In this week’s top stories: Android Slices appear in the Google app for Pixel users, Google Duplex expands to 43 states, the March security patch arrives on Pixel and Essential phones, and much more.
With Google I/O 2019 only a few months away, some of the exciting developments from I/O 2018 are finally beginning to make their way to more user devices. The first, Android Slices, have arrived, allowing Pixel owners to reveal settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more via the Google Search app. Looking ahead, third-party developers should soon be able to use Android Slices to surface nearly any aspect of their app via Google Search.
Google has already demonstrated that Settings is a prime candidate for Slices. In fact, examples the company showed off were far more advanced. One for “Mobile Data” noted inline how many gigabytes were used, while a mockup for “Brightness level” featured a slider right in the Slice. The latter does not even appear as a toggle today.
Google Duplex, the ability for the Assistant to book appointments and more for you via phone calls, and a huge surprise from I/O 2018, is rolling out further, from just a few select cities to 43 states. Pixel owners in these states can get started with Duplex today.
Most interestingly in today’s announcement, though, is the reveal that this won’t be Pixel-exclusive for too much longer. Google says that Duplex will be rolling out to more Android devices, and even iOS, in the “coming weeks.” Google’s documentation suggests that any Android phone with Google Assistant will eventually be able to use the feature, as well as iOS devices using the Assistant app.
Security has been the other focus this week, between updates and newly uncovered exploits. Right on schedule, Android’s March security patch rolled out to Pixel (and Essential) users this week. Beyond normal security fixes, the March security patch also reportedly includes improvements to the Pixel 3’s camera app, particularly “Startup and responsiveness.”
There are 27 issues resolved in the March security patch dated 2019-03-01 and 18 for 2019-03-05. Vulnerabilities range from high to critical, with the most severe relating to the media framework and a remote attacker possibly executing arbitrary code through a crafted file.
Google also fixed a “High severity” zero-day exploit in Chrome this week, CVE-2019-5786, which exploited the browser’s FileReader API. The fix has already rolled out to Chrome on all platforms, so be sure you’ve updated to the latest version of Chrome.
Google’s internal Threat Analysis Group first caught wind of the exploit on Wednesday, February 27th, which was apparently being used by nefarious actors when the Chrome update was released.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- [Update: March 2019] The best smartwatches for Android you can buy today
- Gmail Smart Compose rolling out to other Android devices after Pixel 3 exclusive
- Comment: OnePlus 7 is shaping up to be the home of some of Android’s worst current trends
- Android TV bug may have allowed access to other users’ private Google Photos, functionality now disabled
- The Moto G4 is now receiving Android 8.1 Oreo
- Pixel 3 Starter Kit: Five great premium wireless chargers [Video]
- Energizer PowerMax P18K Pop hands-on: A ridiculous powerbank with a display attached [Video]
Chrome / OS |
- [Update: Temporary] Lenovo Yoga Chromebook mysteriously drops 1080p models from official site, 4K model discounted
- Latest Chrome Canary for Android adds ‘dark mode’ flag and interface [Gallery]
- Google Project Zero team reveals ‘high severity’ flaw in macOS kernel, working w/ Apple on a patch
- First photos of second generation Google Glass Enterprise w/ USB-C leak out [Gallery]
- Samsung Galaxy Buds review: Almost essential Android earbuds [Video]
- T-Mobile Galaxy Note 9 Android Pie OTA rolling out now