TIME ONCE again for our weekly roundup of the Google news that didn't quite make the cut as a separate story (as ever, find those here) but we felt you needed to know.
First up, we're hearing the Google Maps has started giving incident reports in much the way that Waze already does. We've never quite understood why Waze and Google Maps are kept at arm's length from each other, and this suggests that maybe it's about to end. It's not there for everyone yet, so hang tight while we work out what's going on.
There's already a wider rollout for "Explore This Area" on Google Maps. We've already seen that pop up on our UK devices. Great for if you need something good to do in an area you didn't expect to be in.
Another 18 Chromebooks will be able to run Linux apps soon. The plan to roll out the windowed apps, further making them a viable alternative to Windows, now takes in Chrome OS machines from Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Dell joining the frey.
In footie news, if you've not already spotted it, if you look up a World Cup match in the Google app, there's an option to "tag" it. That puts the live score on a floating widget over the screen so you can keep an eye whatever else you're doing. Do we not like that? Yeah, that's right, we can make aging football references.
A minor note - if you've been using the Android Messages web interface, have a play around - the emoticon range from Hangouts is hidden within. Hopefully that means it's rolling out properly at some point. SMS messages need more emoji.
A company in the US is fitting Google Home devices to its properties - all 25,000 of them, if the residents want. The offer also includes a Nest thermostat and a Google Home Mini in another room. Alliance Residential has worked alongside Google and smart company Dwelo, who will offer 24/7 support for the gadget bonanza.
Google Calendar is finally getting an out-of-office mode so that people can't try and schedule meetings when you're busy. You can also set your working hours, so there's no doubt. At the moment it's G Suite customers only but they won't keep this one down - expect it in regular Google accounts soon.
Another rumour - someone digging around in the code has discovered plans for something called "Better Together" to bring closer links between ChromeOS and Android. It's not exactly known what it will entail yet, but seamless transfer between devices and a universal clipboard seem most likely. Add in easy tethering, unlock devices in range and the just-launched SMS service and you've got something pretty special. Let's hope that's how it goes down.
Google Ads is not something we spend a great deal of time fretting over, but sufficed to say, Google has just combined Doubleclick and Adsense into a single Google Ads branding. Worth checking out if you're a webmaster.
That's the basics. Google is pretty prolific at the moment, so we hope to have another cracking list of breaking stories next week.
Finally, though, we've taken a few weeks off from app recommendations, as it was all getting a bit samey. But we're still keen, so we'd like to hear from you if you've got any Android apps that you can't live without. We'll bring back the three-for-free next week but we're expanding it out to all free apps. Please get in touch if you want to recommend one. μ
The best of the rest of the week
Amazon is going big on AI for Christmas
But you still can't deactivate Samsung's divisive AI assistant