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.


Compared to the Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate announced last October has not fared as well in terms of performance and lacks critical acclaim. Software updates continue to address the former issue, while the Google Store is now discounting the Chrome OS tablet family by $200 across the board.

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May 24

At I/O 2019, Google announced a number of new features for Search like podcast indexing and 3D AR objects. The latest is a redesign for mobile Search that reorganizes how each result is displayed and adds a site favicon to each card.

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The latest Google app beta is rolling out this Friday in a return to the usual release cadence after a few disruptive weeks following I/O. Google app 9.94 reveals continued work on the Nest Hub Max with Face Match privacy and the possible addition of federated learning in the Search app.

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‘Meet Waymo contest’ offers free trip to ride self-driving cars in Phoenix

Late last year, Waymo launched the first autonomous ride service in Phoenix, Arizona. Before a wider launch, the Alphabet company has the big task of making self-driving cars inviting to the public. Waymo is now launching a contest that includes an all-expenses-paid trip to Phoenix.

Stadia is launching this year with Google confirming at the March announcement that games and other details will be announced over the summer. That upcoming unveil will also include a “price reveal” and other “launch info.”

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Google Docs, Slides adds ‘Linked objects’ tool to update embedded charts, graphs

The apps in Google’s office suite are linked together to improve workflows and productivity. Google has now added a new “Linked objects” sidebar in Docs and Slides to “access all linked content” and quickly update them.

May 23

[Update: Purchase no longer required] Google launches Assistant referral contest for free Home Max

The Google Store is hosting a “Google Assistant Refer a Friend Sweepstakes” where you can win a Home Max anytime your special link is used to make a purchase. This contest is a somewhat odd way for Google to increase Assistant adoption and sales by leveraging your social circle.

Over the past week, the fallout from the US ban on American companies working with Huawei has escalated. Google — after a three-month reprieve — will not be able to work with the Chinese company on launching new devices, or updating existing ones. The latest development sees Google remove the Huawei Mate X and P30 Pro from Android.com entirely.

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Google Fit is currently the company’s only consumer-facing health service. Tied with Wear OS and recently rolled out to iOS, Google Fit 2.13 for Android today tweaks the manual activity logging workflow, and preps more changes to improve that process.

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There are now a ton of food delivery services from DoorDash to Postmates, with each having their own app to download, sign-up for, and manage. Google is now integrating these services right into Assistant, Search, and Maps for a unified and direct experience.

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May 22

‘Phone X has Google’ and ‘Pixel 3a is Google’ in latest ads

Earlier this week, Google posted a new ‘Phone X’ ad that highlighted AR navigation on the Pixel 3a over Apple Maps. While a good contrast, one flaw with the advertising was the eventual availability of Google Maps AR on iOS. Google has seemingly answered that shortcoming with new advertisements today.

Focals smart glasses now integrate with Google Fit and Slides

Focals by North launched at the start of this year, but quickly saw a price cut from $999 to $599. Since then, the plain-looking smart glasses that overlay a screen over your right eye has seen a number of new features. The latest includes Google Fit and Google Slides integration.

Smart Displays in recent weeks have gained a number of new features like a “stop” command for alarms and more clock faces. Google is now letting you create on-demand speaker groups right from Smart Displays even when music is already playing.

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May 21

One of Google’s highlight announcements at CES 2019 was the Lenovo Smart Clock. The compact-sized Smart Display optimized for a bedroom nightstand is now available for preorder at retailers like Walmart and Home Depot.

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Over the past several beta releases, Gboard has been A/B testing a slew of new features. Gboard 8.3 enables many of the server-side changes, including Material Theme settings, trending GIF searches, and others.

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At I/O 2019 last week, Google announced a handful of new Smart Display features and the Nest Hub Max. Over the past few days, the Assistant devices have seen additional clocks and a new Routines shortcut. Google is now rolling out a new Smart Display UI with revamped homescreen.

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Google stored some G Suite passwords in plaintext, free accounts not affected

Google today alerted G Suite admins about two incidents where users’ passwords were improperly stored. This security issue only impacts paid Google accounts and free consumers are not affected.

Announced at I/O 2019, the new Google Lens with filters is beginning to roll out. This redesign adds five modes to the bottom of the screen and is already available via Google Assistant for some users. The Google Lens revamp is also appearing in Google Photos.

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Later this year, YouTube will display public subscriber counts in a more consistent manner across its official apps and clients. Instead of the full count, the Google video site is moving to abbreviate the number of users subscribed to a channel.

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With Huawei banned from using Android, the company has to turn to another operating system to power its future mobile devices. A new reputable report this morning contradicts claims from Chinese media that a replacement OS from Huawei would be ready later this year and sheds some light on the developmental process of Project Z.

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