European Union Levels $5 Billion Fine for Antitrust Behavior on Google

European Union Flag

Citing illegal restrictions on Android that assure that Google apps are installed on new phones, the European Union today have leveled a massive €4.34 Billion, or $5.06 Billion fine against Google.  It is the largest fine ever given to a company by the EU, with Google already owning the now second largest fine which was issued last June.  That fine was $2.7 Billion.

The crux of the issue that the European Union has with Google in this fine is around Android and specifically how contracts with manufactures are written around the platform.  The EU took exception to the fact that these contracts require that OEMs pre-install Google apps.  The Union sees this as anti-competitive and wants it to stop.

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The New Google Sign-In Screen is Really Going to Happen This Week

New Google Sign-In Screen

Last month, Google announced that a new, Material Design laden sign in screen was coming to everyone.  The original plan was that it would roll out June 14th but due to “unforeseen delays”, it is now rolling out over a month later.

Functionally, you aren’t going to find anything different in this new sign in screen other than the brighter, more contemporary Material Design look to it.  It does exactly what you would expect it to do which is to allow you to sign into your Google account.  But the update brings the site in line with many other Google apps and services as the Mountain View company has been working diligently on updating their wares to Material Design.

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The Google Payments Center Site Gets a Material Design Makeover

Google Payments Center Material Design

The Google Payments Center is likely one of the few Google sites that you rarely visit.  It is a central location where you can see all of your payment information such as your recent purchases, your credit cards and shipping addresses, and your subscriptions that you have through Google.  It is a site that, to be fair, you rarely need to use as most of the information in it can be found in the Play Store app or in Google Pay.

That doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t think it is important and over the weekend gave it a heavy Material Design makeover.  The update was a cloud-side push as these things tend to go so there is nothing you need to do on your end.  Just go to and you will be dropped into the new & improved Google Payment Center site.

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Google My Business Adds LGBTQ-friendly Attribute for Businesses

Google My Business Admin Panel

Google My Business (GMB) is a service that allows businesses to highlight their business, specials or attributes of their company within Google Search results.  Launched in 2014, it is one of the best tools available for small to medium businesses to improve their search results and allow people to find them.

One of the key elements of GMB are attributes that tell people who find your business qualities.  Now Google has added two key attributes that owners can add to their business, “LGBTQ-friendly” and as a “Transgender Safe Space”.  These new attributes will allow businesses to clearly indicate they are an open part of their local community.

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Google Releases a Hot Fix To Address Issues With Google Home and Chromecast Devices

Google Home Mini

Over the course of yesterday, many Google Home and Chromecast users reported issues with the devices.  In the case of Home, commands were not being accepted while with Chromecast devices, casting would not work.  The issue was reasonably widespread.

Late yesterday, Google’s Made By Google Twitter account posted that a fix would be rolling out over the follow six hour (i.e. overnight) to fix the issue.

At this point, this fix should have rolled out to everyone.

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Google Vault Update Brings Customizable Google Hangouts Retention Policy

Google G Suite

A new update for G Suite paying customers is rolling out that brings a handful of improvements to the Google Vault feature.  With the update, you will be able to set a custom retention length of time for Hangouts Meet recording as well as be able to set a policy for user’s Drive trash folders.

For those who are not G Suite users or who are unfamiliar with it, Google Vault is your domain’s retention policy manager when you use the service from Google, allowing you to set how long things like emails and files are retained along with Hangouts Meet recordings and search results.

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YouTube Music and YouTube Premium Now Available

YouTube Music

After being announced last month, literally in the middle of the night, Google has now pulled back the covers on the rebooted YouTube Music subscription service as well as the YouTube Red rebranded YouTube Premium.  The two services combined are $11.99 per month and bring you a wealth of music and video content on your Android phone, tablets, PCs, and Chromebooks.

The updated services bring ad-free music and videos to your devices with both original content and official music channels for artists that you can subscribe to and follow.

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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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