Google Music

Google Play Music will shutdown completely in December – here’s how to save your music – TechRadar

(Image credit: Google)

Say goodbye to Google Play Music, the service will be going away for good in December 2020 and with it, all your music if you don’t transfer it over.

According to a new blog post from Google, you’ll no longer be able to access the service to stream your favorite music starting in September if you live in New Zealand or South Africa, and everyone else gets cutoff from streaming in October of this year.

As Google prepares to close down its long-running Play Music streaming service, the company has enabled a new transfer function inside the YouTube Music app to bring your music, playlists and preferences to their new home on YouTube.

According to Google, all Google Play Music subscribers should have received an email with detailed instructions on how the migration works, but essentially it’s as simple as downloading the YouTube Music app and clicking the transfer button.

The good news is that you’ll be able to take all your uploads, purchases, added songs and albums, personal and subscribed playlists, likes and dislikes, curated stations and personal taste preferences along with you in the transition, and there’s no difference in price between the services.

For now you’ll still be able to use both services, but Google is telling people to start making the transition early to avoid a panic when Play Music shuts down later this year.

How to save your Google Play Music songs to YouTube Music 

According to Google, Play Music subscribers should have basically no issues transitioning to the new service and have provided three steps to moving over all your songs, playlists and preferences:

Step 1. Download the YouTube Music app (iOS/Android).

Step 2. Click on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner. 

Step 3. Touch Settings.

Step 4. Select Transfer from Google Play Music.

Step 5. That’s it. Your updated recommendations will appear immediately on the YouTube Music home screen, and Google will notify you when your music library transfer is complete.

(Image credit: Google)

Are there any advantages to YouTube Music?

If you’ve been using Google Play Music for years, it can be tough leaving it behind. You’ve probably gotten used to how things work inside the app and are more than a little leery transitioning to a service that hosts a billion cat videos. 

But honestly, YouTube Music does have some huge advantages over Play Music.

For starters, YouTube Music has a larger song library – somewhere in the ballpark of 50 million songs compared to the 30 million you might’ve had on Google Play Music.

For another, you’ll get YouTube’s highly advanced recommendation engine by using YouTube Music, which should make finding new songs easier and faster. 

Last but not least, if you’re already a heavy YouTube user, Google is offering a subscription that combines ad-free YouTube and YouTube Music Premium for $11.99 (£11.99, AU$14.99) per month that offers offline listening, too.

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Google live-captioning

Google’s live-captioning feature will soon work with voice and video calls on Pixel phones – The Verge

Android’s real-time captions feature, Live Caption, is gaining the ability to work with voice and video calls, Google announced on Monday. Previously, Live Caption only worked with media that played on your phone, like a YouTube video, but this new functionality means you’ll soon be able to have a phone call with someone and get captions of what they’re saying as they say it.

If you want to see Live Caption with calls in action, check out my colleague Dieter Bohn’s video he posted to Twitter using the feature on the newly announced Pixel 4A. Google says the feature will be rolling out to the Pixel 2, 3, 3A, and 4 as well.

Google also announced that the new version of Google Assistant — which debuted with the Pixel 4 and brought a speed boost, a new design, and new capabilities — will be available in German, French, Italian, and Spanish. The company says they’ll be “available soon” on a Google Assistant support page. Google also said that more languages are coming “soon.”

In addition to announcing the $349 Pixel 4A, its new midrange phone, Google also teased two new phones coming later this year: the Pixel 4A 5G, a version of the Pixel 4A with 5G, and the Pixel 5, the company’s next flagship phone.

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Google tokens

Google’s ‘trust tokens’ are here to take cookies down a peg – The Verge

Google said earlier this year it would join other web browser companies to block third-party cookies in Chrome, and today, developers have their first chance to test a proposed alternative to tracking users across the web: trust tokens.

Unlike cookies, trust tokens are designed to authenticate a user without needing to know their identity. Trust tokens would not be able to track users across websites, because they’re theoretically all the same, but they could still let websites prove to advertisers that actual users — not bots — visited a site or clicked on an ad. (An explainer on GitHub suggests that websites could issue multiple different kinds of trust tokens, though.)

