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Inside Google & Alphabet

Inside Google & Alphabet (May 31st, 2019)

$GOOG (09:32 AM EST): $1,102.23 -15.72 (-1.41%) // More info

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1. Google Home is still having volume control issues. A bug has stopped the smart device from lowering the volume on Chromecast-connected televisions when given commands, meaning owners end up having to speak loudly or even shout to make themselves heard. It's suspected the problem was introduced after a firmware update, but Google has yet to offer a solution, even though users have been complaining about the issue since February and Google representatives have been in support forums saying a fix was being worked on. -- THE REGISTER

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2. Google's Waymo is on the road again in Arizona. The last time Waymo's self-driving class 8 ("big rig") trucks were on Arizona roads was in 2017. Now they're back, doing more advanced testing than 2017, according to Waymo. (The trucks do have safety drivers who can take control in case of emergency.) Waymo's truck endeavors aren't new -- it started delivering freight in Atlanta in 2018 using autonomous vehicles -- but it's better known for its self-driving cars. - TECHCRUNCH  

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3. Follow Friday: James Tanner. If you're one of the many people who uses Google to assist your genealogy research, do yourself a favor and follow James Tanner. He already has a number of degrees, including a master's in linguistics and a JD in law, but he should also have a doctorate in making the most of a genealogy Google search. 

His blog, Genealogy's Star, just published the sixth installment of a seven-part series called "Getting the Rest of the Gold out of the Google Goldmine for Genealogists". The series covers the usual Google mainstays like search, but he also dives into Google's newspaper archives, organizing information with Google Keep, and making the most of Chrome extensions. 

His Twitter also features links to nature photography on his other blog, Walking Arizona (love the string bean photo!), while his YouTube channel is more focused on general genealogy.

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4. Google's Project Strobe will lock down privacy for Drive and Chrome extensions. Google launched the project last year as an audit/analysis of the way third-party developers accessed Google services (and, by extension, your personal information.) An immediate fallout from Project Strobe was the shuttering of Google+ but Google is taking more steps, including requiring Chrome extension developers to access as little user data as possible and offer privacy policies for their extensions. Drive developers will be required to go to a "per-file" user permission model, limiting access to user documents. -- ENGADGET  

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5. Google's Deep Mind AI subsidiary has conquered Quake III Arena. It took 200,000 matches, but after that the AI pwned even Quake experts. -- ARS TECHNICA  

6. Google Image Search comes off sexist. Wired UK found that Google's autocomplete search suggestions focused on men's careers and women's bodies. -- WIRED UK

7. Peru had an earthquake and Google sent balloons. But they were Project Loon balloons that quickly brought LTE communications to the affected areas. -- UBERGIZMO

8. Ex Google CEO Eric Schmidt has given Princeton a gift large enough for the university to rebuild and expand Guyot Hall into a new place for Princeton’s Department of Computer Science. When completed in 2026, it will be called the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall. -- PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

9. Google has launched a limited way to conjure AR animals from smartphones. It only works with certain animals and certain smartphones right now, unfortunately. -- CNET

10. Google's cracking down on Google Play games with loot boxes. Games will be required to reveal the odds of getting a desired item. -- PCMAG INDIA

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Tara Calishain has been writing about search engines since 1996, when she wrote the Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research. She's since authored or co-authored several other search-related books, including Google Hacks. Tara is obsessed with all things related to online information collections. You can say hi at @ResearchBuzz on Twitter.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside) and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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