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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

Google Investigating Reports of Screen Burn-In on Pixel 2 XL But iPhone X Unlikely Affected

Multiple reports have surfaced over the past few days about potential screen burn-in or image retention issues with Google's new Pixel 2 XL smartphone. Pixel 2 XL with apparent screen burn-in via Michael Kukielka‏ Android Central's Alex Dobie‏ shared a photo on Twitter on early Sunday that shows faint outlines of Android's navigation buttons at the bottom of the display. 9to5Google, The Verge, and Ars Technica also experienced the issue. That's some pretty wild OLED burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL after maybe 7 days of full-time use pic.twitter.com/EPJTs6D0Kg— Alex Dobie (@alexdobie) October 22, 2017 In a statement to The Verge, Google said it is "actively investigating" the reports.The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report.Google hasn't confirmed how many users are currently affected. Google sourced the Pixel 2 XL's plastic OLED display from LG, which could be the root of the problem, given that the smaller Pixel 2 and original Pixel's Samsung-supplied OLED displays have experienced far fewer issues. Apple is also sourcing OLED displays exclusively from Samsung, so if the issue stems from LG, then the iPhone X shouldn't be affected either. LG's own V30 smartphone has suffered from many of the same display issues, which has also included banding and uneven

Google Launches New Android-Based Mobile App Payment Solution 'Pay With Google'

Google today announced the launch of its new mobile app payment platform "Pay with Google," following a sneak peek of the feature during its I/O conference this past May. Using Pay with Google, Android smartphone owners can access any of the credit or debit cards they've added to their Google Account -- sourcing products like Google Play, YouTube, Chrome, and Android Pay -- and quickly choose these cards to purchase items in apps. When the Pay with Google button is available, Google sends the merchant each user's payment info and shipping address based on the information from their Google Account, so users don't have to type in any additional information. Then, according to Google, the merchant will handle the rest of the checkout process "just like any other purchase." If you’ve ever paid for something on your phone or tablet, you know just how frustrating checkout can be. Maybe you had to fill in a bunch of forms. Maybe your session timed out. Maybe you encountered an error and had to start all over again. Back in May, we shared a sneak peek of how paying with Google would help you skip all that. And starting today you can now speed through online checkout on many of your favorite apps and websites with a few quick clicks. Paying with Google makes checkout so fast and easy, you can make the most of every moment—whether you’re grabbing a dinner spot or a parking spot. There are a few app launch partners, including DoorDash, Dice, Yelp Eat24, Fancy, Gametime, Hotel Urbano, Instacart, Kayak, Postmates, Wish, and more. Pay with Google uses the Google Payment API,

Google Follows Apple's Lead By Reducing Play Store Fee for App Subscriptions

Google revealed on Thursday that it would follow Apple's lead in lowering the amount of money app developers must pay for mobile subscriptions processed through the company's Play Store (via The Verge). Adoption of the subscription model by iOS developers has increased over recent months, causing some controversy within the app-using community. Apple incentivized developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its App Store subscription policies in September of last year. Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple's cut drop down to 15 percent. Google is adopting the same policy for subscriptions in its Play Store – an Android developer selling a subscription service will be eligible for the cut if the customer in question has been subscribed for more than a year. The company plans to bring the change into effect starting January 2018. As The Verge notes, Google is trying to stay competitive with Apple by offering a reduction in its fees. This way the company ensures that subscription services like Spotify don't try to bypass the Play Store in an effort to avoid paying the fee. But it also encourages developers to work harder to keep users subscribed for longer, given that the free reduction doesn't take effect until 12 months into the initial

Google Chrome for iOS Updated With Drag and Drop Support, New Today Widgets

Google yesterday updated its Chrome for iOS app, which serves as an alternate browser option for those who would prefer to use Chrome instead of the default Safari browser. The latest version of Chrome includes support for the iOS 11 Drag and Drop feature on the iPad, allowing iPad users to drag a URL from Chrome into another app or vice versa. Also included in the update are new Today widgets, which can be accessed by swiping right on an iPhone or iPad to get to the Today view and then choosing "Edit" to access available widgets. The two new widgets are "Quick Actions" and Suggested Sites." Quick Actions offers access to a new search, an incognito search, a voice search, or an option to scan a QR code, plus it includes an area that lists your most recently copied link. Suggested Sites offers site suggestions based on browsing habits.What's New in Version 62.0.3202.60 - Check out Chrome's two new Today widgets. You will need to add them by tapping the Edit button at the bottom of the iOS Search screen - On iOS 11 iPads, you can now drag a URL from another app and drop it into Chrome's omnibox or the tab strip, or from Chrome's content area to another appChrome can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google Testing Support for Third-Party Email Accounts in Gmail for iOS

