Chrome OS Dev Channel Updated to Chrome 65

Google+ Android App Running on Chrome OS

For developers and for those who like a good bug hunt, the Chromium team within Google has released a new build to the Chrome OS Dev channel.  The Dev channel is really aimed only at developers to give a sneak peak into what will be coming up.  In this case, it is the first build based on Chrome 65.  It is build 65.0.3322.0 (Platform version: 10315.0.0).

For those that aren’t familiar with the different Chrome OS channels, the Dev channel is essentially the alpha channel.  This can be a really rough experience with lots of weird behavior and bugs.  It is aimed at developers and those who like serious bug hunting to see what is coming up in the platform.  This channel is not recommended for daily use on your daily driver Chromebook.

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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 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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Google Continues to Tweak G Suite App Menus for Clarity

Google Docs New Break Menu

Over the past few months, Google has been making minor tweaks to the menus in various G Suite apps online.  Most of these efforts, with the biggest change coming last month, have been aimed at making it easier to navigate these menus and to be clear about what exactly you are doing with that menu option.

Today another round of menu tweaks started rolling out to all G Suite customers that further adjusts menus in Google Docs and Google Slides.  In their announcement, Google laid out the before and after menu views to help users find the difference.

For Google Docs, to add a line or page break, here are the changes:

  • Before: Insert > Page break or Column break
  • After: Insert > Break > Page break or Column break

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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 which will then have build 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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Mobile App Spending Topped $86 Billion Globally in 2017

Google Play Store

If there is one key take away from the 2017 annual report from App Annie, it is that the mobile app economy is very healthy.  The new report indicates that some $86 billion was spent in 2017 globally on apps.  That is a 105% increase in spending since 2015.  That spending growth came through the estimated 175 billion app downloads that happened in the year, a 60% increase itself since 2015.

China led the way in when it came to overall spending.  Consumers in that country increased their spending by 205% since 2015 and spend more time in apps than any other country.  China’s consumers also increased their downloading of apps by 125% since 2015.  Interestingly, India moved past the United States for the increase in app downloads to hold a distance second place position.

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