About the Author

Ben Schoon

@NexusBen

Obsessed with all things tech, Ben has a soft spot for Google’s products from Pixel to Android TV and more. He can be found writing news daily on 9to5Google and creating videos and reviews for the site’s YouTube channel. Before starting at 9to5, Ben ran a small publication which a friend now owns. He also married his wife Melissa in June of 2019.

Ben is active on Twitter, but you can also directly reach him for questions or tips through email.

Email: schoon@9to5mac.com | Encrypted Email: benschoon@protonmail.com

Twitter: @nexusben | Instagram: @nexusben

Ben Schoon's Favorite Gear

Today

Last year’s Lenovo Chromebook C330 was a breath of fresh air in the budget market, but its successor misses the beat just a bit. After spending some time with the Lenovo Chromebook C340, I think the last generation was better. Here’s why.

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December 14

Google Maps and Earth are two useful pieces of software for getting around or learning more about our planet, and this week, Google is offering up some details on just what percentage of the planet these two services have mapped.

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[Update: Fixed] Google investigating YouTube TV buffering issue affecting Spectrum customers

YouTube TV is a great cable alternative, but like any streaming service it can run into issues. Google has confirmed today that it is investigating a strange buffering issue that’s affecting some Spectrum customers trying to watch YouTube TV.

December 13

Google Assistant routines are incredibly useful, automating tasks like locking up for the night, adjusting lights, and more. The possibilities are huge, but sometimes it can be a bit of a pain to access them. I think Google should offer homescreen widgets for Assistant routines.

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Google’s Pixelbook Go is currently our favorite Chromebook on the market and now, it’s available in a new variant. Google has just started shipping the top-tier Core i7, 4K version of the Pixelbook Go.

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Foldable phones are still in their infancy right now, but the Galaxy Fold proved the concept could be sold to more people. Apparently, Samsung saw success with Galaxy Fold sales in 2019 with 1 million devices sold so far.

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December 12

Just a few days after announcing the next-generation Google Assistant would be heading to more regions, Google is living up to its word. Starting today, the “new” Google Assistant is rolling out in five new countries including the UK.

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How to set up a shopping list on Google Assistant using Keep Notes

Smart speakers make a lot of tasks super easy, but Google made shopping lists difficult for a long time. Now, the company is rolling out integration with its Keep Notes app, which allows users to finally manage a shopping list from Google Home. Here’s how to set it up.

It can always be a little unnerving to see a text message you don’t remember sending on your smartphone. Lately, some Android users have noticed that Google is sending a text message from their number without notification and wondering exactly what is going on.

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One of the biggest benefits of a Google Pixel phone is that you’ll get updates and security patches in a timely manner, but for the past couple of months, Google has been lagging behind. The question begs to be asked, has your Pixel got the December update yet?

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December 11

One of the great AI-powered features on Google’s Pixel smartphones is the ability to screen calls before answering them by having Assistant answer on your behalf. Now, Automatic Call Screen is rolling out to Pixel owners along with an option to save audio from calls.

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How to use Google Keep Notes with Google Assistant

It’s felt like we’ve waited for years, but Google Assistant users can finally make notes using Google Keep from their phones, a speaker, or other devices. However, the functionality isn’t enabled by default. Here’s how to connect Google Keep Notes to Google Assistant.

How to use Portrait Blur to add bokeh to old pictures w/ Google Photos

Smartphone cameras are extremely good, but the only way to get a bokeh effect is by using artificial portrait modes. Now on Pixel phones, you can add that effect to almost any picture stored on Google Photos with a new feature called Portrait Blur. Here’s how to use it.

Android TV’s Google Assistant adds support for Hindi, Swedish, Vietnamese

Google Assistant is a key selling point of Android TV and as the platform expands, language support is doing the same. Recently, Google has quietly added support for three new languages on Android TV’s Assistant including Hindi, Swedish, and Vietnamese.

As Android Auto continues to improve, the platform has been spreading to more brands. Today, BMW has finally announced that it is adding support for Android Auto starting in 2020.

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Strange bugs are all too common on Google’s Pixel devices and right now, an issue with the dialer app is popping up. Some Pixel owners are reporting an issue with the dialer app which won’t bring up the number pad while in phone calls.

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Over the past year, there have been a few promotions to get a free Google Home Mini from Spotify, and now that offer is back on the table. New Spotify subscribers can once again pick up a free Google Home Mini for a limited time.

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December 10

How to mount your Google Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max

Google’s Nest Hub smart displays are super handy in the kitchen and around the home, but sometimes it’s just not convenient to put them down on a table or countertop. The obvious solution, then, is mounting them to the wall. How can you do that? Here are a few products to help you mount a Google Nest Hub.

In a sea of Android smartphones, Google’s Pixel has been trying for four generations to be the consumer-friendly, “easy” option. However, random bugs, limited buying options, and other restraints haven’t helped that cause. Now, though, Google is making a very good move with its new “Pixel Feature Drops” which, unfortunately, are still stifled.

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Google’s Pixel smartphones usually feel faster and smoother than a lot of other Android phones, but they’re not all that great at memory management. Whether that’s a hardware or software flaw, Google plans to improve memory management on Pixel with a coming update, and apparently, it will come to other Android phones in the future.

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