Teardown November 30

The latest update to Stadia for Android, version 3.44, is rolling out now via the Play Store and includes early work on a revamped search feature, livestream spectating, and more.

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Teardown November 22

With the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, Now Playing gained a manual lookup capability that appears as a search button on the homescreen. The next Pixel update to Now Playing will introduce the ability to favorite songs and a bottom bar redesign.

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Teardown November 21

With the Pixel 6, Google announced a big upgrade for At a Glance that it’s been teasing since the Material You reel shared at I/O in May. At a Glance is now set to get even more features that justify the new design that spans the entire width of the Pixel Launcher.

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Teardown November 9

In July of last year, we spotted development of an “Assistant Chat Head” that never ended up launching. Google is now working on a more useful “Search bubble” chat head that provides quick access to text and voice lookup.

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Teardown November 5

Google is all-in on Rich Communication Services (RCS) as its main consumer messaging strategy. That said, Google Messages is working on the ability to have video usually sent over MMS be sent using Google Photos instead.

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Teardown October 6

Last month, we detailed Google’s work on a feature that lets you skip Assistant’s hotword for select commands. On phones, Assistant “Quick phrases” work differently and in a somewhat more limited manner.

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Teardown September 28

New Pixel phones released in the fall usually launch with exclusive software features that later become available on older Google phones. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be the first to feature Material You weather widgets powered by the Google app. 

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Teardown September 24

The latest version of Stadia for Android includes continued work toward adding voice chat, “Instant Trials” for Stadia store games, and more.

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Teardown September 21

After redesigning the Weather app, Google’s next step is introducing Android 12 homescreen widgets. We enabled the first one last week, and the second Google widget coming is straight from the Pixel 6’s Material You advertising

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Teardown September 13

The ability to “Test device speed” was one of the last remaining features of the old Google Wifi app that had yet to be migrated to Google Home with June’s Wi-Fi redesign. An update today introduces that check, and reveals work on ISP access to your Google/Nest Wifi router.

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Teardown September 12

For the past few years, Google has been working on a “Better Together” initiative to make the experience of owning an Android phone and Chromebook more seamless. Integrations today include a prominent Phone Hub, Instant Tethering, and Smart (Un)Lock. As we reported in February, the latest feature in this family is codenamed “Eche,” and we now know a lot more about the Android side of things. Google Pixel phones look to be the first devices that can “Push” and mirror apps to Chromebooks.

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Teardown September 10

Android 12 brings a renewed focus on widgets with Google Photos and Clock — just this week — serving as key examples. YouTube Music is working on a Material You widget, and we’ve enabled a preview of it.

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Teardown September 1

Back in April, we told you about an in-development “Guacamole” feature that will let you use Assistant without hotwords. This Google Assistant capability will launch as “Quick phrases,” and we now know more about how it works.

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Teardown August 25

The latest update to the Stadia app, version 3.31, includes continued work toward a touch gamepad for Android TV, a new “magic linking” method for controllers, and more.

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Teardown August 22

Earlier this week, Gboard widely rolled out its Material You redesign and Dynamic Color theme on Android 12. The Google keyboard is also set to get more MY elements and a redesign of settings.

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Teardown August 12

Google is preparing to upgrade its “Find My Device” system to use other Androids to anonymously find your lost phone, as well as gain the ability to protect data on a lost vehicle.

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Teardown August 10

With the launch of the Nest Cam line and Doorbell, Google is requiring the Home app and bringing over a slew of legacy features from the old companion client. Google Home 2.42 adds support for the new security cameras, and reveals works on two other efforts.

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Teardown August 5

The latest update to Stadia for Android, version 3.28, works toward taking screenshots and accessing Assistant with third-party controllers, joining parties from your phone, and more.

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Teardown July 20

One of the most exciting promises of Stadia on Android TV is that you can get great video games directly on your smart TV, all you may need to buy is a controller. The latest update to Stadia for Android continues working toward playing games on your TV using your phone as a controller.

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Teardown July 12

After an update last month focused on Wi-Fi management, the latest version of the Google Home app greatly improves the Nest Hello experience with more controls.

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Teardown July 1

Android 12 brings with it a renewed focus on widgets as part of letting users better customize their devices to reflect them. As we first reported last night, Google Photos is working on a “Your memories” widget for Android. 

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Teardown June 28

The latest update to Stadia for Android points to a promo for YouTube Premium members and includes more work toward using your phone as a controller for Stadia on your TV.

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Teardown June 22

Yesterday, Google launched a new app in preparation for Stadia to be available on Android TV and Google TV devices. We’ve found that the new Android TV app is designed completely differently from how Stadia for Android works.

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Teardown June 18

Android 12 this fall will introduce support for digital car keys. With our phones growing ever more capable, losing them will become a greater and greater inconvenience. As such, the Find My Device process will incorporate deleting and suspending car keys if you misplace your phone.

