Google


'Google' Articles

Google Maps for iOS Gains Quick-Access Traffic, Transit, and Local Info Tabs

Google has updated its iOS Maps app with three new quick-access options that Android users have had access to for over a year now. The new tabs sit across the bottom of the home screen and are called Explore, Driving, and Transit. Swiping up on the shortcuts reveals further details. For example, in Explore users can find a description of the local area, dining choices, and options to search for gas stations, ATMs, convenience stores, drug stores, and other amenities. The driving tab provides a traffic summary for the area, including information on possible delays that might add time onto a commute. This tab will also include current ETAs for the user's home and work addresses if they are saved in the app's settings. Finally, the transit tab offers estimated bus and train schedules at stations in the vicinity. Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Consumer Reports: Google Home Max and Sonos One Sound Better Than HomePod

Consumer Reports has conducted some early audio testing of the HomePod, and while the full evaluation isn't yet finished, the site believes that both the $400 Google Home Max and the $200 Sonos One sound better than Apple's new $349 smart speaker. The HomePod received a "Very Good" sound quality rating, as did the Sonos One and the Google Home Max, but the latter two speakers also received higher overall sound quality scores. Consumer Reports says that its speaker tests are conducted in a dedicated listening room, with experienced testers who compare each model with "high-quality reference speakers." In the case of the HomePod, testers found a few issues. The bass was "boomy and overemphasized," while midrange tones were "somewhat hazy," and treble sounds were "underemphasized." Overall, Consumer Reports found the HomePod's sound to be "a bit muddy" when played next to the Sonos One and the Google Home Max.The HomePod will serve many music fans well, but CR testers did hear some flaws. The HomePod's bass was a bit boomy and overemphasized. And the midrange tones were somewhat hazy, meaning that some of the nuance in vocals, guitars, and horns was lost: These elements of the music couldn't be heard as distinctly as in more highly rated speakers. Treble sounds, like cymbals, were underemphasized. But the HomePod played reasonably loudly in a midsized room.All three smart speakers "fall significantly short" of other wireless speakers Consumer Reports has tested, like the Edifier S1000DB, priced at $350. The HomePod's sound has been highly praised both by new

Google 'Embracing' Notch Design in 2018 Android Update, Preparing for New Wave of iPhone X Clones

Google's upcoming software update for its Android smartphone operating system will "embrace" an iPhone X notch-like design, according to people familiar with the company's plans speaking to Bloomberg. With the software, referred to as Android P, Google is readying a "new generation" of Android smartphones that will be "mimicking" the iPhone X's front-facing camera cutout design. Just like iPhone X, this cutout is believed to be where Android smartphone makers will be placing cameras and other sensors to help Android phones compete with Apple devices in the high-end market. While Google controls the Android software, many other companies manufacture Android devices and have the ability to tweak the software as they see fit. Because of this, Bloomberg pointed out that "not all Android phones will have notches." In total, Google's plan for Android P -- shortened from Pistachio Ice Cream -- is to convince more iOS users to switch sides by "improving the look of the software." While Android dominates the middle and low-end of the global smartphone market, Apple controls much of the high-end with users who spend more on apps and other services. Embracing the notch may help change that. The design will mean more new Android phones with cutouts at the top of their screens to fit cameras and other sensors. That will likely support new features, helping Android device makers keep up with similar Apple technology. [...]building notch capabilities into Android suggests Google expects the iPhone X look to catch on more broadly. Otherwise, Android P will reportedly

Experimental Feature Pushes Google's Arts & Culture App to the Top of the Free Apps Chart

Google's Arts & Culture app rocketed to the top of the free app charts over the weekend after one of its experimental interactive features went viral. Better known for its relatively staid virtual history exhibitions and digitized artworks, the app's sudden popularity is down to the addition of an option near the bottom of its scrolling interface which asks users, "Is your portrait in a museum?" On tapping the button, the app asks for access to the device's camera and then prompts the user to take a selfie. Their picture is then compared against thousands of digitized artworks in Google's historical database using facial recognition technology, after which a series of closest matches are returned. Hey good morning everyone, this Google Arts and Culture app is scary. pic.twitter.com/yt2kSYMWyM— Ding Dong Daddi (@sixthsentz) January 13, 2018 The find-your-art-lookalike feature, which was actually added to the app in a December update with little fanfare, apparently drew interest only recently after some users and celebrities began sharing their results on social media. The option only appears to be available to U.S. users at the moment, but if you'd like to give it a go, you can download the free Google Arts & Culture app from the App

