily re-label speakers with their names." The free VPN and Clear Calling are exclusive to the Pixel 7 series, while the new Recorder is available for Pixel 6 and up.


Google Starts Testing Encrypted RCS Group Chats in Messages

Dec 2, 2022, 1:55 PM   by Rich Brome

Google's open beta version of Messages will soon gain the ability to participate in group chats that are end-to-end (E2E) encrypted via RCS, the industry standard for enhanced messaging. E2E encryption is already available for one-on-one conversations.


Google Messages Will Let You React with Any Emoji

Nov 28, 2022, 10:49 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is quietly rolling out an update to Messages that lets users react to individual messages with any emoji, instead of just the usual seven. When long-pressing on a message, the usual seven reactions are still offered, along with a new "face plus" icon that leads to a full emoji picker.


Google Messages Gains 2-Way Reactions with iPhones

Oct 21, 2022, 10:39 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has announced a variety of new features for Messages, its messaging app for Android based on the RCS industry standard.

  • In addition to correctly displaying certain emoji reactions from iPhone users over SMS, Messages will now let you send reactions to SMS messages sent by iPhone users, and display them correctly on the Android side.
  • Another new feature will you reply to a specific message in an RCS thread, so it's clear what you're replying to in a busy conversation.
  • Google will also bring Voice Message Transcription to more phones. Originally announced for the new Pixel 7 series, the feature can present an audio message as text, for situations where it might be difficult or inappropriate to listen to the audio. The feature is coming to the Pixel 6 series as well as the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Fold 4.
  • The app will now make even more pro-active intelligent suggestions based on your activity. These include birthday and anniversary reminders; prompts to "star" messages that appear to contain important info like addresses, door codes, and phone numbers; and shortcuts to make calls or add things to your calendar when receiving relevant messages.
  • You will now be able create your own reminders without leaving the app. "Remind yourself to call Mom on her birthday, or [to] schedule that appointment during regular business hours."
  • The app can now play YouTube videos without leaving Messages.
The updated Messages app "will begin rolling out in the coming weeks."


Google Overhauls Android's Parental Controls

Oct 18, 2022, 10:03 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is revamping Family Link, the system-wide parental controls for a child's Android device. The biggest new feature is the ability to create temporary "Today Only" screen-time settings that override the usual daily settings. Another major new feature is a geofencing function that lets you "turn on notifications to be alerted when your child arrives at or leaves a specific destination like school or soccer practice." The new design is organized into three main tabs: "The Highlights tab shows a snapshot of your child's app usage, screen time and recently installed apps". The Controls tab lets parents "set screen time limits for each device or for specific apps, set content restrictions and manage app data permissions." "On the Location tab, you can see all of your children on the same map with their device location. You’ll also find other useful features like battery life and the ability to ring your child’s device to find it". Finally, a Notifications screen shows "important updates and ... requests from your children for app downloads, purchases and access to blocked websites." The update is rolling out over the next few weeks. The Family Link app for parents is available for both Android and iOS, as well as via the web.


Google Starts Rolling Out Passkey Support on Android

Oct 12, 2022, 9:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has started rolling out support for passkeys for web sites in Android and the Chrome browser. Passkeys are a more-secure and easier-to-use replacement for passwords. Passkeys are stored on your device and securely synced with the cloud. Creating and using them is a simple two-step process of tapping your username and authenticating (via fingerprint, for example). Passkeys can also be used cross-device and cross-platform. "For example, an Android user can now sign in to a passkey-enabled website using Safari on a Mac. Similarly, ... a Chrome user, for example on Windows, can do the same using a passkey stored on their iOS device." Google will enable passkeys for logging into Android apps later this year. The current implementation only works with Google's own password manager, but Google will also enable passkeys for third-party password managers next year.


