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.

August 23

With Google Lens, you can search by pointing your camera at the real world and access useful “filters” to copy or translate text. The visual lookup feature also happens to work in virtual reality as a cool demo this week revealed.

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Google Search adds elaborate ‘Wizard of Oz’ Easter Egg for film’s 80th anniversary

To mark the The Wizard of Oz’s 80th anniversary this Sunday, Google has added a delightful Easter Egg to Search. Similar in format to Avengers: Endgame, this is quite an immersive experience on the web.

August 22

In addition to lacking major features like a cloud locker and migrating playlists, YouTube Music is still missing basic functionality expected in an audio player. The ability to sort albums and playlists is now finally available on Android and iOS.

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Chrome for Android rolling out Google Account avatar, shortcut on New Tab page

Back in March, Chrome introduced a “Sync and Google services” section to bring together all Google-related browser preferences. Chrome for Android now has a shortcut to those settings right on the New Tab page.

Google Lens has a powerful optical character recognition (OCR) filter that can pull text from any image. Available in Google Photos, the backup service this month is adding the ability to search for text in images.

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WSJ owner News Corp planning Google News competitor called ‘Knewz․com’

News publishers have historically been upset with Google and Facebook over a variety of issues related to payment and content ranking. News Corp, which owns the Wall Street Journal, is now planning a Google News competitor called “Knewz.com” to address those concerns directly.

Last month, Google announced that PBS and PBS Kids is coming to YouTube TV. A new report pegs a November launch of those two channels, and also goes into detail about the streaming costs for local PBS stations.

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Earlier this month, Google rolled out Drive’s new Priority page with Workspaces to all G Suite editions. The Android and iOS apps are now gaining support for filling out basic PDF forms.

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While increasingly trying to diversify its businesses with Cloud and hardware, Google is primarily supported by advertising. User tracking for ads inherently conflicts with the broader push for privacy. Google today announced a “Privacy Sandbox” initiative to build open standards that contribute to a more private web.

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Yes, it looks the same. The new Android brand identity just iterates on the previous wordmark and whimsical robot head. It comes as Google is readying the world’s largest operating system for the future and — like all symbols — the meaning behind it is what matters.

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Major Android releases have long been named after desserts. The whimsical tradition resulted in an annual guessing game, but this year will be the last. Google announced today that the operating system will only be followed by a version number, with “Android 10” kicking off the new branding.

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Earlier this month, Google released the final beta of Android Q, and its public release is coming this quarter. Officially known as “Android 10,” the forthcoming launch will be markedly different from years past. Google is using this year’s release to significantly update the operating system’s brand and naming scheme.

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August 21

Google Pay now supported at Miami-Dade Metrorail

In addition to credit and debit cards, Google Pay can handle airline passes, movie tickets, and transit cards. The payment service is now supported on Miami-Dade’s Metrorail transit system.

After months of waiting and temporary appearances, the Play Store Material Theme redesign is now official on Android. Google today announced the revamp after it began widely rolling out last week. The company also detailed the key changes.

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Late last year, we broke the news that classic Hangouts was set to be deprecated and replaced by Hangouts Chat and Meet. Google confirmed the news and later provided an October 2019 deadline. Today, the company announced that it’s delaying the transition and eventual death of Hangouts to June 2020.

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At the first Stadia Connect livestream, Google unveiled key details about its game streaming service, including pricing and titles. A day later, the company is advertising Stadia across Google Search.

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August 20

The public release of Android Q is officially a “few weeks away,” and Google is gearing up for the launch. “Android version Q Security Release Notes” published today detail the vulnerabilities addressed by the upcoming version of the OS.

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In August 2017, YouTube introduced a “Messages” feature for its mobile apps and later the web. Two years later, the Google video site announced that its killing the built-in chatting functionality next month.

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Google Docs adds ‘Live edits’ accessibility tool for real-time collaboration

From Live Transcribe to Sound Amplifier, Google this year has released a number of accessibility features. The latest is for Google Docs and helps keep track of real-time updates made by document collaborators.

While YouTube Music has seen a steady series of updates in recent months, Google Play Music has stagnated ahead of its eventual replacement. In April, Google removed a direct portal for smaller artists to upload songs, and is now removing the ability to gift Play Music subscriptions.

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