Monthly:September 2020

Say goodbye to hold music

Sometimes, a phone call is the best way to get something done. We call retailers to locate missing packages, utilities to adjust our internet speeds, airlines to change our travel itineraries…the list goes on. But more often than not, we need to wait on hold during these calls—listening closely to hold music and repetitive messages—before we reach a customer support representative who can help. In fact, people in the United States spent over 10 million hours on hold with businesses last week.

Save time with Hold for Me

Hold for Me, our latest Phone app feature, helps you get that time back, starting with an early preview on Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) in the U.S. Now, when you call a toll-free number and a business puts you on hold, Google Assistant can wait on the line for you. You can go back to your day, and Google Assistant will notify you with sound, vibration and a prompt on your screen once someone is on the line and ready to talk. That means you’ll spend more time doing what’s important to you, and less time listening to hold music.

Hold for me call

Tap “Hold for me” in Google’s Phone app after you’re placed on hold by a business.

Hold for Me is our latest effort to make phone calls better and save you time. Last year, we introduced an update to Call Screen that helps you avoid interruptions from spam calls once and for all, and last month, we launched Verified Calls to help you know why a business is calling before you answer. Hold for Me is now another way we’re making it simpler to say hello.

Powered by Google AI

Every business’s hold loop is different and simple algorithms can’t accurately detect when a customer support representative comes onto the call. Hold for Me is powered by Google’s Duplex technology, which not only recognizes hold music but also understands the difference between a recorded message (like “Hello, thank you for waiting”) and a representative on the line. Once a representative is identified, Google Assistant will notify you that someone’s ready to talk and ask the representative to hold for a moment while you return to the call. We gathered feedback from a number of companies, including Dell and United, as well as from studies with customer support representatives, to help us design these interactions and make the feature as helpful as possible to the people on both sides of the call.

While Google Assistant waits on hold for you, Google’s natural language understanding also keeps you informed. Your call will be muted to let you focus on something else, but at any time, you can check real-time captions on your screen to know what’s happening on the call.

Keeping your data safe

Hold for Me is an optional feature you can enable in settings and choose to activate during each call to a toll-free number. To determine when a representative is on the line, audio is processed entirely on your device and does not require a Wi-Fi or data connection. This makes the experience fast and also protects your privacy—no audio from the call will be shared with Google or saved to your Google account unless you explicitly decide to share it and help improve the feature. When you return to the call after Google Assistant was on hold for you, audio stops being processed altogether.

We’re excited to bring an early preview of Hold for Me to our latest Pixel devices and continue making the experience better over time. Your feedback will help us bring the feature to more people over the coming months, so they too can say goodbye to hold music and say hello to more free time.

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Our best Chromecast yet, now with Google TV

Chromecast changed the way we enjoy our favourite movies, TV shows and YouTube videos by making it easy and inexpensive to bring your online entertainment to your TV—a revolutionary idea in 2013. Today, we have more content choices than ever, sprinkled across an ever-expanding variety of apps, which can make it difficult to find what to watch. This inspired us to rethink what simple and easy content discovery on your TV should look like. So today, we’re making our biggest leap yet to help you navigate your entertainment choices, bringing together the best of local and global content into one convenient location, with the all-new Chromecast with Google TV. 

Best Chromecast yet 
Chromecast with Google TV has your favourite Chromecast features and now comes with the all-new Google TV entertainment experience. Google TV experience brings together movies, shows and more from across your apps and subscriptions and organises them just for you. We’re also bringing our most requested feature—a remote—to Chromecast. 

A new look, inside and out 
The new Chromecast with Google TV comes in a compact and thin design and is packed with the latest technology to give you the best viewing experience. It neatly plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and tucks behind your screen. Power it on and you’ll be streaming crystal clear video in up to 4K HDR at up to 60 frames per second in no time. With Dolby Vision, you’ll get extraordinary colour, contrast and brightness on your TV. We also support HDMI pass-through of Dolby audio content. 

More power in your hand 
The new Chromecast voice remote is comfortable to hold, easy to use and full of new features. It has a dedicated Google Assistant button that can help you find something to watch, answer everyday questions like “how’s the weather?” or play your favourite artist on YouTube Music all with just your voice. And when it’s time to cozy up on the couch for movie night, you can control your smart home lights to set the mood or check your front door with Nest Camera to keep tabs on your pizza delivery. We also have dedicated buttons for popular streaming services, YouTube and Netflix, to give you instant access to the content you love. Best of all, you won’t have to juggle multiple remotes thanks to our programmable TV controls for power, volume and input. 

