AR animals came to the Google app at just the right moment earlier this year, when many of us were stuck inside due to the pandemic and in need of cheering up. Since the feature first launched in April, Google has steadily added to the available creatures with various mammals, insects, fish, birds, and even several species of dinosaur. The latest critters all have one thing in common: they hail from down under.
Although Google Maps still doesn't have dark theme support, a workaround as been spotted that could give us a glimpse of what the feature will look like when it does arrive. Some searches in the Google app load their own stripped-down Maps view, and if you can get the app to work in dark theme on your phone, that Maps view is dressed up in a snazzy dark theme, too.
After a large number of complaints about a bug affecting Assistant on Android Auto, Google has finally released a fix along with the latest version of the Google app that should put the issue to bed. A post outlining the problem on the Android Auto support site received more than 1,200 upvotes and a similar number of replies from other afflicted users.
Google introduced Chrome custom tabs five years ago, and most apps use them these days. Instead of creating their own custom browsers, developers can just hand over websites to a Chrome tab without the added bulk of a regular browser interface. The advantage is that devs don't have to spend resources on creating their own webview implementations and that users can quickly open these custom tabs in proper Chrome without reloading or losing their scroll position. It's a great system. But Google wouldn't be Google if it stuck with a great system (looking at you, YouTube Music).
Last year, both Google and Apple added dark theming options into their mobile operating systems, with many system apps supporting the feature. Some apps took longer than others, though, like Google's own search app. We reported that its dark theme was available through the Play Store Beta program earlier this year, and now the feature is rolling out to all users on Android 10.
You can turn your home into a zoo thanks to Google's AR animals, but so far, you haven't been able to video record your interactions with tigers, alligators, bears, and others. As reported by 9to5Google, the company saw fit to change that and has silently introduced a video recording feature to its 3D viewer that lets you capture your AR visitors on video. That also works for other Google objects like skeletons, cars, planets, and more.
It's been nearly a year since the Google app added an incognito search mode, but anyone who's used that option noticed one major oversight: Once you tap on a search result, it opens in a Chrome Custom Tab, which is saved into your Google account, and thus gets logged into your browsing history. If you'd like your entire search to remain incognito, you need another solution, and that's what the Google app is now starting to offer.
The dark mode rollout was a pretty smooth experience for some of Google's apps, which received a single update with a new toggle for dark/light/automatic theme and that was the end of it. For other apps, it's been a rollercoaster of updates, rollbacks, server-side switches, and inconsistent experiences across Android versions and phone brands. Google's search app is one of the latter, but the company now claims dark theme is available to everyone on the app's beta channel.
While many bilinguals have their issues with Google's speech-to-text algorithms, native speakers or those who have their phones set to one language only generally don't suffer from too harsh inconsistencies. But Google has started adding an incredibly error-prone automatic punctuation feature to its voice typing input method that can't be turned off, and it's driving. People. Nuts.
Google and Google Assistant's relationship with stocks has been messy, to say the least. Even though you can add stocks and view your portfolio in the Assistant's settings, you can't ask it to tell you what your shares are at without integrating third parties. But there's some movement, as the Google app has begun sending out neatly bundled daily stock notifications to some people, giving them an overview of how their investments are doing.