Android Pay and Google Wallet Have Merged to Become 'Google Pay'

Google today announced it has merged Android Pay and Google Wallet into one consolidated payments service called Google Pay. Over the coming weeks, Google said users will be able to use Google Pay online, in stores, and across Google products, and Google Wallet's existing peer-to-peer payment functionality will continue to be supported. Google Pay is already available in select first-party apps such as YouTube and Chrome, and in Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse, Instacart, and select other third-party apps and websites on Android and in Chrome. Google Pay branding will be rolled out in apps, websites, and next to payment terminals in stores as Android Pay branding and decals are retired. Google Pay along with Samsung Pay are Apple Pay's biggest rivals among mobile payment services. Google Pay also competes with Apple's recently launched peer-to-peer payment service Apple Pay Cash in the United

Apple's iPad Pro vs. Google's Pixelbook

Back in October, Google released the Google Pixelbook, a portable laptop/tablet hybrid machine that runs Chrome OS. We got our hands on one of the Pixelbooks from Google, and we decided to pit it against the iPad Pro, Apple's tablet that's powerful enough to serve as a PC replacement. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Priced starting at $999, the Pixelbook is more expensive than even the largest iPad Pro. Apple charges $649 for the entry-level 10.5-inch iPad Pro and $799 for the entry-level 12.9-inch iPad Pro. For $999, the Pixelbook comes equipped with a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD, with all of the components upgradeable for a higher price tag. It has a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, putting it on par with Apple's larger iPad Pro, and it offers 10 hours of battery life. The Pixelbook is just as portable as the iPad Pro, and it has the benefit of a 2-in-1 design with a 360-degree rotating hinge, which means it can be used as a traditional laptop or folded back for use as a tablet, complete with accompanying pen. As a laptop, the Pixelbook is on par with other ultraportable notebooks, but as a tablet, its keyboard is adding some extra thickness you won't see on the iPad Pro. Though convertibility is a nice feature and wins out over the traditional tablet form factor, Google can't quite compete with Apple when it comes to software and performance due to issues with some unoptimized Android apps running on the Pixelbook. The iPad Pro's A10X Fusion chip is incredibly speedy, and optimizations like

Google Hangouts for iOS Gains Support for iPhone X

Hangouts, Google's dedicated messaging app, was today updated with support for the iPhone X. With the update, the Hangouts app is able to take advantage of the full display of the iPhone X, without black bars at the top and the bottom. With the iPhone X update for Hangouts, all of Google's major iOS apps now offer support for Apple's new flagship device. Google previously introduced iPhone X updates for Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, and Google Maps. According to Google's release notes for today's Hangouts update, the only new feature is iPhone X optimization. Google Hangouts can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Amazon to Resume Selling Apple TV and Chromecast

Amazon has decided to once again sell the Apple TV and Google Chromecast in its online store, reports CNET. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company is officially offering the two products as of today. "I can confirm that we are assorting Apple TV and Chromecast," CNET was told. There are new product pages for the 32GB fourth-generation Apple TV, the 32GB Apple TV 4K, and the 64GB Apple TV 4K. There are also two listings for the Chromecast and the Chromecast Ultra. All of the products are listed as "Currently unavailable" right now, but that is likely to change soon after the listings are completed and propagated to Amazon's site. Amazon first stopped selling the Apple TV and the Google Chromecast in its online store in 2015, claiming the reason for the removal was incompatibility with the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. "Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in the e-mail. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."Since then, the Apple TV has been unavailable on Amazon's site, but Amazon's original reason for not selling the Apple TV was invalidated with the launch of the Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV. Amazon last week introduced a long-awaited Amazon Prime Video app for the Apple TV. The new app is available on third, fourth, and fifth-generation devices. The return of the Chromecast to the Amazon site comes after Google once again removed YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show and the Fire TV.

