My Google Map Blog

Tag: Google Assistant

Ease back into your office routine with Google

by Mallory De Leon on Apr.30, 2022, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

As many people start returning to the office, we know there’s a lot to (re)figure out — like what to wear on the first day back, how long your commute will take and how to stay productive. So we’re sharing some tips for getting back into the office groove with a little help from Google products.

Rebuild a routine

Google Assistant Routines can help you automate tasks so you have less to do and think about before you head to work. Just say "Hey Google, good morning" and your Assistant can share news, weather or traffic updates, tell you what’s on your calendar, and even get your smart coffee maker started on your morning brew. You can create a Routine based on a specific schedule or when the sun rises or sets every day.

Commute with confidence

Whether you usually hop on public transit, get behind the wheel or hit the pavement, your commute may have changed since the pandemic — or, like me, you might have just forgotten how long it takes. Check Google Maps to find the ideal time to commute and the greenest route for an eco-friendlier way to get to work.

Trying to get to the office by a certain time? Set the time you’re departing or want to arrive by to see how long it’ll take you to get to your destination (and to avoid getting stuck in traffic). The “Leave on Time” feature in Google Assistant Routines can also remind you when to leave, giving you the extra nudge to head out the door.

Find your new food spot

Once you get there, Google Maps can help you find the best (and most efficient) lunch options near your office.

Use Maps’ popular times and live busyness information to see when restaurants are most crowded and which spots are likely to seat you immediately. To save even more time, you can also scan popular dishes and photos on the restaurant’s Business Profile in advance.

If you’re getting takeout, no need to miss a meeting waiting around for your delivery in your office lobby or at the restaurant. Live takeout and delivery status information lets you see the expected wait time, delivery fee and status of your order right from the Maps app — so you can make the most of your workday.

A phone screen shows the arrival time of a food delivery for a restaurant through Google Maps.

Style comfortably

Heading back to the office but not ready to dust off your work clothes? You’re not alone. In fact, “how to style sweatpants” and “work-appropriate leggings” have both been trending on Google.

Search on Google Shopping and filter by style, like joggers or leggings, to find your own office-ready sweats. Pair that with “comfortable shoes for work,” currently the most-searched shoe query, and you’ll find the perfect blend of your work-from-home and office styles.

Meanwhile, this season’s hottest work accessories are right at your fingertips. Nails are in the top-five fashion searches for back-to-the-office shopping. Check out the manicure options yourself on Google Shopping.

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Empathy and trust: How 3 women influence Google products

by Mallory De Leon on Mar.26, 2022, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating Googlers who contribute to products and features that people rely on each day. Last week we heard from women working on our crisis hotlines and Street View. Today, we hear from three more Googlers about how they build products — like Maps, Google Assistant and Google News — with safety, empathy and collaboration in mind.

Making the internet safer for women

What do you love most about building at Google?

Few companies in the world have the level of impact that Google does. When I tell people I work on Google Maps, they tell me how much they love Maps and how it’s a part of their everyday life. That’s the best part of doing this job!

What is the best career advice another woman has given you?

I had a lot of self-doubt and uncertainty about returning to work after my daughter was born. During that period, my mother encouraged me to think beyond the initial anxiety and adapt to my new way of life as a working mother. Her simple advice was to take a long-term view of my life and happiness and make decisions based on that.

Why is it important to moderate things like reviews on Google Maps?

Women-owned businesses often face threats of trolling, shaming and digital sabotage through fake reviews and other malicious practices. To make Google Maps universally safe and trusted — especially for women — we must constantly invest in fighting abuse and misinformation.

Bringing empathy to technology

What’s early career advice you’ve gotten from another woman?

When women don’t meet every qualification on a job description, they often assume they’re not qualified for the job. A friend gave me the advice to believe in my capabilities and tell the story of what made me qualified in the moment, instead of assuming that I needed to do more or be more. It’s a mindset shift that’s allowed me to stretch and grow in unexpected ways.

When you create experiences with this in mind, it keeps you focused on being of service to people as opposed to being of service to goals or ideas.

Your work focuses on making the Assistant more empathetic. Why is empathy an important part of the user experience?

Empathy is an important part of the human experience. We need each other, and we all want to feel understood and cared for. When you create experiences with this in mind, it keeps you focused on being of service to people as opposed to being of service to goals or ideas.

