Google Launches New $999 Glass AR Headset for Enterprise Customers

Google today announced the launch of a new enterprise-focused Google Glass headset, the Glass Enterprise Edition 2.

The Glass Enterprise Edition 2 looks more like a traditional pair of glasses than a futuristic headset thanks to safety frames designed in partnership with Smith Optics, but for those who don't need safety glasses features, there's also a standard version that looks like the original.


Both versions feature a 640 x 380 Optical Display Module that displays augmented reality content over the real world view, while also offering up a smart voice assistant for getting tasks done.

Inside, there's an updated, faster Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 processor, an improved 8-megapixel camera, USB-C port for faster charging, and a larger battery.


Google says the Snapdragon XR1 features a significantly more powerful multicore CPU and a new artificial intelligence engine for "significant power savings," improved performance, and support for computer vision and more advanced machine learning capabilities.

Google Glass 2 runs Android Oreo, which is meant to make it easier for businesses to develop for and deploy.

The new version of Google Glass is priced at $999, down from $1,599 for the original version, and like the prior Enterprise Glass option, it is not available directly to consumers.


Google originally released Google Glass in 2013 as a mass market product, but it wasn't well-received due to privacy and functionality concerns. Google then relaunched it as an Enterprise product for businesses in 2017, with the redesigned version available as of today.

Apple is rumored to be working on its own augmented reality smart glasses, which could be somewhat similar in design to Google's version. Apple has had AR smart glasses in development for several years now, and rumors have suggested we could see a launch in 2020.


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Google and Other Suppliers Begin Cutting Off Huawei Following U.S. Trade Ban

Last week, president Donald Trump signed an order to restrict Huawei Technologies from selling its equipment in the United States in an attempt to curb Huawei's access to U.S. markets. This included placing Huawei on a blacklist that could forbid it from doing business with American companies.


Now, the effect of the blacklisting has hit the China supply chain this week, with chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom all telling their employees that they will not supply Huawei until further notice. Additionally, Google has cut off the supply of hardware and some software services to Huawei, specifically suspending all business with the company "that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing" (via Bloomberg and Reuters).

Google's suspension is particularly troublesome for Huawei's hardware business:
The suspension could hobble Huawei’s smartphone business outside China as the tech giant will immediately lose access to updates to Google’s Android operating system. Future versions of Huawei smartphones that run on Android will also lose access to popular services, including the Google Play Store and Gmail and YouTube apps.

“Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google,” the source said.
Although Gmail, YouTube, and Chrome will disappear from future Huawei smartphones, anyone who owns an existing Huawei device with access to the Google Play Store will be able to download app updates from Google. The impact of the blacklisting is expected to be "minimal" in China, because most Google mobile apps are already banned in the Chinese market, where popular alternatives from Tencent and Baidu are more common.

In regards to the presidential ban, Huawei is said to have been stockpiling enough chips and other vital components to keep its business afloat for at least three months, in preparation for such an event. According to sources close to the company, executives believe Huawei has become a bargaining chip in the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China and that things will go back to normal once a deal is reached.
Huawei “is heavily dependent on U.S. semiconductor products and would be seriously crippled without supply of key U.S. components,” said Ryan Koontz, an analyst with Rosenblatt Securities Inc. The U.S. ban “may cause China to delay its 5G network build until the ban is lifted, having an impact on many global component suppliers.”
Apple has a long history with Huawei, which hasn't been completely amicable over the past few months. Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department announced a series of criminal charges against Huawei for bank fraud, wire fraud, obstructing justice, and stealing trade secrets, sometimes aimed at Apple. Despite all of the issues for the company, Huawei remains a dominant force in the China smartphone market and was far ahead of Apple in the first quarter of 2019.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: Google, Huawei

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Google Pixel 4 Leaks Suggest Punch-Hole Selfie Camera and Total Lack of Physical Buttons

Google may have only just announced its Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, but rumors about this year's forthcoming Pixel 4 are already appearing, and the latest alleged leak suggests the search giant's redesigned handset will lack physical buttons.

