About the Author

Abner Li


“It’s Google’s Alphabet’s world & we’re all just living in it.”

The above is truly Abner’s philosophy and why in his 5 years of writing about tech Google and Android has mostly been the main subject.

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


GOOG: 988.20


Earlier this month, Project Loon was granted authorization to provide emergency service to Puerto Rico using their balloons. Today, the Alphabet division announced that in partnership with AT&T it began providing LTE service to the hurricane-stricken island.

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Following this week’s rollout to Mac, Windows, and Linux, the latest version of Chrome for Android is beginning to rollout to the stable channel. There are a number of minor new features accompanying the usual security fixes and under-the-hood changes in Chrome 62.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Following an update to YouTube Music last night, the latest version of the main YouTube app is rolling out. Version 12.41.53 has very little in the way of new features, though there is one notable server-side change to the YouTube app.

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A week before the October 4th event, we received a tip that a Google Home competitor to the Amazon Echo Show is in the works. Featuring a 7-inch screen, it would reportedly support a number of Google services. Today, a teardown (via Android Police) of the latest beta version of the Google app contains references to such a device and details its functionality.

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With YouTube’s brand redesign in August, Google’s video service significantly revamped its web app, while its mobile apps received various tweaks to match. YouTube Music was initially updated with some of this new branding, but this week receives a new icon.

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October 19

GOOG: 984.45


Google Pixel Buds won’t be available until next month, but in the meantime the Assistant-enabled headphones passed through the FCC. Notably, the filing was not made by Google, but rather a Chinese company that has a history of audio products and an assortment of Sony PlayStation accessories.

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Two weeks ago, we revealed that the Google app was working on a bottom bar redesign. The latest version 7.14 shows Google refining that interface, while revamping the “Explore” page for Assistant apps, adding “Hey Google” on phones, and other tweaks.

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For the past several years, Google has hosted a developer event called Playtime centered around the Play Store and apps to share best practices and new tools. At this year’s Playtime, Google announced a number of new tools for developers, including a Security Reward Program, as well as some new features for the Play Store.

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Last month, Google was rumored to be mulling a huge investment in Lyft as the two companies work together against Uber to bring self-driving cars to the mainstream. Today, the ride-sharing service announced that Alphabet’s CapitalG investment fund led a $1 billion financing round.

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Following Pixel 2 reviews dropping on Tuesday, many pre-orderers have received their new devices. iFixit has as well, with the repair service just completing their teardown of the Pixel 2 XL to reveal some interesting build aspects of the phone.

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October 18

GOOG: 992.81


Several weeks ago, users spotted a new Google Play design on Android that featured a nested navigation bar just underneath the main tab of categories. That redesign — which goes against the Material guidelines — now appears to be more widely rolling out today.

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Google defaulting from SMS to phone-based Prompt for new 2-Step Verification users

Last year, Google announced a new method for 2-Step Verification that is built into Android and available on iOS. The Google Prompt replaces the hackable SMS method and was recently updated to include more detailed information. Today, Google announced that the Prompt will become the default method for new sign-ups.

At its Developer Conference today, Samsung revealed a partnership with Google to bring ARCore to its lineup of Galaxy devices. The SDK launched with support on the Galaxy S8 in August, but today marks a formal announcement and commitment to Google’s augmented reality platform.

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Earlier this month, Google announced a beta of Oreo for Android Wear on the LG Watch Sport. Android 8.0 is mostly a “technical upgrade” for the wearable OS that adds Notification Channels and Background Limits. However, there are a handful of smaller new features.

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The Made for Google program announced at the October 4th event will yield a bevy of cases for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. However, Google is still making first-party cases for its phones, including revamped Live Cases that forego one notable feature, while adding more protection.

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October 17

GOOG: 992.18


Chrome 62 is now rolling out to desktops in the stable channel with a number of new features for developers, as well as some changed security behaviors as Google continues to encourage HTTPS adoption.

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Earlier this year, a product roadmap revealed that a web redesign of Google Calendar was in the works. Today, that Material refresh of the web app is launching with a number of enterprise-grade features.

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As rumored late last month, Google today announced its “Advanced Protection Program” to protect personal Google Accounts of “those most at risk of targeted attacks—like journalists, business leaders, and political campaign teams.” The central defense is a physical Security Key that replaces other forms of two-factor authentication (2FA).

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October 16

GOOG: 992.00


The latest beta version of the Google app rolled out this evening and hints at Assistant finally being available on tablets, as well as other features possibly coming to more devices. Version 7.14 also includes some user-facing changes, while there are some mentions about the upcoming Pixel Buds.

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Back in September, Google revamped its data and privacy Dashboard with a simpler, mobile-friendly design. Google is continuing that work today with a more personal Security Checkup feature. Additionally, there are new phishing protections in Chrome.

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