Walmart Coming to Google Express in September

Google Express

Google has announced that US retailing giant Walmart will be coming to Google Express in late September.  The addition of Walmart to the shopping app means that you will be able to buy thousands of products from the retailer via the app or by adding it to your list via Google Home.

We’re entering an exciting partnership with Walmart to bring you hundreds of thousands of products at Walmart’s Every Day Low Prices—everything from laundry detergent to Legos—that you can buy through voice with your Assistant on Google Home or on the Google Express website or app.

The addition of Walmart to Google’s shopping app & service will greatly expand the products available to users.   If you already have a Walmart account, in the Express app you will be able to link your accounts which will allow for a quick and smooth shopping experience.

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Google App Now Displaying Pollen Forecast on Your Phone

Google Pollen Forecast

The Google app for Android has a server-side update rolling out today that brings detailed Pollen forecasts at a glance thanks to the Weather Channel.  The update, much like the weather forecast feature of the app, will give you detailed information about how much pollen is in the air for your location as well as the different types of pollen.  The good news is, you don’t have to do anything to get the update.  Since it is a server-side update, so long as you have the latest Google app on your phone, it will come to your phone automagically.

To get to the new forecast, use the Google app to search for pollen forecast.  Using the location services on your phone, you will see the level of pollen in your area as well as the main type of allergen.  For those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies (Clinton raises his hand), it will mighty helpful in deciding how much time you spend outdoors or if you open up the windows at home.  Or maybe make double sure you take your allergy medication for the day.

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Recent Tab Now Showing Up in Your Google Feed

Recent Tab in Google Feed

Google has been working on the the Google app for Android a lot in recent weeks, with the most notable change coming last week with the introduction of Google Feed.  If you aren’t up on it, basically the Feed is similar to the features are found in the Google Now Launcher and Pixel Launcher, but it gives you more relevant information based on your searches and location.  It is more dependent on Artificial Intelligence to give you information that is more important to you.

There is now a new feature in the Google Feed feature:  Recents.  Now you have a third tab that shows you your recent search history on your device.  You can simply swipe left and right to see the history and tap on a result to go back to that site to continue reading it.

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Alphabet Q2 Earnings Up 21% to $26.01 Billion

Google's New Logo

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has released their Q2 2017 financial report and it is, in a word, impressive.  The company had earning of $26.01 billion US for the quarter, up some 21% over the same quarter in 2016.  This beat analyst expectations which had pegged earnings at just over $25 billion.

Operating income was down to $4.132 billion with an overall operating income margin of 16%.  Both of these were down from the same quarter in 2016.  Net Income was down to $3.54 billion for the quarter.

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Opinion: Google, Please Update Your Release Notes on App Updates

Google Calendar for Android

Yesterday, Google Calendar had a nice update drop in the Play Store.  The problem is, if you only read the release notes, you would have had no idea that a great new feature in the app.  That feature, the ability to drag & drop appointments to new days and times, was not mentioned in the release notes.  At all.  In fact, the release notes are from some four months ago.

The problem is that users of apps on Android need those release notes to know what they are getting in the update.  Be it a new feature or even a little bit of detail around what was fixed if it is a maintenance release would go along way.  Instead, users are dependent on sites like ClintonFitch.com and others to dive into the updates as soon as they drop or do APK tear downs to find out what’s new.  Believe me, I appreciate you coming and finding out what is new in a release but really, should it be such a guessing game?  No, I don’t think so.

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Google Improves AI-Laden Feed in Google App for Android

Improved Google Feed

If you use the Pixel launcher or the Google app on your Android phone, you will have noted a few changes recently to the feed in apps.  The feed, which rolled out with the Google Now launcher, has slowly been improved to provide you more accurate or interesting information to you based on your habits.  Today, Google has pushed the big red button and with a server-side update, everyone’s feed is now showing these improvements.

Inside the Google app, you will see a much improved lists of articles and topics that are potentially of interest to you.  They did this by heavily leaning on Artificial Intelligence to bubble up things that you may find of interest based on other articles you have read or other interactions with Google along with local information on events happening around you.

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Opinion – Google Pixel Has Only Sold 1 Million Units… Who Cares?

Google Pixel XL

Yesterday, through some estimates made from the downloading of the Pixel Launcher from the Play Store, several reports surfaced on the number of Google Pixel phones that have been sold.  Based on the listing of the launcher in the Store, it is estimated that 1 million units have been sold since the phone launched in October 2016.

On the surface, given the vast number of Android devices in the market, this seems like a low sales number.  And it is frankly.  Samsung has sold some 5 million Galaxy S8 units in just a handful of months while other phones like the Huawei P10 have also pushed well past 1 million units.

But who cares?  While many will get wrapped around the axle on this low number, it is important to keep in mind Google never intended this device to be for the masses.  It is a flagship device with a premium price and I suspect that Google themselves aren’t too flustered over the low numbers.  Neither should you.

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