YouTube Can Encourage You to Take a Break

YouTube Can Encourage You to Take a Break

Do you watch a lot of YouTube? If you have a lot of subscriptions or find yourself going down a rabbit hole on a regular basis, you may be spending more time on the service than you really should. YouTube will now make it possible for you to limit yourself and take breaks from streaming videos through their service.

YouTube is now introducing their feature that will encourage watchers to “take a break,” says Android Authority. The newly updated version of YouTube is adding settings that let users customize how long they watch. In the “General” section of the YouTube app’s settings, users who have updated the app will find an option called “Remind me to take a break.” Using this setting will prompt YouTube to send out reminders after a certain length of time. These reminders can be dismissed and won’t actually lock watchers out of the app. But they will let people get an idea of how long they’ve been watching and then choose to pause for a while.

With this setting, users can decide how long they can watch before being prompted to stop streaming. There are six options to choose from, including “Never” as the shortest time and “”Every 180 minutes” as the longer time. There are also more moderate options like “Every 60 minutes.” If you’re really wanting to cut back on your watching, you can even pick “Every 15 minutes,” though I don’t know many people who can really stop themselves after just 15 minutes.

There are plenty of really great videos and channels on YouTube, and of course it’s not necessary to stop watching altogether. But some people can find it hard to stop bingeing videos, which means it can be really helpful to get some reminders to stop wasting so much time. Since they’re just reminders and they don’t actually lock the app, the main concern is that YouTube binge watchers will simply get in the habit of dismissing the notification periodically. But there are other apps that can do this if necessary, and YouTube’s approach will be a much gentler one for those who just need a little bit of a push.

The update is being rolled out now, according to Android Authority. Look for this new feature in your app’s settings after you’ve updated.

Some Autoplay Videos Now Blocked in Chrome

Some Autoplay Videos Now Blocked in Chrome

Chrome has been making changes to how ads are displayed in the browser for some time now. In the most recent update of Google’s browser, some autoplay videos will now be blocked, while others will be allowed automatically.

In a blog post, Google outlines how the new autoplay video update works. Now Chrome will learn your preferences when it comes to videos that autoplay with sound. Using your browsing history, Chrome will start enabling or disabling autoplay videos with sound. If you typically choose to play videos on certain websites, Chrome will allow autoplay videos to run with sound. If you typically don’t watch the videos on a site, Chrome will start disabling their autoplay videos with sound.

Even if you don’t have a browsing history, the blog post says, certain sites will have their autoplay videos enabled or disabled as you start building your history. Whichever sites have the most people clicking to play videos with sound will automatically be enabled for you until the browser learns that you don’t want videos played on those sites.

This update comes after Google has already implemented many other ways to avoid certain ads and mute sites that autoplay ads with sound. In February, Chrome’s ad blocking system went live. Their ad blocking is meant to start automatically blocking certain ads that don’t meet their standards. And in January, Chrome introduced a way to permanently mute sites instead of just temporarily muting them while the tab was open.

All of these changes mean Chrome should soon become the browser to use if you specifically want to avoid annoying ads and autoplay videos (especially if you don’t want to deal with browser add-ons). In their blog post, Google notes that their new autoplay video blocking system will block “about half” of the autoplay videos that users want to avoid. Though not a full block of autoplay videos, it should cut down significantly on the annoyance of sound suddenly blasting from your device.

Google Makes Major Changes to Gmail

Google Makes Major Changes to Gmail

Gmail users on desktops and mobile devices are going to spot some major changes to the popular email service.

Gmail has now been updated to include some interesting (and welcome) new features. NBC News reports that there are a number of changes in the update. Though it doesn’t look all that different, there are some great new features.

Disappearing messages are one notable new feature. Gmail users can set their messages to disappear in whatever time frame they choose. And they can also decide to essentially “un-send” an email after already sending it to someone else (even if the other person isn’t using Gmail).

NBC News also reports that there’s a new “nudge” feature that reminds you about emails. Gmail will learn to recognize which emails are most pressing, then make them show at the top of your inbox to suggest you respond.

There are also other little additions, like the ability to get a reminder to reply to an email (using the new “snooze” feature) and “smart replies” that suggest what you might want to respond to a message with.

You can get this updated version of Gmail by clicking the settings button above and to the right of your inbox, then choosing “Try the new Gmail.” Once you click to switch over, you get the opportunity to choose a layout (including one that will look almost exactly the same as the one you’re used to). You might notice bigger, clearer fonts and more rounded buttons instead of quite a few links. You’ll also spot the sidebar on the right side that has a calendar, note keeper, list of tasks, and a plus sign that once clicked on lets you choose other tools to keep handy on your screen.

