Inside Google & Alphabet - August 21st, 2019

Inside Google & Alphabet (Aug 21st, 2019)

States antitrust probe / Smartphones can"read aloud" sign language / Waymo driverless cars test in Florida


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Hi readers! My name is Sheena Vasani and I'm the Inside Dev and Inside Deals editor temporarily covering Inside Google taking a second out to add a shameless plug for my own newsletters. So! If you're interested in following developer-related news, check out and subscribe to Inside Dev! And if you want to keep up-to-date with all the best deals (I often feature seriously discounted Google products), check out and subscribe to Inside Deals as well.

Have a wonderful week! Now onto the news:


1. A number of states will reportedly launch a joint investigation into whether big tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple monopolize the market and unfairly hinder competition. Attorneys generals representing as many as 20 states may start the antitrust probe as early as September, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The news comes a month after attorneys general from eight states, ranging from Mississippi to New York, also met and discussed antitrust issues in the tech industry with U.S. Attorney General William Barr. - ARS TECHNICA


2. Google research engineers say they've created algorithms enabling smartphones to interpret and "read aloud" sign language. The engineers say they hope developers will incorporate their work into their own apps. Google says it used technology from the image software company MediaPipe to create the algorithm. - BBC NEWS


3. Alphabet's Waymo announced it will be testing its driverless cars in Florida during the state's hurricane season. So far, Waymo has only tested its autonomous cars in Novi, Michigan; Kirkland, Washington; San Francisco, California; and Phoenix, Arizona. However, it will be expanding to a closed course in Florida before driving on public roads and select highways. Waymo hopes the test will help them collect real-world driving data in heavy rain so they can ultimately make the vehicles safer. "Heavy rain can create a lot of noise for our sensors. Wet roads also may result in other road users behaving differently. Testing allows us to understand the unique driving conditions, and get a better handle on how rain affects our own vehicle movements, too," wrote Waymo in a blog post. - ENGADGET


4. Google, Mozilla, and Apple are trying to prevent the Kazakhstan government from spying on its citizens. The two tech giants blocked an encryption certificate authorities forced citizens to install so they could monitor their internet activity, specifically on sites such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook. "We will never tolerate any attempt, by any organization—government or otherwise—to compromise Chrome users’ data," Parisa Tabriz, senior engineering director for Chrome, said in a statement. - TECH CRUNCH


5. Google's lightweight Go search app is now available worldwide. Initially available to emerging market users in India and Indonesia, now Android users all over the globe can download the app. Its small size makes it easy for low-powered devices to search for information, while its Lens functionality means the app can read text in the real world out loud. It can also read webpages out loud, while providing support for voice search as well. - THE VERGE


6. A recent Google Nest app update lets existing users move their account to Google. However, users are being warned that by migrating, they will no longer be able to enjoy any other third-party "Works with Nest" device or app integrations. - ARS TECHNICA


7. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang says some Google and Amazon workers support his plan to give Americans a universal basic income of $1,000-per-month, which he would fund by taxing big tech companies. Those Googlers who support his idea include Google product management director Scott Johnston. - CNBC


8. Google Docs has added a new "Live edits" feature to help visually impaired users keep up-to-date with real-time edits, which can be read aloud by assistive devices. - 9TO5GOOGLE


9. For a few hours on Aug. 19, Google's "Sign in with Google" service went down thanks to a bug that has since been fixed, affecting apps like Gmail, Drive, and even Pokémon Go. - ANDROID CENTRAL


10. Google has published the security release notes for Android Q ahead of its public launch in a few weeks. - 9TO5GOOGLE


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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