Google has begun rolling out a feature Google Home visualization feature today, allowing you to ask Google Assistant to display the weather forecast on your Chromecast enabled device. The new feature is a cloud-side change so there is nothing for you to do. You will know when you have the feature on your account when you ask Assistant on your Google Home, “Hey Google, show me the weather on my Chromecast”.
Visualizations with Assistant and Home were shows last year at Google I/O as a way to improve getting personalized content. In the case of the weather, you can visually see the weather forecast instead of having to listen to Assistant read it back to you on your device or Google Home.
[Editors Note: Due to the political nature of this post, comments have been disabled]
President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address will be streamed live on YouTube this week. The address to both houses of Congress will happen on January 30th at 5:00 PM Eastern. Google’s streaming service will be broadcasting the live stream from CBS News and will also be streaming the Democrat response to the address shortly after the President concludes his address.
The State of the Union Address is a Constitutionally mandated address Article II, Section 3, Clause 1. That clause reads in part: shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
Google is set to roll out an update to Google Play Services tomorrow aimed at addressing the slow WiFi issue that some users of Chromecast and Google Home have experienced. The issue cropped up a couple of weeks ago and at first, was thought to be an issue with the new Google Home Max. It turns out that Google Play Services was the culprit.
For those that haven’t encountered the problem (good!), it comes down to Android devices on your network as well as Chromecast and Home devices. Essentially what was happening is that Android devices on the same network would see the Cast enabled device and flood your network with packets. That would cause slowness or instability. It was effectively an internal DDoS attack.
One of the best features of Google Home when it comes to audio is one that I suspect many have not heard of or used. It is called Home Grouping and it allows you to put your Home and Chromecast audio devices into a logical group inside the Home app. Once done, you can give the command to play music on that group and it will play across all of your Home devices. It is a great feature and is easy to setup.
First, make sure you have the latest Google Home app on your phone. Next, make sure that your phone and the Home, and the Chromecast devices you want to add to your group are all on the same network. In other words, you can’t do this while you are on a business trip or on holiday. You have to be home to do it. Finally, make sure all of your Home device and Chromecast devices are turned on so they can be found. With that, let’s get to the How To.
When the announcement came out a few weeks ago that Google would be holding an event on October 4th, it seems pretty straight forward. This Google event, it seemed, would bring us a couple of new phones and that would be about it. However, the much anticipated Pixel and Pixel XL are likely to only be the tip of the iceberg. The event is shaping up to be huge with announcements across a wide swath of the Google landscape.
While everything to this point is purely rumor, there are strong indicators of what we will see or won’t see. I’ve put together a list of things we are likely to see in the October 4th event and it is expansive. Get ready for a really exciting day!
Google Pixel / Google Pixel XL – Probability: 100%
Fundamentally, this event started as a launch event for Google’s new phones, the 5.2″ Pixel and 5.5″ Pixel XL. Both devices are expected to be launched with the new Pixel Launcher and with
Android Nougat 7.1, the first maintenance release for the latest version of Android. As for the details, both devices are expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor and both will have 4GB of RAM. Both are expected to have a 12MP main camera, fingerprint scanner and sticking with Nexus tradition, will not have a MicroSD card for storage expansion. They will however come with 32, 64 or 128GB of Storage.
The devices have been heavily influenced by Google and are built by HTC. It is also expect that for the first time, Google will have their phones in carrier and retailers. Pricing is still a bit of a mystery but something around the $450 mark for the Pixel and $650 for the XL (starting price) is likely.
Finally, don’t expect these phones to be available on the 4th. It will likely be the end of the month before we see them ship if history holds true. You will however likely be able to pre-order them on or around the 4th.
If you have a Chromecast, you know that there are some great photos that the device scrolls through while sitting idle. Sure you can point it to your own photos but some of the default ones are just spectacular. Now you can download them to your PC or Mac to enjoy thanks to Alex Meub.
Alex has put together a blog post that has all of the Chromecast photos available for your to download to your computer to use as a wallpaper. While the blog post hasn’t been updated in over a year, the vast majority of the wallpapers are there – and there are hundreds to download on the site. All of the photos are credited to the photographer who took them but you can download them
Google has rolled out another update to the Chromecast app for Android phones and tablets that brings a new Offers page off the menu. The updated version is 1.13.13 for those keeping score at home and has been published to the Google Play Store. That means that if you have the app already installed on one of your Android devices, you should see the OTA update at any point now.
Functionally you are not going to see much difference between this update and the previous version except this new Offers page. As you may know, when you buy a Chromecast (and they are on sale – 2 for $55 & $20 in Google Play Store credits) you will receive various offers from Google and other companies that you can use with it. These offers vary from time to time (generally every quarter they change a little bit) and range from free movies to trials of services (like Google Play Music). Previously finding these offers was tricky and the fastest way I found was by going to the Offers website – not exactly handy while you are on-the-go. Now all you do is tap the menu button in the upper left corner and tap on Offers. There you will see all of the current offers available and you can tap on any one of them to get the details or to sign up.