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.

Today

Chrome 69 earlier this month introduced a Google Material Theme, smarter Omnibox, and a host of other new features for the browser’s 10th anniversary. In recent days, changes related to Account sign-in and clearing cookies were met with criticism. Google has now announced a handful of changes for Chrome 70 that should fix those issues.

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Ten years ago this week, Larry Page and Sergey Brin rollerbladed into a press conference where T-Mobile, HTC, and Google announced the world’s first Android phone. However, before the G1, codenamed Dreamer, there was another reference device that Google used to develop the operating system: Sooner. We recently had some hands-on time with the hardware and the early OS it’s running.

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

Google is leveraging machine learning throughout all of its products from bilingual support in Assistant to productivity optimizations in Drive, and even to cool data centers. The company is now tapping AI to improve flood forecasting as part of Google Public Alerts.

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Following Android Messages officially receiving a Google Material Theme and dark mode, the default SMS/RCS client is now slated for advanced search functionality. This revamp features a new design, filters, and is rolling out later this week.

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In light of Europe’s GDPR privacy rules coming into effect this May, there has been increased calls for similar regulation in the U.S. Ahead of a Congressional hearing tomorrow, Google on Monday released a “Framework for Responsible Data Protection Regulation” in support, while recently revamping its Safety Center.

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September 24

Google shared this morning that Google Lens was coming to Google Images. Meanwhile, last week, Google updated the Android app to version 1.1 and made visual search more widely accessible via the Share sheet menu.

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To mark its 20th anniversary, Google today announced a number of changes to advance its marquee product. Focusing on AI and more visual content, Google Search is adding Activity cards to surface past searches, while subtopics allow for dynamic organization of results. Today’s new features are powered by a Topic Layer for the Knowledge Graph.

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Google Images gets desktop redesign with mobile site adding Google Lens

Announced last year, Google Lens received a big update at I/O 2018 with real-time search, smart text selection, and more. However, Google Images is the company’s original visual search product and this week it’s gaining a number of new features.

For the past several months, Google has been experimenting with a redesign to the Google Feed. Following reports last week of a rebrand, Google today confirmed that it’s now called “Google Discover” and is coming to the mobile web, along with a slew of other new features.

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Google Calendar 6.0 is now the latest Android app to sport a Google Material Theme. Like with recent redesigns, the underlying functionality and organization is unchanged, but there are a slew of updated elements and iconography that makes for a starker than expected appearance.

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September 23

On Friday, the latest Pixel 3 XL leak provided another look at the hardware, especially the dual front-facing cameras. It also dived into the software experience, with the same source now revealing this year’s live wallpapers ahead of the October 9th Made by Google event.

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September 21

Google One offering 10% Google Store discount on Pixel 2, Pixelbook, more

Last month, Google One officially launched with cheaper storage, family plans, premium app support, and a colorful ring around your profile avatar. Another big incentive to join is free perks like Google Play credit and hotel booking discounts. The latest is a 10% discount off any item in the Google Store.

Back in August, Google officially announced audio streaming and download quality controls for YouTube Music. The company also announced that its latest streaming service would adopt a more consistent update cycle. This evening, the much sought after feature is finally beginning to roll out on Android.

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With macOS 10.14 Mojave rolling out next week, one of the more exciting user features is a system-wide Dark Mode. Various Apple and third-party apps are planning to support the theme, with Google also planning one for Chrome.

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As we approach the October 9th Made by Google event, there has been an uptick in rumors for other devices that might debut. However, today, we have another leak of the Pixel 3 XL that focuses on the dual front-facing cameras.

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Looking towards the future, augmented reality will be a very important technology once it gets miniaturized into wearable glasses. Till then, apps and best practices are being developed through phone-based AR and VR headsets. Google today announced experimental features for standalone Daydream including a “See-Through Mode” and 6DoF Controllers.

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The latest beta of the Google app is rolling out this morning with a very tantalizing hint at the Pixel Stand. Other tweaks in version 8.22 include a new Sound Search widget, auto-downloading for Podcasts, and detailing the Assistant Household feature.

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September 20

Earlier this year, Google debuted AMP stories to compete with similar formats popularized by Snapchat and also found in Instagram. First appearing in Google Search, they are now available in the Google Feed on Android.

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Late last month, the Google app resumed work on a customizable Search bar. A long time coming, the ability to personalize the Google widget appears to be rolling out to more users this week.

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Chrome 69 earlier this September marked the 10th anniversary of the browser with a Google Material Theme and smarter Omnibox. In recent months, Google has also been contemplating a rename of Incognito mode to “Private” mode.

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