What You Missed Last Month in Google
1. A More Affordable Smartphone, by Google
Google is reportedly planning to launch more affordable smartphone models, to compete with what may have become a saturated market of premium-priced mobile devices. Last week, Samsung unveiled its $1,980 Galaxy Fold, while the latest generation of Google’s own Pixel phone is currently priced at $599.
The rumored lower-range Google phone is said to be priced at a lesser cost than the cheapest smartphone available from Apple: the iPhone XR ($749). Apple has experienced mobile-related woes this year with missed iPhone sales estimates, which have been blamed on its premium price points — creating what many some say is a catalyst for Google’s push into this newer area affordable hardware.
2. Coming Soon: “Link to This Excerpt” in Chrome
Google’s Chrome internet browser is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to share links to a specific word or sentence on a page.
Similar to how YouTube allows viewers to share a link to videos that forces them to start playing from a certain timestamp, Chrome has introduced a “Scroll to Text” feature, which creates a link that targets a specific section of text on a page.
According to Chrome Story, the feature is slowly becoming available on the Canary version of Chrome, a primary purpose of which is to let developers try new browser features.
3. Gaming, by Google
Google recently announced that it will be making a keynote at the annual Game Developers Conference this month, the details of which have otherwise been shrouded in mystery. But some are reporting that it will serve as a venue for the formal unveiling of the company’s gaming hardware, which could pair with its games-streaming service, Project Stream.
Project Stream was previously available in beta until January, but now, sources have told 9to5Google that it will reemerge with supporting hardware, allowing users to play numerous games through their Chrome browsers, in what some have called a “Netflix-like … streaming platform.”
The keynote is scheduled to take place on March 19th at 10:00 AM PST.
4. Apple Music Could Be Coming to Google Devices
For a brief moment in February, an Apple Music icon briefly appeared on one user’s Google Home iOS app. Why that matters: While other music streaming services are able to integrate with Google Home, like Spotify, Apple Music has never been one of them.
According to MacRumors, “We were able to track down the Apple Music listing within the Google Home app for iOS devices, but at the current time, it can’t be linked to a Google Home device.”
But the brief appearance suggests that Apple Music could soon become a music streaming option on such Google smart devices as the Home, Home Hub, or Chromecast — and for context, Amazon added Apple Music to its Echo-supported streaming services in December.
5. An AI-Powered Grammar Checker Comes to Google Docs
Last July, Google announced that it would roll out an artificial-intelligence (AI)-powered grammar checker to business users of its Docs feature. What makes it unique: machine-taught technology can recognize a range of grammatical errors — from tense usage, articles, and the subordination of clauses — and suggest corrections in real time.
Now, that feature has rolled out globally to all G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise customers. The suggestions will appear as “inline, contextual grammar suggestions in their documents as [you] type,” the official statement says, “just like spellcheck.
6. No Spam Here
File this story under “Google’s AI,” again: An additional 100 million spam messages are now being blocked on Gmail each day, thanks to TensorFlow, its machine learning technology.
While Gmail already had relatively strong spam filters in place prior to this new assistance from TensorFlow, they were previously mostly rule-based, which essentially means that the platform can filter spam messages based on a predetermined set of rules.
With the help of AI, however, more granular elements of spam can be detected thanks to constantly-trained algorithms, which can learn over time what else might signal an email of this nature.
7. A Look Back at Google’s Biggest Artificial Intelligence Projects
Many of us make use of Google’s artificial intelligence tools every day — often without realizing it. Here’s a look at some of the company’s biggest A.I. projects over the past year.
8. This New Google Maps Feature Tells Us Why AR Is so Important
Wouldn’t it be nice if GPS actually showed you where you were going — could superimpose your route into your real-world surroundings? Google is making that possible for some users, thanks to augmented reality.
9. A Closer Look at Google’s Fight Against Disinformation
Google recently published an extensive white paper detailing how it fights misinformation across Search, News, YouTube, and Ads. But to some, the system comes with its share of issues. Here’s a closer look at what Google says it’s doing, as well as the areas where those efforts might not work.