The just-announced Pixel 5 has somehow already been unboxed

See the original posting on The Verge

The Pixel 5, Google’s latest Android flagship, was just announced today, and someone on YouTube has already posted an unboxing video of the new device ahead of its release (via 9to5Google).

What’s in the box is fairly standard — there’s the phone itself, as well as a charger, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a USB-C to USB-A converter. The YouTube user who has the phone, who goes by the name Sergiu, does power it on, giving us a look at the phone’s 6-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED screen and 8-megapixel hole-punch selfie camera. Sergiu doesn’t use the phone all that much in the video, though, sticking mostly to the phone’s home screen.

Sergiu also zooms in on back of the Pixel 5, showing the phone’s aluminum back, fingerprint sensor, and square…

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A New Google Assistant Feature, ‘Hold For Me,’ Waits On Hold So You Don’t Have To

See the original posting on Slashdot

“In previous years, [Google] launched Call Screen to vet your incoming calls, Duplex for restaurant reservations, and just this month, a feature called Verified Calls that will tell you who is calling and why,” reports TechCrunch. Today, Google introduced a feature called “Hold For Me,” which will make the Google Assistant stay on the line for you when you’re placed on hold, then alert you when someone picks up. From the report: In the short demo of “Hold for Me,” Google showed how a Pixel device owner is able to activate the new feature after they’ve been placed on hold. This is done by tapping a new button that appears on the phone screen above the buttons for muting the call, turning on speakerphone, and the other in-call phone controls. Once activated, you’re alerted with a message that says “Don’t hand up,” where you’re advised that Google Assistant is listening to the call for you, so you can do other things.

A button is also available on this screen that lets you tap to return to the call at any time, and below that an on-screen message says “music playing” to indicate if the Google Assistant is still hearing the hold music. You can also choose to press the red hang up button to end the call from this screen. When a person comes on the line, the device will alert you it’s time to return to the call. Google says the new feature will come to its new Pixel 5 devices, which will soon be followed by its older-generation Pixel phones via the next “Pixel feature drop” roll out.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

One of Google Stadia’s most interesting features, Crowd Choice, is finally coming this week

See the original posting on The Verge

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Google has always wanted its cloud game-streaming service, Stadia, to change how YouTube streamers interact with their fans. Nearly ten months after release, Google is finally bringing its “Crowd Choice” feature to its first two games. Crowd Choice allows viewers to vote on, say, which team a streamer joins in the game, which piece of dialogue they pick, or other in-game choices the player might make. The streamer can ultimately decide if they want to follow the audience’s suggestion or make their own choice.

On October 1st, Dead by Daylight will launch on Stadia Pro, and it will be the first game to integrate Crowd Choice. In Dead by Daylight, the feature gives the audience a chance to vote whether the streamer should be a “killer” who…

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Google Announces the Pixel 5 for $699

See the original posting on Slashdot

Google has officially taken the wraps off of the $699 Pixel 5, its latest Android flagship. From a report: Compared to last year’s Pixel 4, Google is focusing less on dramatic new technology — like the much-hyped Motion Sense gestures on last year’s model — and emphasizing instead the unique features that already help set the Pixel apart, like its stand-out camera software. The Pixel 5 will feature a Snapdragon 765G processor — notably not the top-tier Snapdragon 865 or 865 Plus — complete with Qualcomm’s integrated X52 modem for 5G support (a benefit of the slightly less powerful chipset.) It’s a break from the usual Pixel strategy, which has sought to offer comparable flagship specs to other top Android devices from companies like Samsung or OnePlus — but it also means that Google can offer the new phone at a lower price. Google is calling out a few things that separate out the Pixel 5 from the newly announced Pixel 4A, including IPX8 water-resistance, reverse wireless charging, more RAM, and a stronger Corning Gorilla Glass 6 panel. Notably, it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, though, something that its cheaper siblings offer. The display is a 6-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED panel in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio with a 90Hz refresh rate, which features a hole-punch selfie camera. Thanks to the removal of the Motion Sense camera — and the hefty top bezel it required for its radar array — there’s now a full edge-to-edge display this time, with no notch or bezels.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google’s Chromecast with Google TV is Its First Real Streaming Contender