Google's Pixel Watch is Here

Oct 6, 2022, 10:51 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has revealed its first own-brand smartwatch, which is partially a product of its acquisition of Fitbit. In today's launch event, Google emphasized the quality and accuracy of its all-day continuous heart rate tracking. The watch has a round design with a 3D domed glass front and 80% recycled stainless steel body. Interchangeable straps attach with a unique curved slide-in system. On the side is a rotating crown knob and a single button. The watch is water-resistant down to 50 meters. It has 32 GB of on-board storage, NFC for payments, and is available with or without 4G LTE cellular. The WearOS 3.5 software offers sleep tracking and and a remote viewfinder for the Pixel 7's camera. An array of fitness features are included. A purchase includes six months of FitBit Premium, which has more advanced fitness features such telling when you should focus on recovery or work out. Three months of YouTube Music Premium are also included. Google claims up to 24 hours of battery life, and fast charging can get you 50% charged in 30 minutes. Color options include black, silver, and gold, with a variety of straps available, including woven, stretch, active, and leather styles, with metal coming next spring. The Google Pixel Watch is available now for pre-order and ship October 13th. Google is charging $350 to start, or $400 with 4G LTE cellular.


Google Pixel 7 Series Tweaks Size, Adds Pro Cameras

Oct 6, 2022, 10:29 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 6, 2022, 11:51 AM

Google has revealed the full details of its new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro flagship phones. The new Pixel 7 is smaller, while the larger Pixel 7 Pro has a much more advanced camera system than any previous Pixel phone. An evolved design features a 100% recycled aluminum frame — unified with the camera bar — with a zirconia-blasted matte finish. Corning Gorilla Glass Victus covers both sides. Both models are powered by a new Google Tensor G2 chip with machine learning that's 60% faster and 20% more efficient compared to the original Tensor chip (in the Pixel 6 series). A 50 megapixel main camera with laser auto-focus offers high-quality 2x zoom via multi-frame capture. Video capture is improved in several ways, including 4K video at 60 fps, 10-bit HDR that works with third-party apps, Cinematic Blur (portrait mode for video), and improved stabilization & auto-focus for video. The front camera is also improved, with a larger sensor and 4K video capture. The standard Pixel 7 is smaller than the Pixel 6, with a 6.3-inch display with FHD+ resolution, 90 Hz refresh, and 25% higher peak brightness. The larger Pixel 7 Pro has a 6.7-inch display with QHD+ resolution and variable refresh up to 120 Hz. The Pro also adds a telephoto camera and improves the wide camera. The 12 megapixel wide camera is 21% wider and has auto-focus, allowing it to take macro photos. The 5x 48 megapixel telephoto camera works with the other cameras and multi-frame capture to provide a total "Pro" zoom of 0.5x – 10x, or up to 30x for video. Both phones have fast wired and wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. They also both have Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The bodies are rated IP68 for water. The Pixel 7 has 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM while the Pro has 12 GB. Both phones also have new software features, including emoji dictation, transcription of incoming audio messages, a voice recorder that separates different speakers, Guided Frame to help low-vision users take well-framed photos, and Photo Unblur to "fix" older photos taken with other phones. A feature drop coming later will add Clear Calling, which uses machine learning to clean up incoming audio on calls. Google is also introducing a free VPN service for Pixel phones to improve privacy. The Pixel 7 series will receive a guaranteed five years of security updates. Both models come in three colors. The Pixel 7 will be available in Obsidian, Snow, or Lemongrass. The Pro will be available in Obsidian, Snow, or Hazel. The new Pixels are available now for pre-order, and reach store shelves on October 13th. The smaller Pixel 7 will cost $599 (or $700 for the Verizon version with mmWave 5G), with the Pixel 7 Pro (with mmWave standard in the US) going for $899 for all US carriers. Both models start with 128 GB of storage, but have a 256 GB option. The Pro is also available with 512 GB.


Google Revamps Home App

Oct 4, 2022, 9:19 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is revamping its Home app for smart homes to focus on customization, and announcing future updates that will add even more customization as well as more powerful automation. The new app — available for preview in the coming weeks — opens to a Favorites tab, which can include shortcuts to control specific home devices, as well as tiles showing live camera views. New Spaces tabs group together devices types, such as lights, cameras, and thermostats. An update coming next year will let users create custom Spaces, such as Pets. Also coming next year is the ability to create much more powerful automations with scripting.


Google Frags Stadia

Sep 29, 2022, 11:40 AM   by Rich Brome

Google will shut down its Stadia cloud gaming service on January 18th, 2023. The service launched in 2019, offering high-quality gaming streamed over the internet to any Chrome-capable device, including Android phones. Google will offer full refunds for all Stadia games, add-on content, and even hardware purchased from the Google Store.