Other than Google Assistant, what’s your favorite Google product or feature?

I’d be lost without Maps.

Collaborating across perspectives

How have your experiences impacted the way you build products?

Before joining Google, I’ve felt at times that my voice wasn’t heard; this led me to approach my current role with empathy and curiosity. I have a strong desire to deeply understand and incorporate a wide array of perspectives — from considering the needs of people using Google News to collaborating with others internally to create different ways to deliver essential news through the app. I believe this helps us build more inclusive experiences for people with a wide range of circumstances and needs.

Making sure everyone has equal access to this essential information empowers everyone, including women, and fuels a well-functioning society.

Why is it important for women to access quality news and information?

Everyone needs to be able to access reliable and authoritative news to make informed decisions, engage in their local community, have conversations with friends and family, and stay safe. Making sure everyone has equal access to this essential information empowers everyone, including women, and fuels a well-functioning society.

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CES 2022: Making the most of your drive with Google

by Mickey Kataria on Jan.06, 2022, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Editor's note: Google planned to attend CES 2022 but pulled out of having an in-person presence due to concerns over COVID-19.

Google’s vision of helpfulness on the road is to provide a safe and seamless connected experience. Today, we’re introducing several updates for cars compatible with Android Auto and cars with Google built-in.

Your Android phone as your car key

With digital car key, you can now use select Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel phones to lock, unlock and start supported BMW vehicles from your phone. Starting later this year, phones with Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology will allow you to unlock your compatible car without taking your phone out at all, and key sharing will allow you to securely and remotely share your digital car key to trusted friends and family. We’re working to bring these features to even more Android phones and vehicles later this year.

Gif of a phone being placed on a car door handle to unlock it.

Unlock your car with your mobile phone and a simple tap.

A more helpful drive with Android Auto

Now available on nearly 150 million cars around the world, Android Auto brings the best of Google onto your car display via your Android phone. Most of the world's top car brands are bringing wireless Android Auto to their newest models, meaning you never need a cord to connect. And with just one tap, Fast Pair makes it easier than ever to connect your phone and wireless Android Auto. It’s available today on select BMW and Ford cars, with more to come. Also, with new accessories like the Motorola MA1 wireless adapter, you can now enjoy the wireless Android Auto experience even if your car doesn't have wireless support built-in. Connected via USB, the adapter stays in your car and wirelessly projects Android Auto from your phone to your car display as soon as you step inside.

You can already enjoy thousands of media, messaging, navigation, parking and charging apps that support Android Auto. And this summer, we’re bringing you more. We’re partnering with Lyft and Kakao Mobility to integrate their driver apps into Android Auto, so drivers will be able to view and accept rides right from their car display. And with access to points of interest apps like MochiMochi, Fuelio and Prezzi Benzina, you can explore more of the world, find and pay for all types of car services, and track your mileage and costs.

Image of car dash with Lyft app driver interface shown on car display.

Lyft Driver app for rideshare drivers will be projected onto their car display (UI for illustration purposes only and may not reflect final product).

New capabilities for cars with Google built-in

Car manufacturers like Polestar, Volvo Cars, and General Motors - with more to come - are already shipping select cars with Google technology built right into their infotainment systems, allowing you to get more use out of helpful features.

With Google Play built-in, you can soon download navigation apps like Sygic and Flitsmeister, charging apps like ChargePoint and PlugShare, parking apps like SpotHero and ParkWhiz and points of interest apps. In fact, later this year, you will be able to access video entertainment in the car while parked, starting with Volvo Cars with content from providers like YouTube. Suddenly, waiting for curbside pickup or for your car to charge isn't so boring anymore.

Image of car dashboard with Youtube video "Google Year in Search 202"  playing.

Enjoy watching YouTube while parked on select Volvo Cars with Google built-in.

This deeper integration allows you to get help from Google beyond the car display. Coming this spring to Volvo Cars, you’ll be able to check on and adjust even more car settings by asking Google. From activating features like lane keeping assist to checking when your next service is due, your voice can replace looking around for the right button or scrolling through settings.

Smart home, meet smart car

With remote actions, you will soon be able to ask Google for help even before leaving the front door. Ask Google to warm up or cool down your car, lock and unlock it and check on the status of things like your battery charge, all from the comfort of your own home with the help of any Google Assistant-enabled device. This is coming first to select Volvo Cars, with more to follow.