You’ll also soon spot one specific new feature from this update if you use Gmail on an Android device. Android Police reports that the new snooze feature is also rolling out Android users. Like the desktop version, you can snooze emails and get reminders to check back in on them later.

Look for the option to try the new Gmail on desktop now, and look out for the snooze feature on Android as it continues to roll out.

Tech You Need If You’re Traveling

Tech You Need If You’re Traveling

Have plans to travel? If you’re like a lot of other people, you might be headed on vacation this summer. Or you could have business trips planned. Whatever the case may be, traveling can be fun. But it can also have its own stresses and issues. Whether you’re driving a car or heading to an airport, it can sometimes seem tricky making it to a destination.

Thankfully, there’s some great technology available to make trips a little easier. You might need something to keep kids distracted during family trips, something to help you find your destination more smoothly, or something to give you peace of mind while your home is empty. All of these worries and more can be taken care of with some devices you’ve already heard of (and perhaps some you haven’t).

Tech For Traveling

Don’t lose your stuff

Want to keep track of your luggage or other important items? Tile is one way to do that. Luggage can sometimes get lost. And while you’re away from home, being in unfamiliar places can make it easier to lose things like your keys or your wallet.

With Tile, you can easily track important items, whether it be a suitcase or your rental car keys. All you have to do is attach Tile to whatever you want to keep track of, then use Tile’s app if you need to locate the item. There’s the Tile Slim, which is a thin version of the device that isn’t too bulky in a wallet. There’s the Tile Mate, which has a small hole in the corner so you can attach it to anything, like purses, backpacks, keys, and more. These two are most likely to be helpful during your travels. There’s even an accessory for the Tile Slim that is specifically made for traveling: the Tile Slim Luggage Tag.

There’s also the Tile Sport, which could come in handy if you’re going on a trip that might get a little rough (like if you’re camping, hiking, biking, or doing things outdoors). And there’s the Tile Style, which adds some extra flair to the device for a more fun appearance.

Prices vary for each Tile device, and there are also combo packs. You can buy 4-packs or 8-packs to pay a little less for each device, or you can mix it up and buy the different devices separately.

Keep your passengers entertained

If you’re traveling with impatient kids or adults who aren’t fans of road trips, keeping them distracted can be a great way to eliminate some stress. The answer is simple: bring a tablet. Using phones can be a drain on the battery and run the risk of not having enough battery life if your car breaks down. And using a tablet can seem like a special treat if your kids don’t already use them regularly (if they do, I’m sure you already know how entertaining they can be).

Even if you don’t already have one, buying one for your trip doesn’t have to be expensive. There are pricey options out there, but it can be as easy as buying a Kindle Fire for just $49.99 (and sometimes for less during a promotion). You can easily set up a kid-friendly account and choose which apps they can use. This should make it easier to pass the time.

A tablet can also be a useful way to save space. If you like to read during your relaxing vacations, you don’t have to pack any bulky booksyou can just read them on your tablet.

Find your destination with no problem

We all know about apps like Google Maps and Waze. You likely use Google Maps to find your way on a regular basis. But for some, this isn’t the most convenient way to travel. If you’re traveling alone, or if you are particularly uncomfortable driving on busy interstates, through tricky areas, or at night, having a GPS system in your car might work a lot better than having to look at your phone while on the road.

Navdy is one way you can integrate navigation into your vehicle. Information is projected onto your windshield with a transparent display, so you don’t have to look down at a phone. It also dims or brightens appropriately. It uses Google Maps, so that will be familiar to you, and you can also set up a dashboard that shows things like how much gas you have left.

If you can’t quite afford a system like that at the moment, you can also consider Garmin. Garmin offers many different GPS systems, some for less than a hundred dollars. Their website lists their many different products, and you can also find them on Amazon.

Track down your car

You might be worried you’ll forget where you parked at the airport. Or you might be parking on unfamiliar streets in a city away from home. You can take a picture of your surroundings, but that isn’t always enough to find your way back where you started.

Fortunately, there are many apps that you can use to track down your car when you’re ready to leave. The simplest solution? Drop a pin on Google Maps and save your location. By placing a pin at your current location before leaving your car and then saving it to your places, you can easily make your way back.

There are other options if you don’t use Google Maps or want a more streamlined way to get back to your vehicle. Find My Car is a well-known app that saves the GPS location of your car and navigates you back to it later. You can find it on iOS and on Android. There’s also ParkMe, which can not only help you find your car, it can also help you figure out where to park in the first place.