Google Maps Putting Search Results in AR Live View

Sep 29, 2022, 9:49 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has announced an update to the Google Maps app with several interesting new features. The augmented-reality Live View feature now works in a search mode to find and show you specific places nearby, instead of just overlaying walking directions during ongoing navigation. From the main screen, a camera icon will appear in the main search box. Tapping that icon opens the new mode, which starts by showing landmark info overlaid on the real-world view from the phone's camera. It gives a few default search options, such as finding restaurants or ATMs within a five-minute walk. Those search results appear overlaid on the real-world view, with options view more details, such as hours, how busy a place is, and services offered. The feature "starts rolling out in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo in the coming months on Android and iOS." Google also announced a new "neighborhood vibe" feature that displays a visual guide to local highlights when searching for a neighborhood by name. That feature is also rolling out "in the coming months", but will be available globally.


Google Fi Beefs up International 5G Service

Sep 9, 2022, 10:55 AM   by Rich Brome

Google Fi has improved the international roaming offered with its plans, and improved overall iPhone compatibility. Google tripled its 5G coverage abroad, bumping the number of countries where users can roam on 5G from 26 to 39. (Full-speed 4G is available in over 200 countries.) Fi's Unlimited Plus plan has no extra roaming charges, so all your 50 GB of monthly full-speed data is available even overseas. Google also extended international 5G service to Samsung phones, instead of just its own Pixel phones. For iPhones, Google added international mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi calling, features that previously only worked with Android phones on Fi. Google Fi plan pricing remains unchanged.


Android 13 Exits Beta, Available for Pixel Devices Today

Aug 15, 2022, 12:23 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has announced that a final version of Android 13 is available starting today for recent Pixel devices (Pixel 4 and newer). Version 13 doesn't bring huge changes, but rather a long list of small improvements, primarily around privacy and visual personalization. Public beta versions have been available for a few months. The final release will roll out for newer third-party phones over the next few months.


Android's Back Function Will Show a Mid-Gesture Preview

Jul 29, 2022, 2:26 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has notified developers that they need to prepare their apps for a new way the "back" gesture will work in a future version of Android, possibly Android 14. Google calls it a "predictive back gesture", and it will display an animation as the user performs the swipe gesture that shows a preview of the screen that "back" will take them to. This will allow users to pause mid-gesture and decide whether to continue or cancel the action.


T-Mobile's New REVVL 6 Series Offers 5G Starting at $170

Jul 28, 2022, 11:01 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 4, 2022, 9:00 PM

T-Mobile has announced it latest series of T-Mobile-branded affordable phones, the REVVL 6 5G and REVVL 6 Pro 5G. They will sell for $170 and $220, respectively.

  • The REVVL 6 5G has a 6.52" HD+ display, 4,500 mAh battery, 13 megapixel main camera, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage.
  • The REVVL 6 Pro 5G has a 6.82" HD+ display, 5,000 mAh battery, wireless charging, 50 megapixel main camera, NFC, 6 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage.
Both phones have a fingerprint reader and 15-watt fast charging. The REVVL 6 series will be available on August 4th from both T-Mobile and Metro. Both phones are powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset and Android 12. The phones were brought to market quickly using GMS Express, a program offered by MediaTek and Google that streamlines the software development, testing, and certification process for phones running full Google Android on MediaTek-powered hardware. FCC approvals show that both phones are manufactured by Wingtech, which also made the REVVL V series.


Google Will Auto-Delete Sensitive Location Data, Including Abortion Clinics

Jul 5, 2022, 11:48 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 6, 2022, 3:08 PM

Google is introducing a new feature of its opt-in Location History feature that will automatically remove certain entries that the company considers "particularly personal". The list of sensitive locations includes abortion clinics, and is designed to address concerns that Google's location data could be used by state governments to target women seeking abortions in states where abortion is now — or soon will be — illegal. Google's Location History feature is off by default, and already includes tools to delete some or all past data, and an option to auto-delete all data after 3, 18, or 36 months. The list of sensitive locations also includes counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, and cosmetic surgery clinics.


