Apps & Updates Today

At the start of this month, we spotted that the Nest Hub would get deeper Google Fit and Fitbit integration. You can now ask Google Assistant for your Fitbit and Google Fit stats.

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Apps & Updates May 19

In addition to a new Recently Played tile, YouTube Music for Wear OS will soon let you stream songs over data/cellular instead of having to download songs, albums, or playlists ahead of time. 

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Google is bringing its bright red warning banners to Chat in order to guard against invites that contain potential phishing and malware links.

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In addition to other Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) announcements today, Google is making it easier to find accessible Android apps in the Play Store.

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On the Google My Activity page, one of the very first controls shown is Web & App Activity. Google will soon break up that setting with a new “Workspace search history” preference.

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The first-generation Nest Hub is getting a more sizable update than usual that adds the app launcher and on-device Bluetooth settings menu.

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Adding alt-text to Gmail image attachments
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For Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is previewing new features across several products covering Android and Workspace, including alt-text in Gmail.

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Apps & Updates May 18

As announced in March, Google TV is rolling out a redesign that adds a “Highlights” news feed and reorganizes other parts of the Android app.

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Google Photos recently rolled out a pair of tweaks on Android and iOS that make it easier to delete media in albums, and there’s a new date/location indicator when browsing.

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A week ago at I/O 2022, Google said it would optimize over 20 of its Android apps for large-screen devices. The first tablet update is now here, and that distinction goes to Google Lens.

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YouTube is announcing a handful of updates today to its video player from a “Most replayed” graph to testing ways to quickly jump to sections you’d be more interested in.

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Apps & Updates May 17

Last week, a handful of Google apps opened preview programs, but new versions have yet to emerge. The Play Store now says that the Wear OS companion app is getting a beta.

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As part of its Grow with Google and Career Certificates initiatives, Google has launched a new Interview Warmup website.

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Parallels Desktop for Chromebooks now supports Intel Core i3 and AMD Ryzen 3 5000

Back in 2020, Google worked with Parallels to let enterprise users run Windows and its apps on Chrome OS. Expanded hardware support arrived last year, and Parallels Desktop for Chromebooks now works with Intel Core i3 and AMD Ryzen 3 5000 processors. 

Apps & Updates May 13

In addition to a slew of new developer features at I/O 2022, Google is testing a Play Store tweak on Android that lets users see more information about apps without having to open the full listing.

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Google Chat brings back Gchat-era orange idle status

A small tweak rolling out to Google Chat brings back the idle status (orange bubble) that was originally found in Google Talk, which was colloquially referred to as Gchat.

Since 2019, the main YouTube app has offered to open song videos in YouTube Music, but this integration is now getting much more prominent.

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As we previously spotted, YouTube Music’s ‘Recently Played’ Wear OS tile is now available to let you quickly start listening to a previous album/song on your watch.

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Apps & Updates May 11

[Update: 3 more Google apps] YouTube Music and TV now offer Play Store betas

Like the main Android client, Google is now offering Play Store betas for YouTube Music and TV to presumably test new features ahead of time.

Apps & Updates May 10

Google Calendar working locations no longer look like all-day events

One of the ways Google Calendar supports hybrid work is by letting employees note their working locations, and an upcoming tweak will make that UI less obtrusive.

Historically, Google’s cord-cutting service has required that you subscribe to the ballooning — both in price and channels — “Base Plan.” That’s starting to change as YouTube TV now offers a separate “Spanish Plan.”

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Apps & Updates May 8

Playlists are undoubtedly a big part of YouTube Music’s discovery angle, and Google is now testing a big UI redesign for them on mobile.

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Apps & Updates May 6

A curious bug impacting some Pixel owners sees the Phone ringtone, Default notification sound, and Default alarm sounds randomly change on Google devices.

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Apps & Updates May 5

Since its inception in 2015 (and the 2018 relaunch), YouTube Music has only ever offered a dark theme, but the Android and iOS apps are now adding a splash of color to liven things up.

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Back in March, Google halted Android app and subscription purchases in Russia due to sanctions. Google Play is now “blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia starting May 5, 2022.”