MacRumors render of Pixel 4 based on leaks

This information has been shared by Jon Prosser's Front Page Tech YouTube channel, which last year was the source of several accurate details about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL over a month before they launched, and also confirmed the Pixel 3a devices' existence before they were formally announced.

According to Prosser's source, the Pixel 4 will use capacitive touch areas on the sides of the aluminum handset in lieu of clickable physical power and volume buttons. Prosser suggests these touch-sensitive areas may use an extended version of Google's existing Active Edge technology currently found in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 that lets users squeeze their phone to launch Google Assistant or silence incoming calls and notifications.

In addition, Prosser's source corroborates other recent rumors, including the presence of punch-hole front cameras embedded in the display – akin to those seen in Samsung's Galaxy 10 Plus and other smartphones this year – and either an optical or ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor.

The rear of the device is expected to feature a new dual-lens camera setup including either a telephoto zoom or super-wide-angle sensor, and they may be aligned horizontally in the upper left corner of the handset rather than the more typical vertical orientation seen on other dual-lens smartphones.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are expected to be 4G LTE devices and will likely be announced during the second week of October – or just a few weeks after Apple is expected to launch its flagship successors to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

(Via PhoneArena.com)


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Google Adds New Auto-Delete Controls for Location History and Activity Data

Google today announced a new privacy-focused auto-delete option for automatically removing Location History and Web & App Activity after a set period of time.

You can now choose to delete your information manually, every three months, or every 18 months. With these settings enabled, Google will regularly clear out your data at the three month mark or the 18 month mark.


Prior to this change, Google allowed Location History and Web & App Activity to be disabled or manually deleted, but there were no controls for regular deletion, which may encourage more people to use these features.

Google's Location History feature tracks the locations that you've visited, while Web & App Activity tracks websites you've visited and apps that you've used. Google uses this information for recommendations and cross device syncing.

Google says the new controls for Location History and Web & App Activity will be rolling out "in the coming weeks," and has suggested the auto-delete functionality will be coming to additional features in the future.

Tag: Google

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Google Fit Launches on iPhone With Apple Health and Apple Watch Integration

Over four years after debuting on Android, and following a significant redesign last year, Google Fit is now available on iOS.


The fitness tracking app can track workout sessions completed with both an Apple Watch or a Wear OS smartwatch, and it also integrates movement data from apps connected to Apple Health, such as Sleep Cycle, Nike Run Club, and Headspace.

Google Fit keeps users motivated with Move Minutes and Heart Points based on American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommendations for weekly physical activity. The more you move, the more Move Minutes you earn. The more intensely you move, the more Heart Points you earn.

A journal feature allows users to track their activities and view their progress towards weekly Move Minutes and Heart Points goals.

While some Google Fit data was already available on iOS through the Wear OS app, owning a Wear OS smartwatch was a requirement. With full Apple Health and Apple Watch integration, the standalone Google Fit app is a much better solution.

Google Fit is a free download on the App Store.


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Google Brings Free Ad-Supported YouTube Music Streaming to Google Assistant Speakers

In lockstep with Amazon, Google has announced a free, ad-supported music streaming option for use with smart speakers that feature its voice-activated assistant.

The new "free" streaming tier means owners of Google Home or other Google Assistant-powered speakers can listen to tracks from the YouTube Music catalog, albeit interspersed with ads.

Listening to music on your Google Home speaker right out-of-the-box seems too good to be true, right? It’s not! Starting today, YouTube Music is offering a free, ad-supported experience on Google Home speakers (or other Google Assistant-powered speakers).
Free, ad-supported YouTube Music is available on smart speakers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, and Austria. Google says it will be available in more countries soon.

Note that the ad-supported streaming tier isn't supported on computers or phones. On that note, Google appears to be using the free offering to entice people to upgrade to YouTube Music Premium ($9.99/month), which enables listening on both supporting smart speakers and the YouTube Music mobile app, which also lets users background play music while using other apps and download tracks for offline listening.