iPhone 8 Was Nearly World's Top Google Search This Year

Hurricane Irma, iPhone 8, and iPhone X were three of the world's most popular search terms on Google this year, according to the company. While the results make it look like the iPhone 8 is more popular than the iPhone X, it's important to consider that Apple's flagship smartphone was more commonly referred to as the iPhone 8 in rumors until a leaked version of iOS 11 essentially confirmed its stealthier name back in August. In the consumer tech category, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were the highest trending search terms in 2017, ahead of the Nintendo Switch, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Xbox One X in the top five globally. In the United States in particular, the iPhone 8 Plus was the sixth-most trending search term. Google Trends outlines other popular search terms in its Year in Search 2017 categories, including actors, athletes, car brands, exercises, movies, recipes, songs and lyrics, sports teams, TV shows, and world events. The results are similar to last year, when the iPhone 7 was the top trending smartphone brand on Google, but the second most trending search term overall behind smash-hit game Pokémon

Google Launches Two New Experimental Photography Apps on iOS

Google today announced the launch of two new experimental photography apps on iOS, which are designed to allow the company to test technologies like object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding and decoding, and more. Called "appsperiments," the two apps include "Selfissimo" and "Scrubbies." Selfissimo is an automated selfie app that captures a stylish black and white photo each time you change to a new pose, sort of like a photo booth. The app lets you tap to start a photoshoot, and then it encourages you to adopt different poses. Each time it detects a pause in movement, it snaps a photo. Scrubbies lets you manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to create video loops of action scenes, funny faces, and replay moments. You can shoot a video directly in the app and then use swipe gestures to remix it. Scrubbies and Selfissimo can both be downloaded from the App Store for free. Google has also released experimental apps for Android devices, and, since the company say this is the "first installment" of a series, we can expect additional photography apps to be released in the

Google Home Mini Firmware Update Reinstates Touch Controls Previously Disabled Over Privacy Concerns

Google's Home Mini smart speaker received an update on Friday that brings back some of the touch-based controls that the company had to disable shortly after its release back in October (via AndroidPolice). Google was forced to turn off the built-in touch panel, which is designed to let users activate Google Assistant with a long press instead of a voice command, after a reviewer discovered that some of the devices were registering "phantom touch events". The issue meant that some Minis were prone to recording conversations and sounds even when no "OK Google" voice command was spoken, immediately prompting privacy concerns. As a result, Google opted to disable the touch features completely, including single-tap functions that played and paused music, snoozed alarms, and ended phone calls. Friday's v1.29 firmware update reinstates some of that single-tap functionality, but via a side long press instead. After installing the update, Google Home Mini owners will again be able to play/pause music, end phone calls, and silence alarms without speaking to the device. However, users still won't be able to trigger voice input using touch, because the top long press functions remain disabled. The software tweak is initially being rolled out in the preview firmware channel, which Home Mini owners can join via the Home app settings if they don't want to wait around for the automatic

Google Removes Chrome Apps Section From the Chrome Browser Web Store

Google has shuttered the Chrome Apps section of its Chrome browser web store, following through on an announcement the company made more than a year ago. As of Wednesday, the Apps selection no longer appeared in the web store's search panel filters below Extensions and Themes. Prior to yesterday's removal, Chrome apps were available in two flavors: packaged apps and hosted apps. As Ars Technica notes, hosted apps were little more than desktop bookmarks, but they gave Chrome OS users a way to pin important web pages to certain parts of the GUI. Packaged apps, which first appeared on Mac in 2013, could be downloaded into the Applications folder where they were designed to function like native Mac apps, working offline, updating automatically, and syncing on any computer where a user was signed into Chrome. By 2016, Google had decided they were no longer worth the resources, because only around 1 percent of users across Windows, Mac, and Linux actively used Chrome packaged apps, and by that time the functionality of most hosted apps had been implemented as regular web apps. This week, Google began sending out emails to Chrome app developers informing them that Chrome Apps are now deprecated, and that the functionality of already installed apps will end early next year. As a replacement, Google is moving developers towards Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). The hybrid software was launched earlier this year on Android and brings similar app features to websites, including push notifications and offline sync. Apple has already started building support for PWAs into

