When it comes to privacy, smart speakers tread on a fine line between serving commands or playing content and listening in on everything you're doing. However, engineers at Security Research Labs have been able to cross that line using a series of building blocks that comprise Amazon Alexa's Skills as well as Google Assistant's Actions, making us aware of the ways some malevolent developers can capture our data. Read More
Google has allowed developers to sell physical items from Assistant in the past, but now it's expanding that to digital goods and services. That means developers can sell things like subscriptions or in-game content via custom Actions without ever bouncing you out of Assistant. There are also improvements coming to Google sign-ins to make this process easier. And guess what? It's US-only to start. Shocking, I know. Read More
Google Assistant has added a "Your Actions" shortcut at the bottom of the Explore tab that, when pressed, shows a handful of actions you have linked, with the option to view a full list. This is the first centralized location for this information; previously, it was hard to tell which services you'd linked to Assistant and which you hadn't. Read More
Google's cute little AI camera, Clips, was made to take pictures at opportune times without human oversight. Previously, it was restricted to triggering at things like faces and poses. Now, though, Google has updated the device to recognize a few new scenarios you may want clips of, as well as pair with more than one phone to more easily share those clips with multiple people. Read More
Google has been pushing out new updates to its self-named app with unusual vigor over the last few weeks. Despite an aggressive release schedule, there are still quite a few additions and clues about future changes. The latest update actually brings some visible changes if you look into Actions on Assistant; but more importantly, there are a handful of clues about future enhancements to Actions, the home screen widget, and more. Read More
A beta update to the Google app has been making the rounds. As usual, there's not much new to see after installing this release, but many changes are awaiting Google to flip a switch before going live. Also following the usual pattern, there's a teardown of the APK that provides plenty of hints about what's to come. Version 7.24 reveals plans for a floating bubble with current sports scores that remains visible on top of other apps, an effect for the Google search box, a mysterious new project called Valyrian, assorted follow-ups for the Pixel Buds, home automation, and more.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Wouldn't it be great if upon waking up you could say "Ok Google, good morning" to have your lights and coffee machine turned on while the news is read to you? Similarly, when you go to bed, it would be great if you could say "goodnight" to have your lights dimmed and your security system activated. Well, soon™ you'll be able to, thanks to new multi-step actions that can be added to everyday 'routines.' Read More
Tasker is one of the most popular apps out there for modders and tinkerers, and it recently got a big makeover. The version 5 update included a major visual overhaul, bringing it in line with the material design we see in most modern Android apps. If you've been looking to try Tasker out but have been put off by the price tag, now's the time to give it a go. It's down to 99 cents on the Play Store (89 pence in the UK), which is frankly a steal for such a feature-rich app. Read More