About the Author

Abner Li

@technacity

“It’s Google’s Alphabet’s world & we’re all just living in it.”

The above is Abner’s philosophy and why in his 6 years of writing about tech Google and Android has been the main focus.

He resides in Los Angeles.

Send tips to abner@9to5mac.com.

Email or Twitter @technacity if you want to discuss anything remotely Android or Google related with him.

Today

After much confusion over the last three days, Google sister company Verily has launched its COVID-19 screener and testing website. It does not have the nationwide capability — currently only covering the Bay Area — originally alluded to by US officials.

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Yesterday

Samsung’s premium $999 Galaxy Chromebook launching next week

One of the biggest hardware hits of CES 2020 was a premium Chrome OS laptop from Samsung. The Galaxy Chromebook is now officially launching and hitting store shelves on Monday, April 6.

To recognize the global surge in “searches for how to thank healthcare workers,” Google late on Sunday released a “Thank You” video aimed at the medical professionals “sacrificing so much to save so many.”

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What Android phones support ‘view in your space’ for Google 3D animals

Two key parts make up the life-sized creatures that appear in Google Search. The first lets you see animals in 3D, while the second — and most delightful — is viewing them in your current space with the ability to take pictures. Here’s what iOS and Android devices support Google 3D animals.

March 27

Last year, the Play Store underwent a full revamp and later gained a dark mode. The latest tweak to help conform the Android app to Google’s latest look is a Material Theme account switcher.

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A router failure saw some Google services briefly slow or go down yesterday, but was quickly resolved. Google Nest users this afternoon are encountering an outage affecting the Nest apps, Thermostat, and Cam Live Video.

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Alphabet’s response to the coronavirus over the last several weeks has been multifaceted, but largely product-focused. Google’s latest initiative commits $800 million to aid COVID-19 relief efforts through ad grants, donations, credits, and by helping manufacturers.

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Two weeks ago, Google announced a slate of “First on Stadia” titles. Lost Words: Beyond the Page is now getting a Stadia launch date and exclusive status, while publisher Modus Games also revealed that Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break and Cris Tales is coming to the streaming platform this year.

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March 26

Google on Thursday had a brief outage that some assumed was due to the surge of COVID-19 calls, video, and browsing. The company immediately explained that it was an unrelated router failure, but is taking the opportunity to assure Google users and customers that it can “handle the load” of traffic from the coronavirus disrupting normal behavior.

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Last August, Google announced that it’s testing a new organization concept in Drive to cut down on the need for creating file copies. Drive shortcuts are now generally available for both personal Google and G Suite accounts.

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Last Sunday, Alphabet’s life sciences division launched a Baseline COVID-19 Pilot Program in California. It’s expanded to more sites since then, and Verily today released a video explaining what drive-thru COVID-19 testing participants can expect.

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Last week, Google announced that it was pausing browser releases in light of the coronavirus. The company now has a revised update schedule, with the next major version of Chrome and Chrome OS coming in two weeks.

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March 25

With the start of spring last week, we’ve officially entered the launch period for Made by Google’s new headphones. The second generation Google Pixel Buds passed through the FCC today ahead of expected retail availability.

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Google Play now lists download counts in store search results

Besides ratings, download counts are a good indicator when deciding whether to install an app. Google Play now includes that metric directly in the list view of search results.

Back in 2018, Google added a “visual experience” to Assistant on Android and iOS that was inspired by Smart Displays. That “Updates” feed in recent weeks has seen a big redesign, and it’s now official for Google Assistant on iOS as “Snapshot.”

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Following last week’s blockbuster release of Doom Eternal, Google today announced three new Stadia Pro games for April 2020.

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As machine learning and artificial intelligence usage proliferates in everyday products, there have been many attempts to make it easier to understand. The latest explainer comes from Google and the Oxford Internet Institute with “The A to Z of AI.”

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March 24

Earlier this week, Google during its quarterly earnings call revealed that YouTube Premium and Music has 20 million paying subscribers. YouTube Music is now beginning to roll out built-in lyrics on Android.

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The entire travel industry is facing a downturn due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Given an uptick in searches about travel advisories and trip cancellation policies, Google’s travel offerings are directly integrating coronavirus-related information.

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On Friday, Google’s video service announced that it would reduce video quality in Europe to allay network capacity fears. YouTube will now default to SD quality around the world over the coming days.

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