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An anonymous reader shares a report: For the better part of the last decade, Google’s Chromecast dongles were the company’s primary homegrown solution for streaming video to your TV. But with the recent explosion in streaming services, even the most sophisticated Chromecast wasn’t really cutting it anymore, which is something the new Chromecast with Google TV is hoping to change in a big way, but bringing an actual streaming device OS to a Chromecast dongle. The big change for this new $50 Chromecast is that it’s not your typical Chromecast at all. Sure, it still plugs in via HDMI and you can still use it to stream videos and content to your TV from your phone. However, instead of being based around the very basic Chromecast interface, this new Chromecast runs on Android TV platform which Google has improved with an enhanced UI and a few new features, which is where the Google TV part of Chromecast with Google TV comes in.

And when you factor in the Chromecast with Google TV’s new dedicated remote these upgrades could completely change how you watch and interact with content. Starting with the hardware, the Chromecast with Google TV consists of two parts: there’s the dongle that plugs into your TV and Google’s included remote. For the Chromecast with Google TV, Google is going with a simple ovular puck that comes in three different colors (Snow, Sunrise, and Sky) and features an attached HDMI cable that plugs into your TV along with a USB-C port and bundled cable that you’ll need to plug in for power. The Chromecast with Google TV comes with support for 4K video at 60 fps with HDR via Dolby Vision, which ticks all the major boxes when it comes to streaming video quality.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Here’s how the new Pixel 5 compares with the Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 4A

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Photo: Google

Google’s fall hardware event ended this afternoon after a breezy 30 minutes of rapid-fire product announcements, with the stars of the show being the new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A with 5G. Google now has three primary smartphones; two midrange ones (one with 5G and one without) and one flagship. That’s a refreshingly simple lineup, compared with some of the messier, more bloated offerings from competitors.

But that doesn’t mean choosing between the devices is necessarily clear-cut. The 4A 5G is not just a 4A with a different modem; the two phones have some key hardware differences, making the Pixel 4A 5G more of a Pixel 5 alternative than a budget phone. The three devices, grouped together, hit price points of $349, $499, and $699, so…

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Google’s new ‘Hold for Me’ feature saves you from elevator music

See the original posting on The Verge

Hold for Me

For many of us, calling a doctor’s office, an insurance carrier, customer support, or indeed any kind of administrative office has become an exercise in frustration — especially these days, when increased demand and cuts in staffing have made phone waits interminable. Yes, you can simply use speakerphone to monitor the line, but do you really want to listen to that awful music for over an hour?

A new Android feature called Hold for Me, which Google just announced, may just be able to make those phone waits a bit more tolerable. Hold for Me is currently available as a preview feature in the US for Google’s new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A (5G) phones.

Here’s how it works, according to Google: if you call a toll-free number and are put on hold,…

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Google Announces Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5: Focusing on the Mid-Range?

See the original posting on Anandtech

Today through the company’s rather short virtual launch event, among other novelties, Google has officially announced the new Pixel 4a (5G) and the new Pixel 5. Both phones had been teased for some time now as Google had pre-announced them back in in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4a.

The new Pixel 4a (5G) is very much what its name implies, a variant of the Pixel 4a with added 5G connectivity through the addition of a Snapdragon 765 SoC. The phone here is very similar to its 4G variant, although Google had to grow the device’s dimensions a bit, and a more apt name for it would have been the 4a XL (5G) but that’s quite a mouthful.

The new Pixel 5 is a quite different phone for Google’s mainstream line-up as here the company has abandoned any attempts at making a flagship device, relegating itself into the mid-range to premium price segment. Also featuring a Snapdragon 765, the phone’s other specs are quite more conservative compared to other devices in 2020 – it’s somewhat of a risky move at a still rather high $699 price point.

