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Android rolls out Google Assistant to Lollipop phones

Okay, Google, say hi to Lollipop

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It’s no secret that Google got the shorter end of the stick when it comes to voice-activated assistants. Apple has Siri, and Windows has Cortana. A late move, however, aims to push Google Assistant to more phones.

When Google Assistant was launched, it rolled out to only Android 6.0 Marshmallow phones and above. New Android phone users are already familiar with the term “Okay, Google.” Older phone users, who still compose a good portion of the user base, sadly lack the hands-free capabilities of the newer models.

Years after its launch for the original Google Pixel, Google Assistant is now available for those older phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google will not set the app as a default, but as an option that older phones can toggle.

Similarly, Android tablets set to English will also get the new update. Previously, only Google tablets like the Pixel C enjoyed the convenience of Google Assistant.

Besides providing quick and easy access to Google’s apps, the Google Assistant allows users to fiddle around with their phone in hands-free situations, such as while driving.

The virtual assistant is still a few steps away from its counterparts in Siri and Cortana. However, the move will increase its availability in more Android phones. Only time will tell if the move will make it popular with more users.

The rollout mimics Google’s previous moves in making their OS accessible to more people. As a part of its “Next Billion Users” initiative, the new update hopes to fulfill Google’s dream of spreading the purest Android experience over a huger chunk of the world.

SEE ALSO: Android Oreo distribution nearly doubles but still ain’t widely available

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Here’s what’s coming in Android 13

At least for the second beta

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Android just keeps getting better. Last year, Android 12 represented a major revolution in what the operating system is capable of. With the update’s success, Google wants to keep the train going with Android 13. After months of development, the company is finally ready to tease what’s coming for this year’s update.

During this year’s Google I/O event, Google unveiled more information about Android 13, coinciding with the release of the update’s second beta. First and foremost is an increased focus on security. While Android 12 already increased security for its users, Android 13 is tacking on more features for the security-conscious user.

For example, the update will give more control over what information the user will share to external apps. Instead of an umbrella term like “files and media,” users can specify whether granting permission includes photos, video, and music files. Additionally, users can also pick which photos an app can access. Do you have a particularly revealing photos you’d rather not have another app see? You can restrict apps from accessing that file.

Android 13 also adds more permissions for users. Apps will no longer be able to access anything on the phone without your permission. The system will also start deleting content on the clipboard automatically to prevent apps from accessing information stored there.

As for customization, the update will retain the custom theme colors for users. For one, themed icons will also include non-Google apps. The music player’s visuals will also adapt to whatever content is playing at the moment.

Android 13 is currently on its second beta phase. With appropriate progress, Google should release the final update later this year.

SEE ALSO: Apple, Google, and Microsoft are getting rid of the password

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Google Maps introduces a new way to be a tourist

What an immersive view

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When Street View was announced, Google Maps found an interesting niche of users who want to experience the world up close from the comforts of their homes. With how much the feature can do, you’d think that Google would find it hard to top itself. Apparently, that’s not the case. During the recently concluded Google I/O, the company introduced a new feature coming to Maps: a new immersive view.

Technically, the feature isn’t introducing something completely new. Instead, it combines aerial view and street view together. The combination is a more immersive, soaring perspective over a city. From merely searching addresses, it evolves to provide more information for travelers.

With a slider, users can see how a city looks at different times of day and different weather conditions. Users can also see how busy areas of the city are, helping them plan out their trip around town. Plus, a graphic included with the announcement includes a way to enter establishments, such as entering restaurants to see if it’s worth a reservation.

The new immersive view is available on any device. However, it will launch only in select locations in the meantime like Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

Also, Google has added in eco-friendly routing to its navigation. Users can choose to find the greenest way to get to their destination. Currently, this specific addition is only available in the United States and Canada. It is still on track to launch in a lot more places.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s Indoor Maps now lets you navigate Jewel Changi Airport

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GrabPay cash-in convenience fees to take effect June 6

Linked Bank Accounts still free of charge

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GrabPay cash-in transactions via 7-Eleven stores will now be subject to an additional two percent convenience fee.

Likewise, a PhP 15.00 convenience fee will be charged for every GrabPay cash-in transaction made via over-the-counter (OTC) stores such as:

  • SM Business Center
  • Robinsons Department Store
  • Cebuana Lhuillier
  • M. Lhuillier
  • Palawan Pawnshop
  • RD Pawnshop

This change will take effect starting on June 6, 2022.

When cashing in via OTC channels, users must take the following steps on the Grab app:

  1. Under Cash-in, Select “In-Store” option
  2. Pick the store of your choice
  3. Enter your cash-in amount
  4. Present the reference number to the OTC store and pay the amount plus convenience fee

Free cash-in through bank accounts

To be able to save more money, users may still cash into their GrabPay wallets for free by linking their BPO, BPI, or UnionBank bank account.

Under Cash-in, just select the “Linked Bank Account”, picked the preferred bank, enter the cash-in amount, and enter an OTP which shall be sent to the user’s registered number.

 

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