Today’s Earth Day Google Doodle focuses on some of the planet’s record-breaking creatures

It’s Earth Day, a day to appreciate the large chunk of rock that serves as our protective spaceship as it transports us through the Universe. Google is celebrating today by highlighting six strange creatures and organisms that also call this spaceship their home. Today’s Google Doodle animation takes people on a journey from the top of Earth’s atmosphere to our planet’s deepest caves where all kinds of diverse plants and organisms reside. The cartoon highlights creatures such as the wandering albatross, which sports the widest wingspan of any bird alive,…

Microsoft workers pressure company to stand by embattled Chinese GitHub repo

Microsoft employees have put forward a petition in defense of a trending GitHub repository they believe could be under threat of Chinese censorship. The repository, called 996.ICU, was established in late March by Chinese tech workers who were protesting extreme overwork. The stories name some of the biggest companies in China, including Alibaba, Huawei, ByteDance, DJI, Tencent, Vivo, and others. The protest has enraged Chinese censors, and many local browsers are already blocking access to 996.ICU, including browsers from Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Qihoo 360. Still, the repository remains available…

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL start at $399 through Google Fi

In celebration of Google Fi’s birthday, Google is slashing the cost of its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones for new and existing users. The Pixel 3 usually costs $799, but you can get it for as little as $399. Doubling the Pixel 3’s 64GB storage to 128GB only costs an extra $50. If you want the Pixel 3 XL, it starts at $449 for 64GB; the 128GB model is $50 more. This offer is valid today, April 22nd, until 11:59PM PT, and you’ll only be able to reap…

The OnePlus 7 will have a ‘breakthrough’ display and a beefed-up 5G version

Speaking exclusively with The Verge in the buildup to his company’s next flagship phone launch, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed some rumors and hinted at what we should expect from the next device. The big strategic change is that the OnePlus 7 will be arriving with a plus-one: a super flagship, rumored to be called the OnePlus 7 Pro, which will feature 5G and a few other niceties that the regular OnePlus 7 will miss out on. That model can probably be expected to land at a price near…

Science doesn’t explain tech’s diversity problem — history does

Editor’s note, April 19th, 2019: We’re republishing this story today because of a report at Quartz that — like the infamous memo from former Google employee James Damore — some Microsoft workers are now internally criticizing the company’s diversity policies, suggesting yet again that biological differences may make women less suited for engineering jobs. This story may help explain why that logic is flawed. In 2017, the idea that biological differences drive social inequality is considered fairly offensive. For the incurious, the taboo around this argument makes it exciting. But…

HP’s first 15-inch Chromebook features a full-size keyboard and IPS touchscreen for $449

Chromebooks continue to impress in the price-for-quality department, and the HP Chromebook 15 is no exception. The first ever 15-inch HP Chromebook (15.6 inches to be exact) comes not only with a full-sized keyboard and number pad, but also a blacklit IPS touchscreen and 64GB of base flash storage. That model starts at $449, and you can pay extra for double the eMMC storage and a faster Intel Core i5 processor, but the company isn’t yet saying how much that will cost. HP says the device starts shipping today from…

Google reveals its Android browser ballot screens for Europe

Google is planning to roll out new browser and search ballot screens for Android in Europe in the coming weeks. The new screens will be displayed the first time an Android user opens Google Play after an upcoming update, and they will show rival Android browsers and search engines. Google will present four other browsers and search engines in a random order, and Android users will be able to install and enable as many of them as they like. A separate screen will also be shown to help configure app…

YouTube is finally coming back to Amazon’s Fire TV devices

YouTube is returning to Amazon’s lineup of Fire TV products, and the Amazon Prime Video app will be adding Chromecast support. Those two developments, jointly announced by both companies this morning, mark the end of a long-running standoff between Google and Amazon, a feud that has kept a native YouTube app off of the Fire TV platform for well over a year. Customers were really the ones who were disadvantaged as soon as these two tech giants entered into this spat, so to see that it’s over is very good…

Google Chrome is getting a reader mode on desktop

The desktop version of Google Chrome’s browser is getting a reader mode, which can be used to strip out a page’s unnecessary background clutter to make an article easier to read. ZDNet notes that the feature launched today in Chrome’s experimental Canary release, and it should make its way to more stable versions of the browser in the future. Reader modes have become a standard browser feature. Microsoft’s Edge browser has had one since at least 2015, and Firefox and Safari both added them in 2017. Firefox’s implementation is the…

Google Assistant can now ‘gently’ wake you up with Philips Hue lights

Google is rolling out a new feature to Google Assistant today that will allow a Google Home device to work in concert with a Philips Hue light setup to gently wake you up in the morning or go to sleep at night by gradually raising or lowering the lights over the course of 30 minutes. The feature — fittingly called Gentle Sleep & Wake — is designed to mimic a sunrise and sunset. It will let you get the kind of luxury experience that people who can afford homes and…

