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the information

11

Google Express may be renamed to Google Shopping, YouTube integration in development

Google Express has been around for years, but it has seen a renewed growth lately. The service has gained hundreds of retailers (while also losing one of its biggest partners), but it's still struggling to compete with Amazon and other online giants. According to a report from The Information, Google has big plans for Express — including a name change.

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39

Xiaomi reportedly wants to buy GoPro

Xiaomi is probably recognizable among our readers for its phones, and maybe even for its earbud headphones. But I doubt many of us think of cameras when we think of the 5th largest smartphone manufacturer. That said, someday we might. According to Bloomberg, Xiaomi is considering making an offer on GoPro.

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26

Amazon reportedly working on a custom chip to make Alexa faster

The smart speaker wars are in full swing, with Amazon and Google dominating most of the market. Amazon's Alexa assistant was first on the scene, but Google Assistant is making progress, particularly with the Home Mini and third-party speakers. According to a report from The Information, Amazon is working on its own AI chip designed to make Alexa-powered devices respond quicker.

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34

Amazon doesn't want ads on Alexa

It's fairly simple to create unobtrusive advertising on computers, phones, tablets, and other devices with a screen - users can simply ignore the ads. However, that doesn't translate to smart speakers, since the only interface is speaking. There's no unobtrusive way to stop in the middle of a sentence and start talking about a sale.

Thankfully, at least for the moment, Amazon agrees that ads have no place on smart speakers. According to a report from The Information, Sony approached Amazon several times about running ads on its Jeopardy Alexa game. The company refused each time, explaining that advertising could alienate users.

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26

The Information: Google To Enter The Chat Bot Market With New Developer Tools, Integrations

The Joneses have new things, so Google decided to jump on the bandwagon. At least, that's according to a report from The Information which says Google is hard at work developing a platform for chat bots in the same vein that Facebook and more recently Microsoft have done. Some, but perhaps not all, the details will be discussed at I/O this week. Details are thin in the report, but the backbone of the initiative seems to be developer tools.

We told you late last year about another rumor from the Wall Street Journal that Google was working on yet another messaging service—to build on their existing, smashing successes—that would be built with a focus on bots.

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356

Report: Nexus Program May Push For Greater Control Of Hardware, Nexus 5X And 6P Not Meeting Sales Goals

A rather lengthy report on The Information was published this morning about the state of Google's Nexus program, and if I had to put it in one word, the state of Nexus seems to be "fluctuating." While there's a lot to chew through here, there are a few talking points worth pulling out specifically to digest and analyze, so let's dive in.

  • Google will take more control over Nexus device development and branding in the future. Maybe.

What does this actually mean? It really is impossible to know. The Information carefully clads these statements in a lot of "ifs," "mays," and "coulds." Google clearly already does nearly all of the aesthetic design on Nexus devices and likely many major feature or hardware decisions - neither the Nexus 5X nor the 6P look anything like what LG or Huawei currently produce.

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67

[Update: Layoffs Confirmed As Part Of Cost-Cutting Plan] Qualcomm Could Lay Off More Than 10% Of Its 30,000 Employees In Its Second-Quarter Earnings Announcement

It's not easy being a chip and component maker in the smartphone industry and trying to turn a profit when competitors are driving the prices down to a point where an entire phone can cost somewhere around $50. It's even harder when the high-end market is being governed by a few players, the major one of whom decides to "dump" your chips and use their own for its flagship. That's Qualcomm's conundrum right now. The company, which has been a mainstay on the spec sheet of a grand majority of the Android phones we talk about here on Android Police, is hitting a rough patch — not enough to sound the alarm sirens, but enough to jeopardize the employment of thousands of its workforce.

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31

Report: Google Is Working On An Operating System For The 'Internet Of Things'

The 'Internet of Things' is a bit of a nebulous concept, but it boils down to adding smart, connected features to the objects and tools you use in everyday life. Things like wearables can loosely be put into this category, but it's usually applied to less conventional products like connected thermostats, home monitors, "smart" appliances, remote car tech, et cetera. It's a growing if somewhat unfocused segment, and according to a report on The Information, Google wants to get in on the ground floor.

dacor-discovery-iq-voice-command

An oven with an Android-powered manager and companion app. Photo source: Engadget

The project, codenamed "Brillo," would create software specifically to power and connect this new class of device.

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15

Rumor: According To The Information, Google's Working On An Ingress TV Show

Google's Ingress, made by Niantic Labs, has been quite a phenomenon. Those who have paid attention know the game has had a storied history since its initial launch as a closed beta in 2012, and a quick Google+ search shows that engagement doesn't really seem to be slowing down. The Ingress YouTube channel continues to pump out content and updates for players on various in-game goings on.

But, according to a report from The Information, Google isn't content to just have a cult hit of a game on its hands. Google has partnered with Sean Daniel Co. to make a television show based on the game, with producers "in talks with candidates to serve as its showrunner." This information comes from "two people who have been involved in the discussions."

Despite this somewhat surprising rumor, The Info is sure to note that this "doesn't appear to reflect a broader move into film or TV production by Google," and that Google "isn't particularly interested in cashing in on Ingress' worldwide audience, instead viewing the TV show as a deeper extension into the game's hybrid reality-fictional world and a way to provide a more intimate connection with its players."

Indeed, the hybrid nature of the game is one of the facets that propelled it to popularity as users choose sides and vie for portals at real-world physical locations, sometimes cooperating across factions to produce "faction art" like this dragon in Norwich.

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72

Rumor: Google's Next Android One Initiative Wants To Make Data Usage For Some Apps Completely Free

The Information is back with another juicy Android rumor today, this time on the subject of Google's Android One initiative, the company's effort to launch low-end handsets in developing countries that offer software updates directly from Google instead of carriers or device OEMs.

According to Amir Efrati, Google is exploring an expansion of Android One's benefits for users in these regions, where mobile data coverage is not only unreliable, but also disproportionately expensive compared to the rest of the world. Google wants to help alleviate some of the mobile data burden on users by "zero rating" data transmission for certain applications.

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