Google Podcasts App Expands to iOS

Google today announced that its Google Podcasts app is expanding to iOS, and as of this morning, it is available for download on the iPhone and the iPad.


In addition to bringing the Podcasts app to iOS devices, Google has also overhauled it, making it easier to find podcast content, create lists of favorite podcasts, and customize the listening experience.

Google’s redesigned Podcasts app focuses on Home, Explore, and Activity tabs. The Home tab features new episodes of subscribed shows, while Explore displays new show and episode recommendations.

The Activity tab displays listening history, queued episodes, and downloaded podcasts, with automatic downloading supported for each podcast a user subscribes to.

Google Podcasts can be downloaded from the App Store starting today. [Direct Link]

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Google today announced that its Google Podcasts app is expanding to iOS, and as of this morning, it is available for download on the iPhone and the iPad.


In addition to bringing the Podcasts app to iOS devices, Google has also overhauled it, making it easier to find podcast content, create lists of favorite podcasts, and customize the listening experience.

Google's redesigned Podcasts app focuses on Home, Explore, and Activity tabs. The Home tab features new episodes of subscribed shows, while Explore displays new show and episode recommendations.

The Activity tab displays listening history, queued episodes, and downloaded podcasts, with automatic downloading supported for each podcast a user subscribes to.

Google Podcasts can be downloaded from the App Store starting today. [Direct Link]
Tag: Google

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YouTube Rolls Out New ‘Explore’ Tab to All Users on Mobile

Google is rolling out a new “Explore” tab in its official YouTube mobile app after several months of experiments and testing.


The new tab replaces the “Trending” tab, and includes the same trending content but also links to destination pages of YouTube’s existing video categories, including Gaming, Music, News, and more. As Google explains:

With Explore, you not only have access to Trending videos, but also to destination pages for some popular content categories like Gaming, Music, Fashion & Beauty, Learning and more – all from one place.

Below the category links is a carousel of videos from the latest “Creator on the Rise” or “Artist on the Rise.” The carousel is updated daily, providing additional exposure for the platform’s content creators.

Below that is the typical scrolling vertical list of trending videos, which can also be accessed from the top of the page using the Trending button, which is foremost in the new links. According to Google, Trending displays the same list of trending videos to all users, wherever they are in the world.

As it stands, there’s no way to create custom destination pages or personalized category links, and the list of pre-made categories isn’t particularly comprehensive, so hopefully that’s something Google plans to add in time.

YouTube is a free download for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

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Google is rolling out a new "Explore" tab in its official YouTube mobile app after several months of experiments and testing.


The new tab replaces the "Trending" tab, and includes the same trending content but also links to destination pages of YouTube's existing video categories, including Gaming, Music, News, and more. As Google explains:
With Explore, you not only have access to Trending videos, but also to destination pages for some popular content categories like Gaming, Music, Fashion & Beauty, Learning and more – all from one place.
Below the category links is a carousel of videos from the latest "Creator on the Rise" or "Artist on the Rise." The carousel is updated daily, providing additional exposure for the platform's content creators.

Below that is the typical scrolling vertical list of trending videos, which can also be accessed from the top of the page using the Trending button, which is foremost in the new links. According to Google, Trending displays the same list of trending videos to all users, wherever they are in the world.

As it stands, there's no way to create custom destination pages or personalized category links, and the list of pre-made categories isn't particularly comprehensive, so hopefully that's something Google plans to add in time.

YouTube is a free download for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]
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Google Cancels May I/O Developer Conference Due to Coronavirus

Google today canceled its upcoming I/O developer conference that was set to take place on May 12 to May 14 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the United States.


In emails sent out to Google I/O attendees, Google says that it is canceling the physical I/O event but will explore other ways to connect with the developer community. Refunds for I/O will be provided by March 13.

Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

All guests who have purchased tickets to I/O 2020 will receive a full refund by March 13, 2020. If you don’t see the credit on your statement by then, please reach out to io@google.com. Guests who have registered for I/O 2020 will not need to enter next year’s drawing and will be automatically granted the option of purchasing an I/O 2021 ticket.

Over the coming weeks, we will explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with our developer community. We will keep the Google I/O website updated with additional information.