How to use Google’s new budget feature on Android so you don’t overspend

Google is adding a new budgeting feature to its Play Store that will allow Android users to establish a monthly maximum they want to spend on digital content. This applies to apps, games, movies, TV shows, music, ebooks, and so on. As you get close to reaching your budget limit, you’ll see an alert that you’re nearing it — or have gone over the amount you specified. This budget option hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet. When it does, you’ll be able to access it like this: Open the Play…

How to print from a Chromebook

While Google’s Chromebooks are all about online services, sometimes you need a good old-fashioned printout to accompany your digital adventures. Printing from a Chromebook has gotten a lot easier over the years, but it still isn’t always obvious how to get started or which paths to embrace. Follow this guide, and you’ll be churning out paper from your cloud-centric computer in no time. Add a current wireless printer Provided you have a reasonably recent printer that’s capable of connecting to the internet, you should be able to add it directly…

Google’s Tilt Brush is coming to the Oculus Quest

Tilt Brush, Google’s virtual reality painting tool, is coming to Oculus’ new standalone Quest headset. Thanks to the Quest’s two motion controllers, the app should work in a similar way to how it does on the Oculus Rift, although Google has said it’s had to make a number of tweaks to allow the software to run on the Quest’s mobile processor. Tilt Brush is already available on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. After its original release on the HTC Vive back in 2016, Tilt Brush…

Anker’s Roav Bolt charger works like a Google Home Mini in your car

The Roav Bolt by Anker is a weird little product. It’s a car charger with two USB ports that fits into a lighter plug. It’s also sort of like a tiny little Google Home Mini, complete with two microphones specially tuned to cancel out echo and noise in a car. It even has the traditional 4 LED lights you see on top of the Home Mini when it’s active. It’s available today at Best Buy for $49.99. After using it for a few hours over the weekend, I came away…

Google’s Pixel 3 uses AI to detect when you’re kissing someone in a selfie

Google’s Pixel phones have always had stand-out cameras, thanks in no small part to the company’s use of AI. The latest application? A built-in kiss cam for the camera on the Pixel 3 that automatically detects when subjects are puckering up and snaps a quick photo. The feature is an update the Pixel Camera app’s Photobooth mode. This is a shutter-free mode which automatically takes photos with the Pixel 3’s wide-angle selfie cam. In addition to spotting kisses, Google says the software recognizes five key facial expressions that “should” trigger…

Google takes a tiny step toward fixing AMP’s URL problem

When you click a link on your phone with a little lightning bolt next to it in Google search, you’re getting something in the AMP format. AMP stands for “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” and you’ve probably noticed that those pages load super quickly and usually look much simpler than regular webpages. You may have also noticed that the URL at the top of your browser started with “www.google.com/somethingorother” instead of with the webpage you thought you were visiting. Google is trying to fix that today by announcing support for something called…

Google blocks TikTok in India following court order citing concerns over exploitative content

Google has blocked TikTok users in India, which is one of the app’s biggest user bases, from accessing the app following a court order, according to a new Reuters report. The move follows a request from the state court on April 3rd to ban access to TikTok on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store after concerns were raised that people were using it for pornographic purposes and exploiting children, Reuters reported. Letters were sent to both Google and Apple; the app was removed from the Play Store, but it’s…

Google is ditching plans to open an Apple Store-like retail space in Chicago

Google is abandoning plans to open a two-story retail store in the Fulton Market district of Chicago, according to a report yesterday from the Chicago Tribune. Google was eyeing the location, a 14,000-square-foot retail space on W. Randolph Street, as of August last year, the Tribune reported at the time. Now, the space is being shown to other potential companies after Google walked away from signing a lease, the report states. There’s no indication that Google is giving up entirely on brick-and-mortar retail. There could have been an issue with…

Waymo’s app is now in the Google Play Store — but don’t expect to hail a driverless car right away

Waymo’s ride-hail app is now available in the Google Play Store for Android users, but don’t download it expecting to summon a self-driving car right away. Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, officially launched its first commercial autonomous taxi service in the cities surrounding Phoenix late last year. But the app that riders use to summon one of Waymo’s self-driving minivans was only available via a private link in an emailed invitation. Now anyone can download the app and add their names to Waymo’s growing waitlist for riders…

Google Pay now automatically imports loyalty cards and tickets from Gmail

Google Pay can now automatically import loyalty cards, tickets, and offers from your Gmail account. The feature, first spotted by 9to5Google, advertises that by using it “You won’t get more offers, it will just be easier to use them.” When I tried out the feature for myself, Google Pay was able to pull through a single entry for me — a Member ID for my United Airlines frequent flier account. 9to5Google reports that the service was able to pull through multiple vouchers and reward points when they tried it. You…

