Google Allows YouTube to Return to Amazon’s Echo Show Smart Speaker

Google has seen fit to return YouTube to Amazon's display-based Echo Show smart speaker, two months after the video service was pulled from the device. The original removal angered Amazon and led to conflicting public statements by on both sides over the move, but the two companies appear to have resolved the dispute.

The return of YouTube is particularly timely for Amazon, which is expanding its video services on the Echo Show with additional support for Vimeo and Dailymotion. An Amazon spokesperson gave the following statement to The Verge:

"We're excited to offer customers the capability to watch even more video content from sources such as Vimeo, YouTube, and Dailymotion on Echo Show. More video sources will be added over time."
According to Google, the reason for the service's removal on Echo Show devices back in September was because "Amazon's implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience."

That issue now looks to have been resolved with a UI change – the new version of YouTube on Echo Show has a completely different interface that is much more in keeping with how the service appears in a desktop web browser, as shown in a video uploaded by VoiceBot.ai, embedded below.


YouTube account holders accessing the device using an Echo Show can now see their subscriptions, video recommendations, and control autoplay – all of which were missing in the Amazon-designed, voice-control optimized interface.

However, The Verge reports that there are now issues with YouTube's voice-control integration, and the Echo Show still doesn't automatically play videos fullscreen, with an "Alexa, zoom in" voice command required to display videos in that way.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple AirPods vs. Google Pixel Buds

The Pixel Buds, Google's $159 headphones designed to compete with Apple's AirPods, finally launched this week so we thought we'd pit the two devices against one another to see how they measure up.

While the AirPods are widely loved and have received mostly positive reviews from customers and media sites, things aren't looking quite as rosy for the Pixel Buds. In a lot of ways, the Pixel Buds don't measure up to the AirPods, and in the video below, we compare design, features, sound quality, comfort, and other metrics.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Pixel Buds and AirPods both cost $159 and are Bluetooth earphones designed for the Google and Apple ecosystems, respectively, but when it comes to design, they're quite a bit different. The AirPods are entirely wire-free, but the Pixel Buds have an adjustable cord that connects the two earpieces together. Each is stored in a case that provides extra battery.

Both earphones support touch and tap gestures to do things like activate Siri or Google Assistant and control music playback, but each one has shortcomings. There's no volume control on the AirPods, meaning you need to use Siri or your connected device to adjust volume, and on the Pixel Buds, there's no gesture for switching tasks, so you need to use Google Assistant. By the way, when connected to an iPhone, Google Assistant functionality doesn't work.


AirPods have a nifty feature that stops music playback when an AirPod is removed from the ear, and there's no equivalent feature on the Pixel Buds. The Pixel Buds do have a unique translation feature, but as it turns out, it requires Google Translate on a smartphone and isn't too much different from just using your phone for translation purposes.

The W1 chip built into the AirPods allows them to be swapped seamlessly between Apple devices and is one of the best AirPods features, while the Pixel Buds aren't quite as convenient. On Android devices, you need to put the buds back in their case, hold the pair button, and then re-pair when you want to switch.


At their price point, both the AirPods and the Pixel Buds offer relatively decent sound, but we did feel that the AirPods were better in this regard. The Pixel Buds sounded somewhat muddled, especially when using Spotify.

Given some of the shortcomings of the Pixel Buds, the AirPods seem to have them beat, based on our own experience with the two products and a range of less than enthusiastic Pixel Bud reviews from media sites. And of course, as an Apple-centric site with employees that largely use iOS devices, MacRumors is partial to the AirPods.


We may prefer the AirPods to the Pixel Buds, but as with our comparison between the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 XL, choosing between the AirPods and the Pixel Buds largely comes down to the ecosystem you're using. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the AirPods are the obvious choice.

If you don't have an iPhone or another Apple device, you're not going to get the benefits of the W1 chip, so it may be worth considering the Pixel Buds instead. And, of course, there's always the neither option -- there are hundreds of other Bluetooth headphones on the market.


Discuss this article in our forums

Chrome Browser Updates Coming to Prevent Unexpected Web Page Redirects

Google this week revealed some upcoming enhancements to its Chrome browser that aim to protect users from encountering unwanted content on the web, such as when a site unexpectedly redirects them to another page when they click on a video play button.