Switch to Android App now Supports all Android 12 Phones

Jun 29, 2022, 1:18 PM   by Rich Brome

Google's Switch to Android app for iOS now makes it easy for iPhone users to move data like contacts, calendars, and photos to any new Android 12 phone. The app initially supported only Pixel phones.


Android 13 Reaches Major Milestone Toward Release

Jun 9, 2022, 1:53 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has released Android 13 Beta 3, which brings the OS to a key milestone known as Platform Stability. This means that new APIs used by developers are now finalized and won't change, so devs can move full speed ahead with Android 13 versions of their apps.


Google Merging Duo with Meet

Jun 1, 2022, 11:39 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is merging its two video-calling platforms into one new service called Google Meet. On phones, the Google Duo app will be renamed Google Meet later this year, and will gain a variety of new features from the existing Meet platform. The existing Google Meet app will be renamed Meet Original, and eventually phased out. On the web, Meet will remain a Zoom competitor, but be interoperable with the new Meet app (formerly Duo), allowing people to be easily reached for a video or voice call by either email address or phone number.


Android Will Support Braille Displays Natively

May 26, 2022, 11:50 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is adding full support for most braille displays directly to Android 13. Phones with Android 13 will support this important accessibility hardware without needing any extra software like BrailleBack. Google is also improving the braille experience on Android with new shortcuts. "Now there are shortcuts for navigating so it's easier to scroll and move to the next character, word or line. There are also shortcuts for settings and for editing, like jumping to the end of documents or selecting, copying and pasting." The braille features are part of Talkback, the accessibility suite that assists blind and low-vision users. The new braille support will roll out first as part of the next beta version of Android 13.


Google Revamps Android Auto Interface

May 13, 2022, 10:31 AM   by Rich Brome

Google is revamping the user interface of Android Auto, again. Split-screen mode will now be standard on all screen types and sizes, giving users immediate access to functions such as audio, messages, and maps, all on one screen. The interface will also flow to fill different screen shapes better, including ultra-wide and portrait displays. The new version of Android Auto will also update Google Assistant with new "contextual suggestions" for actions such as suggested replies, sharing arrival times with a friend, and playing recommended music. The new Android Auto will roll out "in the coming months".


Encryption Coming to Group Convos in Google Messages

May 12, 2022, 10:33 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has announced that it will bring end-to-end encryption to group conversations in its RCS-based Messages app, starting with an open beta "later this year". End-to-end encryption is already available for one-on-one conversations.


Unified Health Data Coming to Android

May 12, 2022, 10:21 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has introduced a new feature in Android that will let health and fitness apps securely access and share one unified set of health and fitness data across Android devices. The new Health Connect platform and API provides a central place on the device to store data such as activity, sleep, nutrition, body measurements, and vitals like heart rate and blood pressure. It also includes security, privacy, and permission features that give users "granular controls". Users must give permission for each app to have access, and users "will have the ability to shut off access or delete data they don't want on their device, and the option to prioritize one data source over another when using multiple apps." Google has developed Health Connect in partnership with Samsung. MyFitnessPal, Leap Fitness, and Withings have already started working with the platform, and it is now available to all developers.


Google Teases Pixel 7 Series, Pixel Watch

May 11, 2022, 2:34 PM   by Rich Brome

At its I/O developer event today, Google gave the world a teasing glimpse of its forthcoming Pixel 7 phones and all-new Pixel Watch, both coming this fall. The new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will feature an evolution of the Pixel 6 design that includes a 100% recycled aluminum frame that wraps uninterrupted around the sides and across the camera bar. It will be powered by a "next-generation" Google Tensor SoC chip. The 7 Pro will have three rear cameras, while the non-Pro version appears to have two. Various slides showed three different colors: white, grey, and a very light green. The Pixel Watch matches recent leaks, sporting a completely round design with a rotating crown (dial) on the side. The body will be made from recycled stainless steel and support interchangeable bands. It will run an "improved" WearOS with integrated Fitbit features, including continuous heart-rate tracking as well as sleep tracking. It will integrate smart-home controls, and features like Maps and Wallet will work even when you leave your phone at home. It will be available around the same time as the Pixel 7 series phones, some time "this fall".

