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.

Yesterday

Google wants your Android 11 Beta 3 feedback in final survey

Google on Thursday released the final preview of the next major version of its mobile operating system. Like with the first two releases, an Android 11 Beta 3 survey seeks one last round of feedback.

After launching stateside in April, Google’s second-generation Assistant headphones saw an international release last month. The company promised more Pixel Buds (2020) colors in August, and they are now starting to hit retailers.

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Google last year made speech transcription on Pixel devices work on-device and in real-time. Gboard is now working on “hands free” voice typing that is more than just speech-to-text and builds on the new Google Assistant.

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August 8

Google this week laid out how Play Music will stop working in the coming months. With that on the horizon, YouTube Music is striving for feature parity, and the service is finally gaining the ability to have personal playlists be played from Google Assistant. However, this is still in testing with limited reach.

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August 7

With the rise of video conferencing, Google is increasingly pushing Meet across its products. Gmail for Android and iOS are adding a dedicated “Meet” tab and the ability to quickly make/take calls inside the app.

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Microsoft’s Android Foldable is rumored to go on sale and start shipping as soon as this month. Official-looking renders have leaked today and show the final hardware design of the Surface Duo

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A lot happens on YouTube, and the Google video site has for ages emailed subscribers that opted into alerts about new uploads and livestreams. YouTube is getting rid of these emails next week as very few people opened alerts about new videos from their inbox.

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The “something special” teased by Google over the weekend is a month-long series of deals. Fred Armisen is the face of the Google Store Daily Special with various skits showing off various Assistant devices and how they are helpful.

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August 6

Last week, Google quietly introduced “Cast Connect” to make Casting on Android TV more native with support for remote controls and other app features. The company officially announced it today and detailed partner support, as well as providing a brief demo.

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Amazon on Monday started taking preorders for the Pixel 4a even before the phone was officially announced. Google’s mid-range phone is now “Currently unavailable” from the online retailer after becoming a “#1 Best Seller.”

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Back in April, Google revamped YouTube Music’s Library to work more like Play Music, and now the Artists view is getting another upgrade to just show saved songs. It comes as the company this week detailed the shutdown timeline for Google Play Music.

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With Android 11 Beta 3, Google is close to publicly releasing the latest version of its mobile OS. There should still be a handful of changes today and we’re tracking everything new.

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Ahead of the public launch “coming very soon,” Google is rolling out Android 11 Beta 3. This is the “release candidate” and very close to what Pixel owners will receive in the coming weeks.

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Last month, Google announced a partnership with Parallels to bring Windows apps to Chrome OS. An interview today provided a high-level overview of how this works and what will be required.

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August 5

At the start of July, Google discontinued the Pixel 3a after inventory ran out on its official store. After announcing its latest mid-range phone on Monday, the flagship Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is now discontinued and out of stock on the Google Store.

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Last summer, Amazon, Apple, and Google were criticized for not properly disclosing how human reviewers analyze audio snippets from each of their assistants. Google in response paused the practice for Assistant and other products, but is now resuming and making audio recordings entirely opt-in.

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With the launch of Nest Wifi, the Google Home app added a number of controls for managing your network. While Google Wifi devices are able to get this Assistant integration, the factory reset required is an inconvenience. Fortunately, the Google Home app is now adding support for importing Wifi networks.

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Google is rumored to be working on a Nest-branded streaming dongle and a bigger redesign of Android TV. The OS today added cinematic teasers, but last week quietly announced a bigger “Cast Connect” feature that will improve the Casting experience. 

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Google tries to differentiate its G Suite apps by leveraging AI to boost user productivity. It’s now bringing several key features, including Smart Compose, that first debuted on the desktop web to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android and iOS.

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Samsung last February announced the first Android Foldable, but the launch was notoriously pushed back to September to allow for retrofits and additional hardware protections. The company is now back with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G at an Unpacked event that’s highlighted by the Note 20.

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