Consumers rely on Google Maps for up-to-date information about local businesses. In these uncertain economic times, supporting local business owners has become even more of a priority for many people. Now Google is introducing a new identity attribute to highlight Black-owned stores in communities across the United States.
Google just released Chrome 90 to the beta channel. There aren't too many UI changes or new features for us regular folks on the surface, but under the hood, Google is working on a whole slew of improvements that you'll certainly notice once the latest beta goes stable. You'll get enhancements to copy-and-paste, better AR models, and support for a new codec that uses less bandwidth during video conferences.
COVID-19 may have thrown a wrench into people's holiday plans, but Google's Santa Tracker is back to keep us company while we're stuck at home. And this year, Google has given it a simple modification that makes it feel very 2020: gifting a pair of purple masks to Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Even though cable cutting is a real thing these days, live TV is still pretty popular, especially when it comes to sporting events. Though the fans in the stands may look differently due to COVID-19, at-home viewing hasn't changed much. Now Google is trying to make it a little easier by quickly showing live TV options for games, leagues, teams, and even normal TV channels.
Google has gotten bigger over the years, and that increased market share has come at the cost of increased scrutiny. The Department of Justice filed a massive antitrust lawsuit against the company in October, and last month we learned that more might be on the way. Those predictions have now come to pass, as a collection of nearly 40 states has filed a new suit against Google accusing it of "building an impenetrable moat around its kingdom." But it may be a while before this litigious jousting match goes to trial.
Google produces some of the best still photography with its Pixel phones, but its method is more than just magic. Instead, it's the result of hard technical labor and lots of machine learning models. When Google introduced a refined portrait mode on the Pixel 3, it utilized a wacky 5-phone case to train its ML models — but the rig the company created to enable its new Portrait Light mode might be even wilder.
Chrome 88 was released only last week, marking the release of the Manifest V3 extension API, changes to password management, and the official death of Adobe Flash support. Chrome 89 has now arrived in the Beta Channel, and it seems to be an even bigger release — even if many of its changes are hidden to most people. Let's dive in!
Google first introduced "hum to search" capabilities for the Google app back in October. Now the company has partnered with Billboard to publish a list that charts the top 100 songs people have searched for by humming or singing into the Google app and Google Assistant.
Not too long ago, Google disgruntled many power users by changing a shortcut in Chrome related to custom searches. Instead of being able to follow up a trigger word with a tap of the space bar to start the custom search, people were forced to use the tab key. Google quickly reverted the change as it became apparent that people weren't willing to adjust their muscle memory that much, but the company isn't done messing around with the shortcut just yet. It's currently experimenting with requiring double tapping space.
One of many useful features in Google Search, 'featured snippets' pulls answers to common, simple questions from relevant web pages and puts them front and center when you enter a query. Usually, tapping through to the article Google got the answer from does nothing other than take you to that page, but new behavior has been observed whereby it will scroll you to the snippet on that page.