TV just for you 
In need of some good movie or TV recommendations? Google TV’s For You tab gives you personalised watch suggestions from across your subscriptions organised based on what you like to watch—even your guilty pleasure reality dramas. Google TV’s Watchlist lets you bookmark movies and shows you want to save for later. You can add to your Watchlist from your phone or laptop, and it will be waiting on your TV when you get home. 
Best of all, you’ll also have access to thousands of apps and the ability to browse 400,000+ movies and TV shows sorted and optimised for what you like—ask Google Assistant to see results from across your favourite apps, like YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Stan, 9Now and ABC iview, among others. 
Starting today Chromecast with Google TV is available for pre-order in Australia for $99 in three fun colours to match your decor or personality: Snow, Sunrise and Sky, and will be available from the Google Store as well as other retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, OfficeWorks, and The Good Guys starting from October 15. Sunrise and Sky will be exclusively available on Google Store. 
Posted by Gerardo Capiel, Director of Product Management, Entertainment

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Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 pack 5G and so much more

Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 are here, packing more helpful Google features into phones backed by the power of 5G.* From Google’s latest AI and Assistant features, to the biggest batteries we’ve ever put in a Pixel, to industry-leading camera features, Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 join our much loved Pixel 4a in providing more help at a more helpful price.

5G at affordable prices
5G is the latest in mobile technology, bringing smooth download and streaming to users around the world. Whether you’re downloading the latest movie**, listening to your favourite music on YouTube Music, catching up on podcasts with Google Podcast or playing a game on Stadia, Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 will provide you with 5G speeds.

YouTube, YouTube Music and Google Podcasts on Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 also give you access to the content you want when you don’t have connectivity by pre-downloading content via 5G when you don’t have WiFi connectivity*. For more information go to g.co/musicdownloads.

New camera, new lenses—same great photos
Ask any Pixel owner and they’ll tell you: Pixels take great photos. Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 are no exception. These phones bring Pixel’s industry-leading photography features to the next level.

  • Ultrawide lens for ultra awesome shots: With a new ultrawide lens alongside the standard rear camera, you’ll be able to capture the whole scene. And thanks to Google’s software magic, the latest Pixels still get our Super Res Zoom. So whether you’re zooming in or zooming out, you get sharp details and breathtaking images.
  • Better videos with Cinematic Pan: Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 come with Cinematic Pan, which gives your videos a professional look with ultrasmooth panning that’s inspired by the equipment Hollywood directors use. 
  • Night Sight in Portrait Mode: Night Sight currently gives you the ability to capture amazing low-light photos—and even the Milky Way with astrophotography***. Now, these phones bring the power of Night Sight into Portrait Mode to capture beautifully blurred backgrounds in Portraits even in extremely low light. 
  • Portrait Light: Portrait Mode on the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 lets you capture beautiful portraits that focus on your subject as the background fades into an artful blur. If the lighting isn’t right, your Pixel can drop in extra light to illuminate your subjects.
  • New editor in Google Photos: Even after you’ve captured your portrait, Google Photos can help you add studio-quality light to your portraits of people with Portrait Light, in the new, more helpful Google Photos editor.

Save time with Helpful Features
Pixel has even more helpful features to save you time thanks to Google Assistant. Every month, Call Screen helps people with more than 25 million calls, saving users 2 million minutes, and Duplex helps users with a variety of phone tasks, including reservations and getting business information.

Stay connected and entertained with Duo
To make it easier and more enjoyable to stay connected to the most important people in your life, the new HD screen sharing in Duo video calls lets you and a friend watch the same video, cheer on your favourite teams together and even plan activities—all while being thousands of miles apart. And coming soon with Duo Family HD mode, you will be able to keep kids entertained and engaged with new interactive tools, like colouring over backgrounds, while you video chat. 

A smarter way to record and share audio
Last year, Recorder (English only) made audio recording smarter, with real-time transcriptions and the power of search. Now, Recorder makes it even easier to share your favourite audio moments. Since Recorder automatically transcribes every recording, now you can use those transcripts to edit the audio too. Just highlight a sentence to crop or remove its corresponding audio. 

Once you have something you want others to hear—say a quote from an interview or a new song idea—you can generate a video clip to make sharing your audio easier and more visual than ever. To improve searching through your transcripts, smart scrolling will automatically mark important words in longer transcripts so you can quickly jump to the sections you’re looking for as you scroll. But most helpful of all? Recorder still works without an internet connection, so you can transcribe, search and edit from anywhere, anytime.

The biggest Pixel batteries ever
Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 also have all-day batteries that can last up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver****. This mode automatically limits active apps to just the essentials and lets you choose additional apps you want to keep on.

And now, the specs
Like all Pixel devices, security and safety are paramount in Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5. Both devices come with our TitanTM M security chip to help keep your on-device data safe and secure, and both phones will get three years of software and security updates.

