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.


Google’s Project Stream test trial of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’ has ended

With Project Stream, Google hopes to leverage its extensive cloud backend to enter the game streaming market. It opened its first trial last October with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but the experiment has now come to a close.

With the General Data Protection Regulation, Europe set out to unify privacy regulation and “ensure consistency of regulatory decisions for companies and EU citizens.” Google today was fined by France’s privacy regulator over the “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization.”

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HP announces education-focussed Chromebook 11 G7 EE and x360 11 G2 EE

This year has already seen new education-focussed Chrome OS devices from Asus at CES and CTL. Ahead of the BETT education conference this week, HP is launching the Chromebook 11 G7 EE and the x360 11 G2 EE.

The latest version of Google Duo rolled out over the weekend with hints that Favorites, Low light mode, and filters will soon be live. The former is partially available in Google Duo 46, while we have also enabled Low light mode for improved video calling.

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

Since launching last year, Google’s latest streaming service has slowly gained new features, and continues work on others. YouTube Music 2.67 features slight interface changes and tweaks to the now playing queue.

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January 20

As a more compact Google Assistant is rolling out, the latest Google app beta suggests that more features are in development. Version 9.5 reveals that a dark mode is in the works for Assistant, as well as additional functionality for the Updates feed.

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Google Store and Google Fi discount Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL by $150 off

The latest Made by Google phones have seen a number of discounts since launch from Black Friday to the winter holidays. With 2019 well underway, both the Google Store and Google Fi are discounting the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL by $150.

January 19

Many Google apps in recent months have been updated with the company’s Material Theme. The latest is Play Books, with that revamp now beginning to more widely roll out on Android.

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As a leak of Android Q confirmed earlier this week, dark modes will play an important role in the next version of the mobile operating system. Google has been revamping apps in recent weeks to feature the other theme, with more updates planned. Now, Google Assistant appears to be the latest service due for a dark mode.

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January 18

At CES 2019, Google kicked off the year with a slew of Assistant announcements like handling flight check-ins and hotel bookings. Google Assistant is now rolling out a revamped phone interface that places controls and buttons closely together.

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FDA clears ECG feature on Verily Study Watch for medical research

Verily has a number of ongoing hardware projects from smart contact lenses to miniaturized continuous glucose monitors. Alphabet’s health division is also working on a Study Watch that was just granted ECG clearance by the FDA.

The latest Gboard beta is rolling out and continues work on a handful of features we’ve been tracking in recent months. Gboard 7.9 is preparing for more emoticons/kaomoji, faster voice typing, and predictive content search.

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Google again giving select Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL owners free Play Store credit

Last November, Google gave select Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL owners free Play Store credits. The company is now running another promotional round to users of the latest Made by Google phones.

January 17

Latest European Commission antitrust fine targets Google AdSense, expected in coming weeks

Over the past several years, Google has faced a handful of antitrust fines in Europe from Search to of course Android. The latest is focussed on its AdSense advertising business, with a penalty expected in the coming weeks.

The Fossil Group is currently the primary manufacturer of Wear OS devices with 14 different fashion brands leveraging the same underlying technology. Google today announced that it was acquiring a portion of Fossil’s R&D team and intellectual property related to smartwatches.

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Weather Timeline update adds ‘MyRadar’ data from new owners; removes Dark Sky, other sources

Last November, it emerged that Weather Timeline was acquired by a new developer following the app being pulled from Google Play due to rising API costs. ACME AtronOmatic has since released its first update, which removes all third-party weather data sources.

January 16

Like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL last year, “Lite” variants of the Made by Google phones have been thoroughly revealed. The latest Pixel 3 Lite leak comes in the form of a “pre-production sample” that has been subjected to a video review.

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The enterprise market is highly lucrative with Google throwing its full weight behind serving businesses and the enterprise. G Suite encompasses the company’s productivity and collaboration offerings, and later this year is seeing a slight price increase.

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For the past several years, Google has released Developer Previews for the next major version of Android in March. Ahead of that, an early build of Android Q has leaked confirming major features like a system-level “Dark Mode” and a host of other changes and tweaks.

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Since the European Union Copyright Directive was introduced last year, Google and YouTube have been lobbying against it by enlisting creators and users. Ahead of finalized language for Article 11 and 13 this month, Google Search is testing possible responses to the “link tax.”

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