Kyle has formed an obsession with Google’s Fuchsia OS. He knows it’s going to be the next big thing, but also knows he has to prove that before others will believe it. When not writing about Fuchsia, his interests lean somewhat political, especially at the intersection of politics and technology. He can be reached for tips or just friendly chat by Twitter or email. Kyle@9to5mac.com
In this week’s top stories: we got an early, leaked look at Android Q with system-wide dark mode, saw Android Pie arrive for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and witnessed a surprise early review of the Google Pixel 3 Lite.
With CES 2019 now in the rear-view, we’re reflecting on the innovations that were on display, including new ways to interact with the Google Assistant. One of these, the Lenovo Smart Clock, may hold unexpected answers for Google’s hardware plans for Fuchsia.
Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!
If you’ve kept up with Chrome OS in the past six months or so, you’ll know that one of the more interesting new features to launch is Linux apps support. While this has potential to introduce all sorts of new applications to Chrome OS, there are some features missing that hold it back, in this early stage. One of the most anticipated features, graphics acceleration (or GPU support), necessary for running Linux games and some other apps, will be available to test soon on Chrome OS.
For almost as long as the web (and particularly Chrome) has been with us, it’s had a subtle flaw that most of us overlook. When changing from one page to another, often you’ll briefly see what web developers call a “white flash.” Google is now looking to tackle the “white flash” directly in Chrome, according to an upcoming flag.
With more and more manufacturers creating “gaming” phones, and heavy hitters like Fortnite arriving on Android, it makes sense that Google would want to support developers any way they can. To that end, it seems Google is working on its own “Android Game SDK” based on Vulkan and the Android NDK.
Google Cloud Functions now supports the Go programming language
Google, like many tech companies, is always looking for more ways to move computing to their cloud. Google Cloud Functions, for example, lets developers use their Python and Node.js code “serverlessly” in the cloud. Google Cloud Functions has now picked up beta support for Google’s own Go programming language.
Google Pay has added 17 new banks in the US in January 2019
If you stop and think about it, the number of banks and other financial institutions in the United States alone is almost uncountable, yet Google Pay seems committed to supporting them all. For the month of January, Google Pay has gained compatibility with 17 new US banks.
[Update: Live in Dev channel] Chrome OS Linux apps to gain access to Android ‘Play files’ folder
Chrome OS is rapidly becoming a serious player in the Linux field. Now, Google seems to be further integrating the Linux app support with the existing Android app support by allowing the Chrome OS Linux apps to access files from the separated ‘Play files’.
As both Google Home and Google Assistant devices become more ubiquitous in our lives, making new Actions for the Assistant becomes an almost necessary step for developers. To make it easier for Android developers (among others) to make the leap, today, Google has released a Java & Kotlin library for Actions on Google.
ACLU, EFF, more call on Google to not sell facial recognition tech to the government
Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published an open letter calling on Google to commit to never sell any facial recognition technology to the government.
Not too long ago, I was able to treat the Google Assistant with a level of respect due to the entity that fits comfortably between “faceless voice” and “future robot overlord.” Something happened over the holidays though. With the launch of Pretty Please, being nice to the Google Assistant suddenly became an annoyance.
Like it or not, the headphone jack is (more or less) dying. Considering myself firmly in the “not” category, I’ve delayed in getting Bluetooth headphones for years. The Made for Google lineup for 2018 features a decent variety of Bluetooth headphones. Of these, the Skullcandy Riff Wireless, which we’re reviewing today, are the most accessible at just under $50.
Chrome OS has always been based on Linux, but with its new beta support for Linux apps, the system has been opened to a wealth of powerful new applications otherwise inaccessible. The problem is, unless you’re already a Linux guru, you likely have no idea what those Linux apps are. Google is looking to fix this by making Linux apps you can install discoverable from the Chrome OS app launcher.
You don’t need a flagship to get a good Android experience, not anymore. With initiatives like Android One and Android Go, Google has made mid-range and even low-range devices usable again. With so many on the market now, it’s hard to tell which ones are even worth your time. Let’s dig through and get to know the best affordable Android phones you can buy, as of January 2019.
In this week’s top stories: we learned from Ring that smart home security is not something to be taken lightly, said “so long” to two beloved LG phones, and hope for the future with Doodle for Google 2019.
As far as ways to integrate with the Google Home ecosystem, the Chromecast Audio has always been the most affordable. As of today, however, Google says it is discontinuing the Chromecast Audio altogether.
Samsung’s foldable Galaxy phone may be on display at February 20 Unpacked event
It’s barely been an hour since we got confirmation that Samsung will be announcing their Galaxy S10 lineup at a Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco next month. Now reports are already suggesting that there may be other devices on display, including Samsung’s often-teased foldable phone.
Google Chrome Labs releases online and open source Etch-A-Sketch clone, Web-A-Skeb
Do you remember having an Etch-A-Sketch as a kid? Developers in the Google Chrome Labs sure do. Calling back to this nostalgic toy, Google Chrome Labs has released a free, online, open source recreation called Web-A-Skeb.
Midway through last year, Google launched one of my favorite features of Chrome OS, Linux app support. As it stands, this support works through a virtualized Linux, based on Debian. However, there’s many, many flavors of Linux out there, each with their own pros and cons. Google seems to be accounting for that with the ability for companies to choose their own Linux distro for Chrome OS’s Linux apps support.
Square launches In-App Payments SDK for Android, iOS, Flutter
Square is moving into the world of in-app purchases with a new SDK for Android, iOS, and Flutter that will allow app developers to easily accept payments in a secure and consistent way.