Plus, Pixel 5 is designed with the environment in mind; we used 100% recycled aluminum in the back housing enclosure to reduce its carbon footprint

When you purchase a Pixel 4a (5G) or Pixel 5, you’ll also get Stadia and YouTube Premium trial for 3 months, 100 GB of storage with Google One for 3 months and Google Play Pass. See g.co/pixel/4a5Goffers or g.co/pixel/5offers, as applicable, for more details.

Pixel 4a (5G) is available now for pre-order on the Google Store and will be available in Canada starting November 19. Pixel 5 is available now for pre-order on the Google Store and will be available to customers on October 29 in Canada through the Google Store, Bell, Best Buy, Freedom, Tbooth,TELUS, Videotron and WIRELESSWAVE.

Posted by Brian Rakowski, VP Product Management

*Requires a 5G data plan (sold separately). 5G service and roaming not available on all carrier networks or in all areas. Contact carrier for details about current 5G network performance, compatibility and availability. Phone connects to 5G networks but, 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength and signal obstruction. Actual results may vary. Some features not available in all areas. Data rates may apply. See g.co/pixel/networkinfo for info. 

**Download speed depends upon many factors, such as file size, content provider and network connection. 
***See g.co/pixel/astrophotography to learn more about astrophotography. 
****For “all day”: Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby and use of other features. Testing conducted on two major carrier networks using Sub-6 GHz non-standalone 5G (ENDC) connectivity. For “up to 48 hours”: Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby, and use of limited other features that are default in Extreme Battery Saver mode (which disables various features including 5G connectivity). Testing conducted on two major carrier networks. For both claims: Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 battery testing conducted by a third party in California in mid 2020 on pre-production hardware and software using default settings, except that, for the “up to 48 hour claim” only, Extreme Battery Saver mode was enabled. Battery life depends upon many factors and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower.

Google TV: Entertainment you love, with help from Google

In today’s golden age of television, there are seemingly limitless options for you to enjoy at home—that binge-worthy show, the big game or the latest blockbuster movie. But with more choices than ever, it can take a long time just to find something to watch. That’s why we made Google TV—a new entertainment experience designed to help you easily browse and discover what to watch—available first on the new Chromecast with Google TV.

An experience that’s tailored for you

The new Google TV experience brings together movies, shows, live TV and more from across your apps and subscriptions and organizes them just for you. To build this, we studied the different ways people discover media—from searching for a specific title to browsing by genre—and created an experience that helps you find what to watch. We also made improvements to Google’s Knowledge Graph, which is part of how we better understand and organize your media into topics and genres, from movies about space travel to reality shows about cooking. You’ll also see titles that are trending on Google Search, so you can always find something timely and relevant. 

Searching is as easy as asking Google. Whether you’re looking to “find action movies” or “show me sci-fi adventure TV shows,” just ask Google to see results from across your favorite apps, like Disney+, france.tv, HBO Max, Netflix, Peacock¹, Rakuten Viki and YouTube, among others.

Google TV For You and Search Results

Google TV helps you search and discover movies and shows from across your subscriptions.

With so much content to choose from, you might need help keeping track of what to watch. Google TV’s Watchlist gives you one easy place to bookmark movies and shows you want to save for later. You can even add to your Watchlist from Google Search on your phone or laptop, and it will be waiting on your TV when you get home.

Watchlist

Save movies, shows and Live TV to your Watchlist for later.

What’s playing on Live TV 

Ever switch back and forth between your streaming content and your live content to find something to watch? With Google TV, you’ll see recommendations for both in one place so you’ll never miss the big game, breaking news or a reality show finale. The Live tab shows you what’s airing now and what’s playing next, all just a click away.

Live tv

Access the YouTube TV channel guide directly in the Live tab.

Live TV integration is available now with a YouTube TV membership in the U.S., which includes more than 85 channels, a DVR with unlimited storage space and more. Integration with more live TV providers is coming soon.

A little help from Google

With Google TV, the biggest screen in your home is now more helpful. Ask Google about the weather, sports scores and more, and get answers right on your TV. You can even view and control your compatible connected home devices with just your voice. Simply press and hold the Google Assistant remote button and say “Show me the front door” to see your security camera feed.

When you aren’t watching TV, ambient mode lets you connect to Google Photos so you can showcase images of your favorite people and places on your home’s biggest screen. Google TV is also compatible with more than 6,500 apps built for Android TV OS so you can access your favorites across gaming, fitness, education, music and more. Support for Stadia is coming in the first half of 2021.

