Google Home Now Supports Sleep Timers

Google Home

Google has quietly added a great new feature to the Google Home lineup:  Sleep Timers.  According to an updated support page from the company, you can now set timers to play music for a specific duration of time as you prepare for bed or have Home play that lullaby for the little ones.   As with most Google Assistant commands for Home, it is pretty easy to setup.

The most basic way to setup a sleep timer with music is to say, “Hey Google, play (artist/genre/playlist) for (duration)”.  If you are just wanting a sleep timer, just say, “Hey Google, set a sleep timer for (duration)”.  You can also set up a sleep timer to stop at a certain time (say, 9:30 p.m.).  It is actually quite flexible in how you set up the timers.  While these fall under the category of sleep timers, you can use them for other purposes.  For example, you could set a time for 30 minutes with mediation music as you meditate in the morning.  Once the music stops, you know your session has ended.

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Site Blocking Comes to Google WiFi

Site Blocking in Google WiFi

Google has begun rolling out Site Blocking to Google WiFi users today.  The service, which leverages the company’s Safe Site technology, updates in real time behind the scenes to assure that adult site and other explicit sites are unreachable by minors in your home.  The feature leverages the Family WiFi feature in the Google WiFi app that allows you to designate devices of your children on the network and enable this new filtering as well as scheduling time when WiFi is accessible on the network.

Filtering of adult content is difficult these days but Google is trying to take the burden off of parents by having it do the heavy lifting of finding these sites.

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OneNote for Android Update Brings Password Setting Support

Fingerprint Authentication in OneNote

Microsoft OneNote for Android has a new update rolling out that finally brings support for setting passwords on note sections.  The updated build is version 16.0.8625.2040 for those keeping score at home and with it comes the ability to set a password on a section of notes and to open that section using your phone’s fingerprint scanner (or password if you phone doesn’t have one).

Password protection of sections has been in OneNote for a while and while you could open up a section on your Android device, you could not set the password in the app itself.  You had to use the OneNote desktop app in order to set passwords.  No more.  Now you can long press a note section in the app on your device and you will see a new Protect Section option on the menu.  Tap it, set the password for the section and you are good-to-go.

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Huawei Announces the Mate 10 Lineup

Huawei Mate 10 Lite

As planned, Huawei has announced the new Mate 10 lineup of phones.  There are three variants of the phone, including an updated ultra-high end Porsche design model.  Designed with AI built into the phones, the Mate 10 offers excellent performance and camera quality, building on last year’s Mate 9 line up.

The first phone in the lineup, the Mate 10, is a 5.9″ Quad HD LCD display with a 16:9 ratio.  It has 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and can be expanded up to an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.

The Pro and Porsche Design models are fundamentally the same phone.  They have 6″ Full HD+ OLED displays that render at a 18:9 ratio.  The Pro model has either 4 or 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage.  The Porsche Design has 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.  Both of these models do not have a MicroSD slot so the storage you buy is the storage you have on the phone.  Also, these two models do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack.  All three models are essentially bevel-less.

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SwiftKey Update Brings Microsoft Account Support

SwiftKey for Android

The popular keyboard app SwiftKey has a new update rolling out in the Play Store today.  The update, version for those keeping score at home, is primarily a performance and bug fix release but there are a couple of new features of note too.

First, the app now supports signing in and synchronizing of your learned words and typing patterns with your Microsoft account.  Support for Google and email sign-ins have been support for some time now but not for those who prefer to use their Microsoft account.  Why is this a big deal?  Because Microsoft owns SwiftKey.  They bought the company in February 2016 so it seems odd that it took this long to bring support for their own accounts to their own apps.

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Arrow Launcher Re-Launches as Microsoft Launcher

Microsoft Launcher

After spending the past couple of weeks in beta, the rebranded Microsoft Launcher is now available for download in the Play Store.  This is what was formerly known as Arrow Launcher and this update, version 4.1 for those keeping score at home, brings a lot of polish to the already impressive launcher.

From a features perspective, you aren’t going to find a lot of new things in this update.  Outside of the new “Continue on PC” feature, which requires the upcoming Fall Creators Update on Windows 10, you won’t find a lot of new stuff.  Instead, there are a lot of refinements to the launcher.  For example, the Utility page now has a top banner with a greeting, the weather and the number of events you have on your calendar for the day.  Also, the Utility page has more clearly defined cards and they can now be themed both in colors as well as if you want the cards Light, Dark or Transparent.

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Microsoft Edge for Android Preview Now Live

Microsoft Edge for Android

For those of you who have been wanting to try Microsoft Edge on Android, now is the time.  The preview of the mobile browser went live a few moments ago and is now available to download and install.  You will need to be a tester for the app, which you can sign up to do here.  After that, you can download and install it on your Android Phone.

Microsoft released a preview of Edge last week for iOS with the goal to allow users of the browser on both their mobile devices and desktop to have a common browser experience.  Users will also be able to move Edge browsing experience from their phone to their desktop with the upcoming Fall Creators Update for Windows 10.  That update is due out on October 17th.

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