HTC U11 on Sprint To Get Updated to Android Oreo Starting Tomorrow

HTC U11

Good news for those of you who have the HTC U11 on Sprint here in the United States.  The Android Oreo update for the phone will start rolling out tomorrow according to HTC’s Mo Versi.

This announcement follows up the November 2017 release of the build for the unlocked variant of the phone.

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Audiobooks Teaser and App Update for Google Play Books

Shelves in Google Play Books

It is one thing when a company gets an upcoming feature or product leaked.  It is another thing entirely when the company itself leaks the upcoming feature or product.  That appears to be what happened late on Friday with Google Play Books.

Both online and in the Android app, a banner in the Play Books store promoting the coming of Audiobooks to the store and a 50% discount on your first purchase.  I, unfortunately, didn’t capture the banner but the folks over at 9to5 Google did and you can see it here.

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Google Trips Update Brings Video and Blogger Content to Sites

Videos on Places in Google Trips

Google Trips, the travel planning app that lets you have all your travel information in one place, as a handy update that is rolling out today.  The update is version 1.6 for those keeping score at home.  Aside from the normal smattering of bug fixes and performance improvements, there is now video content from YouTube and Blogger content when you visit a particular thing to do in a location.

To get to this new content, select an upcoming trip you already have in Google Trips or search for a new city, say New York City.  Once you are on the city page, tap on the blue “Things to do” block which will bring up various sites and places to go while you are in New York.  When you tap on one of those places, you will now see videos from YouTube and Blogger content in the new “from around the web” section.

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Overstock The Latest Store to be Added to Google Express

Overstock on Google Express

Overstock, the online retailer of a wide range of personal and home decor items, has become the latest company to be added to Google Express.  That brings the total number of retailers you can buy from within the Express site or app up to 56, all with free shipping after a certain purchase level.

If you aren’t familiar with Overstock, they started life as a company selling equipment and other furnishings from startups that had gone bust.  But that quickly morphed into selling new furnishings, personal care items and home decor, some of which is now specifically manufactured for the company.

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Google to Begin Using Mobile Site Speed Consideration as a Ranking Factor

ClintonFitch.com Mobile Site

Google has informed webmasters via a blog post that an upcoming changing the Google Search algorithm will take mobile site speed into consideration for page ranking.  Referring to it as the “Speed Update”, starting in July 2018, sites that have slow response times will have that factored into their overall search results within Google Search.

The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page.

However, mobile site speed is not the only consideration in page ranking nor will it be the only factor come July.

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Google Pay Adds 80 New Financial Institutions to Kick Off 2018

Google Pay Logo

If there were doubts in your mind about the growth of Google Pay, formerly Android Pay, halting in the new year, rest easy.  Kicking off 2018 right, the pay service from Google added 80 new institutions today to the roster that support the service with their debit and credit cards.  With these new additions, there are now a whopping 1,196 banks and credit unions that support Google Pay.

The new additions, as has been the case for a while now under the Android Pay moniker, are mostly regional and local institutions.  The big national banks supported the service in the early days.

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Android Wear Update Brings Visual Improvements and Accessibility Improvements

Android Wear 2.8 Update

A new update to the Android Wear app is rolling out in the Play Store today, bringing some visual improvements as well as improvements for accessibility users.  The update to the app is version 2.7.0.180439970 which will then have build 2.8.0.181612071 to send to your Wear watch.  Once you get the new app update, you’ll need to also perform an update on your watch itself.  You should have a notification that there is a new update to the Android Wear app on the watch itself.

As for what is new, there are improved typefaces and fonts in this build.  The aim of these is to improve glanceability (i.e. readability) when you glance at your watch.  Also, the base theme for your watch’s menu will appear noticeably darker.  This is likely a part of the effort to improve glanceability.

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