In this week’s top stories: we look at some of the best alternatives to saying “Hey Google,” celebrate the lack of curved screens on Samsung’s next flagships, dig into the Pixel series’ hidden screen recorder, and more.
Topping the charts this week, our Damien Wilde took a look at the surprisingly many alternative ways to trigger the Google Assistant. Generally, what you’re saying needs to sound similar to Hey Google or Okay Google, but that doesn’t stop hilarious variations like “Okay gurrrrl” and “Egg noodle” from working like a charm.
All of the phrases have been tested and are working on Google Home, Nest Hub, Nest Home, and smartphones — with and without Voice Match activated. If you have any funny, freaky or weird “Hey Google” alternatives of your own, be sure to let us know down in the comments section below — but please keep it clean!
On the Samsung side of things, we’ve been very quickly learning more about the upcoming Galaxy S20 and it’s variants. One of the latest tidbits is that, unlike the last few years of Samsung flagships, the Galaxy S20 will not have a curved display. As our Ben Schoon explains though, there are many who consider this a much needed change.
Personally, though, I’ve always hated this design. Slimming bezels and going curved always seems to give me problems with touch rejection. The curved glass also makes the phones just a bit harder to pick up. Plus, curved screens cause visual distortion and issues with color around the “drop-off,” too. It doesn’t matter how good the underlying screen is, this is always a problem.
Pixel owners also got a treat this week, as a recent update re-enabled an experimental feature from the Android 10 beta — the built-in screen recorder. There’s still a few simple steps you’ll need to do before using the screen recorder, but the results are absolutely worth the minimal effort.
Android Auto hit a major milestone this week. Despite recent confusion around the relationship between Google Assistant Driving Mode and Android Auto’s on-phone experience, the main Android Auto app has reached the 100 million downloads mark.
As Android Auto grows in popularity on new car models, the number of downloads in the Play Store will also likely continue to increase dramatically too.
Finally, there was a major shake up to the world of web browsers this week, as Microsoft re-launched their Edge browser. However, instead of creating their own browser engine — the part of the browser that actually interprets a website and puts it on your screen — Microsoft Edge is now based heavily on the open source Chromium browser that Google Chrome is based on.
If for whatever reason, you’re a fan of Chrome but not Google, Microsoft Edge may be the browser for you. The two browsers have a great deal in common including the ability to sync your browsing history and more between devices. One key difference is that you’re trusting Microsoft with that information instead of Google.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- [Update: Mi A3 in mid-Feb] The Android 10 update is now available for the Xiaomi Mi A2
- OnePlus shows off just how smooth its 120 Hz display will be
- Android’s version of AirDrop, ‘Fast Share,’ has been renamed to ‘Nearby Sharing’
- Android Auto’s support for Google Assistant routines has been broken since 2018
Apps & Updates |
- Microsoft Launcher 6.0 is now in public preview, includes refreshed UI and more
- You can now use Google Duo on web without a phone number
- [Update: Fixed] Google Assistant settings are currently down on Android, iOS
- Stadia planning 120 games in 2020, shares 3-month features roadmap
- Latest Google app beta breaks Assistant on Wear OS
Chrome / OS |
- Google sets final timeline for killing and replacing Chrome Apps
- RIP Windows 7: Could a Chromebook replace your now-outdated laptop?
- You can now use iPhones as Google security keys for 2FA
- Google shares rain ‘nowcasting’ ML research, more accurate than current forecasts
Google Nest |
- Google tweaks Word Clock to be more colorful on Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max
- Nest Wifi Review: A great router, but an even better Assistant speaker
- Guest Mode disappears on Google Home speakers but hangs around on Chromecast devices
Google Pixel |
- Here’s everything we know about the Google Pixel 4a so far
- Google Phone 43 preps ability to record phone calls, save voicemails [APK Insight]
- Live Caption support comes to the Google Pixel 2 with little to no fanfare
- Alleged Galaxy S20 Ultra specs include 16GB RAM, 5,000 mAh battery, 108MP camera
- The January 2020 security patch now rolling out for Galaxy Note 8, S9/S9+
- Galaxy S9/S9+ receiving new Android 10 beta update as full release edges closer
- Moto 360 (2020) Review: A Wear OS favorite revived and better than ever
- [Update: January 2020] The best smartwatches for Android you can buy today
- Fitbit starts rolling out blood oxygen tracking with Sp02 sensor
- Mojo Vision demos wildly futuristic AR contact lens that’s ‘years away’
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.