continued ▻


Google Intros Pixel Buds Pro

May 11, 2022, 2:18 PM   by Rich Brome

Google today announced the Pixel Buds Pro, the company's first wireless earbuds with ANC (active noise cancellation). Like most competing buds, they offer a Transparency Mode that lets you hear your surroundings if you wish. A custom six-core processor chip designed by Google powers a custom ANC algorithm that includes Silent Seal, a feature that detects and compensates for poorly-sealed tips. The beam-forming microphones are aided by a noise suppression algorithm that insures you can be heard clearly on a call. The buds also support multi-point, for smooth transitions across multiple source devices. Each bud also has independent Find My Device support in case one or both buds are lost. A future update will add support for Spatial Audio. The buds will last for up to 11 hours of listening time, or 7 with ANC on. They ship July 28th for $199 and will be available in four colors. Pre-orders start July 21, the same date as the new Pixel 6a.

continued ▻


Compact Google Pixel 6a Starts at $449

May 11, 2022, 2:03 PM   by Rich Brome   updated May 11, 2022, 4:51 PM

Google has taken the wraps off its newest more-affordable Pixel, the Pixel 6a. In contrast to the growing size of other recent Pixel models, the 6a has a relatively compact 6.1-inch display. It shares the same distinctive design as the pricier Pixel 6 series models, the same Google Tensor processor chip, and same Titan M2 security chip as the higher-end Pixel 6 series. It has two rear cameras: standard and wide, both 12 megapixel. It also has a recycled aluminum frame and under-display fingerprint reader. It will receive five years of security updates. The Google Pixel 6a will be available in black, white, and green for $449 unlocked. Pre-orders start July 21st and it ships on the 28th. AT&T and T-Mobile will sell the standard Pixel 6a. Verizon will also carry it — with support for Verizon's mmWave and C-Band 5G networks — although this version will sell for $500.

continued ▻


Google Wallet to Replace Google Pay, Support Digital Driver's Licenses

May 11, 2022, 1:32 PM   by Rich Brome

In the coming weeks, Google will roll out a new app called Google Wallet that replaces the G Pay / Google Pay feature of Android. It will continue to support digital credit and debit cards, boarding passes, tickets, transit cards, vaccine cards, and student IDs. But Google is finally adding official support for state and government ID cards, including Digital Driver's Licenses in the US. You will be able to present your Digital Driver's License to authorities via NFC or QR code. Google is also working to add office and hotel keys. The name change reflects the ambition that it could completely replace a physical wallet.


Google Adds Virtual Cards to Credit Card Auto-Fill

May 11, 2022, 1:04 PM   by Rich Brome   updated May 11, 2022, 1:12 PM

Google will update Android and Chrome this summer to automatically use a one-time virtual credit card number when entering credit card info using auto-fill. The feature reduces the chances that you will be the victim of credit card fraud due to a data breach.


Google Adding "Near Me" to Multisearch

May 11, 2022, 12:27 PM   by Rich Brome   updated May 11, 2022, 1:11 PM

Later this year, Google will add a new option to Multisearch to make a search local. By searching for a photo of something and adding "near me", you can find where that thing is available nearby.


Apple, Google, Microsoft Enhance Password-Free Standard for Secure Logins

May 5, 2022, 1:34 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple, Google, and Microsoft today announced new enhancements to the FIDO standard, as well as a renewed commitment to encouraging the use of the FIDO standard on their respective platforms. FIDO allows easy login to devices, platforms, and apps using methods like a phone's fingerprint reader, for logins that are easier, faster, as well as more secure. The enhanced standard will allow users to automatically access their FIDO credentials "on many of their devices, even new ones, without having to reenroll every account." It will also "Enable users to use FIDO authentication on their mobile device to sign in to an app or website on a nearby device, regardless of the OS platform or browser they are running."


Android 13 Reaches Public Beta

Apr 27, 2022, 10:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Android 13 has reached the public beta phase on the road toward a final release some time after July. Android 13 Beta 1 is available now for eligible Pixel phones. The first preview release was made available to developers in February. It introduced a new photo picker, themed app icons, and better quick settings tiles for third-party apps. The new Beta 1 introduces more granular permissions for media file access. This means that apps requesting access to your audio files will not also be granted access to your photos and videos, for example. Google promises they will have "more to share" about Android 13 at next month's Google I/O event starting May 11th.


