WHEN IT comes to big tech, it's often difficult to keep a track on the big stories of the week. But fear not Google fans - we've summarised ten of the best in news and rumours from the Alphabet Castle. You can read the original stories (where relevant) by clicking through, or see a feed of all-out Google coverage at this link.
- There isn't going to be a Pixel Slate 2: Google has just confirmed that its plans for two smaller tablets for its Made By Google range have been scrapped and the staff redeployed. It's suggested that they just weren't good enough.
- You're better off with a new Nest camera, but not from the Nest site: As Google merges Nest into its devices business, the separate branding of Nest is slowly disappearing. As news emerged that a glitch could mean sellers might still be able to access the streams from used cameras, Google has quietly closed the Nest website, with content moving to the main Google Store.
- YouTube is tackling criticism with a big stick: With federal regulators in the US sniffing around and a dumpster fire of issues with its comments section, Google has started testing a new default for videos that hides the comments until you expand them. It's currently rolling out in India. There are also reports that it plans to split YouTube Kids off from YouTube, to create a walled garden for kids, and less incentive to use the grown-up version.
- Those businesses on Google Maps? You might want to check them: A Wall Street Journal investigation has discovered that there are "11 million falsely listed businesses on any given day". It's thought that businesses are manipulating Google Maps to improve their SEO in the main Google search. Google has said that the figure is a "small percentage" of roughly 200m listings and that only a tiny percentage of new listings submitted make it to the map with incorrect info.
- Now someone really can ‘Google that for you': A future update to the Google app is adding short URL sharing of search results, so if that lazy oaf on the beanbag doesn't want to get their phone out and press some buttons, you can do it for them and ping it across.
- Alphabet boss Larry Page isn't interested in Googlers' problems: At an annual employee meeting this week, Larry Page, the ultimate head honcho failed to show for the second year in a row. With Googlers still furious about military AI, #metoo,
- Google Pay hearts PayPal: Although PayPal has been available since the days of Google Wallet, it has been a somewhat half-arsed collaboration, but no more. Google has added deeper support for the platform in 24 countries, meaning that by simply adding a line of code, shops and merchants will be able to accept Paypal wherever Google Pay is welcome. It's not automatic though, so don't rely on your favourites taking Paypal just yet.
- It's a bad time to be a 32-bit Google developer: Android switched to being 64-bit first some time ago, but it has still been possible to build 32-bit apps in Android Studio. Those days are over though - 32-bit options will be disappearing on the next version.
- Google isn't giving up Duo anytime soon: Despite the mess that still surrounds Google's messaging policy, there's one product that goes from strength to strength. The latest version of video-calling app Duo not only adds direct video calling from your contacts list but the ability to call a Google Home device too, which could start to see video calling becoming that bit more ubiquitous.
- Google is sick to death of stalling over RCS: And speaking of messaging, Google has been hedging its bets for some time, hoping the mobile industry will embrace RCS, the spiritual replacement for SMS. It's fed up waiting - starting in the UK and France, you'll soon be able to bypass your carrier and sign up for RCS directly from Google, in the Messaging app.
As always, there's more Google news next week. μ
Watch this space
Hackers could erect man-in-the-middle attacks
Painted into a corner
What we'd call copying, Cupertino calls 'inspiration'