Available on the new Chromecast with Google TV

The all-new Chromecast with Google TV comes with a remote and plugs right into your TV’s HDMI port, so you can watch your favorite content in up to 4K HDR. Starting today in the U.S., Chromecast with Google TV is available for $49.99 in three colors: Snow, Sunrise and Sky. We will be bringing Chromecast with Google TV to more countries by the end of the year. 

Starting in 2021, Google TV will also be available on televisions from Sony and other Android TV OS partners.

Last but not least, we know that your TV isn’t the only place for watching entertainment. To make it easy to discover and enjoy your entertainment no matter where you go, Google TV will also be available via the new Google TV app, which will begin rolling out today to Android mobile devices in the U.S. as an update to the Google Play Movies & TV app. 

¹Google TV search and discover functionality for Peacock content will be available soon.

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A new, more helpful editor in Google Photos

Whether it’s a daily selfie or a #throwbackthursday photo, we all want our photos to look great before we share them. For some, that might mean getting the lighting or crop just right. Or maybe it means achieving a look that perfectly reflects your own personal style. Today, we’re rolling out a new, more helpful editor in the Google Photos app on Android with smart suggestions and easy-to-use granular adjustments, so your photos look their very best.

A little help to make your photos shine

Google Photos already helps you get the most of your photos by providing helpful suggestions like brightening, rotating or archiving a picture while you’re viewing it. Now, we’re building off that idea and applying it to the editor to make editing easy—with Google Photos doing most of the heavy lifting. We’ve added a new tab right in the editor that uses machine learning to give you suggestions that are tailored to the specific photo you’re editing. 

These suggestions help you get stunning results in just one tap, by intelligently applying features like brightness, contrast and portrait effects. You’ll see some familiar suggestions like Enhance and Color Pop, and in the coming months, we’ll add more suggestions to Pixel devices to help your portraits, landscapes, sunsets and more really stand out. And if you want to see what changes were applied, many suggestions will show the specific edits that changed your photo, allowing you to customize further.

Color Pop

Granular manual controls that are easy to use

In addition to one-tap suggestions, the new editor makes it easy to find and apply granular edits, like brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth and more. With the editor’s new layout, you can quickly scroll through all your options to find the tool you need or discover new ones.

Photo Editor controls

We’re also launching Portrait Light, a new editing feature coming to Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 that uses machine learning to improve the lighting on faces in portraits. To give you even more control over how your portraits look, you’ll be able to adjust the light position and brightness post-capture through the Google Photos app. You’ll also be able to add Portrait Light to regular photos not captured in Portrait mode—whether it’s a photo you just took or an important picture from the past—on Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, with availability on more Pixel devices soon.

Portrait Light

The new Google Photos editor is starting to roll out today to the Google Photos app on Android. Whether you go with a one-tap suggestion or manually fine-tune your photos, we can’t wait to see all the amazing images you create.

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Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 pack 5G speeds and so much more

Today, we hosted Launch Night In, a virtual event introducing new products from across Google that will offer a little joy, entertainment and connection for people. These products bring together the best of Google’s hardware, software and AI to deliver helpful experiences built around you. Not only are these products more helpful; they’re more affordable too. 

Our new smartphones, Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 offer more helpful Google features backed by the power and speeds of 5G.1 From Google’s latest AI and Assistant features, to the biggest ever batteries we’ve put in a Pixel, to industry-leading camera features, Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 join our much loved Pixel 4a in providing more help at a more helpful price. 

5G speeds at affordable prices 
5G is the latest in mobile technology, bringing fast download and streaming speeds to users around the world. Whether you’re downloading the latest movie2, listening to your favourite music on YouTube Music, catching up on podcasts with Google Podcast or downloading a game Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 can provide you with fast speeds at a helpful price.1 Starting at just $799 for Pixel 4a with 5G.
New camera, new lenses—same great photos 
Ask any Pixel owner and they’ll tell you: Pixels take great photos. Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 are no exception. These phones bring Pixel’s industry-leading photography features to the next level. 
  • Better videos with Cinematic Pan: Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 come with Cinematic Pan, which gives your videos a professional look with ultrasmooth panning that’s inspired by the equipment Hollywood directors use. 
  • Night Sight in Portrait Mode: Night Sight currently gives you the ability to capture amazing low-light photos—and even the Milky Way with astrophotography. Now, these phones bring the power of Night Sight into Portrait Mode to capture beautifully blurred backgrounds in Portraits even in extremely low light. 

