About the Author

Ryan Kovatch

Ryan is a writer and researcher for 9to5Google specializing in web-related research. When he’s not working, he likes tinkering with old devices and listening to Taylor Swift.

You can contact him at ryan@9to5mac.com or on Twitter at @ryank_43.

Ryan Kovatch's Favorite Gear

October 8

As the launch event for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro grows nearer, Google continues to put finishing touches on the user experience. A new batch of “Motif” wallpapers, which feature floral and geometric illustrations that play to the strengths of Dynamic Color in Android 12, will be available on the Pixel 6.

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August 13

Starting with the Pixel 3, Google has prepared special-use wallpapers for its phones that can be seen in renders and other promo materials, displaying the generation of the device in large type. But despite only being used for marketing purposes, the backgrounds have been highly sought after by fans. Some artists have gone so far as to create near-pixel-perfect copies in the absence of their official versions. Now, Google has made some of these promo wallpapers available to Pixel 4 and 4a users.

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July 28

Google is sending out a promo email to select users of older Google Home and Nest speakers to offer a discount of $25 USD on Nest Audio. The email, which went out this morning, encourages an “upgrade to Nest Audio” for better sound quality and marks down the original $99.99 price to $74.99.

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June 11

YouTube Music has been putting more focus on its algorithmic auto-playlists as of late, having renamed its iconic “Your Mix” playlist and introduced seven new daily mixes in the past year. In addition to these, a new “Replay Mix” is now appearing for many YouTube Music users that includes their most commonly played songs from the past “few weeks.”

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April 6

In an email sent out to those on the Google Nest mailing list this morning, Google has included a small image of the yet-to-be-announced “Pixel Buds A” in a dark green color variant that we exclusively revealed last week.

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March 8

Google has rolled out a new wallpaper collection to Chromebooks called “Imaginary” that adds 12 colorful new images to Chrome OS. Each background contains a fun, digitally-sculpted scene.

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August 6, 2020

Google sets timeline for deprecating ‘classic’ Google Sites

After Google’s acquisition of JotSpot, the launch of Google Sites in 2008 brought easy wiki-style website creation to many users. Eight years later, a new Google Sites was introduced to the masses to replace the withering shell of classic Sites and become a part of G Suite — allowing for easy integration with Docs, Sheets, and Slides. In an email sent out today to users, Google notified that the service would be sent off in 2021.

June 6, 2020

With the vast and ever-expanding library that is the Internet of Things, the Google Assistant is always playing a cat-and-mouse game in an effort to support everything. Last night, Google mistakenly updated their Assistant developer docs to include doorbell and styler device types, which will soon be supported widely. expand full story

April 28, 2020

In July 2019, Google’s experimental project incubator Area 120 launched a new local meetup app that would connect users in New York City. Shoelace began as an invite-only beta for iOS and Android, allowing users to plan and attend various activities around town, and potentially make new friends in the process. Unfortunately, as meetups became a thing of the past, Shoelace was forced to hit pause on its operations. Now, an email sent out this morning announces that the project will be shutting down completely.

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March 17, 2020

When you’re looking to define a word quickly, Google Search’s dictionary feature often comes in handy. Pulling its data from Oxford‘s Lexico service, users often look to Google for fast, reliable definitions. But because the English language is so complex and flexible, some words have come to have many definitions that are difficult to distinguish. Google has added a filter to the dictionary card in Search that remedies this, allowing users to sort the definitions by topic.

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March 2, 2020

As Play Music nears the end of its life, Google has been amping up development on YouTube Music to prepare for the influx of new users. In recent weeks, we’ve seen music uploads roll out on the web, as well as lyric support landing on Android. This week, Google has quietly rolled out a new set of backdrops for YouTube Music’s web app that accompany the homescreen carousels. expand full story

January 24, 2020

Introduced in March of 2017, Google’s Issue Tracker (known semi-internally as Buganizer) is a tool for reporting bugs in various Google products. This week it received a Material Theme revamp that brings a fresh look to the platform, including the familiar colored plus button and Google Sans font. expand full story

January 14, 2020

Google tweaks Word Clock to be more colorful on Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max

When you’re not using the Nest Hub for household smarts, it’s designed to blend into the background of any setting. This naturally comes with the option for users to choose how they want their idle Hub to present itself, and the device’s ‘Word Clock’ screen tends to be a popular choice. It would seem that Google has pushed an update to the Word Clock that alters its color scheme, bringing a more vibrant appearance to the previously black-and-white layout.

January 8, 2020

A server-side switch has been flipped to enable a ‘Game of the Day’ feature for some in the latest Chrome Dev and Chrome Canary builds for Android, which promotes Google-made minigames around the web. The new card appears front-and-center on Chrome’s home page, above recommended articles, and below top sites.

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January 1, 2020

It’s been almost a year since I got my first Assistant-enabled smart display, the Google Nest Hub, and since then, it has been at the center of my daily routine. I loved it so much, in fact, that I got another one.

I mainly use my Google Home devices to listen to music, get news briefings, and control lights, so the concept of the smart display fits perfectly in my workflow as the control center for everything happening in my home. Naturally, when Lenovo asked me to take their new Smart Display 7-inch for a spin, I was eager to get it up and going.

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December 20, 2019

Starting in late November, Google began offering free Nest Minis to users of their Advanced Protection Program, which promises “Google’s strongest security” through physical security keys. This afternoon brings an extension to the previous deadline, which gives users an additional two and a half weeks to refer friends or family.

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December 18, 2019

Latest Google app beta crashes when searching for recent messages

The Google app has long had the ability to bring up personal and on-device results alongside online ones. It seems that a recent update has broken this feature, thus causing it to crash on a number of Android devices.

December 3, 2019

The Google Assistant on Android is testing a new feature for users who prefer keyboard input over voice. This experiment adds autocomplete suggestions above the text field, similar to the Google app when searching the web.  expand full story

November 19, 2019

Google partners with ‘The Game Awards’ for voting through Search

Yesterday, annual fan voting for The Game Awards — a popular celebration of video game creatives and Esports personalities — opened. Google has partnered with the event to bring voting functionality to Google Search.

November 17, 2019

Today saw the Stadia website go live, and we’ve been digging pretty deeply into the code for last-minute details on the cloud gaming platform’s features. Just two days from launch, our Stadia.com teardown managed to find a few hidden pages and messages as they gradually become accessible.

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