Amazon on Thursday also announced the debut of a free music option for Amazon Alexa users in the United States alongside its Prime music service, which provides access to more than two million songs, and Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon's on-demand music service priced starting at $9.99 per month ($7.99 for Prime members).


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Google to Shut Down ‘Inbox by Gmail’ on April 2

Google will shut down its "Inbox by Gmail" app on April 2, the company has confirmed to users of the email app.

Google announced in September that it would be shuttering the app toward the end of March 2019, but didn't give a set date for when that would happen.


However, as noted on Reddit, users of the app yesterday began being notified that the app would be "going away in 15 days," which points to April 2 as the end date.

Inbox by Gmail was an experimental email app, offering users features like snoozing emails to check later, Smart Reply, high-priority notifications, and more.

Google says that in the four years of the app's life it "learned a lot about how to make email better," adding some of the most popular Inbox features directly into its main Gmail client, to which the company is directing existing Inbox users.

To help users transition from Inbox to Gmail, Google has set up a guide on its support website. Google says the new Gmail, launched in April, will be a good home for former Inbox users as it incorporates many of the same features as Inbox, in addition to new ones.


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Google Releases Chrome 73 With Support for macOS Mojave Dark Mode

Google today released Chrome 73, the newest stable version of its Chrome browser for Mac and Windows. Chrome 73 has been in beta testing since February, with several new features included.

On macOS Mojave, Chrome 73 introduces support for Dark Mode. The browser window will display the darker colored theme automatically whenever Dark Mode on Mojave is enabled. Dark Mode in Chrome looks similar to the darker toolbar available when using Chrome in Incognito Mode.


Other new features in Google Chrome include tab grouping for better organizing multiple tabs, support for keyboard media keys, and an automatic picture in picture option enabled when swapping away from an active video.

There's a new Sync and Google Services section under Settings to make it easier to control data collection settings and other options, spell checking improvements, and a new badge API that will let web app icons include a visual indicator for things like unread item counts.

There are a number of changes for developers in Chrome 73, including signed HTTP exchanges, constructable style sheets, and support for Progressive Web Apps on Mac.


Multiple security fixes have been addressed in Chrome 73, with Google outlining security updates in a blog post. Chrome 73 can be downloaded using the update button in Chrome if you already have it installed or through the Chrome website.

Tags: Google, Chrome

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Apple Not Fighting Royalty Increase for Songwriters That Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon Have Appealed

Spotify, Google, Pandora, and Amazon have all teamed up to appeal a ruling by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that will increase royalties paid to songwriters by 44 percent, reports Variety.

In a joint statement, the companies, which all operate major streaming music services, said that the decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners.

"The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), in a split decision, recently issued the U.S. mechanical statutory rates in a manner that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. If left to stand, the CRB's decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners. Accordingly, we are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision."
Apple is not joining the other streaming music services and will not appeal the decision. According to Variety, songwriter organizations have been heavily praising Apple while condemning the other streaming services.

David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers' association, called the appeals from Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon "tech bullies who do not respect or value the songwriters who make their businesses possible."

He also thanked Apple Music for not participating in the appeal and for "continuing to be a friend to songwriters."


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Google Bringing ‘Duplex’ Feature That Can Make Calls for You to iPhone

Google today announced plans to bring its "Duplex" feature that's designed to book restaurant reservations for you through actual voice calls to iOS devices.

Google says that the feature is available on all Pixel phones in 43 U.S. states and that it will be coming to "more Android and iOS devices" over the course of the next few weeks.


Unveiled at the 2018 Google I/O developer conference, Google Duplex lets Google Assistant make calls to businesses to schedule appointments and make restaurant reservations. It was demoed on stage with Google Assistant making a phone call to a real salon and using a natural-sounding conversation to book an appointment.

Following the demo, there were questions about the ethics of having a machine phone a real person, but in response, Google said that Google Assistant will identify itself and will allow restaurants to opt out of being recorded.

Placing a restaurant reservation this way involves telling Google Assistant where you want to go, what time, and with how many people. Google Assistant then calls the restaurant, and once a reservation is made successfully, you're notified via email and calendar invite.

Tag: Google

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