Whether you’re getting ready for a drive or already on the road, we’re working hard to make sure Google helps make every ride a safe, smart and seamless experience.

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Winter is coming: 9 ways to enjoy it with Google

by Molly on Dec.04, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

As a native Oregonian, I thought living in California would be an incredible break from the nine months of rain I’d endured growing up. What I didn’t realize was that 70-degree winters felt…wrong. Where were the mittens? The down jackets? The occasional snowy days? I’ve since moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve had a renewed appreciation for winter weather.

In fact, I enjoy the chilly months of the year so much, I’ve put together a few ways to make the most of the cold weather.

  1. I love snowshoeing, and I always want to find new trails. I use Google Maps to look for mountain biking and hiking trails that are covered in snow in the winter. (Just look for the hiking icons, or the light dash lines that indicate trails.) If I come across a good one, I label it on Maps so I know how to get back.
Animated GIF showing trails on Google Maps and how you can select and label them; this one is being saved to a list called “trails.”

2. I’m a year-round runner, but once the temperature dips below 50 Fahrenheit and the roads get wet or icy, I need new gear — all of which I can find in one place using Google Shopping. You can select the Sports & Outdoors tab to browse — and turn on the deals filter for discounts.

3. And when I’m returning from a chilly run, I can use the Google Home app to turn on my Nest Thermostat before I get home, so I know I’m not wasting energy while I’m out and the house will be toasty when I come in. I also use Home & Away Routines so that Nest knows when I’m out and can adjust my temperature automatically.

4. OK fine, there’s one downside of winter weather, and that’s how early it gets dark. I use Google Assistant to notify me an hour before sunset so I can get outside for some sunshine before the sun goes down.

5. We’ve started cutting down our own Christmas tree, which is actually pretty easy to do. A quick Google Search for cutting down a tree on federal land will help you find a map (and how you can purchase a permit). Then you can just use Google Maps to take you to the right area.

6. If I’m feeling really adventurous and ready to hit the slopes, I’ll check out the Explore tool on google.com/travel. I can set my home as the point of origin and then select “skiing” under the Interests filter and see what ski towns I can visit.

Animated GIF showing the United States on Google Maps. The arrow selects the “interests” tab and then “skiing” to surface ski towns in different parts of the country.

7. I love a good Google Alert to stay up to date on what’s going on locally. Once November rolls around, I set one for “Oregon winter festivals.”

8. Pixel cameras take incredible photos in dimly lit areas, so using Night Sight for shots of light displays or snowy nights is a no-brainer. And if you’ve already snagged a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, those photos will look even better: The new Pixel camera lets in 2.5 times as much light as the Pixel 5, and you can try out the new Motion Mode setting to capture an artsy falling snow pic.

9. Most winter nights, I make a real fire — but when I don’t feel like hauling in wood, there’s always a YouTube version, complete with crackle.

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Welcome to spooky season

by Jack O'Lantern on Oct.07, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, which means it’s about time to bust out the costumes, stock up on some candy and carve a pumpkin or two. If you need a little inspiration, look no further than these spooky Search and Maps trends we collected.

Pumpkin to Search about

Whether you plan on spending the day watching Halloween classics or trick-or-treating in a clever costume, we’ve got Search trends to give you some ideas. (Be sure to also check out our annual Frightgeist for the most-searched Halloween costumes across the U.S.)

Most-searched Halloween movies over the past week in the U.S.

  1. Halloween (1978)
  2. Friday the 13th
  3. Hocus Pocus
  4. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  5. Halloweentown

Already seen these? Grab the popcorn (or the candy corn) and virtually explore the filming locations of your favorite cult classics on Google Earth.

Moving on to costumes! Picking the right outfit — whether it’s just for you, a group or your furry friend — is important. Here are the costume searches that have been trending this week in the U.S.

Trending Halloween costumes:

  1. Squid Game
  2. Gorilla
  3. Britney Spears
  4. Carnage
  5. Venom

Trending couples costumes:

  1. Trixie and Timmy Turner
  2. Bonnie and Clyde
  3. Skid and Pump
  4. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  5. Cosmo and Wanda

Trending dog costumes:

  1. Squid Game
  2. Race car
  3. Vampire
  4. Donkey
  5. Lobster

If you still aren’t sure what to wear, you can ask Google Assistant for some last-minute costume ideas, too. Just say "Hey Google, what should I be for Halloween?”

