Over the last couple of years, Google has delivered a bunch of features for keeping your health, safety, and wellness in check as part of Digital Wellbeing. The tool originally designed to limit the time you spend on your phone is now picking up another capability that will warn you if you use your phone while walking.
If you've been meaning to try the pro tier of Google's streaming games platform, then you have some quick work to do to try it for free. Lenovo is offering anyone three months of Stadia Pro for free, if you sign up to its Legion Gaming community. You'll also have to jump through a few other hoops, but we've confirmed that it's working for new users in the US, at the very least.
When billion dollar corporations offer to pay you for something you're already doing, take that opportunity while it's there. Starting April 12, Google Pay is launching the Spring Challenge, a 10-day contest to perform tasks that will potentially earn a gift of $30. It's not quite as easy or straightforward as dropping by the store every day to buy packs of gum, but it should be easy enough, and you can even help your friends.
Google is relentless in putting all but its most successful ventures out to pasture — it's one of our least favorite things about the company. Only a week has passed since the imminent removal of its Wifi app was scheduled for June, and already, Google is back for more. This time, the search giant has set its sights on Google Shopping, as the company plans to shut down its dedicated mobile app within the next few weeks.
Outside of their respective price tags, both of Google's most recent Pixel phones have a lot in common, including some special offers for shoppers. Anyone who purchased either Pixel between last October and the upcoming end of this month gained access to a promotion, earning 600 Play Points just for buying the phone. Users could redeem these points for Play Store credit or in-game items with apps like Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go. If you hadn't redeemed your Play Points yet — or you weren't even aware this deal existed — you'll need to keep waiting. Google has suspended the promotion after detecting "technical issues" with the campaign.
Google is responding to reports from multiple sources claiming that its Pixel 5a phone has been canceled, saying that it expects to launch a version of the device in the U.S. and Japan later this year.
Some Pixel owners have noticed over the last couple of monthly updates that their phones have lost Widevine L1 status, falling to L3 and rendering them incapable of playing back some DRM-protected content at high quality. More simply, that means they can't play HD content in apps and services like Netflix. By far the majority of devices are not affected and the cause isn't immediately clear. Google tells us it's aware of these reports and working on a fix, and devices from other manufactures may also be affected.
Call recording is a nifty feature and can come in handy in certain situations. While third-party dialers have offered this feature, Google's Phone app only picked it up last year. Now, it's getting better by letting users record all calls coming from unknown numbers.
Not long ago, Google lacked an alternative to Apple's wireless peer-to-peer file transfer system, AirDrop — another factor along with iMessage that keeps users within Apple's walled garden. This led smartphone companies to come up with their own file sharing solutions, such as OnePlus with its own File Dash. Now that Google has added Nearby Share to Android, OnePlus is letting go of its home-grown alternative.
Nest got its start bringing smart thermostats to the masses, and last year's model went back to basics for its cheapest device yet. As long as you're okay with the switch to plastic and the lack of a rotating ring, Nest's newest gadget is a great way to upgrade to sync your house's temperature with Google Home. Its usual price is already a bargain, but several retailers have it marked down to just $99 today, a deal that you'll want to grab before it's too late.