Google’s been a little slower to adapt a solution for the third-party tracking cookies that everyone seemingly hates; Safari and Firefox already block them by default, though Safari is more aggressive about it. But Mike Schulman, Google’s vice president for ads privacy and safety, reiterated in a blog post that the company still plans to eventually phase out third-party cookies in Chrome as well.

In addition, Google is making some tweaks to the “why this ad” button that lets you see why some ads are targeted to you. The new “about this ad” label will now provide the verified name of the advertiser, too, so you can tell which companies are targeting you, and make it clearer to people how Google collects personal data for ads. The new labels will begin rolling out toward the end of the year.

The company also announced an extension for its Chrome browser, currently in alpha, called Ads Transparency Spotlight, which should provide “detailed information about all the ads they see on the web.” Users will be able to see details about ads on a given page, see why ads are shown on a page, and a list of other companies and services with a presence on the page, such as website analytics or content delivery networks.

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Google teases

Google teases Pixel 4a unveil on August 3 with ‘lorem ipsum’ – 9to5Google

While thoroughly leaked, Google has stayed quiet about when to expect its next mid-range phone. That’s changing today with a “lorem ipsum” tease for what is most likely the Pixel 4a.

Made by Google today updated its Facebook and Twitter pages with a new cover image. It features a black hole-punch in the top-left corner that is clearly a nod to the Pixel 4a and its front-facing camera. 

In the case of the latter social media presence, it renamed the account to “The Google RTing, Meme Loving, Info Sharing Stream.” There are several Google-colored boxes for words that presumably describe and tease the Pixel 4a.

It links to a new Google Store landing page with an Easter Egg that reveals an August 3rd date. (Tap the boxes until they match the Google logo’s ordering: blue, red, yellow, blue, green, and red.) The text then reads: “The Google Just What You’ve Been Waiting For Phone.” This is clearly a nod to how people have been waiting for this phone since May.

Meanwhile, a phone-shaped object that matches the Pixel 4a is covered in a checkerboard pattern.

The “lorem ipsum” paragraph underneath has several — decidedly — non-Latin words that are actually describing features like the camera, Night Sight low-light capabilities, bokeh, and all-day battery life.


More about the Pixel 4a:

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Google Pixel

Google Pixel 4a Will Beat OnePlus Nord With Two Features – Forbes


The Pixel 4 smartphone is displayed during the Made by Google event in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, … [+] Oct. 15, 2019. Google is going back to basics for its latest laptop: a standard clam-shell design that moves away from the previous foldable, tablet-style Pixelbook. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

For those frustrated consumers patiently waiting for Google’s next mid-range phone – the Pixel 4a – to land, OnePlus’ new “Nord” handset must be tempting. 

The iPhone SE’s siren song was strong enough to steal Android users away, maybe the Nord will be the final temptation for Android diehards who have a roll of notes burning a hole through their pockets. 

MORE FROM FORBESNew Motorola Razr Ready To Fight Samsung In Surprise New ImageBy Jay McGregor

But there is good reason to wait. Recent leaks have surprised us with the news that the Pixel 4a will support 5G connectivity, which means a much more powerful phone than expected. Of course, the Nord does too, so what else does Google’s new phone need to do to hold on to those patiently waiting fans? 

The drop

It has gradually become clear how much of an advantage Google’s feature drop program has given the company. Past updates have delivered improved selfies, car crash detection, a new digital wallet and a feature that automatically screens your calls before you answer them – all at no extra cost. That same update program is now coming to its Pixel Bud earphones.  

MORE FROM FORBESGoogle Pixel Buds Will Continue To Cause Problems For Apple AirPods, Galaxy BudsBy Jay McGregor

This guaranteed consistency of new AI-based features makes Google’s phones difficult to do battle with. They’re ever evolving and responding to new trends and user needs. Of course, other companies can do this, but they largely don’t. Or, at least, not to this frequency and not with so many new features.