Night Sight in Portrait Mode, captured on Pixel 

  • Portrait Light: Portrait Mode on the Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 lets you capture beautiful portraits that focus on your subject as the background fades into an artful blur. If the lighting isn’t right, your Pixel can drop in extra light to illuminate your subjects
  • Ultrawide lens for ultra awesome shots: With an ultrawide lens alongside the standard rear camera, you’ll be able to capture the whole scene. And thanks to Google’s software magic, the latest Pixels still get our Super Res Zoom. So whether you’re zooming in or zooming out, you get sharp details and breathtaking images. 
Ultrawide, captured on Pixel 
  • New editor in Google Photos: Even after you’ve captured your portrait, Google Photos can help you add studio-quality light to your portraits of people with Portrait Light, in the new, more helpful Google Photos editor

Stay connected and entertained with Duo 

To make it easier and more enjoyable to stay connected to the most important people in your life, the new HD screen sharing in Duo video calls lets you and a friend watch the same video, cheer on sports with a friend and even plan activities – no matter how far apart you are.3 And with features like Duo Family mode, you will be able to keep kids entertained and engaged with new interactive tools, like colouring over backgrounds, while you video chat. 
A smarter way to record and share audio 
Last year, Recorder made audio recording smarter, with real-time transcriptions and the power of search.4 Now, Recorder makes it even easier to share your favourite audio moments. Since Recorder automatically transcribes every recording, now you can use those transcripts to edit the audio too. Just highlight a sentence to crop or remove its corresponding audio. Once you have something you want others to hear—say a quote from an interview or a new song idea—you can generate a video clip to make sharing your audio easier and more visual than ever. 
Editing in Recorder is easy
To improve searching through your transcripts, smart scrolling will automatically mark important words in longer transcripts so you can quickly jump to the sections you’re looking for as you scroll. But most helpful of all? Recorder still works without an internet connection, so you can transcribe, search and edit from anywhere, anytime. 
The biggest Pixel batteries ever 
Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 also have all-day batteries that can last up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver.5 This mode automatically limits active apps to just the essentials and lets you choose additional apps you want to keep on. 
And now, the specs 
Like all Pixel devices, security and safety are paramount in Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5. Both devices come with our TitanTM M security chip to help keep your on-device data safe and secure, and both phones will get three years of software and security updates. Your Pixel also has built-in safety features like car crash detection6 and Safety Check.7
Plus, Pixel 5 is designed with the environment in mind; we used 100% recycled aluminium in the back housing enclosure to reduce its carbon footprint. You can charge your Pixel 5 wirelessly8 and even use it to wirelessly charge other Qi-certified devices using Battery Share.9 Pixel 5 also doesn’t mind a little water or dust. The metal unibody can handle being submerged in 1.5 metres of fresh water for 30 minutes.10
When you buy the Google phone, you get more from Google. Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a with 5G come with trial subscriptions to Google’s entertainment, security and storage services for new users.11 If you’re a new user you’ll get a YouTube Premium trial for 3 months, 100 GB of storage with Google One for 3 months and 3 months of Google Play Pass and Gold/Silver Status on Play Points. See g.co/pixel/4a5Goffers or g.co/pixel/5offers, as applicable, for more details.11 
In Australia, Pixel 5 will range in two colours, Just Black and Sorta Sage (selected retailers). It will retail for $999 and can be pre-ordered today from Google Store, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman, and will be available starting October 15. Pixel 4a with 5G will retail for $799 and can be pre-ordered today from JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman, and will be available from these retailers in addition to Google Store and Telstra in November ranging in Just Black. 

Looking for the Pixel’s that’s right for you? Head to the Google Store now. 
1 Requires a 5G data plan (sold separately). 5G service and roaming not available on all carrier networks or in all areas. Contact carrier for details about current 5G network performance, compatibility, and availability. Phone connects to 5G networks but, 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength and signal obstruction. Actual results may vary. Some features not available in all areas. Data rates may apply. See g.co/pixel/networkinfo for info. 
2 Download speed claims based on testing videos from three streaming platforms. Average download time was less than sixty seconds. File sizes varied between 449MB and 1.3GB. Download speed depends upon many factors, such as file size, content provider and network connection. Testing conducted in an internal 5G network lab and on pre-production hardware in California in July/August 2020. Actual download speeds may be slower. Australian results may vary. 
3 Screen sharing not available on group calls. Requires Wi-Fi or 5G internet connection. Not available on all apps and content. Data rates may apply. 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength, and signal obstruction. 
4 Transcription and search are available in English only. 
5 For “all day”: Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby, and use of other features. Testing conducted on two major US carrier networks using Sub-6 GHz non-standalone 5G (ENDC) connectivity. For “Up to 48 hours”: Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby, and use of limited other features that are default in Extreme Battery Saver mode (which disables various features including 5G connectivity). Testing conducted on two major US carrier networks. For both claims: Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 battery testing conducted by a third party in California in mid 2020 on pre-production hardware and software using default settings, except that, for the “up to 48 hour claim” only, Extreme Battery Saver mode was enabled. Battery life depends upon many factors and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower.
6 Not available in all languages or countries. Car crash detection may not detect all accidents. High-impact activities may trigger calls to emergency services. This feature is dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas. For country and language availability and more information see g.co/pixel/carcrashdetection. 
7 Personal Safety app features are dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas. For more information, see g.co/pixel/personalsafety. 
8 Qi-compatible. Wireless charger sold separately. 
9 Designed to charge Qi-certified devices. Use of Battery Share significantly reduces Pixel battery life. Cases may interfere with charging and will reduce charging speed. Charge speeds may vary. See g.co/pixel/wirelesscharging for more information. 
10 Pixel 5 has a dust and water protection rating of IP68 under IEC standard 60529. Charger and accessories are not water-resistant or dust-resistant. Water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and may be compromised due to normal wear and tear, repair, disassembly or damage. 
11 The Google One, Google Play Pass, Google Play Points, and YouTube Premium offers are available to eligible new users with the purchase of Pixel 4a (5G) or Pixel 5. Offer expires April 30, 2021 at 11:59pm PT. See g.co/pixel/4a5Goffers or g.co/pixel/5offers, as applicable, for more details.


