Technology, Top News

Google Updates: Hear, Wear and everywhere

OUR USUAL Friday afternoon trawl through the best-of-the-rest in stories about Google and related companies starts here. As ever, you can keep up with our longer Google-related news by going here.

First up, in the same week as Microsoft revealed its “almost finished” Dark Mode for Windows, Google has given us a nice surprise with the arrival of a Dark Mode for Messages, the stock SMS app in Android. We didn’t spot this one coming. It looks goooood!

Google Assistant fans can also rejoice as both Deezer and Pandora (not in the UK sadly) are now available as your default music player for Google Home and Home Mini. It comes as rumours of a version with a screen, with the Google branding, begin to swirl ahead of the big hardware launch we’re expecting soon.

Google Goggles, the forerunner of Google Lens, which was pretty breathtaking at the time, has now been given the last rights. All functionality has been removed, instead offering a link to download the Google Lens app. Bye Bye Goggles. Say hello to Google Glass for us when you get there.

More annoyance for Pixel 2 owners upgrading to Pie. As well as killing off some key functionality, including fast charging, users of the Pixel 2 XL are saying that their phones are proper sluggish since the update. Sometimes with Android phones, a full reset does the trick, but this seems to be a more significant case of borkage. The quick charge issue is being addressed in a future update.

If you’re a hearing aid user, good news. The company has teamed up with GN (whose parent company owns the more familiar Jabra brand) to create hearing aid support for Android. But that’s not all. It is being created as an open standard, meaning other manufacturers will be able to design compatible products too.

There are rumours of Google’s first big bricks and mortar store, coming to Chicago. Details are sketchy, but this looks like a concept store and it could lead to more branches if it works. Microsoft and Apple have had huge success in the bricks and mortar department, and so, yeah, Google – why not?

It’s looking like the Wear OS revival is in full swing. We’re expecting a number of new devices to appear at IFA this year, and a new chipset specifically designed for watches are on the way. But what about apps, must of which are awful? Google is on it. All submitted apps will now be quality assured before being added to the Play Store, something that historically Google has always resisted.

That’s about it for this week. No apps – there’s too much news, but keep sending us any suggestions for free or reduced apps that you love and we’ll include them in future weeks. μ

Source : Inquirer

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