Google is the second major tech company to cancel a developer event, following Facebook’s decision to cancel F8 last week. As with Facebook’s F8 event, Google’s I/O conference is similar in scale to WWDC, attracting approximately 5,000 developers from around the world.

I/O would have taken place in Mountain View, California, but the canceled F8 conference was set to be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, the same venue that Apple uses for WWDC.

Apple has not announced dates for WWDC 2020, but based on past events, June 8 to June 12 are the likely dates that Apple is targeting. If those dates are accurate, WWDC would be a month after F8 and about three weeks after I/O.

Apple may still have some time before it makes a decision about whether to cancel WWDC this year due to coronavirus concerns, but with Facebook and Google both canceling May events, it’s not looking good.

The coronavirus has already caused the cancellation of several major events that include Mobile World Congress and the Game Developers Conference.

COVID-19 has infected more than 90,000 people and more than 3,000 have died, primarily in China. COVID-19 is currently spreading in the United States, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I/O, F8, and WWDC take place, there have been nine confirmed coronavirus cases, including several in people who caught it from community transmission with no known travel and no known contact with an infected person.

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Google today canceled its upcoming I/O developer conference that was set to take place on May 12 to May 14 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the United States.


In emails sent out to Google I/O attendees, Google says that it is canceling the physical I/O event but will explore other ways to connect with the developer community. Refunds for I/O will be provided by March 13.
Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

All guests who have purchased tickets to I/O 2020 will receive a full refund by March 13, 2020. If you don't see the credit on your statement by then, please reach out to io@google.com. Guests who have registered for I/O 2020 will not need to enter next year's drawing and will be automatically granted the option of purchasing an I/O 2021 ticket.

Over the coming weeks, we will explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with our developer community. We will keep the Google I/O website updated with additional information.
Google is the second major tech company to cancel a developer event, following Facebook's decision to cancel F8 last week. As with Facebook's F8 event, Google's I/O conference is similar in scale to WWDC, attracting approximately 5,000 developers from around the world.

I/O would have taken place in Mountain View, California, but the canceled F8 conference was set to be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, the same venue that Apple uses for WWDC.

Apple has not announced dates for WWDC 2020, but based on past events, June 8 to June 12 are the likely dates that Apple is targeting. If those dates are accurate, WWDC would be a month after F8 and about three weeks after I/O.

Apple may still have some time before it makes a decision about whether to cancel WWDC this year due to coronavirus concerns, but with Facebook and Google both canceling May events, it's not looking good.

The coronavirus has already caused the cancellation of several major events that include Mobile World Congress and the Game Developers Conference.

COVID-19 has infected more than 90,000 people and more than 3,000 have died, primarily in China. COVID-19 is currently spreading in the United States, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I/O, F8, and WWDC take place, there have been nine confirmed coronavirus cases, including several in people who caught it from community transmission with no known travel and no known contact with an infected person.


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Gmail App for iOS Gains Support for Siri Shortcuts

Google today updated its Gmail app for iOS to add support for Siri Shortcuts.

With ‌Siri‌ Shortcuts, Gmail users can create a shortcut that will allow them to send an email using a ‌Siri‌ voice command. Sending an email is the only capability that Google has included at this time.


‌Siri‌ Shortcuts is a feature that Apple first introduced in iOS 12, so it has taken Google several months to implement support.

The shortcut for sending an email can be set up within the Settings section of the Gmail app or in the Shortcuts app. Gmail can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Google, Gmail

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Google today updated its Gmail app for iOS to add support for Siri Shortcuts.

With ‌Siri‌ Shortcuts, Gmail users can create a shortcut that will allow them to send an email using a ‌Siri‌ voice command. Sending an email is the only capability that Google has included at this time.


‌Siri‌ Shortcuts is a feature that Apple first introduced in iOS 12, so it has taken Google several months to implement support.

The shortcut for sending an email can be set up within the Settings section of the Gmail app or in the Shortcuts app. Gmail can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Google, Gmail

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Gmail for iOS Gaining Integration With Apple’s Files App for Adding Attachments

Google is rolling out an update to its Gmail app for iOS devices so that users can upload attachments from Apple’s native Files app.

When the new feature becomes available, tap the paperclip icon when you’re composing or replying to a message in the Gmail app. This will bring up a sheet with carousels for “Camera roll” and “Attachments” (formerly named “Recent attachments”).

