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

Yesterday

Last month, Chrome for Android began testing a horizontal tab switcher in the experimental Dev channel. It was very similar to the current design and reflected the rumored changes coming to Android P’s Recents menu. Chrome is now testing a tab switcher that is more in line with Developer Preview 2 from I/O 2018.

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Even before I/O 2018, Google’s latest iteration of Material Design began rolling out to various apps like Gmail and Google Tasks. Following the unveiling of Material Themingmore apps adopted it with many more updates expected. Today, the latest service to feature it is the Google sign-in page.

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Ready to try the Pixelbook?

Google adds a ‘Reservations’ section to Assistant on iOS

Last month, version 7.26 of the Google app included strings that detailed a new “Reservations” section for Google Assistant. Functionality was unclear at the time, but we now know what it does thanks to the feature going live on iOS.

May 24

Announced last week and rolling out as of this Tuesday, YouTube Music is Google’s latest music streaming offering. While the mobile apps are visually similar to the previous iteration of the service, several new features have been added that reflect a rethought product. There are many smart additions, while the desktop client is a very welcome addition.

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In March, Play Movies & TV received a big Android and iOS update that made it a hub to content found on other streaming apps, while last week Google Home gained the ability to control and Cast the service. This week, the Roku channel is being updated with a whole new design, simpler navigation, and recommendation features.

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For several years now PayPal has been a billing option in the Play Store, while Android Pay integration arrived last year. Today, the two companies are announcing a deeper integration that makes PayPal available throughout multiple Google apps and services as a new standard payment method.

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Google Pay adds support for Japan’s Suica and WAON cards w/ in-app balance, refill, alerts

At I/O 2018, Google announced that its unified payment service now supports airline passes and movie tickets, while earlier this year it added transit passes. These conveniences are newer in the US, with other parts of the world long enjoying them. Google Pay is now gaining the ability to add Japan-specific Suica and WAON cards.

May 23

Since YouTube Music was announced last week and as the revamped streaming offering began rolling out yesterday, Google has ardently reiterated that “nothing will change” with Play Music. That is true in the short-term, but the company is planning to eventually phase out the previous service when feature parity is reached.

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At I/O 2018, Google detailed a big update to Google Lens a year after first announcing it. In addition to a new design and expanded availability in camera apps, Lens is slated to get real time lookup and smart text selection. This revamp is now slowly beginning to launch.

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Acer’s new Chromebook Spin 15 is the largest Chrome OS laptop/tablet convertible yet

In addition to launching the Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 this morning, Acer announced larger 15-inch models. The Spin 15 is the more premium version, but the line in general focuses on more casual use cases and media watching, with the Chromebook 15 targeted as being “value-oriented.”

Google Trends updated w/ simpler design, infographics, & focus on curated data stories

As the name implies, Google Trends is a very useful service for finding what’s popular among users of the Search engine and generating historic term comparisons. Google is today introducing a new design that adds more data features for finding what’s trending, as well as a new focus on editorial content.

Following the Federal Trade Commission filing suit against companies that try to take advantage of small businesses with threats of removing Search listings, Google is improving how it handles “bad actors” and third-parties. This include new awareness programs, better detection, and taking similar legal action.

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Back in March, Acer and Google announced the first Chromebook tablet aimed at the education market. A first for Chrome OS, Acer is now expanding into the underserved premium laptop form factor with the Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13.

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May 22

After an announcement last week, the new YouTube Music is beginning to roll out. With a focus on personalized recommendations and a vast library, there are revamped Android and iOS apps, as well as a new desktop client.

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Announced as a “secret project” last year, Google today unveiled a high-resolution OLED display that more than triples the pixels per inch (PPI) count of current consumer headsets from HTC and Oculus. Created in partnership with LG, this screen has a 1443 PPI, wide field-of-view, and is optimized for mobile augmented and virtual reality.

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May 21

The amazement over Google Duplex at I/O 2018 quickly veered into criticism over the lack of disclosure and questions about the on-stage demo itself. I think, somewhat lost in this furor, is the sheer impressiveness of Duplex and what an achievement it is for technology. But what exactly is it, and how does it work? And what will it be able to do for you?

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May 19

In March, Google Duo added support for Google account linking after months of development. With version 34, the video chatting service is launching another feature that the company has been working on for several months now: screen sharing.

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At I/O 2018, Google previewed a number of upcoming features for several major products and services. Assistant is slated to get a more visual experience, with version 8.4 of the Google app today providing a first glimpse at that revamped interface. Meanwhile, work continues on Feed reactions, Read Later, and more.

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May 18

Google kills the Assistant’s ‘Your stuff’ tab on Android, simplifying Explore

As we first spotted on iOS in March, Google Assistant is getting rid of the “Your stuff” section and switching to a single-tabbed “Explore” page. As a result, some of the sections found in that tab have been moved to the list of Assistant Services in settings.

Questions and criticism immediately arose following the unveil of Google Duplex at I/O 2018, with Google quickly clarifying some of the worrying user-facing aspects. More details have now emerged following the company’s weekly all-hands meeting.

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