Maybe you’d prefer to boo-rowse aisles IRL without a crowd. We checked the most popular times on Google Maps to visit costume shops across the U.S. and found they’re at their busiest on Saturday and Sunday around 2 p.m., and least busy before 2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

But, beware! Last-minute shoppers might be in for a scare. Google Maps searches for costume stores in the U.S. peaked on Halloween day last year — nearly doubling from the week before, and nearly tripling from October 10th. So get your costume and accessory shopping done early for the best chance of finding what you’re looking for.

For those interested in refreshments or snacks to follow all that trick-or-treating, you can see which Halloween drinks are being searched for by state. And of course, everyone has to know what their state prefers: candy corn or M&Ms?

Map of the United States showing what the uniquely searched Halloween drinks trends are per state.
Map of the United States showing what the most searched Halloween candy is per state, with Candy Corn being the most searched in the majority of states.

What unlocks a haunted house? A spoo-key

Of course, Halloween isn’t only about get-togethers and candy — some of us enjoy a little scare. Head over to the Google Maps guide to Halloween and check out Local Guide Kimbra Kasch's favorite spooky spots. And Kimbra should know: She grew up in a haunted house in Portland, Oregon!

Google Maps’ guide also has plenty of other places to discover for the fall festivities, so be sure to take a look.

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Upgrade your drive with Google as your copilot

by Jack Krawczyk on Sep.24, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Do you drive with your phone clipped to your air vent? Or does your car have the latest built-in infotainment system? No matter what kind of car you own, Google is ready to make your drive better.  We’re bringing updates to Google Assistant driving mode, Android Auto and cars with Google built-in (welcome Honda!) to help every driver find their way around, stay entertained, and keep in touch.


Google Assistant driving mode on Android phones gets a new dashboard

Millions of people in more than 12 countries use Google Assistant driving mode every day, by offering  voice-activated help via your Android phone in older cars. We originally launched it for active navigation in Google Maps, helping drivers manage tasks, like answering a call or responding to text messages with minimal distraction. 

Thanks to early feedback, we heard how important it is to have your go-to apps handy for your drive, even when you don’t need turn-by-turn navigation. So coming soon, you’ll be able to say “Hey Google, let’s drive” (or connect your phone to your car’s Bluetooth) to open the new driving mode dashboard, reducing the need to fiddle with your phone while also making sure you stay focused on the road. With glanceable, tappable cards, the basics you’ll need for the road are available with a single tap — no scrolling required: Start your navigation, see who called or texted recently and quickly resume media from Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRadio, JioSaavn, Pandora, Podcast Addict, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube Music and more providers. Plus, there’s a new messaging update: Just say “​​Hey Google, turn on auto read” to hear new messages read aloud as they come in and to respond by voice.

Driving mode will be the primary experience for Android phones going forward and will fully roll out in the next few weeks for Android phones in English (U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, India, Singapore and U.K.), German, Spanish (Spain, Mexico), French and Italian.

Image of the new Google Assistant driving mode dashboard which features easy to see, tappable cards to find media, navigate and call / text..

Improvements coming to Android Auto on car displays

We’re also launching new features for the more than 100 million cars compatible with Android Auto — bringing help from Google onto your car display via your Android phone. 

You’ll now see music, news and podcast recommendations from Google Assistant, and be able to set which app launches whenever Android Auto starts. You’ll even be able to enjoy games from GameSnacks right from the car’s display while you’re parked, waiting for a to-go order or charging your vehicle. 

If you’re a dual-SIM Android phone user, you can now choose which SIM card to use when making calls through Android Auto. And great news for commuters: ​​Android Auto will support your “Work profile,” which lets you see upcoming work meetings and messages on your car’s display. 

When it’s time to fill up at the gas station, you can now put away your credit card or cash and say, “Hey Google, pay for gas” on Android Auto or from your Android phone. Select your pump number and  complete contactless payment with Google Pay. This will be available at over 32,500 gas stations across the U.S. starting with Exxon and Mobil, Conoco, Phillips 66 and 76 stations. 