Google today asked customers who use the Gmail for iOS app to test a new feature that will allow non-Google accounts to be added to and checked from the official Gmail for iOS app. Right now, the Gmail app for iOS devices only supports Gmail accounts, but the addition of support for third-party email accounts would put the app on par with other popular iOS apps like Spark, Airmail, Alto, Edison Mail, and other options. Calling Gmail iOS users! Help us test a new feature - check your non-Google accounts from the official Gmail iOS app https://t.co/qVG44ygii2 pic.twitter.com/WZlUDSOtWX— Gmail (@gmail) October 17, 2017 Gmail for Android already supports third-party email accounts. Google is allowing Gmail users to sign up to test the feature through a beta application. Requirements include using the Gmail for iOS app, having a non-Google email account, and iOS 10 or later. Customers are asked to enter their name, Gmail address, iOS device, and provider of the non-Google email account to be used in the beta. There's no word yet on when the feature might launch following the beta test. Gmail for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google App Now Lets You Get Directions With Apple Maps or Waze

Google's official search app for iOS has been updated this week with more navigation options in the United States and other countries. In addition to Google Maps, you can now use Apple Maps or Waze for navigation when searching for places and addresses in the Google app. When you search for an address and tap the navigation button, a menu opens with the three options for directions: Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. The update also brings search filters to the Google app. Once you've searched for something, scroll across the options bar underneath the search box to find the "Tools" option and filter results by time range and more. Google's app is free on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone, iPad, and iPod

Google Disables Malfunctioning Home Mini Feature That Could Cause Non-Stop Recording [Updated]

Google recently disabled a feature included in its upcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker after a reviewer found that it was causing the device to record conversations and sounds even when no "OK Google" prompt word was spoken. As detailed by Android Police's Artem Russakovskii, who received a Google Home Mini test unit last week, the device was malfunctioning due to an issue with the built-in touch panel designed to let Google Assistant be activated with a press instead of a voice command. The Google Home Mini's touch mechanism was registering phantom touch events, causing it to continually record audio, which is not supposed to happen. Russakovskii discovered the problem after finding thousands of recordings in the Assistant section his My Activity portal on the web, where Assistant queries are stored. Google was alerted to the issue and collected his unit for testing, which led to the discovery of the faulty touch mechanism. The problem as described by Google:We have learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue.To fix the malfunctioning touch panel, Google released a firmware update for all Google Home Mini devices disabling the feature allowing Google Assistant to be activated with a long press. Google told Russakovskii a longer-term fix is in the works, but in the meantime, the press to activate feature will not be available when the Google Home Mini launches.In response, the updated software disables the

Google Unveils Pixel 2 Smartphone, Pixelbook, and Two New Google Home Speakers

Google this morning held an event in San Francisco, California, where the company unveiled several new hardware products, including the Pixel 2, the Google Pixelbook, and two new versions of the Google Home smart speaker. The Pixel 2 comes in 5 and 6-inch screen sizes, with the XL model featuring slimmer bezels. It features what Google says is a bolder look with an aluminum body with a soft sculpted back and premium coating, a glass top, and buttons with a pop of color. There's a fingerprint sensor on the back of the device, no headphone jack, and IP67 water resistance. Active Edge lets users squeeze the side of the Pixel 2 to activate Google Assistant and do things like silence phone calls, and the OLED display is always-on to display notifications and the time (the 6-inch version uses a P-OLED display). A fast charging feature allows for 7 hours of charge in 15 minutes. The Pixel 2 supports the Google Lens feature, which lets the Pixel camera identify objects in the world, and it includes AR stickers. There are camera improvements, including support for Portrait Mode, a feature similar to the Portrait Mode in the latest iPhones. Portrait Mode on Pixel 2 requires just one camera and is available for both the front and rear cameras. Google says DxO has given the camera a score of 98. For comparison, the iPhone 8 Plus received a 94. Pricing on the Pixel 2 starts at $649 for 64GB storage. The Pixel 2 XL starts at $849 for 64GB of storage. Pre-orders are available starting today. Google is releasing new wireless Google Pixel Buds alongside the Pixel 2. While

