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The name Google is synonymous with online searches, but over the years the company has grown beyond search and now builds multiple consumer products, including software like Gmail, Chrome, Maps, Android, and hardware like the Pixel smartphones, Google Home, and Chromebooks. Its name can also be found on internet services such as Google Fi, Flights, Checkout, and Google Fiber. Here is all of the latest news about one of the most influential tech companies in the world.

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There’s a new iMessage for Android app — and it actually works

Beeper has figured out how iMessage works so it can send messages directly from an Android phone to Apple’s servers.

Epic v. Google: everything we’re learning live in Fortnite court

In a redux of a case against Apple and iOS, Epic aims to dismantle barriers that could spell higher fees for app makers — and, Google argues, keep Android safe and competitive.

You’ll get to make your Google Forms a little more private soon.

The online forms creator is rolling out a beta that lets you share surveys and sign-up lists with specific people — just like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It’s a nice little update, as Forms previously only let you restrict responses to anyone with the link or those within your domain.

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The latest Pixel Fold update lets you make any app use the full inner screen.

Google’s new December Pixel software update includes the “experimental” ability to force any app into fullscreen mode on the Pixel Fold or Pixel Tablet — even those that wouldn’t usually support it.

How about that, Instagram? Does this look completely silly? Well, sure. But it works. It’s a fullscreen Instagram app for a tablet. Victory is mine.

I’m certain there are better examples of where this might be useful.

A photo of Instagram running fullscreen on the Pixel Fold.
Instagram doesn’t natively support the Pixel Fold, but now you can force it to.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge


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Pixel 8 and 8 Pro review: in Google we trust?

These might just be the Pixel phones we’ve been waiting for, but it all depends on how much trust you’re willing to put into Google.

What the AI quack!

Google launched its Gemini AI model earlier today to compete with OpenAI’s popular GPT-4. While Google has a number of videos demonstrating Gemini’s capabilities, the one below stood out to me.

This multimodal AI model is capable of reasoning across images, audio, video, code, and, of course, text. So you can start drawing, and Gemini will understand you’re drawing a duck, or you can set some cups down on a table with a paper ball and Gemini reasons you want to play a game. If Gemini can understand my poor attempts at doodling, then I’ll be the one shouting, “what the quack!”

The people who ruined the internet

SEO experts got very rich filling the web full of garbage. But are they to blame, or is Google?

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Google is hell bent on getting you to notice its free TV channels.

Google brought hundreds of free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels to its TV platforms this year. They’re already deeply integrated with the Google TV interface, and now Google has crammed a bunch of them into a “Free TV Channels” app that appears on the homescreen of older Android TV products like the Nvidia Shield. There’s no escaping FAST content.

In other news, the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) was briefly cracked to allow custom OS installations. It’s already been patched, and even if you haven’t updated your device, the process of taking advantage of said exploit is a real doozy.

OpenAI execs dubbed ChatGPT a “Low key research preview.”

The phrase became an internal joke after ChatGPT’s popularity exploded right out of the gate, according to the NYT’s recap of its launch a year ago and the reaction among Big Tech companies.

Google and Meta scrambled AI teams to launch competing products — even if that meant removing some guardrails — like Bard and LLaMa. And Microsoft’s rush to beat Google had Satya Nadella saying, “We have a big order coming to you, a really big order coming to you,” to Nvidia’s Jensen Huang as he ordered $2 billion in chips.

Curious how the new Beeper Mini iMessage app for Android actually works?

Then you should watch this excellent video from Quinn Nelson at Snazzy Labs. He breaks down exactly what it's doing behind the scenes and why it will likely be a challenge for Apple to stop it from working.

A fortnight in Fortnite court

20 things we learned from the Epic v. Google trial.

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Gmail’s spam filter better recognizes fake text.

If you’re seeing less spam it might be due to Gmail’s ability to better handle “adversarial text manipulations” — techniques whereby words like “𝐂0NGRATULATIONS!” are compromised of special symbols or numbers to bypass filters while remaining legible to humans. Ars Technica has a good writeup explaining how the changes have already improved things now that Google has rolled them out for all Gmail users.

The Verge
Reminder: Epic v. Google is off this week.

It’s not technically off for everyone: the judge ordered Epic and Google to discuss a settlement this week while court is out of session. But the judge, jury, and journalists won’t be back until Monday, December 11th — that’s when we’re coming back for closing arguments (unless, of course, they settle).

Meanwhile, I’m working on an epic recap of everything we’ve learned. Stay tuned for that!

Oh, in case you missed it on Friday:

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It’s apparently just “Google Messages” now.

Did you know the product was previously called “Messages by Google?” I didn’t until I read this 9to5Google article about the recent name change.

Just don’t get Google Messages and Google Chat confused.

Google is rolling out a bulk select feature in the Gmail mobile app.

I can’t believe it didn’t have one already. Google says the feature is available on Android and rolling out now on iOS.

A screenshot showing the Gmail app’s new “select all” button.
If you tap an email sender’s image, Gmail will show the new “select all” checkbox at the top of the screen.
Image: Google
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Google agrees to pay $27 million to settle a seven-year-old labor complaint.

In 2016, an employee sued Google for having too strict of a confidentiality program, which allegedly discouraged workers from reporting illegal activity in violation of California’s labor laws.

Google’s decision to settle means the majority of the $27 million will go to the state of California, while employees will get anywhere from $20 to $70, according to Semafor. A Google spokesperson tells the publication “that resolution of the matter, without any admission of wrongdoing, is in the best interest of everyone.”

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If you’ve wanted to use an Android phone as a webcam on Windows, that might be getting easier soon.

Android Authority reports that there’s code in the Microsoft Phone Link app that “suggests that the company is working on letting your Android phone provide a video stream to your Windows PC.” Sounds handy — and potentially like a Windows-ified version of Apple’s Continuity Camera feature.

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Google isn’t just introducing Messages updates today.

In a blog post, Google detailed the Messages improvements, some nice Wear OS and accessibility updates, and more. With Wear OS, for example, you’ll soon be able to set home or away statuses in Google Home, which could be handy if you forget to change your status when you leave the house.


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Google Pixel Fold review: closing the gap

The Pixel Fold is a powerful device with an entertainment-friendly inner screen, but it feels like it’s at least one generation away from greatness.

The Verge
Epic v. Google day 14 starts with Google’s Paul Gennai.

He’s a VP of product management at Google who left Australia (and Australian telecom biz Telstra) to join the firm in 2008, he says.

In 2010, he joined the Android team as a product manager reporting to Jamie Rosenberg, whom we’ve already heard from in court. He worked on Android strategy — and was intimately involved in Play Store decisions, it seems.

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