The best of Google apps and services built-in to more cars

In the coming years, millions of cars will have Google fully built-in to their infotainment systems, so you can get around with Google Maps, use Google Assistant to turn on the A/C, download your favorite apps on Google Play and much more, even without a smartphone.

Image of Honda's brand logo

We’re excited to share that our newest partner, Honda, will be launching future models with Google built-in starting in 2022. In addition to Honda, this experience will be available on cars from top brands including Ford, General Motors, Polestar, Renault and Volvo Cars. Today, you can test drive or purchase cars with Google built-in —  like the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge — and it’s coming to many more cars soon, like the new Chevrolet Silverado and Renault Mégane E-TECH Electric.

Image of a user asking Google to help find the nearest charging station from a car with Google -built in

If you drive an electric vehicle with Google built in, we make it easy to find charging stations and minimize charging time with Google Maps. Just say, “Hey Google, find me a charging station” to instantly see nearby stations compatible with your car, payment type and speed preferences, along with real-time information about whether or not a charger is available. And with new support for thermal battery management, Google Maps saves you precious time by helping your car’s battery heat up or cool down before you charge, reducing the amount of time you need to spend at a charger. 

No matter what car you drive, we’re working hard to make sure you have the help you need from Google to get things done while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. 


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16 updates from Google I/O that’ll make your life easier

by Keyword Team on May.21, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Part of our mission is to help make your daily life easier. At I/O this year, we shared news about a wide range of products and services that’ll do just that, from starting your car with your phone to searching your screenshots using Google Lens. Here are just a few of the features you should keep an eye out for. 

Quickly view your notifications, invoke Google Assistant on Android.

Android 12 includes the biggest design change since 2014. We rethought the entire experience, from the colors to the shapes, light and motion, and made it easier to access some of the most used features:

  • To invoke Google Assistant wherever you are, long press the power button.
  • Swipe down to view your new notification shade, an at-a-glance view of all your app notifications in one place.
  • And to make it easier to access everything you need, Google Pay and Device Controls have been added to your customizable quick settings.

Learn about all the big changes in Android 12.

Manage your privacy settings more easily on Android.

On top of the new design changes, we’ve also launched a new Privacy Dashboard, giving you easy access to your permissions settings, visibility into what data is being accessed and the ability to revoke permissions on the spot. You also have new indicators that let you know when apps are using your microphone and camera, as well as a way to quickly shut off that access. And we’ve added new microphone and camera toggles into quick settings so you can easily remove app access to these sensors for the entire system. Learn about new privacy controls in Android 12.

Change the channel with your phone.

Lost your TV remote? Don’t sweat it — we’re building remote-control features directly into your Android phone. Another bonus: If you need to enter a long password to log into one of your many streaming services subscriptions, you can save time and use your phone’s keyboard to enter the text. This built-in remote control will be compatible with devices powered by Android TV OS, including Google TV, and it’ll roll out later this year. Learn more about how we’re helping your devices work better together.

GIF of a user typing a password onto a phone and that password appearing on a TV screen

Use your phone to enter your password for your streaming services.

And unlock your car with your phone while you’re at it.

We’re working with car manufacturers to develop a new digital car key in Android 12. This feature will enable you to use your phone to lock, unlock and even start your car — and in some cases you won’t even need to take it out of your pocket. And because it’s digital, you’ll also be able to securely and remotely share your car key with friends and family if needed. Read more about Android Auto.

Understand more about your Search results.

When you’re looking up information online, it’s important to check  how credible a source is, especially if you aren’t familiar with the website. Our About This Result feature in Google Search provides details about a website before you visit it, including its description, when it was first indexed and whether your connection to the site is secure. This month, we’ll start rolling out About This Result to all English results worldwide, with more languages to come. And later this year, we’re going to add even more helpful contextual details — like how the site describes itself, what other sources are saying about it and related articles to check out.

Change your password using Chrome and Assistant.

Chrome on Android will help you change your passwords with a simple click. On supported sites, whenever you check your passwords and Chrome finds a password that may have been compromised,  you will see a "Change password" button from Assistant.  Powered by Duplex on the Web, Assistant will not only navigate to the site, but actually go through the entire process of changing your password for you.  This feature is already available for purchasing movie tickets, ordering food, and checking into flights.  

