Apps

Google Assistant is coming to more countries this year

Includes India, Philippines, and Singapore

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Google I/O came and went with an absurd flurry of new phones, apps, and everything in between. However, even if you watched the presentations, you might have missed this key announcement from the event:

Google Assistant is coming to more countries! Previously limited to select countries and devices, Google’s own voice assistant will operate in 80 countries by the end of the year. Particularly, the long list includes key markets in Southeast Asia.

At the event, Google Assistant’s VP of Engineering Scott Huffman showed off a massive map of countries that will have the software this year. While he doesn’t list them down one by one, the markers are noticeable.

Image source: Google

For example, by the end of 2018, the Southeast Asian region will enjoy Google Assistant support in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Huffman states that the global expansion draws from the incredibly positive response they got from an initial expansion to India. “Daily usage there has tripled since the beginning of the year,” he says.

Sadly, Google has not released a digital render of the map or a complete list of countries yet. Without a list, the video confirms only the countries that are big enough to see.

Additionally, Google will expand the Assistant’s available languages to 30. However, they have not listed any languages yet.

With the expansion, Google can replace the dated Google Now across the globe. Google Assistant depicts a friendlier and more efficient approach to Google’s voice control, in line with Siri and Alexa.

As of now, Google has not released a timetable of when the software will roll out. If you’re in one of the countries pictured, you can at least expect it by the end of 2018.

SEE ALSO: 6 awesome things that happened at Google I/O 2018

Apps

Google is working on a snoring, coughing detector

Might show up for the Pixel first

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Snoring can be a curse for you and the people you sleep with. Unfortunately, outside of anecdotal evidence, it’s hard to pinpoint how bad snoring can get. Some devices have developed features to detect and measure snoring. Google, joining other companies with the feature, is reportedly developing snore and cough detection for the Pixel.

First reported by 9to5Google, Google Health Studies added a new study exclusive for Google employees. The study specifically revolves around collecting audio during sleep. Google also explains that the study will eventually help Android build features that can help users fix their sleep quality.

According to the source, the upcoming detector will be a “bedside feature” that will measure nocturnal snoring and coughing. However, despite recording audio, it still promises to have the user’s privacy in mind. It’s expected that the feature will drop for the Pixel first before moving on to other Android devices.

Snoring detection isn’t new, of course. In fact, Google is already familiar with the feature, since Fitbit, a company that Google owns, offers the feature for some of its smartwatches. In Fitbit’s case, the feature contributes to the wearable’s entire suite of wellness tracking.

However, it’s a double-edged sword. While the feature can be helpful, it’s also a massive battery drain, since it requires the device’s power the entire night. Hopefully, battery efficiency is a focus in Google’s eventual take on the feature.

SEE ALSO: Google’s AI created these photos, and they look so real

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Waze now supports Apple Music

Link those accounts

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Music always goes well with driving. However, because driving demands both hands on the wheel, controlling music playback isn’t always the most seamless experiences. Thankfully, a lot of navigation apps are expanding their support towards the most popular music streaming platforms right now. Today, Waze has announced that the app now supports dual functionality with Apple Music.

Of course, Apple Music isn’t the most popular platform today. Still, expanding support is always a win. With the new update, Waze users can now control their Apple Music content straight from the navigation app.

It does need a bit of setup, of course. Users will have to link their Waze account to their Apple Music account through the Audio Player setting on the app. Besides Apple Music, Waze also supports Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

Though the streaming platform is already a staple especially for Apple users, Apple Music is doing more to create a viable plan against other streaming giants today, including a cheaper Siri-only plan that rids the need for an app interface. The service also increased the price of its student plan in several countries recently.

Both Apple Music and Waze are available for download on the App Store and on the Play Store.

SEE ALSO: Apple Music increases subscription price for students

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Apps

Apple Music increases subscription price for students

In the Philippines and Singapore

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In the Philippines, Spotify is still king. However, the platform’s dominance isn’t enough to deter other music streaming services from setting up shop in the country. Much like Spotify, these other platforms are ever-changing and prone to price changes. If, for example, you use Apple Music as a student, you’re likely affected by a recent increase in the country.

In South Africa, Twitter user @LVDNoff took to the platform to reveal an email from Apple detailing a price increase for Apple Music’s student plan. “Apple is raising the price of this subscription from US$ 1.49 per month to US$ 1.99 per month,” the email read. Though it’s not a huge increase, a few extra cents can put a larger dent in a student’s allowance. Unfortunately, the email didn’t reveal why an increase was tacked on. It also doesn’t reveal if regular subscriptions might see similar increases.

MacRumors, who first reported about the tweet, uncovered something else about the price hike, too. South Africa isn’t the only country getting an increase. According to the publication’s findings, the following countries are also seeing higher student prices: Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Africa.

The report doesn’t indicate specific increases for each country. However, Apple Music’s website currently shows a subscription worth PhP 75 per month. When the service first launched in 2018, students paid only PhP 69 per month.

SEE ALSO: Apple launches the Apple Music Voice Plan

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