This new Attachments section will feature a special folder icon for directly accessing the contents of the Files app on your iPhone or iPad, including access to the native search and selection tools of the Files extension.

As for the rollout timeline for the Files integration, Google says there will be an extended rollout which may take longer than two weeks for “feature visibility.” Whether that means this is a server-side change or requires an updated version of the app is unclear.

The Gmail app is a free download available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

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Google is rolling out an update to its Gmail app for iOS devices so that users can upload attachments from Apple's native Files app.

When the new feature becomes available, tap the paperclip icon when you're composing or replying to a message in the Gmail app. This will bring up a sheet with carousels for "Camera roll" and "Attachments" (formerly named "Recent attachments").

This new Attachments section will feature a special folder icon for directly accessing the contents of the Files app on your iPhone or iPad, including access to the native search and selection tools of the Files extension.

As for the rollout timeline for the Files integration, Google says there will be an extended rollout which may take longer than two weeks for "feature visibility." Whether that means this is a server-side change or requires an updated version of the app is unclear.

The Gmail app is a free download available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Amazon Continues to Dominate U.S. Smart Speaker Market

Amazon’s Echo speakers continue to be the most popular smart speakers in the United States, and will remain in the dominant spot through at least 2021, according to new smart speaker user estimates shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch).

An estimated 69.7 percent of U.S. smart speaker users will use an Amazon Echo product in 2020, a number that’s down slightly from the estimated 72.9 percent of smart speaker owners who used an Echo in 2019. In 2021, Amazon is estimated to see another small drop in usage, with eMarketer suggesting 68.2 percent of smart speaker owners will use an Echo.

Note: eMarketer says the percentages total over 100 percent because some smart speaker owners have more than one brand.

Google is expected to make some headway against Amazon, but eMarketer does not believe that the “Other” category, which includes Apple’s HomePod, the Sonos One, and other smart speakers, will gain significant ground over the next two years.

An estimated 31.7 percent of smart speaker owners will use a Google device in 2020, while 18.4 percent will use speakers in the Other category. In 2021, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent for Google and 18.8 percent for the Other category.

Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors,” said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. “We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo’s appeal,” she added.

eMarketer expects the number of U.S. smart speaker owners to grow over the next several years, but ownership numbers will rise slowly. 28.9 percent of internet users also have a smart speaker, a number that will grow to 30.5 percent next year.

Though Apple’s ‌HomePod‌ recently turned two, Apple has had some difficulty securing a foothold in the smart speaker market. Apple’s ‌HomePod‌ was priced at $349 when it launched in February 2018, but Apple dropped the price to $299 in April 2019. Even at $299, the ‌HomePod‌ is significantly more expensive than Amazon’s Echo lineup, which includes smart speakers at multiple price points. Amazon’s lowest priced device, the Echo Dot, sells for $30 and sometimes dips even lower.


Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the ‌HomePod‌ would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality, but the more affordable prices of the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been more appealing to most consumers. Amazon doesn’t have quite the same advantage in non-U.S. markets because it supports fewer non-English languages than other speakers like the Google Home, so that is an area where Apple could make inroads into the smart speaker market.

‌HomePod‌ rollout has been slow, though, with the device limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Apple is rumored to be working on a new, more affordable version of the ‌HomePod‌ with reduced tweeters, which could be released at some point in 2020. A lower price point will help the ‌HomePod‌ better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Amazon's Echo speakers continue to be the most popular smart speakers in the United States, and will remain in the dominant spot through at least 2021, according to new smart speaker user estimates shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch).

An estimated 69.7 percent of U.S. smart speaker users will use an Amazon Echo product in 2020, a number that's down slightly from the estimated 72.9 percent of smart speaker owners who used an Echo in 2019. In 2021, Amazon is estimated to see another small drop in usage, with eMarketer suggesting 68.2 percent of smart speaker owners will use an Echo.

Note: eMarketer says the percentages total over 100 percent because some smart speaker owners have more than one brand.

Google is expected to make some headway against Amazon, but eMarketer does not believe that the "Other" category, which includes Apple's HomePod, the Sonos One, and other smart speakers, will gain significant ground over the next two years.