Google says that incidents of users being redirected by websites to unintended destinations are mentioned in 1 of every 5 Chrome feedback reports it receives, and it's now intent on putting a stop to the "abusive" behavior.
One piece of feedback we regularly hear from users is that a page will unexpectedly navigate to a new page, for seemingly no reason. We've found that this redirect often comes from third-party content embedded in the page, and the page author didn't intend the redirect to happen at all. To address this, in Chrome 64 all redirects originating from third-party iframes will show an infobar instead of redirecting, unless the user had been interacting with that frame. This will keep the user on the page they were reading, and prevent those surprising redirects.
Another example that Google says causes user frustration is when clicking a link opens the desired destination in a new tab, but the main window navigates to a different, unwanted page. The behavior is designed to circumvent pop-up blockers, but Google is planning a clampdown.


Staring in Chrome 65, the browser will detect this abusive behavior, trigger an infobar, and prevent the main tab from being redirected, allowing the user to continue on to their intended destination.

Lastly, starting in early January, Chrome's pop-up blocker will attempt put a stop to several other types of abusive experiences that are harder to detect, such as links to third-party websites disguised as play buttons or other site controls, or transparent overlays on websites that capture all clicks and open new tabs or windows.


To help site owners prepare for the changes, Google is launching the Abusive Experiences Report alongside other similar reports in the Google Search Console. These can be used by owners to see to see if any of the abusive experiences have been found on their site and help them improve their user experience.

Tags: Google, Chrome

Discuss this article in our forums

Google Arts & Culture iOS App Showcases England Heritage Exhibition

Google has teamed up with the English Heritage Trust to give users of its Arts & Culture app a rare opportunity to explore the annals of England's historical, architectural, and cultural heritage.

Spanning 5,000 years of history and taking in archeological artifacts, castles, forts and monuments, the in-depth exhibits celebrate the famous sites and the stories behind them by using the latest digital capture methods and offering users immersive VR experiences to virtually visit the historical locations themselves.

Through more than 30 multimedia exhibits and 10 editorial features on Google Arts & Culture, you can experience online almost 3,000 historic gems from the Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Civil War and Stuart periods through the 21st century and from the perspective of the historians, experts and curators who manage the collections and heritage sites across England. You can explore by time period or, with the help of machine learning tools that recognize color patterns, you can sort through items by color.
Highlights of the vast collection include a zoomable high resolution image of the Elysium Closet in Bolsover Castle in never-before-seen detail, a Google Art Camera capture of "The Battle of Hastings" by Francis William Wilkin – the biggest ever at nine meters across – as well as a Google Museum View of 7th century monastery Whitby Abbey, which was one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's Dracula.


The Google Arts & Culture app is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google

Discuss this article in our forums

Google Investigating Reports of Possible Screen Burn-In on Pixel 2 XL as iPhone X Unlikely Affected

Multiple reports have surfaced over the past few days about potential screen burn-in or image retention issues with Google's new Pixel 2 XL smartphone.

Pixel 2 XL with apparent screen burn-in via Michael Kukielka‏

Android Central's Alex Dobie‏ shared a photo on Twitter on early Sunday that shows faint outlines of Android's navigation buttons at the bottom of the display. 9to5Google, The Verge, and Ars Technica also experienced the issue.


In a statement to The Verge, Google said it is "actively investigating" the reports.
The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report.
Google hasn't confirmed how many users are currently affected.

Google sourced the Pixel 2 XL's plastic OLED display from LG, which could be the root of the problem, given that the smaller Pixel 2 and original Pixel's Samsung-supplied OLED displays have experienced far fewer issues.

Apple is also sourcing OLED displays exclusively from Samsung, so if the issue stems from LG, then the iPhone X shouldn't be affected either.

LG's own V30 smartphone has suffered from many of the same display issues, which has also included banding and uneven colors.

Screen burn-in is typically a result of static images or on-screen elements displaying on the screen uninterrupted for a prolonged period of time. The issue can result in persistent discoloration or a "ghosting" effect on the screen.


Discuss this article in our forums

Google Launches New Android-Based Mobile App Payment Solution ‘Pay With Google’

Google today announced the launch of its new mobile app payment platform "Pay with Google," following a sneak peek of the feature during its I/O conference this past May. Using Pay with Google, Android smartphone owners can access any of the credit or debit cards they've added to their Google Account -- sourcing products like Google Play, YouTube, Chrome, and Android Pay -- and quickly choose these cards to purchase items in apps.

When the Pay with Google button is available, Google sends the merchant each user's payment info and shipping address based on the information from their Google Account, so users don't have to type in any additional information. Then, according to Google, the merchant will handle the rest of the checkout process "just like any other purchase."

If you’ve ever paid for something on your phone or tablet, you know just how frustrating checkout can be. Maybe you had to fill in a bunch of forms. Maybe your session timed out. Maybe you encountered an error and had to start all over again. Back in May, we shared a sneak peek of how paying with Google would help you skip all that. And starting today you can now speed through online checkout on many of your favorite apps and websites with a few quick clicks.