Keep your home safe while you’re gone

If you’ll be away from home for a while and there won’t be anyone staying behind to house sit, there are ways to make yourself feel less worried about your empty home. With smart devices, you can keep watch on your home and make it look as though it’s not actually empty.

Smart bulbs, like Philips Hue bulbs and the bulbs from MagicLight, can be set on a timer to turn on and off, fade, and more. So your home won’t have to be dark and obviously empty at night.

Smart security systems are also great for peace of mind. There are a lot of options out there, so of course, research carefully before investing in a system. With these systems, you can typically set motion alerts so you get a notification if the camera catches movement. You can also usually check in on a live feed. Nest offers some popular devices, as well as Frontpoint and Canary. Just make sure you know what the initial installation cost is as well as how much it will cost every month.

Choosing a Video Streaming Device

Choosing a Video Streaming Device

Long gone are the days when people had to wait for a show to air and watch it live. For many years now, TV shows and movies have been available to stream online. There are too many streaming services to even remember them all.

Whether you have Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, or any other streaming service, it’s very likely you’ve streamed an episode of your favorite show or a full movie in the not too distant past. You might have watched it by using your phone, your tablet, your computer, or perhaps something like a video game console connected to your TV.

There are many different streaming services and streaming options. One option is to use a streaming device (or a streaming stick). These streaming devices are focused solely on being small, unobtrusive, quick, and easy to use. You’ve likely heard of the most popular devices on the market.

You also might be wondering what the differences are between the devices. For those looking to get a streaming device, it might be difficult to choose. Or you might be wondering why so many people want to use these devices. In this article, I’m going to cover the basics as well as some of your options!

What is a video streaming device?

The video streaming devices this article talks about are typically small devices that plug into your TV. They can be tiny plugins that work with a remote, larger sticks, or other forms. While using one of these devices, people can stream videos from different places depending on the device: from specific services (using apps) or even from absolutely any service or site (using screen mirroring).

Some devices are more limited in what you can watch. Others (that use screen mirroring to let you display your phone, computer, or tablet on your TV) are nearly unlimited in what you can decide to watch.

Keep in mind that you’ll still need to subscribe to services separately. If you buy a video streaming device, you don’t get subscription services included (for instance, you’ll still need to pay to use Netflix).

Which TVs can use these devices?

Video streaming devices use recent technology to work. They typically need to be able to plug into an HDMI port on a TV. For this reason, you’ll nearly always need to have a fairly modern TV. Some devices specifically require you have an HDTV. If you have a pretty old TV that doesn’t have HDMI ports, you’ll very likely need to upgrade to a slightly newer TV.

You can check your TV’s manual to see if you have an HDTV with HDMI ports. Or you can look on your TV to find the TV model and look up its information online.

What’s so great about them?

Video streaming devices like those in this article are fairly popular at the moment, and they have been for years. One reason they are so well-liked is that they typically offer a wide range of streaming options. With most of these devices, you can choose between just about any service you use—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Vudu, YouTube, you name it. This means your video streaming might be entirely controlled through one device.

They’re also great because they’re usually very small and portable. They’re typically small sticks that can be quickly unplugged and used in a different TV. So if you buy a new TV, there aren’t a bunch of confusing cords to figure out. Or if you’re going to watch TV with someone else, you can easily transport the device to their home and set it up there.

Another positive is that there are some pretty affordable options. You don’t have to buy a new computer or use a gaming console to stream your shows. Those can be kind of pricey (though, of course, they do a lot more than just stream shows). If your main concern, though, is to stream TV and movies, you won’t have to splurge on an expensive, larger product.

And with these devices, controlling them is easy and convenient. Some of them have small remotes for controlling what you watch. Some of them also work through apps on phones. It’s no trouble at all to use the devices.

What are the most popular options?

There are a number of streaming video devices out there. If you’ve heard people talking about them, though, you’ve most likely heard them mention one of the devices listed below. The four devices in this article are some of the most popular and well-liked choices you have. Of course, they’re not your only options. But these devices are probably your likeliest contenders.

Apple TV
Apple, of course, has a streaming video device. They have more than one model, in fact. They offer the current model of their regular device (the 4th generation Apple TV) as well as the new Apple TV 4K (for use with 4K televisions). The 4K version is specifically designed to work with 4K TVs. If you have a 4K TV, you’ll want this model. It’s designed to run faster and display 4K video.