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Made for music, the new Nest Audio is here

This year, we’ve all spent a lot of time exploring things to do at home. Some of us gardened, and others baked. We tried at-home workouts, or took up art projects. But one thing that many—maybe all of us—did? Enjoyed a lot of music at home. I’ve spent so much more time listening to music during quarantine—bossa nova is my go-to soundtrack for doing the dishes and Lil Baby has become one of my favorite artists. 

We worked with Kelton Research and found that over the past five months, Americans increased the amount of time they spend listening to music at home by 61 percent, and many people nearly doubled the amount of time they spend jamming out at home. So, given we’re all listening to more music than ever, we’re especially excited to introduce Nest Audio, our latest smart speaker made for music lovers.

A music machine

Nest Audio is 75 percent louder and has 50 percent stronger bass than the original Google Home—measurements of both devices were taken in an anechoic chamber at maximum volume, on-axis. With a 19mm tweeter for consistent high frequency coverage and clear vocals and a 75mm mid-woofer that really brings the bass, this smart speaker is a music lover’s dream. 

Nest Audio’s sound is full, clear and natural. We completed more than 500 hours of tuning to ensure balanced lows, mids and highs so  nothing is lacking or overbearing. The bass is significant and the vocals have depth, which makes Nest Audio sound great across genres: classical, R&B, pop and more. The custom-designed tweeter allows each musical detail to come through, and we optimized the grill, fabric and materials so that you can enjoy the audio without distortion. 

Our goal was to ensure that Nest Audio stayed faithful to what the artist intended when they were in the recording studio. We minimized the use of compressors to preserve dynamic range, so the auditory contrast in the original production is preserved—the quiet parts are delicate and subtle, and the loud ones are more dramatic and powerful. 

Nest Audio also adapts to your home. Our Media EQ feature enables Nest Audio to automatically tune itself to whatever you’re listening to: music, podcasts, audiobooks or even a response from Google Assistant. And Ambient IQ lets Nest Audio also adjust the volume of Assistant, news, podcasts and audiobooks based on the background noise in your home, so you can hear the weather forecast over a noisy dishwasher. 

Whole home audio

If you have a Google Home, Nest Mini or even a Nest Hub, you can easily make Nest Audio the center of your whole home sound system. In my living room, I’ve connected two Nest Audio speakers as a stereo pair for left and right channel separation. I also have a Nest Hub Max in my kitchen, a Nest Mini in my bedroom and a Nest Hub in the entryway. These devices are grouped so that I can blast the same song on all of them when I have my daily dance party. 

With our stream transfer feature, I can move music from one device to the other with just my voice. I can even transfer music or podcasts from my phone when I walk in the door. Just last month, we launched multi-room control, which allows you to dynamically group multiple cast-enabled Nest devices in real time. 

An even faster Assistant

When we launched Nest Mini last year, we embedded a dedicated machine learning chip with up to one TeraOPS of processing power, which let us move some Google Assistant experiences from our data centers directly onto the device. We’ve leveraged the same ML chip in Nest Audio, and in the U.S., Google Assistant on Nest Audio learns your most common music commands and responds two times faster than the original Google Home. 

Google Assistant helps you tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment and control compatible smart home brands like Philips Hue, TP-Link|KASA and more. In fact, people have already set up more than 100 million devices to work with Google Assistant. Plus, if you’re a YouTube Music or Spotify Premium subscriber, you can say, “Hey Google, recommend some music” and Google Assistant will offer a variety of choices from artists and genres that you like as well as others that are similar.