Google is Prepping a Tabletop Smart Screen Device to Rival Amazon's Echo Show

Google is working on a tabletop smart screen for video calling and more that will go up against Amazon's Echo Show, according to sources who spoke to TechCrunch. The Google device is internally codenamed "Manhattan" and will have a screen size similar to the 7-inch Echo Show, said two sources, one of whom reportedly received information directly from a Google employee. The device is said to run a version of Android, meaning it could be capable of running third-party apps, with Netflix being mooted as a possibility. Amazon's Echo Show device. Both sources claim the device will offer access to Google Assistant, Google Photos, and YouTube – which goes some ways to explaining why the latter video service was unceremoniously pulled from Amazon's Echo Show on Tuesday. Google's device will also reportedly work as a smart hub for controlling other connected smart home gadgets and appliances, similar to Amazon's new Echo Plus speaker unveiled earlier this week. According to TechCrunch's sources, the original target launch date for the Manhattan device was mid-2018, but Google is apparently under intense pressure to get the product out the door before the end of this year, given that the Echo Show is already on the market. Google has a hardware event scheduled for October 4, but it's unclear if the device will make an appearance. Other rumors floating about suggest the tech giant is readying an upmarket version of its Google Home smart speaker to rival Apple's upcoming $350 HomePod. Known internally as "Google Home Max", the "premium" device is said to feature

Google Pulls Access to YouTube on Amazon's Echo Show Smart Speaker

Google pulled access to YouTube through Amazon's display-based Echo Show smart speaker on Tuesday, a move that appears to have angered Amazon and led to conflicting public statements by both companies over the sudden move. "Currently, Google is not supporting Youtube on Echo Show." That's the message Alexa started giving Echo Show owners yesterday afternoon when they tried to access the video service. An Amazon spokesperson later confirmed to The Verge that YouTube was no longer available on Echo Show devices, and offered a statement implying that Google's decision had been an unwelcome surprise. Google made a change today around 3 pm. YouTube used to be available to our shared customers on Echo Show. As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers.Google issued its own statement to The Verge shorty afterwards, contradicting Amazon's assertion that the move had been made without fair warning. We've been in negotiations with Amazon for a long time, working towards an agreement that provides great experiences for customers on both platforms. Amazon's implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience. We hope to be able to reach an agreement and resolve these issues soon.The move comes as a blow to Amazon's hopes for its Echo Show smart speaker, given that it has been marketed with a heavy emphasis on the

Apple Drops Bing Search Engine Results for Siri and Spotlight in Favor of Google

Starting today, Apple search results from Siri and Spotlight on Mac and iOS will be provided by Google rather than Microsoft's Bing. Apple announced the news in a statement that was given to TechCrunch this morning, claiming consistency across iOS and Mac devices is the reason behind the switch. "Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari," reads an Apple statement sent this morning. "We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible."Prior to this morning, all results from a search conducted on Spotlight using Finder on Mac or the swipe down search bar on iOS were Bing search results, as was all search information provided by Siri. Now, when you search using Spotlight or when you ask Siri a question that ends up involving a web search, info will come from Google. According to TechCrunch, the swap will include both web links and video results from YouTube, but web image results in Siri and Spotlight searches will continue to be provided by Bing for the time being. Google searches will use the standard search API and will provide the same search results you'd get from a Google.com search. While Apple has used Bing for search results for things like Siri and Spotlight, Google has remained the default search engine on iOS and Mac devices. Earlier this year, reports suggested Google paid Apple nearly $3 billion to maintain its position as the

Google and Levi's 'Commuter Trucker Jacket' Lets You Control Your iPhone's Calls, Texts, and Music

Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group today unveiled its first consumer product, called the "Levi's Commuter Trucker Jacket" and going on sale this Wednesday, September 27, for $350 (via TechCrunch). The jacket is powered by Jacquard, a connected apparel platform that ATAP developed for fashion designers and apparel manufacturers to integrate technology directly into clothing lines. The technology in the jacket is housed in the cuff of its sleeve, with gesture sensing Jacquard Threads woven into this area of the jacket that wirelessly connect to your iPhone 6 or later (running iOS 10 or later) "using tiny electronics embedded inside the sleeve and a flexible snap tag." The snap tag includes lights and haptic feedback so you can be notified of texts and phone calls, and gestures on the cuff can be customized to your own preferences using the Jacquard app on iOS and Android. The first thing to know about the Levi's® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket with Jacquard is just that: it's a jacket. Like any regular denim jacket, you can wash it (just remove the snap tag), it's durable, designed to be comfortable for cycling and it’ll keep you warm on and off the bike. With Jacquard technology, you can perform common digital tasks—like starting or stopping music, getting directions or reading incoming text messages—by simply swiping or tapping the jacket sleeve. Designed for cyclists and other people on-the-go, the jacket's gesture controls include music playback, GPS directions, ETA, current time, text-to-speech for messages, and more. Google said that the jacket is durable

Google Purchases HTC's Pixel Division for $1.1 Billion

Google today announced that it will acquire part of HTC's mobile division in a deal that's worth $1.1 billion. Under terms of the agreement "a team of HTC talent" will join Google's hardware organization. The HTC employees moving to Google worked as part of the "Powered by HTC" unit that developed the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Google also gained a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property. "These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we've already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we're excited to see what we can do together as one team," said Google SVP of hardware Rick Osterloh. While part of HTC's mobile unit is moving to Google, HTC will continue to develop and sell HTC-branded smartphones. HTC says the sale will allow for a "more streamlined product portfolio," and that its next-generation flagship phone is already in development. Google's HTC purchase marks its second major smartphone-related acquisition. Google purchased Motorola Mobility in August of 2011 for $12.5 billion, mainly to get Motorola's patents, and in 2014 sold the company to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. With the acquisition of the HTC hardware team, Google will be able to more closely mimic Apple's strategy of close integration between software and hardware. Google's next-generation Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones are set to debut at an October 4 launch

Upcoming 'Google Home Mini' Smart Speaker Details and Images Leaked

We've previously covered rumors that Google has been working on a "mini" version of its $129 Google Home smart speaker, which is expected to be unveiled at the company's Pixel 2 smartphone event scheduled for October 4. But it looks as if details and images of the "Home Mini" have already been leaked, courtesy of DroidLife. According to the tech site, Google Home Mini is the official name of the new smart speaker, which will cost $49 and come in Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral colors. The Google Home Mini is said to be able to help users with their schedule, set reminders, catch up on news headlines, and other Home-related inquiries, thanks to integrated Google Assistant. The pictures show lights on top of each unit, which will likely indicate interaction with Google Assistant. But unlike the original Google Home, the images suggest owners won't be able to change the color of the bases on the Mini versions. Alongside the new smart speaker, Google is expected to launch a rebranded Chromebook or "Google Pixelbook" at its Pixel 2 smartphone event. DroidLife has also managed to unearth pictures of the new notebook, which will reportedly come in silver, offer stylus support, and have three different storage tiers – 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, costing $1,199, $1,399, and $1,749,

Gmail Now Converts Phone Numbers and Addresses to Links on Desktop and in iOS Apps

Google today announced an update to Gmail that will see the popular mail client able to convert addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and contacts to into clickable hyperlinks. The new hyperlink feature is available on the web and in the Gmail mobile apps for iOS and Android -- Gmail and Inbox by Gmail. This is something that has long been available in Apple's own Mail app on iOS and Mac devices. When an address is clicked from Gmail, it will automatically open up Google Maps. Clicking an email address will compose a new email using the user's default email client, and clicking a phone number will start a call request. Google says it will take approximately one to three days for the new feature to roll out to all

Google Launches 'Tez' Mobile Payments Service in India for Android and iOS

Google today launched a new mobile payment app in India that allows users to connect their bank accounts directly to the service and employs ultrasound technology in lieu of an NFC chip to transfer money between devices. Called Tez (Hindi for "fast"), Google's new payment platform links customers' bank accounts to Android and iOS via the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), a state-backed payments system. Google has partnered with State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank, with 55 banks in total said to be supporting the service across India. Tez uses a technology called audio QR that allows mobile users to transfer cash between devices using an inaudible ultrasonic frequency to identify the payer and payee. The system works with any mobile device with a mic and speaker and the Tez app installed, and therefore doesn't require an NFC chip. India is home to 300 million smartphone users, but most handsets in the country don't feature NFC, so Google's audio QR solution is being marketed as a secure mainstream alternative. Apart from typical mobile transactions to pay for everyday items, Google says small businesses can also use the app to accept payments into their bank accounts, with payments from mobile merchants supported, too. According to Bloomberg, digital transactions have surged after the Indian Government banned high-value cash notes in 2016. Tez is available on both Android and iOS, and Google plans to release the app in other emerging countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. Apple has yet to