Google also has an in-built advantage with its work in AI, from which most (perhaps all) of the feature updates we’ve seen since last December have come from. There’s a good chance that you’ll be surprised with a new and unusual addition to your phone that you didn’t expect every few months. 

Fortunately for rivals, Google makes such fundamental mistakes elsewhere – in battery life (Pixel 4 XL), memory management (Pixel 3) and a criminal lack of camera sensor options (all Pixels), that this feature drop advantage is slightly dulled. But the Pixel “a” brand is slightly different, last year’s device wasn’t burdened with the mistakes of its more expensive siblings (save for the lack of a wide-angle camera). Combine that solid base with persistently adding new functionality to your already cheap phone and Google has a winning formula. 


We don’t know what the headline price of the Pixel 4a will be, but previous leaks have pointed towards $399 (via a marketing image from reputable leaker Evan Blass), with further leaks then revising the price down to $350 after the iPhone SE launched.

MORE FROM FORBESForget Apple’s MacBook, Or Microsoft’s Surface, This Is My Perfect LaptopBy Jay McGregor

 If the new information about the 4a supporting 5G is accurate, then $350 is a steal, especially up against the Nord’s £379 (roughly $486). Obviously conversions aren’t always representative of what pricing would be in a certain territory, OnePlus could launch the Nord in the US for $379 for numeric consistency. 

But what we do know is that Google is not shy about discounting its products. Last year’s Black Friday deals saw a square $100 off the Pixel 3a, there were also intermittent discounts throughout the year and a bundle deal on the Google UK store – at launch – that saw Pixel 3a purchases come with a free Nest Hub (read here why the Nest Hub Max has become such an important device in the last few weeks).

Google has this in its arsenal: a range of other products (laptops, smart home tech, headphones) it can bundle its phones with when times get desperate. I’d wager we’ll also see some good trade-in deals from Google, too (bizarrely, OnePlus doesn’t appear to accept Google Pixel phones for trade-in). 

MORE FROM FORBESGoogle Suddenly Announces Game-Changing New Nest Hub FeaturesBy Jay McGregor

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve left camera ability out of the reasons why I think the Pixel 4a could be a better phone. We all know Google’s superiority in computational photography makes its phones the best on the market for stills, but the search company’s insistence on not including additional sensors – like a wide-angle lens – is grating, especially when competition like the Nord and Moto G 5G Plus have an array of (albeit inferior) sensors. We’ll have to see if it changes this long-held policy when the 4a finally lands. 

Got a tip, thoughts or something to complain about? Let me know.

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Google Millions

Google Just Gave Millions Of Users A Reason To Keep Gmail – Forbes

07/18 Update below. This post was originally published on July 16

Gmail users have every right to feel frustrated right now. In recent weeks, Gmail has had problems with Windows and suffered a serious spam filter flaw which sent potentially malicious emails straight to users’ inboxes. But now Google has announced a massive overhaul of the service which should convince potential deserters to stay. 

Google, Google Gmail, Gmail update, new Gmail, Gmail guide, Chrome browser, Chrome update,

Google has announced radical changes to Gmail

PA Images via Getty Images

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In an official blog post, Google has announced the most radical redesign of Gmail in its 16 year history. In a transformative move, Google has integrated messaging, video chat, shared file access, virtual meeting rooms, real-time collaboration and more directly into Gmail, turning it into an all-in-one productivity suite. Gmail now stands apart from any rival email service. 

07/18 Update: I have been tipped off that the delay for everyday Gmail users to receive all these new features is likely to be longer than expected. While the new service is rolling out for G Suite subscribers, I understand that while Google may drip feed aspects of this overhaul to regular consumers, they are unlikely to see a full redesign before 2021 at the earliest. Google is prioritizing businesses with these upgrades, which is understandable. That said, the global Coronavirus pandemic has forced an unprecedented amount of home working for businesses big and small, as well as the self employed who may not be G Suite users, so hopes were high that the changes would be reflected for all Gmail users sooner rather than later. Needless to say, road maps can change but this looks set to be a long wait.