Differentiated by design

Typically, a bigger speaker equals bigger sound, but Nest Audio has a really slim profile—so it  fits anywhere in the home. In order to maximize audio output, we custom-designed quality drivers and housed them in an enclosure that helps it squeeze out every bit of sound possible. 

Nest Audio comes in five colors: Chalk, Charcoal, Sand, Sky and the all-new Sage, an earth tone inspired by our ongoing responsibility to protect the environment. Its soft, rounded edges blend in with your home’s decor, and its minimal footprint doesn’t take up too much space on your shelf or countertop. 

We’re continuing our commitment to sustainability with Nest Audio. It’s covered in the same sustainable fabric that we first introduced with Nest Mini last year, and the enclosure (meaning the fabric, housing, foot, and a few smaller parts) is made from 70 percent recycled plastic. 

Nest Audio is available for $99.99 online at the Google Store and other retailers in the U.S., Canada and India starting Oct. 5. You can find it on shelves at retail stores including Target, Best Buy and more in 21 countries starting Oct. 15. 

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Troubleshooting your apps with Cloud Logging just got a lot easier

In Cloud Logging, we understand that logging is a critical part of what it takes for you to operate reliable applications and infrastructure on Google Cloud. We’ve added new features to help you more easily store, find and control your logs.

Today, we’re announcing a new default logging experience: Logs Explorer. Previously known as Logs Viewer Preview, Logs Explorer provides new tools for you to better understand and analyze your logs during the troubleshooting process. We’re not getting rid of the classic Logs Viewer though—you can now access it as Legacy Viewer, and it will remain available as we add new features to Logs Explorer.

In addition to a new name, Logs Explorer includes new features designed to reduce the time you spend analyzing logs as you troubleshoot code, and to improve visibility into your Google Cloud environment.

Interactive queries with Log Fields

Log Fields provides a summary of your logs and insights into your next query. Log Fields include relevant metadata including resource type, severity, log name and service-specific information such as cluster name for Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) or Cloud Function name. For example, you can answer questions like “What services are actively generating logs in my project?” or “Do I have a lot of errors in my logs and if so, which service is generating the errors?” The Log fields component can also adjust your query because every time you click a field value, the value is added to the query, which narrows the displayed results accordingly.

1 Interactive queries with Log Fields.gif

Find anomalies with histograms 

Using the histogram view, you can analyze log volume over time. The histogram reflects the results returned from each query and can help you detect anomalies in your logs over time. When you’re troubleshooting, histograms can help you spot spikes in errors or drop-offs in your request log volume. Using the histogram, you can refine the query and narrow the result set to the time range you selected.

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Monitor your logs with the Logs Dashboard

Dashboards help you make sense of what’s happening in your environment. Using the Logs Dashboard, you can review log distribution over time, broken by severity for the top resource types in your project.

3 Monitor your logs with the Logs Dashboard.gif

Each row of charts in the dashboard includes one resource type. The right-hand charts display the distribution of all the logs produced by the resource while the left-hand charts display the breakdown of errors. 

To query for the logs described in the chart, you can click on any of the bars in the chart and drill down to the logs. Using the logs dashboard is another quick way to find your logs.

Gain new insights with Suggested Queries and Query Library

The query library makes it easier for you to find logs without building the same query or saving your favorite queries in a personal document or site. With the query library, you to can view and run queries in four ways:

  • Recent queries – View and (re)run queries that you ran in the past.

  • Saved queries – Save queries for future reference and then when you need them again, you can view and run, or edit and run those queries.

  • Shared queries – Collaborate and share queries with other users in your project.

  • Suggested queries – View and run queries automatically suggested for you by Cloud Logging based on your logs.

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Search across your logs with Logs Buckets

Using Logs Buckets and Log Views, you can centralize or subdivide logs based on your needs and set the appropriate access permissions. You can use Log Views to set IAM permissions to control who views which logs in a specific Log Bucket. Check out this recent blog post to learn more about four common use cases for log buckets including centralizing all your logs for your organization in a single project in Cloud Logging, and decentralizing your GKE multi-tenant cluster logs into separate projects/log buckets. 

View organization and folder-level logs

You apply organizational policies and other policies and services at different points within the resource hierarchy. You can now find these logs in the Logs Explorer, which makes it easier to understand what’s happening in your organization. For example, by selecting your organization from the project/organization drop-down, you can understand what IAM and organization policies have been added to your organization by viewing the SetIamPolicy and SetOrgPolicy audit logs.

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Learn more about Cloud Logging

If you haven’t already, get started with the Log Explorer, learn more about Cloud Logging with our new qwiklab and join the discussion on our mailing list. Also, be sure to watch our Cloud Operations Spotlight session at Next OnAir. As always, we welcome your feedback.

