In this week’s top stories: the Google Recorder app arrives for Pixel 3 and other older Pixels, the December 2019 security patch is released for Pixel phones, some Pixel 4 phones were hand-delivered in Domino’s Pizza boxes, and more.
Topping the news this week, Google formally released its impressive Recorder app for Pixel 2, 3, and 3a phones via the Google Play Store. With that, those older flagships now have access to Google Recorder’s surprisingly accurate transcription capabilities.
In our testing, the latest release works on a Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 running the December security patch — which introduced other functionality like Themes, updated Pixel Launcher, and Android 10 gesture support for third-party launchers. The Pixel 3a is likely now also compatible with Recorder.
As mentioned above, the December 2019 security patch released this week to most Pixel phones, but, oddly, not the Pixel 4. Beyond the normal security fixes, the December patch brings a host of new features for Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 owners, including access to Pixel Themes. The patch notes have already been released for the Pixel 4, but owners of that device won’t be getting the update until next week.
There are 15 issues resolved in the December security patch dated 2019-12-01 and 27 for 2019-12-05. Vulnerabilities range from moderate to critical, with the most severe relating to the media framework and a remote attacker possibly executing arbitrary code through a crafted file.
In other Pixel 4 news, residents of Miami Beach, Florida were presented with an opportunity to buy the Pixel 4 at a discount with some exclusive extras, hand-delivered courtesy of Domino’s Pizza. Purchasers of this Cyber Monday special received a standard Domino’s medium pizza in one box and a second box containing the Pixel 4 and an exclusive case.
In an interview with Fast Company, Google — recognizing itself as a “challenger brand” — noted how it wanted to “think outside the industry conventions, to really create a different experience with the launch of this device.” The reason they chose pizza was to particularly highlight how you can control your phone with Assistant, and air gestures when your hands are occupied/greasy. In fact, that second package doubles as a dock for Motion Sense.
The Google Assistant received a power-up this week, regaining the ability to directly interface with note taking apps like Google Keep. This particular feature was originally removed to encourage the use of Google Express for managing shopping lists. Joining Keep are third-party apps Bring!, Any.do, and AnyList.
To set-up, visit Assistant settings to connect your note/list client of choice with Google. The “Services” tab has a new “Notes and Lists” menu to select and initiate the third-party integration. This functionality was first announced at I/O 2018 and originally had six other participating providers.
And finally, in killed by Google news, the company has shut down its ancient-looking Translator Toolkit, primarily used by professional translators to use Google Translate as a baseline for translating larger bodies of text, along with other tools that were handy at the time. Ten years later, there are better options available that have received more updates than Google has offered its now retired Translator Toolkit.
Translator Toolkit hasn’t been updated in quite some time, and the interface reflects the lack of attention the service has been given. Google first announced this shutdown in September of this year, sending emails to users who were actively using the service. This won’t have the same wide-reaching effect as the coming shutdown of Google Cloud Print.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Android Auto is testing new designs for Google Assistant, rolls out weather icon
- Sony rolls out Android TV updates to some Bravia models w/ Pie, AirPlay 2, more
- [Update: Rollout restarted + Download links] Stable Android 10 update now rolling out for OnePlus 6/6T
- Xiaomi’s Wear OS-based Apple Watch clone adds support for iPhones
- Motorola announces plan to re-enter the premium smartphone space
- Android 10 is apparently now rolling out for the LG G8 ThinQ
Apps & Updates |
- Google Play reveals best apps, games, and movies of 2019
- PUBG Mobile to add 90fps support on high-refresh rate displays, 10-bit HDR
- Google rolling out Play Store with Material Theme account switcher, splash screen
- Pixel Tips confirms ‘Cards & Passes,’ automatic Call Screen, more [APK Insight]
- [Update: Video demo] Google’s Advanced Protection Program may soon block sideloaded apps [APK Insight]
- Google Photos rolling out built-in chat messaging for Android, iOS, and web
Chrome / OS |
- Pixelbook Go Review: Outstanding hardware w/ software good enough to back it up
- Chrome URL bar integrating Google Drive search this month for G Suite users
- Chrome extension gives Google Tasks a full-screen UI
- [Update: Not canceled] Lenovo working on a Chrome OS tablet according to public call for testers
- Google Fiber drops 100 Mbps plan, only offering gigabit service to new customers
- Google details ultrasound sensing on Nest Hub, upcoming features
Google Pixel |
- Android 10 gestures for other launchers, Pixel Themes come to older Google phones
- Postmortem: Google’s original Pixel shows how far it’s come and how far it has to go
- [Update: Final patch] Google stops updating the original Pixel and Pixel XL
- Strange Google Pixel bug leaves random letters or words floating on screen
- PSA: December update for Pixel 3, 3a causing crashing issue w/ Pixel Launcher
- What color do you want Google to use on the next Pixel? [Poll]
- ‘Teardown’ skins from dbrand give a see-through look at Pixel 4 and other phones
Google Stadia |
- [Update: Fixed] PSA: Don’t buy Final Fantasy XV on Google Stadia just yet
- Stadia Holiday Pop-Ups coming to three cities next week
- Google Stadia review: The future of gaming is here… but far too early [Video]
- Google Assistant is now available on the Stadia Controller
- Galaxy S10’s Android 10 update rolls out to several more markets
- [Update: Galaxy S10] Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 9 now receiving December 2019 security patch
- Galaxy S11: 108 MP camera, 5x zoom seemingly confirmed, possible 5,000 mAh battery
- [Update: UK, Spain, India] Samsung Galaxy S10’s public Android 10 rollout begins, starting with Germany
- YouTube promises 2019 Rewind won’t be as bad as last year w/ unencouraging meme
- YouTube Music officially adds gapless playback on Android and web
- YouTube Rewind 2019 focuses on the videos you actually liked this year
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