Cough up the dough or start sending customers refunds, Google
The ongoing lawsuit between Google and Sonos probably isn’t in the forefront of anyone's mind right now, but after recently digging into a change YouTube made for the worse on its Chromecast app, I can’t really stop thinking about it. Did you know that if you have a Pixel phone and need to reset a Chromecast or connect it to a new Wi-Fi network, you’re basically screwed? One of the most popular streaming dongles in the world, noted for its simplicity and ease of use, now offers an inconsistent and degraded experience, adding to the other deficiencies Google itself announced for its Nest and Home speakers when it comes to volume adjustments and groups, taking away features and functionality customers paid for.
It looks like Google wants to emphasize the Data Safety section instead
Google recently launched the new Data Safety section on the Play Store. In it, app developers are required to explain what personal data and which permissions they use in order to provide their services. It looks like the company deems the Data Safety section a suitable replacement for the permission list of old. Play Store listings now show a shortcut to an app’s Data Safety section rather than the plain list of all permissions it can ask to get access to.
Not even your favorite big tech companies are immune to economic woes
The current economic landscape globally is painting a grim scenario. As fears of a global recession mount, companies and regular folks are bracing themselves for disaster. And those fears have even reached multi-billion dollar, big tech companies, who are already making moves to cut down unnecessary spending and keep business flowing. Among those is also Google. The approach the company is taking, for now at least, is to address one of the main sources for added expenses — hiring.
Google is firing back at Match Group with its own counterclaims over a Play Store billing grievance
Back in May, Match Group filed suit against Google for requiring that apps distributed through the Play Store use Play's billing, calling it "anticompetitive." If this sounds familiar, it's the same sort of argument Epic Games made against Google and Apple and an argument we've heard from lots of companies with apps on the Play Store now that Google is actually enforcing its billing policies, which were long ignored. Google has now shot back at Match with its own countersuit, claiming that Match is just trying to take advantage of Google's platform reach without adhering to its rules.
Your Android phone will soon come with that promised Google Pay rebranding
Google announced that it would rebrand parts of Google Pay to Google Wallet back in May during its annual developer conference. Some time has passed since then, and we haven't heard much about the company's aspirations. This is now bound to change, as Google has just released the changelog for its latest Google Play system update, rolling out to all Android phones in the background via the Play Store.
Redeeming and using your gift card is easy!
The Google Play Store is the largest app store out there. But it isn't only an app store. It's also a bookstore, video store, game store, and subscription service manager. The Google Play Store is available on all Android devices, including the best Android phones, Android tablets, and Chromebooks.
Selecting who's on the receiving end is getting a lot more convenient
Gmail's web app has been undergoing a few changes lately. Check them out and you'll quickly realize that Google's trying to expand the email service's scope by turning it into a one-stop productivity space. After readying a new Material You-driven look focused on deeper integrations with Meet, Spaces, and Chat, the company will now be rolling out some more visual updates that will help speed up the act of picking recipients.
But it's probably not enough to assuage the feds
Big Tech is increasingly in the sights of US regulators, and Google is at the top of the list. For the last several years, Google has been the target of a Justice Department probe that observers believe will lead to a Microsoft-style lawsuit seeking to break up the search giant. A new report claims that Google is so concerned about the prospects of a suit that it's willing to voluntarily reorganize its ad business. And it's made some interesting offers to the government.
The KakaoTalk messaging app has over 100M downloads, and it's stuck in update limbo
Google has long been wishy-washy about billing rules in the Play Store, but it announced strengthened enforcement in 2020. Not all developers were pleased with the changes, which forbade bypassing the Google Pay system. Epic filed (another) lawsuit, and lawmakers in South Korea passed an in-app payment law known colloquially as the "anti-Google law." It's being put to the test now that the rules have gone into effect. According to local reports, the popular KakaoTalk app is unable to submit updates because includes a link to its website for payments rather than integrating with the Play Store payment platform.
It turns out that hot dogs are an incredibly versatile meal
Hot dogs are some of the most popular snacks or meals for July 4 in the US, with legends saying that this tradition was started as early as the 1910s with hot dog eating contests (though it looks like this was only started in the 70s). The annual trend is something that reflects in Google searches across the country, easily picked up by Google Trends, the company’s division analyzing search term popularity across regions and countries. It would seem that there are all kinds of different hot dogs that pique searcher’s interests, and a new US map published on Twitter reveals just how diverse hot dogs are across the country.
