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

On Thursday, Google announced the “System Version: H Update” for Wear OS, with a handful of features focused on battery life. What the company failed to mention is that the new naming scheme coincides with the release of Android 9 Pie for wearables, and that it’s already rolling out for some devices.

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While YouTube has recently been pushing users to music and video subscriptions, as well as supporting favorite channels, the Google company is still introducing new ad-supported options. The video site in October started streaming movies like the “Terminator” and “Rocky” for free, but with occasional advertising.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

November 16

The latest version of the Google app beta is rolling out this evening and we have managed to enable a handful of notable features. Google app 8.55 reveals work on letting users leave comments on certain results from Google Search, as well as details about sharing Collections.

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Back in October, Google announced that it was killing Google+ for consumers following a privacy bug. While serving as an admission that the company’s take on social failed, it has become clear in recent months that the company is still very interested in social.

For example, Google Maps has added the ability to follow stores and message directly with businesses. Now, Google’s social ambitions have turned to Search, with an upcoming ability to leave comments in Google Search.

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Universal Profile RCS might launch on Verizon in early 2019

When Google earlier this year detailed that its future consumer messaging effort would be centered around RCS and Messages, AT&T and Verizon also signaled that it would adopt the Universal Profile. The latter carrier might be launching support early next year.

You can now scroll down on fullscreen YouTube videos to read descriptions, comments, more

While many people today watch videos on mobile phones and tablets, the web is still an exceedingly important screen. YouTube is improving the fullscreen web player with the ability to scroll down to see recommendations, descriptions, and more.

For Google, enterprise and the cloud are increasingly important fields as both a source of revenue and helping proliferate AI services. After being appointed in December 2015, Diane Greene announced that she is leaving her role as CEO in January, but will remain on Alphabet’s board of directors.

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One of Verily’s first projects was to make contact lenses that could detect glucose levels from teardrops. Less invasive than fingertip blood pricks for people living with diabetes, the Alphabet company and partner Alcon today announced that it is putting that project “on hold” due to the diabetes premise not being suitable.

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After announcing the deal on Wednesday, the Google Store’s buy one, get one “up to 50% off” offer is now live for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. There is one key aspect to this Google Store Black Friday deal centered on the fact that not all purchase combinations will yield half off your order.

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Made by Google is heavily advertising its latest lineup from Hardware Stores to pop-ups, but sometimes nothing brings in more sales than a good deal. The Google Store today has shared its Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, with good deals beginning the week before.

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November 15

The first wave of Google Material Theme redesigns was for Android clients, with web apps in recent weeks following. After Google Keep Notes last month, Google Photos on the web is now the next major site to be revamped with various Material Theme tweaks.

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As promised in August, the Google Phone dark theme is now rolling out with the latest beta update. Google Phone 26 follows Google Contacts earlier this week and the company’s advice to developers that dark themes help conserve battery life.

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Google today signed an agreement with the European Organization for Nuclear Research to collaborate on joint research and development. More commonly known as CERN, the premier physics lab will be working with Google on quantum and cloud computing, as well as machine learning.

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Back in 2013, Google went on a robotics shopping spree with seven acquisitions that included Boston Dynamics and a company called Schaft. That effort has so far yet to materialize, with robotics currently under Alphabet’s X. After failing to find a buyer, Alphabet is shutting down the company focused on bipedal robots.

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November 14

Google Store will begin shipping Pixel Slate pre-orders late Nov/early Dec

Last week, Best Buy and Amazon began taking pre-orders for the Pixel Slate. The Google Store this evening has updated the order page with estimated shipping that puts the Chrome OS tablet on course for late November/early December availability.

G Suite admins can now require strong passwords, set expiration dates, and prevent reuse

Security and passwords are paramount in this day and age, especially in corporate environments. New G Suite password options allow admins to enforce policies like stronger logins that have to be changed every so often and cannot be reused.

In recent months, Google’s default Messages app has received a number of major updates including the Google Material Theme with dark mode, and advanced search filters. Now, Messages 3.8 is rolling out today with a revamped camera and gallery interface.

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Since I/O 2018, Google Maps has seen a slew of updates from the Google Material Theme to focus on personalized location suggestions. Last month, it added a “Follow” button on listings to get store updates, with Google Maps for Android and iOS now adding a business messaging feature.

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One of the biggest rounds of applause at Made by Google 2018 was for Night Sight on the Pixel 3. The feature is rolling out starting today with a handful of options in Google Camera 6.1.021, which also reveals continued work on a Time Lapse mode.

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For the past year, Waymo has been testing an autonomous ride service in Phoenix, Arizona ahead of public availability. CEO John Krafcik last night revealed that a launch is coming in the next two months, while another report details how the Alphabet company will be directly competing against Lyft and Uber.

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