About the Author

Abner Li


“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.


Latest Twitter for Android update crashing immediately on launch

Given A/B tests and multiple release channels, bugs in major apps are a relatively rare occurrence today. That said, some issues do still slip through with Twitter for Android crashing immediately on launch after its latest update.

HP announced their latest Chrome OS devices geared for schools at the BETT 2020 conference in London. The most interesting is the HP Chromebook 14 G6, which features rugged, education-friendly designs.

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Last week, BT in the UK became the first European distribution partner for Stadia. A similar partnership is now happening stateside with Google and Verizon announcing that new Fios subscribers will receive Stadia Premiere Edition for free.

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The latest Google app beta yesterday detailed how Assistant’s upcoming hotword sensitivity capability will work, and made several changes to Podcasts. Google app 10.93 reveals development on recording pronunciations for your contacts, “general” Assistant settings, and other features.

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Google Maps for iOS rolling out better curated travel history ‘Timeline’

One of the more useful things Google does with your Location History is aggregate visits. Google Maps for iOS is now gaining a revamped Timeline that better lets you browse your past travels.

With the launch of Gmail’s Material Theme revamp on the web in 2018, Tasks was reintroduced as a standalone to-do app. Google Tasks now appears to be readying Hangouts Chat integration.

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Latest Google Podcasts beta breaks casting episodes

The latest Podcasts beta introduces a number of visual tweaks throughout the app, while adding the ability to share episodes with a timestamp. However, the current Google Podcasts release introduces a bug that breaks casting episodes.

Last year, Google launched the Chromebook App Hub to showcase the best classroom software and ideas. At BETT 2020, the directory is seeing a suite of updates, including a search capability and more filtering, while there is a new Chromebook app licensing model.

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Google Classroom rubrics and originality reports exit beta

Besides Chromebooks, Google Classroom is another popular education tool from the company that lets teachers manage assignments while letting students collaborate in discussions. After entering beta last year, Google is launching new rubric and originality report tools for all G Suite for Education customers.

One signature feature of Chrome OS is automatic updates that happen seamlessly in the background. Since launch, Google has gradually extended that upgrade period, with Chromebooks released in 2020 and beyond now seeing 8 years of updates.

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Google in recent weeks has updated Podcasts with a number of tweaks, including a Material Theme account switcher and dark theme. The latest Google Podcasts beta adds timestamp sharing while cleaning up the player interface.

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At Cloud Next 2019 last April, Google announced that the side panel found in Gmail, Calendar, and other productivity apps would open up to third-party developers. G Suite Add-ons are now rolling out of beta and will soon be generally available.

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January 20

At CES earlier this month, Google laid out what’s coming to Assistant over the course of 2020. The latest Google app beta (10.93) this afternoon details a handful of upcoming capabilities, like hotword sensitivity for “Hey Google.”

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One of the most interesting design aspects of the Pixelbook Go is actually its “Not Pink” color variant to complement “Just Black.” The bold color choice is now available from the Google Store in “limited quantities.”

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January 19

In his first big public move since being appointed the CEO of Alphabet last month, Sundar Pichai today called for AI regulation to govern how the promising new technology is leveraged.

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January 17

[Update: Fixed] Latest Google app beta breaks Assistant on Wear OS

Just before the holidays last month, a Google app beta disabled the new Assistant on Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Another beta bug today breaks Google Assistant on Wear OS.

Stadia yesterday laid out its initial 2020 roadmap by noting how many games are in the works and what features are coming in the next three months. BT in the United Kingdom has just announced a partnership with Google to offer subscribers free access to Stadia.

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January 16

The most prevalent type of augmented reality today is phone-based while tech giants ready smart glasses over the next several years. Mojo Vision is one startup that’s already looking beyond that form factor with an AR contact lens.

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This week we review Stadia’s past, present, and future. We start with how Google’s streaming service has been for us since November, what it’s done since then, and all of today’s announcements.

Alphabet Scoop is available on Google Play, Google PodcastsiTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, and through our dedicated RSS feed for Pocket Casts and other podcast players.

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Since the start of this week, investors have been waiting for Alphabet to hit a market value of $1 trillion. Google’s parent today joins only three other companies to ever hit that marker.

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