Google Brings New Emoji to Old Versions of Android

Apr 19, 2022, 11:30 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has changed the way it handles emoji in Android to eliminate the entire concept of new emoji being unsupported in older software and devices. Starting with Android 12, new emoji can easily be added with a minor update. Previously, new emoji only came with a major OS update. But Google is also bringing this emoji-update capability to older versions of Android via its AppCompat API for developers. AppCompat generally brings modern features to older versions of Android for apps that use it. Now apps using AppCompat will automatically have access to newer emoji as they are released. Apple still ties emoji updates to major new versions of iOS, but iPhones enjoy a much higher rate of adoption for new OS versions.


Google Fi Lowers Prices on Unlimited Plans

Apr 11, 2022, 6:30 PM   by Rich Brome

Google Fi — Google's own MVNO offering cellular service — has adjusted its two unlimited plans to offer more data and features for less money. Google's cheaper Simply Unlimited plan now runs $50/month for one line, down from $60 previously. Multi-line discounts now bring that as low as $20/month/line for four or more lines (was $30). The high-speed data bucket for that plan has been bumped up from 22 to 35 GB, and Google is also adding 5 GB of hotspot tethering data. Similar changes are coming to the premium Unlimited Plus plan, which is now $5/month cheaper: $65/month for one line or as low as $40/line for four or more lines. That plan sees a bump from 22 to 50 GB of high-speed data. Both plans also now include unlimited calling within Canada and Mexico (text and data in those countries was already included.)


Google Jumps on the Self-Repair Train

Apr 8, 2022, 12:31 PM   by Rich Brome

Owners of Google Pixel phones will soon be able to perform common repairs themselves using genuine parts from Google. The move comes hot on the heels of a similar announcement from Samsung just last week. Similar to Samsung, Google is partnering with iFixit, which will sell the repair kits (including necessary tools) as well as individual parts. The program includes all Pixel phones starting with the Pixel 2, and "things like batteries, replacement displays, cameras and more". The program launches "later this year". Apple launched a similar program in November.


Google Lens Now Lets You Refine a Visual Search with Text

Apr 7, 2022, 2:08 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has updated its Lens camera-based search tool with an experimental feature that lets you type in extra search terms to refine your visual search. Google calls this new image+text type of search "multisearch". For example, you can take a photo of a mug and add the word "pink" to find pink mugs. Other examples Google gives are: "Snap a photo of your dining set and add the query 'coffee table' to find a matching table" and "Take a picture of your rosemary plant and add the query 'care instructions'". The new multi search feature is available within the Lens feature of many Android phones, or from within the main Google search app. To use it, look for the new "Add to your search" button at the top of the full "Visual matches" results screen.


Google Will Remove Out-of-Date Apps from Play Store

Apr 7, 2022, 1:47 PM   by Rich Brome

Google is tightening its Play Store policies to require that apps be updated to newer APIs in order to remain listed for discovery and download. Newer Android APIs have "privacy, security, and user experience improvements". Google is making the change because users with newer and/or updated devices "expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer. [This change] will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place." While newly-submitted apps are already required to use the APIs of an Android version released within the past year, existing apps will now need to use the APIs of an Android version released within the past two years to remain in the Play Store.


Google Rolling Out New Features to Android

Mar 10, 2022, 6:03 PM   by Rich Brome

Google is using the modular nature of Google Play Services to add new features to Android in-between major OS updates. In addition to major updates to the Messages app, Google is also adding grammar correction to the Gboard, Google's smart onscreen keyboard. Live Transcribe will now have the ability to work offline. Nearby Share is being updated to let you quickly share media or files with multiple people nearby at once, instead of just one person at a time. Finally, Google Assistant now understands a "pay for parking" command, which automatically pays for car parking if you are parked in a street spot enabled with ParkMobile, available in over 400 US cities. This feature also includes new commands "parking status" and "extend parking".


Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Twitter Follow @phonescoop on Mastodon Phone Scoop on Facebook Follow on Instagram

 

All content Copyright 2001-2023 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.