Gmail App for iOS Updated With Support for iPhone X

Google today released a new version of its Gmail app for iOS devices, and while not listed as a new feature, the update introduces support for the iPhone X, Apple's newest flagship device. The new version of the Gmail app allows it to take full advantage of the larger bezel-free display of the iPhone X, doing away with the large black bars that were previously present at the top and bottom of the app. Google's Gmail app on an iPhone X before and after today's update. With the new view, you can see an additional email when viewing your main inbox, and there is more room for reading and composing email messages. It also looks much nicer in general without the ugly black bars. Today's update also introduces support for adding non-Google email accounts to the Gmail app via IMAP. Google has been slowly updating its iOS apps with iPhone X support and has thus far updated Gmail, Google Maps, and its productivity apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Gmail for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google iOS App Now Responds to Voice Searches in Multiple Languages

Google updated a couple of its most popular iOS offerings late on Thursday, including bringing multilingual support to its namesake app. Users of the Google Search app can now search by voice in multiple languages. The option needs to be enabled first for it to work – to do this, go to Settings, tap "Voice Search", then tap "Language" to select additional languages. (There are over 50 to choose from as of writing.) From there, whenever the mic icon is tapped or the user says "Ok, Google" to start a voice search, they can ask a question in whichever language they've added and Google will automatically respond and return results in the same language. Meanwhile, in the Google Photos app, a new iMessage extension allows users to quickly share photos and videos through the Messages app. Once the update has been applied, the extension should appear in the iMessage apps panel automatically. In addition, Google Photos support for Drag and Drop on iPad has also been included. Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link] The Google Search app is also a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link

Google Maps Updated With Support for iPhone X

Google today updated its Google Maps app with official support for the iPhone X, introducing an improved layout on Apple's newest flagship phone. The Google Maps app displays full screen on the iPhone X's taller display, with a search bar located at the top of the app and directions and information provided at the bottom of the app. The layout of the app makes the menu button at the top left difficult to access with one hand, but it looks better than it did before. Along with iPhone X support, the new app also includes unspecified bug fixes.What's New in Version 4.41 Thanks for using Google Maps! This release brings support for iPhone X in addition to bug fixes that improve our product to help you discover new places and navigate to them. Get the latest version for all of the available Google Maps features.Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google Introduces iPhone X Support for Docs, Sheets, and Slides iOS Apps

Google today updated its collection of productivity apps for iOS with support for the iPhone X, so now anyone who uses Google Docs [Direct Link], Google Sheets [Direct Link], and Google Slides [Direct Link] on Apple's newest smartphone will see full compatibility for the iPhone X's 5.8-inch screen. Additionally, the same update has introduced drag-and-drop support for all three apps on compatible iPads. This way, users can easily drag and drop content from other apps right into Docs, Sheets, and Slides using multitasking on iPad. The release notes for each app's version 1.2017.46204 update reads as follows: - iOS 11 and iPhone X support - In iOS 11, easily drag and drop content from other apps into Slides - Bug fixes and performance improvements While Google has now introduced iPhone X support into its productivity apps, it still has yet to roll out compatibility for the iPhone X's screen size with some of its more popular apps, including Google Maps and Gmail. Many other apps were ready with iPhone X updates prior to the smartphone's launch on November 3, and the list is now growing as more developers update their apps following the iPhone X's

Google Allows YouTube to Return to Amazon's Echo Show Smart Speaker

Google has seen fit to return YouTube to Amazon's display-based Echo Show smart speaker, two months after the video service was pulled from the device. The original removal angered Amazon and led to conflicting public statements on both sides over the move, but the two companies appear to have resolved the dispute. The return of YouTube is particularly timely for Amazon, which is expanding its video services on the Echo Show with additional support for Vimeo and Dailymotion. An Amazon spokesperson gave the following statement to The Verge: "We're excited to offer customers the capability to watch even more video content from sources such as Vimeo, YouTube, and Dailymotion on Echo Show. More video sources will be added over time."According to Google, the reason for the service's removal on Echo Show devices back in September was because "Amazon's implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience." That issue now looks to have been resolved with a UI change – the new version of YouTube on Echo Show has a completely different interface that is much more in keeping with how the service appears in a desktop web browser, as shown in a video uploaded by VoiceBot.ai, embedded below. YouTube account holders accessing the device using an Echo Show can now see their subscriptions, video recommendations, and control autoplay – all of which were missing in the Amazon-designed, voice-control optimized interface. However, The Verge reports that there are now issues with YouTube's voice-control integration, and