It's hard to say 'no' to Google
In many sectors, Google has grown its way into becoming one of the biggest targets for European scrutiny. From antitrust allegations galore to concerns over privacy, the company has had to navigate through billions of euros in fines and plenty of new regulations in the wake of its own transgressions. And you can expect more legal challenges to come as consumer protection agencies across Europe are taking such steps against the tech giant for steering consumers into accepting corporate surveillance.
This little feature is definitely meant to appease the tablet lovers
When it comes to note-taking, Google likes to play it simple with Keep. Unfortunately, though, many would-be users find the app a bit too simple, missing out on some basic features. So, the company's doing something about it. Following the recent addition of a couple of text formatting goodies, Google Keep is now getting a new feature that makes it easier to move images around the apps you need.
One more app is bringing your Google One storage to the fore
Your Google One cloud storage is shared across a bunch of apps like Gmail, Drive, and Photos — whether it’s the free 15GB you get by default for all new accounts or you’ve paid to get extra, it can easily get spread thin. But for some of us, we sometimes forget it’s even there until we can't back up another photo or we're being urged to delete emails. Now, Google is adding one more place where you can keep track of your storage by incorporating a reminder of sorts in Gmail.
Google is also debuting a Gmail-only view for users who don’t care about Chat and Meet
In February this year, Google announced a new integrated view for Gmail on the web with deeper Meet, Spaces, and Chat integration. Back then, you had to opt-in to try the layout, i.e., if interested, you had to manually enable the option to try out the new Gmail look. That's changing now, as Google is rolling out the new experience with a coat of Material You on top for a small section of users on an opt-out basis, meaning it will automatically enable the new UI for them. The layout is also being tweaked so as not to thrust Chat and Meet on users.
The Internet Archive has also signed on with the non-profit foundation
Google's success largely stems from its ability to connect users with the data they're looking for, and sometimes that means working with a few partners. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit entity behind Wikipedia itself, established a new offering called Wikimedia Enterprise in 2021 as a paid service for big tech companies that access a lot of Wikipedia data, helping them to work with it more efficiently. It's only now starting to announce partners who have signed up to take advantage, and Google is among the first.
Austria, France, and now Italy are now telling webmasters to switch away
The European Union has been after Google for abuse of its monopoly power in mobile search engines and applications. Now, a growing number of countries in the union are going after the use of Google Analytics for violations against the General Data Protection Regulation.
With big legal decisions come complicated consequences
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision which overturned federal protections of abortion rights, institutions and employers are scrambling to respond with new policies that will support women in their organizations who are seeking to terminate their pregnancies, but live in a state that has banned abortions. Google is one of them.
Finding the right music to match your mood is a little easier now
It's up for debate whether YouTube Music suggests better songs and playlists to you than Spotify and Apple Music, but there's no doubt that they're getting better on the Google-owned music service. The streaming platform is one of the few out there that lets you pick music based on moods — namely Chill, Focus, Workout, and Energy — right from the home screen. While that was great, you still had to select one of these moods to get the appropriate playlist recommendations; something that's been made a little more straightforward now.
It's rolled out on both Android and iOS
Not long ago, Google announced a bunch of changes to the Google Home app that made it easier to adjust various features on your smart home devices. It replaced the large device icons on the home screen with more convenient interactive tiles and tweaked the app settings to allow greater control. As part of that announcement, several additional changes involving the home feed were revealed to be on the way — and they're now being rolled out on Android and iOS widely.
LGBTQ+ owned businesses have a new attribute they can use on their verified business profile
Google services like Maps and Search have become increasingly important for small business owners to thrive in our always-connected age. In that vein, the company has made it a point to be as inclusive as possible. In 2020, Google added an identity attribute so merchants with a verified Business profile could show if they're Black-owned, a measure that came on the heels of heightened US race relations throughout the last several years. Now, to commemorate Pride Month, Google is adding yet another identity attribute to the list — this time, to highlight LGBTQ+-owned businesses.