Chromecast Ultra is dead, long live Chromecast Ultra (and this new Ethernet dongle)

See the original posting on The Verge

Google’s new $50 “Chromecast with Google TV” has supplanted the Chromecast Ultra in practically every way — so you probably won’t be surprised to hear Google is getting rid of its original 4K streaming device. The Chromecast Ultra is now out of stock at every major US retailer, including the Google Store, where its product page redirects to the new Chromecast.

It’s not formally “discontinued,” mind you: Google says it will still be available at “select retailers,” even though we’re seeing no stock at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, Staples, etc., and even though B&H Photo actually lists it as “discontinued” right now.

But there is still one way to buy one — because when Google announced its 2020 Chromecast, the new…

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Verizon has an exclusive Pixel 4A 5G that’s $100 more expensive

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Pixel 4A 5G UW (Verizon exclusive model in “Clearly White”)

Image: Verizon

Verizon is getting an exclusive model of the Pixel 4A 5G: it comes in white, it supports Verizon-specific 5G bands, and it’s $100 more expensive. Verizon has dubbed this model the “Google Pixel 4A 5G UW” to highlight its support for the carrier’s “ultra wideband” 5G network.

If you’re on any other carrier, you’re not missing out. And if you’re on Verizon, this is probably a worse option than buying a standard Pixel 4A 5G at the regular price of $499, rather than spending $599.99 on Verizon’s model.

The issue here is Verizon’s limited 5G network. Unlike AT&T and T-Mobile, Verizon’s 5G network so far relies only on millimeter wave (mmWave) connections. Those connections are the fastest you can get…

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How to preorder the Google Pixel 5, the Pixel 4A 5G and the Nest Audio

See the original posting on The Verge

Google announced a bunch of products at its big hardware event. As expected, we saw the Google Pixel 5, its new $699 flagship 5G-ready phone. We also saw a more affordable Pixel 4A with 5G support that costs $499.

In the US, only the Pixel 5 is available for preorder with a release date of October 15th. The Pixel 4A 5G is coming to most countries in November and you can join a waitlist through the link below (it’s coming to Japan first on October 15th).

If you were interested in the new Chromecast, you won’t have to preorder that; it’s available starting today from a variety of retailers, including Best Buy and the Google Store. As for the Nest Audio, it will be available in 21 countries starting on October 5th.

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Google’s Recorder app is getting an audio editing feature

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Google Recorder


At today’s Google event, the company announced that its Recorder app, which is available for Pixel 2 or newer phones, is getting a nice update that should make it a lot easier to search through audio files. The update will allow you to select a snippet of audio from a recorded clip, which you can then either share or remove from the larger audio file.

Additionally, you can search for specific words in a recorded transcript and delete them. So if you’re someone like me who tends to say “uh,” “um,” or any other crutch word during interviews, you can theoretically find and remove them with this new update.

According to Google, you’ll be able to use this feature offline, in the same way its live English transcription function works without…

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Tardigrades finally more popular than in 1835

See the original posting on Boing Boing

I’ve been monitoring this for some time and can happily report that Tardigrades (previously at Boing Boing) have finally matched and surpassed the high water mark of popularity that they enjoyed in the 1830s.

According to Google Ngram, the string “tardigrade” appears in 0.0000020291% (20.291 per billion) of its 2019 corpus of English texts. — Read the rest

Google’s new Nest Audio smart speaker is official, costs $99.99

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Google Nest Audio | Photo: Google

Google has officially announced the new Nest Audio smart speaker, the latest in its line of smart speakers powered by the Google Assistant. The Nest Audio replaces the original Google Home from 2016 as Google’s midrange smart speaker, slotting above the Nest Mini and below the Nest Max in the lineup. It costs $99.99 and will be available starting October 5th in 21 countries. You can preorder it right now.

Unlike the Google Home’s air freshener aesthetic, the Nest Audio’s soft rounded corners and vaguely rectangular shape make it more reminiscent of a loaf of bread standing on its end. Like the Nest Mini, it’s completely wrapped in fabric, which you can get in a few different colors. Also like the other Nest speakers, there are four…

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