Paying with Google makes checkout so fast and easy, you can make the most of every moment—whether you’re grabbing a dinner spot or a parking spot.
There are a few app launch partners, including DoorDash, Dice, Yelp Eat24, Fancy, Gametime, Hotel Urbano, Instacart, Kayak, Postmates, Wish, and more. Pay with Google uses the Google Payment API, which has launched globally -- making it available in Brazil with partners like iFood -- but still requires merchants to support the API in their apps.

Google said that its partnership with various payment providers will make integration with the new platform "even simpler." At launch these include Adyen, Braintree, Vantiv, and Stripe. Like merchant support, Google will be adding more payment providers in the future.

Besides Pay with Google, which focuses on online shopping within mobile apps, Android smartphone owners have had the contactless payments solution Android Pay over the past few years. Similar to Apple Pay, Android Pay fuels checkouts both in stores and online, stores multiple cards, and is exclusive to its platform. The next major addition to Apple Pay will be peer-to-peer payments with Apple Pay Cash, coming in a future update to iOS 11.


Discuss this article in our forums

Google Follows Apple’s Lead By Reducing Play Store Fee for App Subscriptions

Google revealed on Thursday that it would follow Apple's lead in lowering the amount of money app developers must pay for mobile subscriptions processed through the company's Play Store (via The Verge).

Adoption of the subscription model by iOS developers has increased over recent months, causing some controversy within the app-using community. Apple incentivized developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its App Store subscription policies in September of last year.


Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple's cut drop down to 15 percent.

Google is adopting the same policy for subscriptions in its Play Store – an Android developer selling a subscription service will be eligible for the cut if the customer in question has been subscribed for more than a year. The company plans to bring the change into effect starting January 2018.

As The Verge notes, Google is trying to stay competitive with Apple by offering a reduction in its fees. This way the company ensures that subscription services like Spotify don't try to bypass the Play Store in an effort to avoid paying the fee. But it also encourages developers to work harder to keep users subscribed for longer, given that the free reduction doesn't take effect until 12 months into the initial subscription.


Discuss this article in our forums

Google Chrome for iOS Updated With Drag and Drop Support, New Today Widgets

Google yesterday updated its Chrome for iOS app, which serves as an alternate browser option for those who would prefer to use Chrome instead of the default Safari browser.

The latest version of Chrome includes support for the iOS 11 Drag and Drop feature on the iPad, allowing iPad users to drag a URL from Chrome into another app or vice versa.

Also included in the update are new Today widgets, which can be accessed by swiping right on an iPhone or iPad to get to the Today view and then choosing "Edit" to access available widgets.

The two new widgets are "Quick Actions" and Suggested Sites." Quick Actions offers access to a new search, an incognito search, a voice search, or an option to scan a QR code, plus it includes an area that lists your most recently copied link. Suggested Sites offers site suggestions based on browsing habits.
What's New in Version 62.0.3202.60
- Check out Chrome's two new Today widgets. You will need to add them by tapping the Edit button at the bottom of the iOS Search screen

- On iOS 11 iPads, you can now drag a URL from another app and drop it into Chrome's omnibox or the tab strip, or from Chrome's content area to another app
Chrome can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Google, Chrome

Discuss this article in our forums

Google Testing Support for Third-Party Email Accounts in Gmail for iOS

Google today asked customers who use the Gmail for iOS app to test a new feature that will allow non-Google accounts to be added to and checked from the official Gmail for iOS app.

Right now, the Gmail app for iOS devices only supports Gmail accounts, but the addition of support for third-party email accounts would put the app on par with other popular iOS apps like Spark, Airmail, Alto, Edison Mail, and other options.


Gmail for Android already supports third-party email accounts.

Google is allowing Gmail users to sign up to test the feature through a beta application. Requirements include using the Gmail for iOS app, having a non-Google email account, and iOS 10 or later.

Customers are asked to enter their name, Gmail address, iOS device, and provider of the non-Google email account to be used in the beta. There's no word yet on when the feature might launch following the beta test.

Gmail for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Google, Gmail

Discuss this article in our forums

Google App Now Lets You Get Directions With Apple Maps or Waze

Google's official search app for iOS has been updated this week with more navigation options in the United States and other countries.


In addition to Google Maps, you can now use Apple Maps or Waze for navigation when searching for places and addresses in the Google app.

When you search for an address and tap the navigation button, a menu opens with the three options for directions: Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze.

The update also brings search filters to the Google app. Once you've searched for something, scroll across the options bar underneath the search box to find the "Tools" option and filter results by time range and more.

Google's app is free on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.


Discuss this article in our forums