YouTube has started testing two new so-called "experiments" across its various platforms: A new sign-in reminder prompt that may appear on the web and TV devices, and a new search bar on Android that replaces the old search icon. It still looks nothing like search bar Google uses for all its other apps, but YouTube's known for sticking with its own entirely different design choices for no good reason. Read More
As part of the ongoing Android 11 beta release festivities, Google just published a new video for developers detailing how the company plans to change how you sign into apps and services. That might sound boring, but the changes described are huge. Google is rolling out an entirely new system called Block Store, and if developers actually use it, signing back in with your apps on a new phone will be as easy as restoring from a backup during the setup process. Read More
Google appears to be testing a new welcome page for its Chrome browser. The change jazzes up the previously boring, mostly blank white page with a splattering of colorful shapes, larger text, and bigger buttons — though it seems to be in a very limited rollout for the time being. Read More
As part of the 2-step verification settings on your Google Account, there's an option to sign in via a simple 'yes' or 'no' prompt on your phone. This allows you to kick out anyone who's trying to sign in as you while also making it easy to sign in yourself. There's now an additional toggle to enable this on all phones you're currently signed in to. Read More
Passwords are a necessary nuisance in our modern digital lives: they help keep our accounts and personal data safe, but they're a hassle to keep track of and type out every time you need to log in somewhere. Android's Smart Lock for Passwords makes everything much easier by letting users automatically logging in on Android, as long as the password is synced to their Google account. Somewhat unfortunately, though, each app has to be updated to work with Smart Lock, so support isn't as ubiquitous as one could hope. Thankfully, many developers eventually do add support for Smart Lock, and the NBC app is just the latest one on that list. Read More
Not a fan of passwords? Microsoft yesterday announced a new feature for users of the Microsoft Authenticator app that allows the sign-in process on Microsoft accounts to be done using a phone instead. Users can link their phone with an account and receive an interactive notification after entering their username, allowing them to bypass the need to input a password. Read More
Before I got this job, I was a flashaholic. Every week I was trying at least one new ROM, which meant signing back into all of my apps for each new installation. For you Waze users, you have one less app to worry about remembering login credentials for. The latest update brings with it Smart Lock for signing back in, and all of your maps and points will be restored. Read More
Rohit Paul, also known as user rp1226 on Reddit, is lucky enough to be invited to test a new feature on Google. It's all about signing in to your Google account without having to bother with passwords and two-step authentication. It relies on you having your phone nearby and using it to let yourself in.
According to the screenshots Rohit posted and the email he got from Google, this works by first setting it up on your compatible phone. Read More
Google began rolling out v8.3 of the Play services framework a few weeks ago, and it looks like it's in a wide release. While this version didn't present with any direct user-facing features and only a few cryptic hints for a teardown, it did bring some definite improvements to the Play services SDK. There are some changes to streamline the sign-in experience for app developers and users alike, along with some additional enhancements that should make it easier for developers to set up new user accounts. New APIs have also been added to make data delivery more efficient between a phone and an Android Wear watch. Read More
In Part 1 of this teardown, we saw what may be the return of [email protected], or at least something similar. There were also new pieces to Nearby, Google's unique technology for finding two devices (and people) in close proximity, and a possible (subtle) change to the way Smart Lock responds to wearable devices. In Part 2, we'll continue with the possible centralization of Chrome Sync to Play services, project Sidewinder, a mysterious appearance by Facebook, and more.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.