Google will pay Louisville millions to fix roads after failed Fiber experiment

Google has agreed to pay the Louisville Metro Government $3.84 million over the next 20 months to repair the damage caused to the city by its ill-fated Google Fiber service. The money will be used by local authorities to remove the company’s infrastructure from the city’s roads and to repave areas where needed after the service ceased operation yesterday. ”Infrastructure in neighborhoods and public properties affected by Google Fiber will look as good or better than they did before the company began construction,” according to Louisville Metro’s Chief of Civic…

Google teases new Pixel announcement for May 7th

“Something big is coming to the Pixel universe,” reads a new teaser on the Google Store, offering a strong hint that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL phones are set for an announcement at the company’s I/O 2019 keynote on May 7th. Details about both have leaked over the last few months (even on Google’s own website), with Google expected to introduce the pair of devices at a lower price point than the flagship Pixel 3 and 3 XL that were launched last year. The 3a line will reportedly…

Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a may come to T-Mobile

Google’s Pixel 3a, the all-but-announced midrange phone that leaked on Google’s own storefront, may be coming to T-Mobile. Sources speaking to 9to5Google and Android Police shared that the carrier has begun testing the Pixel 3a on its network, and that T-Mobile may soon begin selling the upcoming phone in its stores alongside the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. This would mark the end of Verizon’s exclusivity deal that made it the only US carrier allowed to sell Google’s phones. It’s unclear if such a change would impact only…

Pixel 3 gives New Yorkers some much needed peace in new Avengers: Endgame ad

After every Avengers movie, there’s always one question left unanswered: what’s it like for the everyday New Yorker who has to navigate annoying alien invasions every few years? It’s not just Michael Keaton’s Damage Control team in Spider-Man: Homecoming who has to worry about New York after every attack. A new ad for Google’s Pixel 3 answers that question. Whether it’s using Google Maps to try to find a route that isn’t blocked by crashing alien ships or asking Google to play a “deep focus” playlist, Google says the Pixel…

How to use your Android phone as a two-factor authentication security key

Google added a new way to verify your logins this week: using your Android phone as a physical security key for two-factor authentication. You should be using two-factor authentication to log onto websites, so that even if someone has your password from a data breach, they won’t be able to get in. And now with the new feature, if you have an Android phone running 7 or higher, you also have a convenient security key. It’s more secure than many existing 2FA options (such as using SMS) because your phone…

You can get the original Google Pixel XL with 128GB of storage for just $250

Google’s original Pixel XL is on sale for $250 at Woot this month, offering a bargain deal on a slightly old phone that still holds up fairly well. Woot is selling the Pixel XL with 128GB of storage, too, which is a configuration that sold for $869 when it debuted in October 2016. Google stopped selling the original Pixel almost exactly one year ago, and the phone is now technically outside of its guaranteed OS update period. But last month, Google revealed that the beta for the next version of…

Android 101: How to stop location tracking

Location tracking can be very handy — it’s convenient when an app can tell you, say, where the near restaurants or gas stations are — but it’s also a privacy issue. Do you want all your wanderings registered by Google? Are you comfortable knowing that Mark Zuckerberg’s minions know where you are at all times? (Well, not that Mark Zuckerberg has minions, but you know what I mean.) In this article, we’ll take a look at how to stop location tracking on your Android phone and how to delete your…

Google and Huawei agree to pay owners of faulty Nexus 6P devices up to $400

Google and Huawei have preliminarily agreed to settle a class action lawsuit from Nexus 6P users who say their devices experienced a bootlooping issue that caused the phones to shut down randomly, regardless of the battery level. Pending court approval, the companies would be liable to a $9.75 million settlement for the class action that began in April 2017, which may result in payments of up to $400 for participating plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleged that Google, which contracted the design and manufacturing of its early Android smartphones to third-party companies,…

Republicans dig into Facebook and Twitter over concerns of ‘conservative bias’

On Wednesday, a panel of mostly Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), laid into representatives from Facebook and Twitter over concerns that conservative speech is actively being censored on both platforms. Representatives from Facebook and Twitter sparred with Republican lawmakers for hours at the Senate hearing where Cruz, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s panel on the Constitution, pressured industry representatives over deep concerns he and his colleagues have that social media platforms actively censor conservative political speech. But all of the evidence Republicans provided were anecdotal stories…

Google’s new Currents app is its enterprise replacement for Google+

Now that Google+ is history, today, Google unveiled what will be offered to G Suite users in its place: Currents. The new app “enables people to have meaningful discussions and interactions across your organization, helping keep everyone in the know and giving leaders the opportunity to connect with their employees.” The company says Currents has a new look and feel compared to Google+ — it seems somewhat similar to my eyes — and it’s been streamlined to make it faster to post content and tag it. Posts from a company’s…