Use Google Lens to translate your homework into a language you’re more comfortable with.

Google Lens enables you to search what you see — from your camera, your photos and even your search bar. For a lot of students, their schoolwork might be in a language they’re not as comfortable with. That’s why we’re updating the Translate filter in Lens, making it easy to copy, listen to or search translated text in over 100 languages. Learn more about how information comes to life with Lens and AR.

And search your screenshots with Google Lens.

Lots of people take screenshots of things they’re interested in buying — but it can be hard to follow up on those screenshots afterward. Now when you look at any screenshot in Google Photos, we’ll prompt you to search the photo with Lens. This will help you find that pair of shoes or wallpaper pattern that you liked so much. 

A GIF demonstrating using Google Lens to search a screen shot of a basketball player, returning results for his shoes

Search your screenshots using Google Lens.

When shopping online, keep track of your open carts when you open a new tab.

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: You’ve got a browser open to do some online shopping, but then you get distracted and open up two, three, or 10 other windows — and you forget what you were online to do in the first place. We’re introducing a new feature in Chrome that shows you your open carts when you open a new tab. No more lost shopping carts here.

And get the best value for products you’re buying online.

Coming soon, we’ll let you link your favorite loyalty programs from merchants like Sephora to your Google account to show you the best purchase options across Google. Learn more about all our latest shopping updates.

Explore unfamiliar neighborhoods with more detailed views in Maps.

If you’re traveling by foot, augmented reality in Live View will show you helpful details about the shops and restaurants around you – including how busy they are, and recent reviews and photos. And if you’re traveling, Live View will tell you where you are relative to your hotel – so you can always find your way back. 

Avoid the crowds with area busyness.

Maps already shows the busyness of specific places — in fact, more than 80 million people use the live busyness information on Google every day. Now we’re expanding that functionality to show the busyness of an entire area, allowing you to see just how bustling a neighborhood or part of town is at any given moment. This means that if you want to keep things low-key, you can use Maps to see the hotspots to avoid. And if you’re looking for the most popular places to visit, you can use area busyness to scope out the liveliest neighborhoods at a glance.

See breakfast spots in the morning and dinner joints at night. 

We’re updating Maps to show you more relevant information based on what time of day it is and whether you’re traveling. That means we’ll show you things like coffee shops in the morning, when you need that caffeine fix, and burger joints at night, when you’re hungry for dinner. And if you’re on a weekend getaway, we’ll make tourist attractions and local landmarks easier to spot. Learn more about our latest updates to Maps

Discover unexpected Memories in Photos.

Starting later this summer, when we find a set of three or more photos with similarities like shape or color, we'll highlight these little patterns for you in your Memories. For example, Photos might surface a pattern of your family hanging out on the same couch over the years — something you wouldn’t have ever thought to search for, but that tells a deeply meaningful story about your daily life. Learn more about Little patterns in Photos.

Bring your pictures to life with Cinematic moments.

When you’re trying to get the perfect photo, you usually take the same shot two or three (or twenty) times. Using neural networks, we can take two nearly identical images and fill in the gaps by creating new frames in between. This creates vivid, moving images called Cinematic moments. Producing this effect from scratch would take professional animators hours, but with machine learning we can automatically generate these moments and bring them to your Recent Highlights. Learn more about Cinematic moments.

A GIF showing two similar pictures of a child and his baby sibling being converted into a moving image.

Cinematic moments will bring your photos to life.

Transform how you work with smart canvas in Google Workspace. 

As part of our mission to build the future of work, we’re launching smart canvas, a bunch of exciting updates across Docs, Sheets and Meet. New features include interactive building blocks—smart chips, templates, and checklists—as well as a new pageless format in Docs and emoji reactions. We're also bringing Meet closer to Docs, Sheets and Slides, and much more. See all of the big updates to Google Workspace.

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Your Android is now even safer — and 5 other new features

by Hideaki Oshima on Feb.24, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

It wasn't all that long ago that we introduced Android users to features like Emoji Kitchen and auto-narrated audiobooks. But we like to stay busy, so today we're highlighting six of the latest Google updates that will make Android phones more secure and convenient — for everyone.