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IDC’s research findings on the end-user experience running Windows applications on Google Cloud

Editor’s note: In this blog post, we hear from Sriram Subramanian, Research Director, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group from IDC. Google commissioned Sriram to research the motivating strategic factors for moving and modernizing Windows workloads to the cloud. What he found is that Google Cloud proves to be an ideal platform for Windows Server-based applications. For more on this, tune in to the on-demand webinar on this topic.

Line of Business (LOB) applications and workloads are critical to the success of an enterprise. Therefore, the continuous availability of enterprise applications is of paramount importance. Windows Server-based workloads constitute no small share of those enterprise workloads. IDC’s Server Workloads Tracker shows that about 45% of servers shipped worldwide in 2019 were based on the Windows Server operating system. 

Two primary Windows Server workloads are business applications built using the .NET framework on the Windows operating system and database applications using SQL Server. Both rely on underlying infrastructure platforms for performance, security, and availability. They also tend to be composed of tightly coupled components. For example, in a standard three-tier model-view-controller (MVC) application, the “controller” is strongly tied to the database backend, as are the “view” and “model” components. In a Windows Server context, the SQL Server database backend depends on the storage cluster to ensure high availability and data consistency (for example, active-active or active-passive), and that involves a complicated storage cluster setup. These requirements often complicate moving Window-server based applications to public cloud environments. 

IDC recently interviewed end users as part of a study commissioned by Google Cloud. The study was aimed at understanding the end-user experience running Windows applications on Google Cloud. In this study, we found that enterprise customers find Google Cloud to be an optimized platform for Windows Server-based workloads, for a variety of reasons.

Platform for application modernization

Survey participants were unequivocal that Google Cloud provides a reliable platform for modernizing Windows-based workloads. Almost all participants indicated beginning with the “lift and shift” pattern to migrate Windows applications to Google Cloud. However, after migrating applications to Google Cloud, participants were able to leverage cloud-based services such as Cloud SQL and Managed Active Directory, and cloud-native technologies such as Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Knative, to refactor or rearchitect Windows applications on Google Cloud. Google Cloud’s solutions also include migration tools such as Migrate for Compute Engine and Migrate for Anthos, which make migrating Windows applications to VMs on Google Cloud or containers on GKE easier. 

Respondents also indicated that they turned to Google Cloud’s technology partners for application migration and modernization. They also had plans to replace components of Windows applications with Linux-based services, with the eventual goal of moving completely off Windows. They found the combination of Windows .NET Core, Kubernetes, and Linux on Google Cloud provided a strong foundation for modernizing Windows applications. 

Technology capabilities

Survey respondents found running Windows applications on Google Cloud easy due to its  enterprise-ready core technology capabilities. These include its VM sizing, platform/networking performance, platform security, AI/ML and data analytics capabilities, and modern infrastructure constructs. 

When Windows-based applications are migrated to public cloud infrastructure, end users typically provision virtual instances comparable to their on-premises servers, which often results in inefficient resource allocation on the public cloud. Google Cloud allows for custom VM sizes, enabling respondents to fine-tune virtual instance sizes to provide an optimal price-performance ratio. 

Respondents also found security capabilities such as Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to enable easier deployment, management, and high availability of services across multiple regions. They also found that data analytics capabilities such as BigQuery allow them to leverage analytics without any operational overhead. 

Cost optimizations 

Survey respondents found that Google Cloud provides cost savings in both the near- and the long- term. For example, the Bring Your Own License (BYOL) model for SQL Server enables end users to utilize existing licenses, providing significant cost savings. One respondent observed a nearly 40% cost saving by moving SQL Server instances to Google Cloud from another public cloud service provider. Respondents also leveraged capabilities such as Custom VM sizing to fine-tune their cloud resources. 

Challenges

Respondents also indicated challenges migrating workloads to Google Cloud, which you can learn about in the InfoBrief. Google Cloud is actively working to address these challenges and customers should not be deterred from considering Google Cloud for running and modernizing Windows-based workloads.

Summary

In total, survey respondents found Google Cloud to be an optimized platform for running Windows-based workloads. IDC recommends taking a workload-centric, multi-phased approach to migrating workloads to public cloud infrastructure, and to migrating Windows Server workloads to Google Cloud. Such an approach enables end users to mitigate common challenges with adopting public cloud infrastructure. It also enables end users to optimize their resource consumption on public cloud and eventually migrate business-critical/mission-critical applications to the public cloud as well. 

For more details, read the IDC InfoBrief, “Modernize your Windows Server Workloads using Google Cloud Platform,” or view the accompanying webinar.

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