With the Apple TV, you simply plug the box into your TV with an HDMI cable (not included). The Apple TV comes with the Siri Remote so you can control what you watch. Once you’ve purchased Apple TV, you also get access to tech support for 90 days, plus you can get help from the Genius Bar.

Apple TV has many different apps to choose from. The product description specifically lists Netflix and Hulu. It also works with the other apps you’d expect, like YouTube and Amazon Video. It’s difficult to find a comprehensive list of all the available apps, but if you’re wondering whether your service works with Apple TV, a quick Google search should tell you. If you have an iOS device, you can also either cast an app to your TV or even mirror your iPhone’s screen to the TV.

Apple TV is currently $149. If you want the 4K version, you have two options: 32GB for $179 or 64GB for $199.

Chromecast
Chromecast is Google’s video streaming device. They also have two current models: their regular 2nd generation device and Chromecast Ultra (specifically designed for use with 4K TVs).

Chromecast is a little different from the other devices. It’s focused on casting from your other devices. Instead of having a remote that lets you choose between different apps, you use your phone, tablet, or computer to pick what you want to watch. Then you press the “Cast” button on the app and it’s displayed on your TV. It works with a number of devices, including those that use iOS, Android, and Windows. And there are many different apps that work with it, including the typical ones like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Google Play.

Screen mirroring is also big with Chromecast. If you have an Android device or use the Chrome browser on your computer, you can display your device’s screen. This means you can watch anything with your Chromecast. If there’s a streaming website that doesn’t have an app, you can simply open it on your Chrome browser, mirror the browser using Chromecast, and watch on your TV.

A regular Chromecast 2nd Generation device is currently $35. Chromecast Ultra is $69.

Fire TV Stick
The Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s video streaming device. There are two current models: the regular Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV (meant for 4K TVs).

The Fire TV Stick plugs into an HDMI slot and can be controlled with the included remote. The remote, called the Alexa Voice Remote, lets you control what you watch by either using the buttons or by using your voice. For instance, you can say “Alexa, open Hulu” to launch the Hulu app, or ask Alexa to play a specific show or pull up a genre of shows. And if you don’t want to use the remote for some reason, you can also use your Amazon Echo device to control your TV.

This device from Amazon doesn’t just play Amazon content (I did mention Hulu above). You can launch many different apps, including the ones you’d expect, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video (of course), and HBO NOW. You can also open web browsers and find content that way.

The Fire TV has some slight differences from the Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV isn’t the same kind of stick—it has a “pendant” design, so it looks a little different. It’s also designed to be faster, which is a definite plus. And, of course, it can display 4K content, so if you have a 4K TV, the Fire TV will be superior to the Fire TV Stick.

The Fire TV Stick is currently $39.99, while the Fire TV is currently $69.99 (or $74.99 if you get the bundle that includes a TV antenna).

Roku
Roku offers a number of different video streaming devices, each a little different. There’s the standard Roku Streaming Stick, the Streaming Stick+ (intended for 4K TVs), the Roku Express, the Roku Express+, (which works on older TVs!), and the Roku Ultra (intended for 4K TVs).

With a Roku device, you simply plug it in and set it up by creating a Roku account (or using an existing one). Depending on which device you choose, you’ll have some different features and options. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s different with each device:

  • Roku Express is designed to be easy to set up (for those who are new to video streaming devices); it still has access to the same apps and it has a remote, but its performance may not be as high, and the remote doesn’t have voice control ($29.99)
  • Roku Express+ is meant to be able to be used on older TVs; it comes with a composite cable as well as the typical HDMI cable, so if you don’t have HDMI ports, you can plug in the oldschool red, white, and yellow cords ($35)
  • Roku Streaming Stick is the standard stick, with access to all the typical apps; it comes with a remote that includes voice control ($49.99)
  • Roku Streaming Stick+ has the capabilities of the regular Streaming Stick, but it’s higher quality (it can stream 4K) and it can work well when further from your internet router, so it’s more easily used throughout your home ($69.99)
  • Roku Ultra is meant for intense streaming and can stream 4K content; it’s designed to be faster, clearer, and it comes with some extras, like headphones, a feature for finding the remote when it’s lost, and other audio features ($99.99)

Though Roku’s devices all have some things in common, like access to typical apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, they all have some slight differences, so make sure to consider each one before deciding.

Google, Apple, Samsung Updating Smart Health Products

Google, Apple, Samsung Updating Smart Health Products

Health is an important topic, including in the world of tech. There are many different smart devices and services that can help you track and improve your health. If you use some of them (or are planning to), it’s important to keep track of updates to your options.

