Google Begins Rolling Out Messages for Web

Messages for Web Instructions

One of the more anticipated features of Android Messages, the texting app from Google, has been Messages for Web.  As the name implies, it links Messages on your phone with your laptop to allow you to send and receive text messages without having to touch your phone.  Google has flipped the switch and the new site for the feature is live.

Navigating to the Messages for Web site walks you through the instructions to link your phone to the site via a QR code.  You scan that QR code within the Android Messages app under the overflow (three vertical dots) menu.

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Google Assistant Can Now Remind You Where You Parked

Google Assistant Remembers Where You Parked

The features and abilities of Google Assistant, both on Android and on Google Home, continue to impress and one of the latest is incredibly handy.  You can now tell Assistant where you parked your car, then ask where you parked and get directions to your car.

Isn’t living in the future cool?

How it works is pretty straightforward.  When you park your car, just open up Assistant by saying, “Hey Google, remember where I parked my car.”  You will get a confirmation and there is a special “P” pin that is put into Google Maps.

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Google Maps No Longer Supports Ride Share Direct Booking With Lyft and Uber

Ride Share Changes in Google Maps

Google has made a small but important change to Google Maps, no longer allowing you to book a ride sharing service like Lyft or Uber directly from within the app.  The change appears to be recent and is reflected in the support pages for the feature.  Now, instead of being able to book from within Google Maps, you have a link to go to the ride share apps from the providers.

The feature got a lot of hype when it was launched early last year and a way to prevent users from having to move around from app-to-app to book a car to pick them up.  You could also see ride share options to a destination you picked in Maps, such as a restaurant, from your location.

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Gmail for Android Update Adds Inbox Unsubscribe Tips

Gmail Unsubscribe Tip Settings

The latest update to Gmail for Android is making its way out to the Play Store and it brings a new Tip setting for users.  The new build is version 8.6 for those keeping score at home and when you get the update, you will have a new Inbox Tip inside settings for your Gmail account.

The setting is enabled by default and when you tap it, you see the Unsubscribe tips.  With this turned on, you will get occasional tips to unsubscribe to bulk email that you rarely read.

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Microsoft Launcher Update Brings Family Controls Support

Microsoft Launcher

One of the most frequently updated apps from Microsoft is their Android launcher, Microsoft Launcher.  A new build, version 4.10 for those keeping score at home, has been released to the Play Store today and it brings some new features and fixes.

The biggest news is the support of a new family safety feature that is part of the Family Account support.  If you remember, last week Microsoft Edge, the Redmond company’s browser, gained support for Family Accounts as a way to regulate sites your children can or cannot visit.  This addition to Launcher allows you to keep track of your child’s whereabouts and their app activities from the family card on the feed within the launcher.

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Sony Xperia Home Launcher is Dead! Long Live Sony Xperia Home Launcher!

Sony Xperia X Compact

Just a few days after announcing that the Sony Xperia Home launcher is going into maintenance mode, the company has now posted in their Google+ Beta Community site that there is a new Xperia Home launcher in the works.

The news came from Sony’s Erika Prymus who is a member of the launcher’s development team.  In a comment replying to the original post announcing the discontinuation, Erika points out that a new launcher is in the works and that is why the old version has been discontinued.

Sony Comment on Xperia Launcher
Sony Comment on Xperia Launcher

So the question becomes, why discontinue in the first place?

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Google Tasks to be a G Suite Core Service Later This Month

Google Tasks

The new Google Tasks app & service will become a core service of G Suite later this month.  Tasks, as you may recall, is a replacement for setting up tasks in Google Calendar and has a stand alone app for both Android and iOS.  Google has announced that starting June 28th that Tasks will be an on-by-default service in G Suite.

The change makes sense in that Google is trying to get everyone to move over to Tasks instead of using the task settings in Google Calendar, despite the fact that Google Tasks is still limited when you compare it to the old reminders feature in Calendar.  Tasks, for example, won’t let you setup recurring tasks while you can do that in reminders in Calendar.

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Google My Account Settings Revamped With Material Design

Google My Account Material Design

The Google My Account page found in Settings on your Android phone has a new look and feel today.  A Material Design makeover is rolling out to everyone that brings a far cleaner and easier-to-navigate design to the page.  This is a cloud-side update so there really isn’t anything you need to do to get it – just wait for it to arrive.

With the new look, the Google Account page is brighter and easier to navigate.  It is also setup it a top-tab design to get to various parts of your account so you can review specific elements, not just get one big overview.

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