Google Teases Upcoming Pixel 2 Event, Aimed at Those Who Are 'Thinking About Changing Phones'

Google has launched a new advertising campaign and teaser website for its upcoming "Pixel 2" smartphone. The site teases visitors with an October 4 event date, aimed at anyone who might be "thinking about changing phones" (via TechCrunch). The page presents no other information, and asks for the user's email address to stay up-to-date with alerts regarding breaking news ahead of the October 4 event. Since the original Pixel smartphone debuted in October of last year (it was actually announced on the exact same date in 2016), a similar date was expected for the new version of Google's smartphone. Rumors about the Pixel 2 have been spreading over the summer in the lead-up to its launch, with current predictions aimed at a smartphone with a Snapdragon 835 or 836 chipset, 4GB of RAM, "squeezable" sides to perform different functions, and IP68 water and dust resistance. The Google Pixel 2 will also come in standard and "XL" versions, similar to the first generation (launched in 5-inch and 5.5-inch sizes). The XL is rumored to have premium features, however, including a larger 6-inch display with "very narrow" bezels, which the smaller device will lack and reportedly appear similar to the 2016 design. There's a chance other Google devices, like a new Chromebook and "Google Home mini," will appear at the same event. The current lineup of Pixel Phone devices Google's tease comes two days after Apple revealed the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, which have enticed many users who are ready to upgrade their smartphones -- the customers that Google is likely aiming

Apple Pulls Popular Third-Party YouTube App 'ProTube' From the App Store

Hugely popular third-party YouTube app "ProTube" was quietly removed from the App Store by Apple last week. Apple's decision to pull the app followed several takedown requests from Google that were received by the app's developer. ProTube was hailed by users during its three-year reign for several features either not available in the official YouTube app or not offered by other third-party apps, such as the ability to play videos in 4K at 60 frames per second, background playback, and an audio-only mode. Over its lifetime, the $5 app reached number 1 in the paid app charts in 11 different countries and the top 10 in 57 countries. In a statement on his website, developer Jonas Gessner said he was "very sad to announce that ProTube was removed from the App Store by Apple on September 1, 2017". The action reportedly came "after multiple requests and threats by YouTube which ultimately led Apple to suddenly pulling the app from the App Store", said Gessner. YouTube first requested Apple to remove my app well over a year ago, initially just stating that my app violates their Terms of Service. This was a generic takedown request they sent to many YouTube apps at once. They later started going into more detail, even stating that I could not sell the app as that alone violates their ToS. They basically wanted me to remove every feature that made ProTube what it is – that includes the player itself that allows you to play 60fps videos, background playback, audio only mode and more. Without those features ProTube would not be any better than YouTube's own app, and

Google iOS App Update Brings 'Smart Answers' and 'Trending Searches'

Google added a couple of new features to its flagship iOS app on Friday, one of which shows searches that are trending in a user's geographical location before they begin typing into the search field. Following yesterday's update, whenever a user taps on a search box to start a search, a dropdown menu shows "Trending Searches" indicated by a blue jagged arrow icon next to them, contrasting them from gray icons that mark out the user's search history. In our testing, trending searches didn't show up in some locations, so it's possible Google is still rolling out support on its servers. Trending Searches appeared last year on Android, but the change prompted a number of user complaints that led Google to make the feature optional. Fortunately, iOS users can find the same opt-out toggle on the Settings screen by tapping their account profile in the upper left of the Search interface. Apart from that, Google says the search box has gotten smarter, in that now users can often get the answer they're looking for before they've even finished typing in the question, with possible answers appearing in the suggestions below. For example, typing in "how fast is a chee" immediately displays a cheetah's land speed (110-120 km/h, for those interested). The feature additions come on the back of Google's recent introduction of a personalized news feed for the app, offering a stream of content based on user search history and topics they choose to follow. The feed replaced Google Now, the company's predictive search feature that displays traffic updates, weather, and other