“One thing we’ve heard again and again from our users is how switching between apps interrupts their flow—and their focus,” said Google vice president Javier Soltero. “That’s why in this new integrated experience, we’ve been thoughtful about how to help you work more fluidly.”

In practice, what this means is Gmail will now integrate Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs/Sheets/Slides, and Tasks as well as Rooms, which become a full-on Slack/Teams competitor. Users will be able to share and collaborate on documents in-real time while having a live video chat all without leaving their email. It’s potentially revolutionary and should aid everyone from big business to amateur football teams. 

Google also confirmed these changes will roll out to Android and iOS apps soon, but there’s one big caveat. Out the gate this massive redesign will only be available for G Suite users (sign up for access here). That said, in this era of home working, I’d be amazed if it does not become available to all before long. 

Following these changes, Google now describes Gmail as an “integrated workspace”. It’s a fundamental change to the world’s most used email service and anyone thinking of jumping ship, might now want to stick around. 


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Google working

Google Is Working on Tattoos That Turn Your Body Into a Touchpad – Futurism

New Ink

Undeterred by its historic Google Glass flop, Google is still investing heavily in various oddball forms of wearable technology.

Recent projects, according to CNET, include new mixed reality glasses, virtual reality controllers that let you feel the weight of virtual objects, and new smartwatches. But perhaps the most unusual is a high-tech temporary tattoo that basically turns your flesh into a giant touchpad.

Flesh Look

CNET reports that the idea behind the tattoo project, dubbed SkinMarks, is to make interacting with technology feel more natural. The SkinMarks can be applied to fingers or parts of the hand that we control with instinctive fine motor skills, so using the sensors through a bend of the finger or a squeeze of the fist could become like second nature.

“Through a vastly reduced tattoo thickness and increased stretchability, a SkinMark is sufficiently thin and flexible to conform to irregular geometry, like flexure lines and protruding bones,” The Saarland University researchers who were funded by Google to develop the tech wrote in a white paper about the project.

I, Product

Aside from the market value of beating other tech giants like Facebook or Apple at the wearable game, CNET reports that Google is particularly incentivized to get more people to use wearable devices — or literally imprint them on their skin — in order to collect even more of that sweet, sweet user data.

Targeted advertising brings Google over $160 billion every year. And the brand new categories of data that devices like these tattoos would generate stands to be even more valuable

READ MORE: Google is quietly experimenting with holographic glasses and hybrid smartwatches [CNET]

More on wearables: Mark Zuckerberg: Wearables Will Soon Read Your Mind

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Google refine

Google Maps can now refine your location with Live View AR – Android Police

GPS has made it possible to always know where you are. Actually, scratch that—not always. GPS can be flaky in dense urban areas, but Google has a solution. The Live View AR feature from walking navigation is now available as an option to calibrate your location and orientation. The option is a bit hidden, though.

The Live View option is available in the “blue dot” menu, which does not have an official name as far as I’m aware. Just tap the blue dot signifying your location to bring up options for sharing your location, setting a parking spot, and down at the bottom is the new “Calibrate with Live View” option. The first time you use it, you’ll have to grant Maps access to your camera and tap through some tutorial pages.

If you’ve used Google’s AR walking navigation before, this UI will look familiar. Simply sweep the phone around you, allowing the AI magic to take in the surroundings and refine your location. The “beam” emanating from the blue dot that indicates the direction you’re facing should also shrink. Importantly, you will need ARCore support, and not all phones have that.

Maps - Navigate & Explore

Maps - Navigate & Explore

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expands Google

Google Play Pass expands outside the US, adds more titles and annual pricing – TechCrunch

Google Play Pass, the Android alternative to subscription-based game store Apple Arcade, is expanding. Launched in September 2019 with more than 350 apps and games, Play Pass today announced it has added 150 new titles, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Golf Peaks and kid-friendly content like apps from Sesame Workshop, for example. In addition, the service will be offered in a range of new non-U.S. markets for the first time and is adding an annual subscription option.