1. Keep your accounts safe with Password Checkup on Android

Password Checkup notification screen

Password Checkup notification screen

On Android, you can save passwords to your Google account, making it quicker and easier to sign into your apps and services using Autofill. Your login credentials are one of your first lines of defense against intruders, so we’ve integrated Password Checkup into devices running Android 9 and above. This feature lets you know if the password you used has been previously exposed and what to do about it.


Now when you enter a password into an app on your phone using Autofill with Google, we’ll check those credentials against a list of known compromised passwords — that is, passwords that have potentially already been stolen and posted on the web. If your credentials show up on one of these lists, we’ll alert you and guide you to check your password and change it. 


Learn more on our support page about changing unsafe passwords. And you can find additional information about how this product works in this blog post.


We’re passionate about building defense into every detail on Android, from downloading apps to browsing the web to choosing where and when you share your data. Learn more about how Android keeps you safe.

2. Use schedule send in Messages to write a text now and send it later

Schedule a text to send it at your chosen date and time

Click on the image above to learn how to schedule a text to send at your chosen date and time

Over half a billion people across the world use Messages to seamlessly and safely connect with family, friends and others every month. To continue  improving the way you communicate and help you stay in touch, we’re starting to roll out schedule send in Messages for phones running Android 7 and newer. 


Having loved ones in another time zone or on a different schedule can sometimes make it difficult to send a text at an appropriate time. With schedule send, you can compose a message ahead of time when it’s convenient for you, and schedule it to send at the right moment. Just write your message as you normally would, then hold and press the send button to select a date and time to deliver your message. Download Messages or update to the latest version to schedule your next text.

3. No need to look at your screen, with TalkBack

Start and stop media with Talkback gestures

Click on the image above to see how to start and stop media with Talkback gestures 

For those who are blind or have trouble seeing the display, the new version of TalkBack, Android’s screen reader, is now available. Using spoken feedback and gestures, TalkBack makes Android even more accessible and opens up a full phone experience without needing to look at your screen. We worked closely with the blind and low vision communities on this revamp of TalkBack to incorporate the most popularly requested features including: more intuitive gestures, a unified menu, a new reading control menu and more. Get TalkBack today by downloading or updating your Android accessibility apps in the Google Play Store.

4. Get more done hands-free with Google Assistant

Use Google Assistant to send a text, even when your phone is locked

Use Google Assistant to send a text, even when your phone is locked

We want to give you more ways to use your phone hands-free — so you can do things like use your voice to make calls, set timers or alarms and play music. Now, the latest updates to Google Assistant make it easier to get things done on your phone without needing to be right next to it.


Assistant now works better even when your phone is locked or across the room with new cards that can be read with just a glance. Just say “Hey Google, set an alarm” or “Hey Google, play pop music on Spotify.” To get the most out of Assistant when your phone is locked, simply turn on Lock Screen Personal Results in Assistant setting and say “Hey Google '' to send text messages and make calls.

5. Come to the dark side with dark theme in Google Maps 

San Francisco on Google Maps dark theme

San Francisco on Google Maps dark theme

These days, we’re all experiencing a bit of screen fatigue. With dark theme in Google Maps soon expanding to all Android users globally, you can give your eyes a much-needed break and save on battery life. Simply head to your Settings, tap on Theme and then on “Always in Dark Theme” to lower the lights when you’re navigating, exploring, or getting things done with Maps. Change your mind? Just tap on “Always in Light Theme” to switch it back.

6. A better drive with Android Auto

Stay entertained with voice-activated games on your display with Android Auto

Stay entertained with voice-activated games on your display with Android Auto

Android Auto’s new features help you enjoy the drive more. With custom wallpapers, you can now select from a variety of car-inspired backgrounds to personalize your car display. For longer drives, you and your passengers can stay entertained with voice-activated games like trivia and “Jeopardy!” Just say, “Hey Google, play a game” to get started. 


We’ve also launched shortcuts on the launch screen. These provide convenient access to your contacts and even allow you to use Assistant to complete tasks like checking the weather or remotely adjusting the thermostat by simply tapping on the icon on your car display, just as you would on your phone. For cars with wider screens, you can do more with a split-screen that features a real-time view of Google Maps and media controls. And if you have family and friends coming along for the ride, you can now set a privacy screen to control when Android Auto appears on your car display. 


These Android Auto features will be available in the coming days on phones running Android 6.0 or above, and when connected to your compatible car.

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