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.

Abner Li's Favorite Gear

Today

Unbeknownst to most users, Google has long featured native “Save” functionality to bookmark links and images. First built into Image Search and later the Search app on Android, Google also maintained a Chrome extension to save pages. However, Google is set to kill that client next month, thus sending mixed signals on the future of the feature.

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July 20

Waymo autonomously drives one million miles in a month, 25K miles per day

Waymo is set to launch a public ride sharing service later this year, with the pilot program hitting the one year mark last month. The Alphabet division today announced its latest milestone of autonomously driving eight million miles since its inception as Google’s Self-Driving Car project.

Back in 2016, Google Translate began leveraging Neural Machine Translation to drastically improve the quality of translations. Just last month, Google announced that NMT now works completely offline on mobile. The service is now seeing an odd occurrence where inputting gibberish outputs readable passages.

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

The latest version of the Google app is rolling out this morning with a number of in-development features related to Assistant. A new voice might be in the works, while “Family Sharing” and “Car” settings have emerged, alongside setting up Google Duo on Smart Displays. Meanwhile, the “At a glance” widget is out of beta while there might be a new notification history feature.

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Last month, we opined how YouTube could save a lot of creator frustration by just being more transparent, especially in regards to A/B testing of new features. CEO Susan Wojcicki acknowledged that today in a post that also provides a “mid-year update” on what the video site is working on.

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Hangouts Chat on the web updated w/ various Google Material Theme tweaks

Hangouts Chat is Google’s Slack competitor for enterprise and businesses. Made available to G Suite accounts earlier this year, Google is now rolling out a Material Theme redesign for the service.

With “Download Your Data,” Google allows users to get a copy of their data if they ever want to switch to a different service. Google, along with Twitter, Facebook, and Microsoft, is now taking this a step further by directly transferring data between different products to make switching seamless.

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July 19

Google Images testing new web interface w/ rounded design & card-based photo viewer

In recent months, Google Images has picked up a number of interfaces tweaks and other functionality changes. The latest sees Image Search testing a new design on the web that features a card-like photo viewer and pill-shaped carousel.

The latest version of Android Messages is rolling out today with Google continuing development on two exciting features. The first involves the “dark mode” that we’ve previously spotted, but now functioning alongside the Material Theme redesign. Work also continues on Chromebook pairing for closer integration between phones and laptops.

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Google bringing back the Android Dev Summit w/ 2018 conference set for November 7-8

Back in 2015, Google hosted an Android Dev Summit that solely focused on the mobile platform. Compared to the larger scope of I/O, many Android developers enjoyed this smaller format, and Google is now bringing it back for 2018.

GV is one of Alphabet and Google’s various venture capital arms, with notable investments including Uber and Nest. A new report today details how GV has long-used an algorithm — dubbed “The Machine” — to permit or prohibit new and follow-on investment rounds.

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July 18

Assistant’s new Google Now-esque dashboard replaces ‘Upcoming’ in the Google app

The visual redesign of Google Assistant first unveiled at I/O 2018 officially began rolling out yesterday. Touted by many as the successor to the original vision for Google Now, the new feature even replaces the Google app’s “Upcoming” tab.

Over the past year, Google has been slowly returning to China via partnerships, investments, and apps. The latest is not a standalone application, but rather a drawing mini game for WeChat where machine learning plays a major role.

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Corning unveils Gorilla Glass 6 w/ focus on surviving multiple drops & 2x improvement

Corning today unveiled Gorilla Glass 6, the latest in the company’s line of strengthened glass for many of today’s devices. The previous generation was announced two-years ago amid similar circumstances of an upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note launch.

Late last month, a company using the Google Cloud Platform had an incident where a critical application was immediately suspended by Google without warning. This was a cause for alarm given how many apps today run in the cloud. Google today announced a series of improvements to prevent any more sudden suspensions.

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After rolling out an Incognito mode and full-width thumbnails to Android earlier this month, YouTube is now displaying hashtags on videos. Aimed at improving search for users, it is also available on the web.

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July 17

Google tweaks sign-in page again, tones down new Material Theme component

Google last month announced a new sign-in page for logging into your Google Account that takes advantage of several new Material Theme stylings. “Unforeseen delays” delayed that launch, but it is finally rolling out this week with one tweak.

Back in February, Google announced that Nest would return after a stint as an independent Alphabet company. The smart home maker joined the hardware division to drive closer integration, with Google today revealing that Nest will be a part of the home and living room team. Rishi Chandra will still lead that group at the expense of Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz.

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Google Cloud Platform outage brings down Spotify, Snapchat, and more [Update: Back]

Update: Third-party services started to come back online at 12:58PM, with Google reporting that all issues have been resolved as of 1:05PM.

Update 7/18: Google has issued a technical explanation for the issue that boils down to a bug in a new feature that wasn’t caught during testing.

The Google Cloud Platform is down this afternoon with the official status page noting outages for a handful of services. As a result, Spotify, Snapchat, and other companies that use Google as a backend are currently unavailable.

Google Cloud is making headway in the enterprise market on a variety of fronts from AI-powered developer services to Chromebooks. The company is also trying to increase paid G Suite adoption with Facebook apparently contemplating a switch to Drive, Docs, and other Google productivity services.

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