An estimated 31.7 percent of smart speaker owners will use a Google device in 2020, while 18.4 percent will use speakers in the Other category. In 2021, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent for Google and 18.8 percent for the Other category.
Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors," said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. "We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo's appeal," she added.
eMarketer expects the number of U.S. smart speaker owners to grow over the next several years, but ownership numbers will rise slowly. 28.9 percent of internet users also have a smart speaker, a number that will grow to 30.5 percent next year.

Though Apple's ‌HomePod‌ recently turned two, Apple has had some difficulty securing a foothold in the smart speaker market. Apple's ‌HomePod‌ was priced at $349 when it launched in February 2018, but Apple dropped the price to $299 in April 2019. Even at $299, the ‌HomePod‌ is significantly more expensive than Amazon's Echo lineup, which includes smart speakers at multiple price points. Amazon's lowest priced device, the Echo Dot, sells for $30 and sometimes dips even lower.


Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the ‌HomePod‌ would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality, but the more affordable prices of the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been more appealing to most consumers. Amazon doesn't have quite the same advantage in non-U.S. markets because it supports fewer non-English languages than other speakers like the Google Home, so that is an area where Apple could make inroads into the smart speaker market.

‌HomePod‌ rollout has been slow, though, with the device limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Apple is rumored to be working on a new, more affordable version of the ‌HomePod‌ with reduced tweeters, which could be released at some point in 2020. A lower price point will help the ‌HomePod‌ better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Google Maps Gains New Navigation System, Crowd-Sourced Transit Info, and More

This week marks 15 years since Google Maps first launched, and Google is celebrating with some notable new features and updates for the mapping service app on iOS and Android.

The five tabs on the new Google Maps navigation screen

Starting today, the Google Maps will feature a new navigation system across the bottom of the interface including five icons, two of which are completely new: Saved, which is home to all the lists and locations you’ve bookmarked, and Contribute, which prompts you to add photos and reviews to places you may have visited.

The change means Google has gotten rid of the side-loading menu that was previously accessible from the search bar.

In the transit directions screen, Google has also brought in some new features crowdsourced from Maps users. These can include details shared by other passengers, like how crowded it is, how hot/cold it is, accessibility, women’s-only carriages, the presence of security onboard, and how many cars a train is pulling.

There are also some notable changes to the AR-powered Live View that Google launched last year. The big blue directional arrows showing you where you’re going have become optional, and Live View can now drop a big red pin on your destination and tell you how far away you are from it instead.

Lastly, the Google Maps app has a new icon – it’s a four-color take on the location pin that the mapping service has used for years.

The new-look Google Maps update should be rolling out to iOS and Android users today, with the exception of the Live View changes that Google says are coming soon. Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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This week marks 15 years since Google Maps first launched, and Google is celebrating with some notable new features and updates for the mapping service app on iOS and Android.

The five tabs on the new Google Maps navigation screen

Starting today, the Google Maps will feature a new navigation system across the bottom of the interface including five icons, two of which are completely new: Saved, which is home to all the lists and locations you've bookmarked, and Contribute, which prompts you to add photos and reviews to places you may have visited.

The change means Google has gotten rid of the side-loading menu that was previously accessible from the search bar.

In the transit directions screen, Google has also brought in some new features crowdsourced from Maps users. These can include details shared by other passengers, like how crowded it is, how hot/cold it is, accessibility, women's-only carriages, the presence of security onboard, and how many cars a train is pulling.

There are also some notable changes to the AR-powered Live View that Google launched last year. The big blue directional arrows showing you where you're going have become optional, and Live View can now drop a big red pin on your destination and tell you how far away you are from it instead.

Lastly, the Google Maps app has a new icon – it's a four-color take on the location pin that the mapping service has used for years.

The new-look Google Maps update should be rolling out to iOS and Android users today, with the exception of the Live View changes that Google says are coming soon. Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Google Translate App Updated With Dark Mode Support on iPhone and iPad

Nearly five months after the release of iOS 13, Google has finally updated its Translate app with Dark Mode support on the iPhone and iPad, although the color scheme is dark gray rather than true black.

Dark Mode in the Google Translate app is tied to the system-level appearance selected in Settings > Display & Brightness > Appearance.


Google has been slowly adding Dark Mode support to its iOS apps, but the option is still not available for all Gmail app users.

Google Translate is a free download on the App Store.

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Nearly five months after the release of iOS 13, Google has finally updated its Translate app with Dark Mode support on the iPhone and iPad, although the color scheme is dark gray rather than true black.