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The latest beta version of Play services rolled out last evening to reveal that Google is working on a “Find My Device network” capability named “Spot” that leverages your Android phone to locate other devices. 

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Teardown June 17

One of the key aspects of the Pixel Launcher experience is “At A Glance,” which has seen a handful of weather-related tweaks in recent months. Google is now planning to overhaul the capability into “Live Space” and better integrate it on with Assistant on Pixel phones running Android 12.

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Teardown June 10

Android 12 Beta 2 launched yesterday with the wallpaper-based theming announced at Google I/O. We already provided a preview of the upcoming support in Google Messages, and now here’s an early look at the Material You “Dynamic Color” theme in the works for Gboard.

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Teardown June 9

Just over three weeks ago, Google announced Material You as its hyper-personalized design system for creating apps that adapt to users, specifically their Android wallpapers. It will take some time for all apps to get updated, but here’s an early look at Material You theming for Google Messages.

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Teardown June 4

The latest update to the Stadia app for Android includes work toward filters for the store, the ability to voice chat with friends, the much-anticipated Google TV app, and more.

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Teardown June 2

The last visual revamp for Assistant in late 2020 saw the light bar come to all Android devices. Google is now working on what looks to be a new design that takes advantage of dropdown menus to show more information, while Assistant is getting new microphone sounds.

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Teardown June 1

Google TV appears to be getting ready to support separate profiles on its home page, complete with tailored recommendations.

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Teardown May 27

The latest update to the Fitbit app contains the beginnings of nighttime snoring and noise detection, along with a cute way to think about your sleeping habits.

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Teardown May 20

After the Now Playing screen got updated earlier this year, the rest of the Google Podcasts is getting a revamp. The changes aren’t major, but there are a number of great usability upgrades for longtime users. 

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Teardown May 14

Earlier this month, our colleagues at 9to5Mac reported that Apple Music would be gaining “HiFi” streaming options, possibly with iOS 14.6. Today, we find that the Apple Music app for Android is also working toward lossless audio streaming.

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Teardown May 7

Stadia for Android is preparing a new “bridge mode” to use your phone and connected accessories as a controller to play games on your TV.

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Google’s Android Auto just picked up another update, and this time around, it seems to be addressing a longstanding issue. Android Auto is about to added support for Android’s Work Profiles feature.

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Teardown May 5

Google next month will stop providing unlimited free backup in Photos. Although existing Pixel phones are exempted, future devices — as of today — will miss out on a great perk that helps emphasize the camera. An update to Google Photos today reveals apparent work on a new “Storage saver” tier that will be “free and unlimited” for Pixel.

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Teardown April 18

At the end of last year, Google One added a VPN on higher-tier plans to help build out the subscription offering. Still only available on Android, the Google One app is working on the ability to “block internet if VPN disconnects.”

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Teardown April 17

The latest update to the Stadia app for Android, version 3.12, includes references to new referral bonuses, an exclusive avatar, and continued work on Google TV support.

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Teardown April 12

Google’s Android Auto has become an important tool for many users and, soon, it may introduce a new “Connectivity Troubleshooter” which could make it easier to figure out problems with your connection.

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Teardown March 30

Version 2.35 of the Google Home app is rolling out on Android and iOS with some user-facing tweaks. The Home companion client today also reveals the backside of a new Google Nest device, which could be a next-generation Hello doorbell.

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Teardown March 24

The very first iteration of Assistant for phones was focused on voice commands until Google in 2018 added Smart Display-inspired visual elements like on-screen controls. Last year, a Snapshot feed to show personalized recommendations and upcoming events was added. Overall, Google wants Assistant to be better suited for and take advantage of the phone form factor, and an upcoming “Memory” feature — which we enabled — is the most significant example of that goal to date.

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Teardown March 11

Since the start of this year, Google has been working on a revamped Now Playing screen for its Podcasts app on Android. Based on what we enabled, that modernization is to make way for more advanced recommendations.

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Teardown March 9

Over the weekend, Google rolled out an update to their Pixel series’ Camera app, and in it our team has discovered some interesting tidbits about the likely Pixel 6 and Pixel 5a, particularly about the front-facing cameras used on the two phones.

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Teardown March 1

The Google TV app for Android has received an update that includes the beginnings of a universal remote to connect to Android TV devices, which could replace the long-outdated Android TV Remote Control app.

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Since the launch of the Pixel 3, the Pixel Stand has been Google’s signature wireless charger with exclusive features not offered for other wireless chargers. Now it seems the Pixel Stand app has added a new bedtime reminder with a shortcut to sleep sounds.

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Teardown February 22

Following a small tweak to the notification experience last week, Google’s next feature for Wear OS looks to be a Screen Recording tool. Similar in implementation to screenshots, evidence of this functionality appears in an update to the Wear OS Android companion app today. 

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Teardown February 16

Paying for YouTube across the main service and Music lets you download content for offline access. YouTube TV will soon let you download media for offline access.

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