Google App on Android Gets Revamped Overflow Menus

Google App New Overflow Menu

Google has begun rolling out an improved look to the overflow menus in the Google app for Android.  The update is a server-side change, meaning that as long as you have the latest version of the app on your phone, it will be pushed down behind the scenes to your phone.

That latest version is 7.13.28.21 for those keeping score at home.

Previously, when you were looking at cards in the Google app or in the Google Pixel or Now Launcher page, you would get a pop-up card on the display when you wanted to dismiss a card.  Now, when you tap the three vertical dots in the right-hand corner of any card, you get a bottom-up card.  It looks much cleaner and refined over the pop-up card.

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Google Pixel SMS Issue To Be Resolved in November

Google Pixel XL

Google as a general rule has done a good job of getting fixes out to their devices in a timely manner.  This time however, they failed.

A small subset of Google Pixel owners have been experiencing not receiving SMS messages after upgrading to Android Oreo on their Pixel or Pixel XL.  The problem seems somewhat isolated to Verizon customers but users on other carriers have been impacted too.  The bug first popped up a couple of weeks ago and there is a long thread about the issue in the Google Product Forums.  It appears that it took a while for Google to pinpoint exactly what the issue was but now are stating they have gotten to the bottom of it.

We want to let you all know that we have been able to identify and implement a fix for this issue. Thank you to those that sent over bug reports and for including detailed information here on this thread.

There was an issue introduced in the release of Android Oreo that affects text message (SMS) delivery for a subset of Pixel (not Pixel 2) users.This issue was only seen on a small number of carriers. Unfortunately this has resulted in devices getting into a state where they do not receive messages.

The problem is that users who are impacted by this issue will have to wait until the November Android Security Update to get the fix.  That’s right, you get to live with it for at least another 2 weeks.

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Made For Google Site Now Live

Google Pixel 2 XL White

Google’s new Made for Google program is kicking off in earnest as the new site for the program has now gone live.  The site lists 22 different vendors who make accessories for various products like the Pixel phone lineup and Pixelbook.  Those accessories have been certified by Google as working with the device for which they are designed for flawlessly.

The site more-or-less is a landing page with links to the 22 different vendor sites.  Those links go to the accessories they make for particular devices like the Pixel, Pixel 2 or Pixelbook.  Not all of the links on the page are functional yet but that will likely change quickly.

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Google Drops In-App Commission to 15% Starting Next Year

Google Play Store

In a move that is similar to the cut Apple made for iOS developers, Google has announced that they will be dropping the percentage they keep on in-app purchases.  Starting January 1, 2018, in-app purchases will have a 15% commission rate to the Mountain View company, a drop of 50% from the previous 30% rate.

For developers, this means that they will be able to keep more money when you make an in-app purchase in their app.  Ultimately it is good for developers who will be able to stay funded to further development.  For Google, that means having top-shelf apps in the Play Store.

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Amazon Echo Show Owner? No YouTube for You!

Amazon Echo Show

Ah, the love between Amazon and Google shows itself once more…. NOT!  It appears that the latest spat between the two giants is over YouTube and the newish Amazon Echo Show.

Users of the new Alexa-powered smart device were cut off from YouTube yesterday with a warning that the smart speaker was unable to play content from the world’s largest video site.  Amazon states that they are disappointed, laying the blame at the feet of Google.  Google, in return, indicates that the reason for the shutdown is due to a violation of the terms of service and that they made Amazon aware that Tuesday was the drop date.

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Google Finance to Retire Portfolio Management Tools

Google Finance on Mobile

Like many services from Google, Google Finance is under going changes.  Part of those changes is the deprecation of portfolios and portfolio management in the financial news & information site.  The news came from Google yesterday in both a support posting as well as a banner that now appears on the portfolio page of the site.

In an ongoing effort to make Google Finance more accessible and user-friendly for a wider audience, we’re making a few changes to the service in November 2017.

As part of this updated experience, you’ll still be able to:

  • Follow the stocks you’re interested in – the list of stocks in your portfolio will be migrated into the new experience on Google automatically

  • Receive the latest industry news and market trends

The news means that if you are using Google Finance to keep up to date on news about stocks in your portfolio & to mange it, it’s time to look for another source.

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Search Google Assistant Services in The Google Home App

Search in Google Assistant

Google Assistant has grown up a lot in the past year thanks to developers and services leveraging APIs to create services for it.  While Assistant still lags behind Amazon’s Alexa when it comes to the number of services available, the gap is closing.

That presents a challenge for users who are looking for a service or feature but aren’t quite sure if it is there.  Google has addressed this and made it easy to find services for Google Assistant right from within it or the Google Home app.  Now you can simply type in a keyword to search and the Assistant will return all of the services that do that particular thing that you searched.

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