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Apps & Updates May 4

Google Assistant adds settings for ‘Your vehicles’ parking feature

Back in March, Google introduced the ability to pay for public parking with your voice. As part of this feature, Google Assistant has added “Your vehicles” settings. Meanwhile, the Google app has made a tweak to its preferences.

Google Docs and Sheets getting native integration with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

At today’s virtual Workspace Summit, Google announced an expanded partnership with enterprise software giant SAP that sees Docs and Sheets integrate with S/4HANA Cloud.

Apps & Updates May 3

At I/O 2021, Google announced that Assistant would help you change stolen credentials. This Google Assistant-branded, Duplex-powered capability for changing passwords is now rolling out in Chrome for Android.

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After introducing better widgets, Apple Music for Android is getting an in-app Sleep Timer that offers extensive options. 

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Apps & Updates May 2

At the moment, Google Assistant’s health integrations are limited to asking about sleep. Moving forward, you’ll be able to see steps, calories burned, and other activity metrics from Fitbit or Google Fit on the Nest Hub.

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Apps & Updates May 1

Following the iOS app in March, Google Translate for Android now has a homescreen widget that follows the latest Material You design language.

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YouTube Music is breaking up the visual monotony of the Home feed on Android and iOS with a new grid design for the “Listen again” shelf.

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Apps & Updates April 30

Google has historically been very cautious about changing Chrome’s interface and layout given the extremely large user base. That said, one such change might be underway in Chrome for Android with the addition of a customizable toolbar shortcut.

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Apps & Updates April 28

At the end of last month, Google delisted its classic Hangouts app from iOS and Android app stores. Surprisingly, the soon to be retired Hangouts app has returned to the iOS App Store, but only if you have the link.

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Back in December of 2020, YouTube started letting users restrict alcohol and gambling advertising. These ad limits are now being expanded to Google’s broader Display network and cover more sensitive categories.

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Apps & Updates April 27

Google Search now lets you request address, phone number, and other personal info removal

Google is expanding what content you can request the removal of in Search to more types of personally identifiable information as part of a policy update. This now covers phone numbers, email addresses, or physical addresses.

Following iOS picture-in-picture support and an update on surround sound availability last month, YouTube TV is working on a better family sharing experience for televisions that adds a built-in account switcher.

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Most Chrome features these days are rolled out via server-side updates instead of browser updates. One such example of that is a small tweak to the autofill popup in desktop Chrome that greatly improves usability when filling out forms.

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Apps & Updates April 26

Google is updating the toolbar menus that appear in the Docs web client with a focus on making it “easier to locate the most commonly used features.” 

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Google announced that the Play Store was getting a “Data safety” section last May, and it’s now beginning to roll out after a brief delay. The new section will be fully available over the coming weeks, and full developer adoption is set for July.

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Apps & Updates April 25

In April of 2020, YouTube Music replaced “Hotlist” with the “Explore” tab. A small addition that’s presented as a new way to access Explore more or less obviates its position in the bottom bar.

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Apps & Updates April 22

“Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion,” a Zelda-like adventure game with an off-the-wall sense of humor, is coming soon to Android.

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Apps & Updates April 21

In addition to offering user-facing apps, Google Workspace gives companies the ability to manage their employees’ devices. Google Workspace admins now have more control over Android app updates on work devices that use managed Google Play.

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After widget tweaks last year, Google Fi has now redesigned its Android app with Material You. It’s a straightforward modernization as the company is nearly finished visually revamping its biggest apps.

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Google Search touts ‘major reductions’ against hacked and gibberish spam in 2021

Google’s annual Webspam Report is here to highlight progress in keeping “spam and malicious content away from Search” over the course of 2021.

Google re-engineers how cookies work on its sites to add ‘Reject all’ button in Europe

Following regulatory fines this year, Google has announced new consent choice banners for cookies in Europe that most notably feature a “Reject all” button.

Apps & Updates April 20

Just over four weeks ago, Google announced that Photos for Android and iOS would get pretty significant updates to two core parts of the app. That Google Photos redesign of the Library tab has now been delayed.

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Last year, Google started prominently showing air quality (AQI) data to Nest Hub and other Smart Display users. You can now also search for air quality on Google to get detailed information.

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