Inside Google & Alphabet - August 9th, 2019

Inside Google & Alphabet (Aug 9th, 2019)

Live View AR / Pixel 4 Leaks / Googlers Predicted Controversies / Pixel Boss Leaves

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1. Google Maps is rolling out (in beta) a Live View augmented reality walking directions feature on Android devices and iPhones. With this new feature, users scan their starting point with the camera, before Google matches the camera footage to its visual data. It then draws directional arrows on real images, guiding users to their destination. Initially only available on Pixel phones, over the next few weeks it will become accessible by non-Pixel Android phones capable of running AR cores and iPhones able to run the ARKit. - ARS TECHNICA

2. New leaks suggest that Google's upcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones will boast OLED screens featuring a “Super Smooth” above average 90Hz refresh rate. According to a source who spoke with 9to5Google, the Pixel 4 series will also come with a telephoto camera, stereo speakers, a DSLR-like attachment, the Titan M security chip, an extra 2GP of RAM, extra storage options, and more. Yet while the Pixel 4 may boast a number of new improvements, its battery will have a 2,800 mAh capacity, which is roughly five percent smaller than the Pixel 3's 2,915 mAh battery. Pixel 4 is expected to be released in October 2019. - 9TO5GOOGLE

3. Internal emails reveal that Google employees expressed concern about free speech and content moderation tactics on social platforms three years before the company's current controversies. In the September and October 2016 emails, former and current Google employees debated free speech, with one Googler arguing that "free speech is a neutral concept; it protects nasty speech as well as nice." More relevant to today's current political climate, another wrote: “I just hope the alt-­right isn’t taking an innocent concept like free speech and perverting it for their own ends." The news comes after Republican lawmakers, including President Trump, have attacked Google in recent weeks for alleged political bias.  - CNBC

4. Mario Queiroz, the Google Vice President of Product Management who managed the company's Pixel smartphone division, has a new role at the company in "the office of the CEO." Hardware unit head Rick Osterloh will temporarily take Queiroz' place as the division prepares for the Pixel 4 launch this fall. It is not clear yet what exactly Queiroz' new job duties will entail. - BUSINESS INSIDER

5. Google has updated Google Travel with new features, such as a limited-time pricing guarantee and flight price notifications, just days after it announced that it is discontinuing its Trips app. The tech giant's latest updates will notify users when prices are at their lowest or when they're about to dramatically increase, and will also include historical price comparison details. Meanwhile, users will be refunded the difference if Google says a flight price will not drop, and it does, for U.S. origin flights booked from August 13 through September 2. - ABC NEWS

6. The agricultural company Monsanto reportedly paid Google to silence the work of a Reuters investigative journalist reporting on the health effects of its products. According to documents reviewed by The Guardian, Monsanto paid Google to promote search results that criticized the findings of Carey Gillam. Their actions came after she reported on Monsanto's weedkiller and its alleged link to cancer in "Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science" in 2017. - THE GUARDIAN

7. ​Google awarded its ​$1 million AI Impact Challenge ​ prize​ to the University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre. The money will go towards creating an AI-powered digital health program​ that aims to reduce the​ risk of heart attack​s by providing customized advice and nudges for patients experiencing chest pain. - WHICH-50

8. Google News users were unable to view new internet content for over a day on August 8 because of indexing problems that have since been fixed, Google confirms. - THE VERGE

9. Google is expanding the Material Theme design to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android. - 9TO5 GOOGLE

10. Google is offering students three months of YouTube Premium for free after students sign up for a discounted plan of $6.99 per month. The funds will be taken from their account after the three-month trial, giving enough time to unsubscribe before then if desired. - INSIDE DEALS via THE VERGE

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Written and curated by Inside Dev and Inside Deals Editor Sheena Vasani, a freelance journalist based in California. Proficient in Javascript and Ruby. Got my start at Dev Bootcamp and Thinkful.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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