Dark Mode in the Google Translate app is tied to the system-level appearance selected in Settings > Display & Brightness > Appearance.


Google has been slowly adding Dark Mode support to its iOS apps, but the option is still not available for all Gmail app users.

Google Translate is a free download on the App Store.


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Google Admits Some Private Videos in Google Photos Were Sent to Strangers

Google has emailed some users of Google Photos to inform them that some of their private videos were accidentally sent to strangers, reports 9to5Google.

The “technical issue” is said to have affected people who used the Google Takeout service to download their data between November 21 and November 25 last year. The problem resulted in a small number of users receiving videos in their archive that weren’t theirs.

Google said that only 0.01 percent of Google ‌Photos‌ users attempting Takeouts were affected. But given that it has previously boasted of having over 1 billion Photos users, that number is still significant.

According to Google, the technical issue has been fixed and it has “conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again.”

The tech giant apologized for the inconvenience caused to affected users and advised them to delete their last Takeout export, then perform another download of their ‌Photos‌ content.

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Google has emailed some users of Google Photos to inform them that some of their private videos were accidentally sent to strangers, reports 9to5Google.

The "technical issue" is said to have affected people who used the Google Takeout service to download their data between November 21 and November 25 last year. The problem resulted in a small number of users receiving videos in their archive that weren't theirs.

Google said that only 0.01 percent of Google ‌Photos‌ users attempting Takeouts were affected. But given that it has previously boasted of having over 1 billion Photos users, that number is still significant.

According to Google, the technical issue has been fixed and it has "conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again."

The tech giant apologized for the inconvenience caused to affected users and advised them to delete their last Takeout export, then perform another download of their ‌Photos‌ content.


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New Nest Thermostat Feature Alerts Homeowners to Potential HVAC Issues

Nest thermostat owners are getting a new feature that can detect irregular heating and cooling patters and notify the user about which part of the system likely needs attention.


Starting today, Google is rolling out heating and cooling system (HVAC) alerts, and says it’s also testing out the ability to help customers connect with a professional who can help, starting in select cities.

Based on information like your thermostat’s historical data and current weather, Nest will learn to detect some unusual HVAC patterns that might indicate something is wrong. If it’s taking longer than normal to heat your home, for example, there might be a problem with your heating system—even if you haven’t noticed anything.

If the Nest identifies a potential issue, the homeowner will get an email alert telling them what the thermostat noticed and which system (heating or cooling) may be having a problem.

Google says there will be issues that the thermostats won’t catch, but over time and through user feedback, it expects Nest thermostats to get smarter and better at detecting possible problems.

Google is partnering with Handy, a platform that connects qualified professionals with customers who need their services, to make it easy to find and book an HVAC pro with set pricing.

Booking through Handy will initially be available in over 20 metro areas, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas, and San Diego, and expand to additional regions throughout the testing period.

Nest owners who sign up to get a Nest Home Report will automatically receive the new HVAC alert emails, and they can opt out of getting them at any time.

Tags: Nest, Google

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Nest thermostat owners are getting a new feature that can detect irregular heating and cooling patters and notify the user about which part of the system likely needs attention.


Starting today, Google is rolling out heating and cooling system (HVAC) alerts, and says it's also testing out the ability to help customers connect with a professional who can help, starting in select cities.
Based on information like your thermostat's historical data and current weather, Nest will learn to detect some unusual HVAC patterns that might indicate something is wrong. If it's taking longer than normal to heat your home, for example, there might be a problem with your heating system—even if you haven't noticed anything.
If the Nest identifies a potential issue, the homeowner will get an email alert telling them what the thermostat noticed and which system (heating or cooling) may be having a problem.

Google says there will be issues that the thermostats won't catch, but over time and through user feedback, it expects Nest thermostats to get smarter and better at detecting possible problems.

Google is partnering with Handy, a platform that connects qualified professionals with customers who need their services, to make it easy to find and book an HVAC pro with set pricing.

Booking through Handy will initially be available in over 20 metro areas, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas, and San Diego, and expand to additional regions throughout the testing period.

Nest owners who sign up to get a Nest Home Report will automatically receive the new HVAC alert emails, and they can opt out of getting them at any time.

Tags: Nest, Google

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