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Voice

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Google Voice gets a new icon, color, and Contacts tab

The Google Voice Android app received an update this week that not only changes the icon and accent colors to match what you'll find in the new Hangouts and Chat, but it also adds a new Contacts tab for quickly accessing your address book.

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Update Notes for Google Voice, Play Store, Translate, YouTube, YouTube Kids, Contacts, and more (August 11, 2018)

Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.

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Google's speech input UI is getting a Material makeover

The speech input interface that is seen in apps like YouTube and the Play Store hasn't been updated for some time. If I'm remembering correctly, the last time it was revised was when the new Google logo replaced the old one, but it had remained largely the same for years before that as well. The company is now testing a Material-based UI that is a much better match for Android's current aesthetic.

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Google Voice v2018.28 moves nav bar to the bottom [APK Download]

More and more Android apps have been switching to bottom nav bars lately. They might not look as nice, but nav bars on the top are just too hard to reach. Google Voice, which returned from the dead last year, is the latest app to join this club, and we've got the APK.

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Google Voice consolidates your message history, integrates GV messages from Hangouts

Back in February, we noticed in a teardown for the Google Voice app that support for text messages originally sent via Hangouts was coming to the app. Note, this is for SMS sent over the Google Voice system, not the old Hangouts SMS integration that died last year. Based on recent reports, that feature is now rolling out to a wider audience.

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Google is rolling out 'voice remote' in YouTube TV

Some Google apps get new features tied to updated versions, but others seem to spawn new things at random intervals when Google deems it appropriate. YouTube TV is one of the latter, and today's new feature is "voice remote." You don't need an app update, but you also can't access voice remote yet unless you are chosen by the Google.

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How to remove your Google voice search history and opt out of future collection

Google's speech recognition technology is insanely good - perhaps the best in the industry. But did you know Google stores all your voice searches? Every time you say "Ok Google" or "Hey Google," a snippet of audio containing the command is sent to the company's servers, where it is deciphered. These audio snippets are stored indefinitely (to improve accuracy), unless you delete them and opt out of future collection.

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Cool, but scary: New Google AI tech can isolate a single voice in a crowd

It's hard enough for us to keep track of who's talking in a loud or crowded party, imagine how difficult it is for automated systems to follow. Speech recognition at a reasonable quality is really only something that's been mastered in the last decade or two, add in conflicting sounds as people talk over each other, and an already tricky problem becomes much harder.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, researchers at Google have been working on isolating sources of audio like speech in videos, and the results they showed off yesterday are kind of incredible and simultaneously terrifying.

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[Update: Beta now live] Google Voice recruiting testers for new Wi-Fi (or mobile data) calling feature

For mobile users juggling a bunch of different devices, Google Voice can be something of a godsend. Not only does it let you share a single point of contact through which people can reach you no matter which phone or tablet you're carrying at the moment, but it does so without requiring the party on the other end to install a specific app — everything travels over regular voice calls and text messages. While that's great for compatibility, there are a number of reasons why you might not want to rely so heavily on the voice-call network, from running low on your monthly minute allocation, to difficulty finding a reliable cellular signal.

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Google Voice v5.9 prepares voicemail greetings to be recorded in-app [APK Teardown]

Good things are happening with Google Voice. While the app normally stays fairly quiet, the last few months have shown a lot of positive attention is going into the service. The surface-level changes in this update aren't too major, but a teardown shows that users will soon get a vastly improved voicemail system that features on-device recording and support for multiple messages.

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