Apple AirPods vs. Google Pixel Buds

The Pixel Buds, Google's $159 headphones designed to compete with Apple's AirPods, finally launched this week so we thought we'd pit the two devices against one another to see how they measure up. While the AirPods are widely loved and have received mostly positive reviews from customers and media sites, things aren't looking quite as rosy for the Pixel Buds. In a lot of ways, the Pixel Buds don't measure up to the AirPods, and in the video below, we compare design, features, sound quality, comfort, and other metrics. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pixel Buds and AirPods both cost $159 and are Bluetooth earphones designed for the Google and Apple ecosystems, respectively, but when it comes to design, they're quite a bit different. The AirPods are entirely wire-free, but the Pixel Buds have an adjustable cord that connects the two earpieces together. Each is stored in a case that provides extra battery. Both earphones support touch and tap gestures to do things like activate Siri or Google Assistant and control music playback, but each one has shortcomings. There's no volume control on the AirPods, meaning you need to use Siri or your connected device to adjust volume, and on the Pixel Buds, there's no gesture for switching tasks, so you need to use Google Assistant. By the way, when connected to an iPhone, Google Assistant functionality doesn't work. AirPods have a nifty feature that stops music playback when an AirPod is removed from the ear, and there's no equivalent feature on the Pixel Buds. The Pixel Buds do have a unique

Chrome Browser Updates Coming to Prevent Unexpected Web Page Redirects

Google this week revealed some upcoming enhancements to its Chrome browser that aim to protect users from encountering unwanted content on the web, such as when a site unexpectedly redirects them to another page when they click on a video play button. Google says that incidents of users being redirected by websites to unintended destinations are mentioned in 1 of every 5 Chrome feedback reports it receives, and it's now intent on putting a stop to the "abusive" behavior. One piece of feedback we regularly hear from users is that a page will unexpectedly navigate to a new page, for seemingly no reason. We've found that this redirect often comes from third-party content embedded in the page, and the page author didn't intend the redirect to happen at all. To address this, in Chrome 64 all redirects originating from third-party iframes will show an infobar instead of redirecting, unless the user had been interacting with that frame. This will keep the user on the page they were reading, and prevent those surprising redirects.Another example that Google says causes user frustration is when clicking a link opens the desired destination in a new tab, but the main window navigates to a different, unwanted page. The behavior is designed to circumvent pop-up blockers, but Google is planning a clampdown. Staring in Chrome 65, the browser will detect this abusive behavior, trigger an infobar, and prevent the main tab from being redirected, allowing the user to continue on to their intended destination. Lastly, starting in early January, Chrome's pop-up blocker will

Google Arts & Culture iOS App Showcases England Heritage Exhibition

Google has teamed up with the English Heritage Trust to give users of its Arts & Culture app a rare opportunity to explore the annals of England's historical, architectural, and cultural heritage. Spanning 5,000 years of history and taking in archeological artifacts, castles, forts and monuments, the in-depth exhibits celebrate the famous sites and the stories behind them by using the latest digital capture methods and offering users immersive VR experiences to virtually visit the historical locations themselves. Through more than 30 multimedia exhibits and 10 editorial features on Google Arts & Culture, you can experience online almost 3,000 historic gems from the Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Civil War and Stuart periods through the 21st century and from the perspective of the historians, experts and curators who manage the collections and heritage sites across England. You can explore by time period or, with the help of machine learning tools that recognize color patterns, you can sort through items by color.Highlights of the vast collection include a zoomable high resolution image of the Elysium Closet in Bolsover Castle in never-before-seen detail, a Google Art Camera capture of "The Battle of Hastings" by Francis William Wilkin – the biggest ever at nine meters across – as well as a Google Museum View of 7th century monastery Whitby Abbey, which was one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's Dracula. The Google Arts & Culture app is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link