Over the past week, news has come out about updates for Google’s Wear OS, Apple’s Health app, and Samsung’s Gear S2. Read on to learn more about what’s changing!

Google’s Wear OS updating, will extend life of battery

Wear OS by Google, previously known as Android Wear, is getting some updates soon. Google’s Developers Blog has posted their developer preview and outlined some upcoming changes to their Wear OS, specifically previewing it on their Huawei Watch 2.

One major part of the preview is its emphasis on extending battery life. Three of the five points on their outline focus on updates that will “improve power.” Specifically, certain features will be limited or turned off to make batteries last longer. According to the blog post, background apps will only be able to run if the watch is currently charging. If the watch is off the body for a long enough time, the watch will also disable services like WiFi and Bluetooth. And in the future, when Bluetooth is disabled, the watch won’t connect to WiFi automatically.

All of these features are intended to make the watch need to be charged less often. They also note other changes, including a darker theme to make the watch easier to look at quickly.

Apple Health app adding access to some medical records

Apple’s Health Records is making it a little more convenient to see some medical records from an iPhone. Apple has posted a blog detailing the new feature added to Apple Health. If you use Apple Health and are a patient at one of the health services connected to the feature, you can see some of your medical history. Not only can you see your records, you can even get an alert if or when the information is changed or added to. For those worried about privacy, don’t get too worried. Apple is stressing in their blog that the information is encrypted. You’ll also need to use your passcode to see the data. The blog post also lists some of the health systems that currently support Apple Health Records.

Samsung’s Gear S2 updated with more health features

Samsung’s years-old smartwatch is getting an update. The Verge reports that many new changes have come with the update, including some new features for fitness and health. One new health-oriented feature is the ability to set a routine. You can then get alerts that encourage you to stay active. You can also track things like your exercise, calorie intake, and heart rate. These are just a few of the changes included in the update.

Smart Assistant Updates

Smart Assistant Updates

A number of different updates about smart assistants and smart speakers have been announced recently (including current and upcoming updates). Google, Amazon, and Facebook have all provided updates on their smart assistant plans. Here’s some of what you might have missed this week!

Google Home now lets you play through Bluetooth speakers

When comparing smart speakers (as I did recently; read about it in my article from last month), people typically take a closer look at the smaller, less expensive versions of the products. For instance, the Amazon Echo has the Echo Dot and the Google Home has the Google Home Mini. One of the things that set the Echo Dot apart from the Home Mini was that the Echo Dot could connect to other Bluetooth speakers. This meant that the less amazing speakers in the Echo Dot weren’t a deal-breaker, because the Dot could be connected to a better Bluetooth sound system.

Now the Home Mini can also improve its sound. The Verge is reporting that the smaller version of Google’s smart speaker can now connect to Bluetooth speakers. Previously, the Home Mini had a lot of great features but had the drawback of featuring unimpressive sound. Now that it can do what the Dot was already able to do, it’s even more of a competitor. If you already have a nice Bluetooth speaker, you no longer need to worry about the Google Home Mini’s sound quality.

Amazon’s Alexa plans to integrate more with your home products

Amazon has now announced their plans for more upcoming devices with Alexa built in. In their post this past week, Amazon detailed three upcoming products that will have Alexa enabled. These “white-box solutions” are part of Amazon’s plan to be more fully integrated into homes.

One product stands out in particular. The Lamp Speaker from Adition mostly looks like the typical smart speaker from Amazon: it’s a tall cylinder. However, it’s also a lamp. This means even typical household devices, like light sources, will soon be able to respond to voice commands and perform the Alexa capabilities we’re used to.

Facebook’s upcoming smart speaker announcement pushed back

You may remember the news at the beginning of this year about Facebook’s planned smart speaker. As I wrote in my article, Facebook has been planning to release a smart speaker currently referred to as ‘Portal.’ The smart system is supposed to include cameras and a screen for video chatting, and the focus is on social connection.

However, The Verge has reported that Facebook’s planned announcement about the smart device has been stalled. According to most reports on this postponement, it’s likely due to Facebook’s current data scandal fallout and its negative connection to user data and privacy.

‘Files Go’ From Google Has Been Updated

‘Files Go’ From Google Has Been Updated

Google has now updated their device management app and implemented some useful new changes.