Unlike Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass at launch offered a combination of games and premium apps, like AccuWeather, Facetune and Pic Stitch, for example. (Facetune and AccuWeather have since been removed). It also included a notable list of launch titles, like Stardew Valley, Risk, Terraria, Monument Valley, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Reigns: Game of Thrones, Titan Quest and Wayward Souls.

The company has been steadily growing its lineup since its debut. Google says that over the past few months, it has added more than 150 titles and is preparing to roll out even more. A series of new titles will also premiere on Google Play Pass this year at launch, starting with the newly released The Almost Gone from Playdigious, available now. This will be followed by The Gardens Between and Kingdom Rush, then new releases like Bright Paw from Rogue and Line Weight from The Label coming later this year.

With the expansion, Google Play Pass now includes more than 500 apps and games.

The company is also offering a different way to pay for the subscription. Play Pass first offered users a $1.99 per month promotional subscription for the first year, which would increase to $4.99 per month afterwards. As early adopters are nearing the price change, Google is instead giving them a chance to save by paying for a year’s subscription upfront. The new annual subscription option brings the price down to $29.99 per year in the U.S., which works out to roughly $2.50 per month.

Existing subscribers will be able to make the change to an annual subscription from the Play Pass tab in the Play Store app for Android this week.

The service is also launching internationally with availability in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom, starting this week.

Because Play Pass didn’t rely as heavily on exclusives and included non-game apps, it was able to offer a larger catalog than Apple Arcade did at launch. Today, Apple touts that Arcade offers more than 100 games, while Google has added more apps than that in just the past several months.

Google also ties its payouts to developers based on Play Pass downloads, while Apple had offered upfront funding for Arcade titles, with more for exclusives. iOS developers are also under NDA about their agreements, but a revenue share is reportedly involved here, as well.

Both services cater to a growing audience interested in subscription-based entertainment, which is no longer limited to just streaming music and video. Outside of standard mobile game revenue, app subscriptions have been driving increases in consumer spend across the app stores for some time.

The Google Play Pass expansion to new markets and the annual subscription option are both rolling out this week.

Correction: Google initially described the annual subscription as U.S.-only. It will be offered elsewhere. The company updated its own announcement on the matter to clarify this.  

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Google stops

Google Stops Selling The Pixel 3a, Leaving It Without A Mid-Range Phone – Forbes

The Google Pixel 3a

Google has called time on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Google has discontinued the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. A spokesperson told Android Police that the “Google Store has sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 3a. For people who are still interested in buying Pixel 3a, the product is available from some partners while supplies last.”

The handsets, which Google announced only 14 months ago, are listed as unavailable on the US version of the store. However, if you’re in Canada (as I am) the 3a is marked as out of stock and the 3a XL is still available.

Reviewers largely praised the Pixel 3a and 3a XL for offering strong value (including decent specs, a very good camera and up-to-date Pixel features) in less-expensive Android devices than the Pixel 3 and 3 XL.

There’s no sign of a cheaper version of the Pixel 4 yet, however, leaving Google without a mid-range device in its smartphone lineup for now. Leaks have suggested that a potential Pixel 4a (or 5a, if Google decides against releasing a 4a) would cost $349 and include 128GB of storage. Whatever plans Google had for a Pixel 4a XL were reportedly scrapped.

It’s a reasonably safe bet that Google will add a cheaper Pixel to its lineup again sometime soon-ish. Various rumors have suggested a release date for the Pixel 4a anytime between now and October.

There’s a chance the company might simply wait and introduce its next mid-range lineup alongside the Pixel 5. Google has announced its latest flagship smartphone each October since 2016.

Some might expect Google to launch the device at around a similar time this year so it has a new smartphone to sell for the holiday season. However, it’s unclear what kind of impact, if any, the coronavirus may have had on production, and whether there might be any delays as a result.

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