Files Go is Google’s app that helps people manage their devices. The app was released last year as a beta after the app was accidentally leaked during testing. Because it was leaked, Google released it earlier than planned. With the Files Go app, users can see how much storage space they’re using, tap and scroll through the different areas and folders in their phones, get tips about ways they can clear up space, share files without an internet connection, and more. Files Go is part of the line of apps from Google that focus on making their content more accessible for people with less advanced phones or difficulties accessing the internet or a mobile network regularly. (Other apps include YouTube Go and Gmail Go.)

Google has now announced in a blog post that Files Go has been updated with some welcome changes. The post outlines three specific new changes that all focus on ease of use and better performance. Firstly, and perhaps most helpfully, app users will now be able to search through their files. Google is, of course, best known for its search engine. The lack of a search function in Files Go was notable because of this. Google mentions you’ll be able to get “instant results,” look at a history of your searches, see auto-completed search terms, and more. And like most of its other features, you won’t have to be connected to the internet to use it.

The other two newly announced features center on file removal. Files Go previously showed users any duplicate files on their device. However, now things will be clearer thanks to Files Go showing where the duplicates are located. In addition to this, people who use Google Photos to upload their photos to the cloud will be able to quickly save space. After files are backed up, Files Go will automatically let you know and give you a chance to remove the backed up files.

These changes will make Files Go an even more useful device management app for everyone. Google is asking that users go ahead and give the features a try, then leave feedback on the changes.

Accessibility Updates—Google & Airbnb in the News

Accessibility Updates—Google & Airbnb in the News

Accessibility is an important focus in tech, and Google & Airbnb both reinforced that idea in recent announcements. Both Google and Airbnb will be updating their services to make them accessible for more people.

CNET is reporting that Google is working to make things more accessible in their transit maps. Now Google Maps will be able to show routes that are specifically accessible to people in wheelchairs. The update is live and available to use now. As CNET notes, it’s currently only available in six places, including London, New York, and Sydney, with more cities planned for the future.

If the feature is available in your city, you can access the wheelchair-accessible routes in the Google Maps app. After you’ve entered your destination and are looking at your directions, you simply choose the public transportation feature, then go to options and choose “wheelchair accessible” under routes.

In Google’s blog post, they illustrate how the routes work and how they were put together. Google was helped in building the feature by using meetups with guides to compile the information needed for their accessible routes. They’ve also updated Street View to make public transport more visible before actually getting there. In their blog post, they mention plans for expansion to other areas “in the coming months.”

Meanwhile, Airbnb has made their service more accessible, as well. Last year I wrote about Airbnb acquiring Accomable, an Airbnb-type service that focused on accessible locations. At that time, some basic accessibility search features were available on Airbnb’s website, but now there are almost two dozen search filters available to focus on accessible listings.

In Airbnb’s blog post, they outline the new search filters. According to Airbnb, people will now be able to search for listings based on a variety of different needs. They can find listings with “step-free access,” wide doorways and hallways, elevators, shower chairs, disabled parking spots, and more. Airbnb notes they’ll be focusing on making their filters better in the future, even expanding them.

With these updates to Google Maps and Airbnb, hopefully traveling will become easier for those concerned about accessibility.

Google News Roundup

Google News Roundup

As is often the case, Google appeared in the news quite a few times over the past week. Google has a wide range of services and products they’re regularly improving and changing, so there’s always plenty to talk about.

This past week, Google made some helpful changes to Google Duo and Google Home, while they also added a really cool feature for those interested in historical photos. Take a look at just a few of the things that put Google in the news recently.

Now you can leave video messages on Google Duo

Users of Google Duo will now be able to leave video voicemail messages for the people they call. Google Duo is Google’s video calling app. Now, according to The Verge, a feature is being rolled out that allows for video messages. If someone decides not to answer or isn’t available, a video message (up to 30 seconds long) can be left. The video messages can be downloaded—otherwise they’ll automatically be removed once a day has passed.

The Verge is reporting that this feature is already rolling out and will be released for everyone very soon.

Free calling now available on Google Home in the UK

Google Home users in the UK will now be able to make free calls. CNET is reporting that the feature is now available in the United Kingdom. This feature was already available in the US, and is now available in the US, UK, and Canada.

Making calls through Google Home uses wi-fi, so you don’t have to worry about the service on your phone (or even having your phone by you).

Google makes Life photos searchable

Images from Life magazine are now searchable thanks to Google. Google Arts & Culture now has a database that has gathered Life magazine images and made it possible to search using keywords. According to CNET, this was made possible by object detection that properly cataloged the photos. The database, which can be found on the Google Arts & Culture website, has millions of photos available for viewing.