Google Lens in Assistant rolls out to Pixel and Pixel 2

Google Lens, the smart function that analyses and identifies what your camera sees, was one of the most exciting features touted by Google in their I/O and Pixel event earlier this year. Although a limited version of Google Lens has already been present in Google Photos for Pixel users, now certain users have begun to find the visual search feature running integrated with the Assistant on their Pixel and Pixel 2 phones.

Google Lens in Assistant was first spotted by users on Friday evening, the first users have spotted the visual search feature up and running on their Pixel and Pixel 2 phones. As the rollout reaches all users, soon Pixel and Pixel 2 users will be able to use Google Lens with Assistant as well as with Photos.

In Photos, Lens can be activated when viewing any image or screenshot. The Lens can recognize and capture information such as phone numbers, addresses, URLs, etc. However, in Assistant, it is integrated into the new Assistant interface, triggered by holding down on the home button. 

androidpit google pixel 2 google lens In Photos, Google Lens will recognize objects and provide you with information. / © ANDROIDPIT

The new button in the bottom right corner opens up a camera viewfinder. Tapping anywhere on the image freezes the view, outlines the item in question and Google Lens starts a search which offers up a range of possible results to identify the object, as well as suggested actions such as search the web, open other apps, and more. Naturally, you can also share the result along with a feedback rating (thumbs up or thumbs down) which should improve the effectiveness of Google Lens over time.

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Google Lens could be the next big evolution of smartphone “intelligence”.

What do you think?

3 participants

The new interface also allows users to quickly start a voice search with the microphone, and you can start a new visual query with Google Lens by re-tapping the Lens icon in the bottom right.

Although the update has yet to roll out to our own Pixel phones, it will certainly be welcomed by Google Pixel users of both generations, who will benefit from a machine learning assisted user experience unparalleled by other devices. In the very long term, this feature should roll out to all Android phones, but it will likely be a Pixel exclusive for a while.

Are you excited to use Google Lens in Assistant? Have you already received the update?

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5 things everyone should know about Google I/O

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1. Machine learning is Google’s new battle horse

Machine learning is the basis for artificial intelligence. By improving it, the user experience on all devices with AI will be improved. Bixby, Sense Companion, Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are all virtual assistants that will get better the more we use them. How? Thanks to machine learning. Google Translation will learn to translate better, false news will be detected more easily, advertising will be more effective, information will be more personalized, etc. Machine learning doesn’t just help Google learn about what you like, it also allows it to learn new things.

The first new feature that was announced by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during the keynote event was Google Lens. Having begun its life cycle as an integrated feature on Google Assistant and Photos, Google Lens can now do so much more than you could have imagined. If you point your smartphone camera at a flower, the software will tell you what species it is; or you can point it at a restaurant to get more details about it and decide whether it’s worth a visit or not. When you’re taking photos with friends, the system can recognize their faces and automatically share the photos with them. Your life could change significantly with Google’s strategic new feature.

google io 2017 031 The possibilities are endless with Google Lens. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

2. Google Home will overtake Amazon Echo in 2017

In discussing Google Assistant, we inevitably broach the subject of Google Home. When it comes to smart assistants, Amazon’s device often emerges victorious, but this year could be a turning point for Google Home. With the improvements that have been made to the multimedia loudspeakers, Google will finally be able to show its potential.

As announced at the Google I/O event, with Google Home, you can now talk to your home without having to use an app or a smartphone. You can organize meetings or set reminders, input your telephone number by default, play content from Spotify, Deezer or SoundCloud and all without having to actually hold a physical device in your hand. The user experience will be more comprehensive as it will use the maximum potential of Google’s ecosystem (for example, using all the devices you own, whether these be smartphones, tablets, Android TV or other) so the Assistant will be even more integrated than that of the Amazon Echo.

google io 2017 082 Google Home will be the best virtual assistant on the market. / © Screenshots: AndroidPIT

3. Your smartphone will be more reliable and will have a better battery life

If, in the coming months, you decide to change your smartphone or if you’ve bought a new device within the last year, you’ll be among the lucky few who will be able to benefit from Android 8.0.

The main features that will be implemented in future versions of the operating system include better security through Google Play Protect, an integrated Play Store platform that will control installed apps and will eliminate those that are deemed dangerous for the device. In addition to this, if you use your devices intensively, note that Android O will allow you to better manage applications that are running in the background, ensuring improved battery life.

4. VR will be more accessible and less elitist

having announcned an independent headset, meaning that it doesn’t need to be connected to a phone to work, the Google’s world of virtual reality world could be about to take a turn. The new device, which includes a screen, not only emerges victorious over models such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, but also the VR will be more mobile in the truest sense of the term. Cutting the link between smartphones and VR headsets means breaking the rules imposed by smartphones, which is often expensive.

AndroidPIT VR One Plus zeiss 3752 Separating smartphones from the VR world could reduce the cost of devices. / © AndroidPIT

To a certain extent, Google has admitted defeat since most new devices are totally disengaged with the DayDream world. But Google is responding by circumventing the problem: “you don’t want to adapt your devices for our VR?” Never mind, we’ll create it without you”. For a while, we thought that the price of headsets would be reduced, although the Pixel and other top-range devices continue to be priced around the $ 1000 mark. So for this reason, VR should be able to become less elitist and more popular.

5. Google Photos could lead you to a divorce

I left this until the end, perhaps because the title will make you laugh, but in reality, it’s not funny at all. With the new feature offered by Google Photos (a platform that downloads 1.2 billion photos every day, according to a press release by the firm), you’ll be able to create Photo Books, including printed physical albums for $ 9.99/19.99, and you’ll be able to automatically store and share your photos.

google io 2017 112 Are you sure that Google will always automatically send the right photo?! / © Screenshots: AndroidPIT

The keynote speaker’s example was this: “Imagine that you’re taking photos of your kids, and they’re automatically shared with your wife”. We put a lot of trust in Google, based on the amount of personal data that we entrust them with day to day, but what if the wrong image is sent by mistake? And what if the facial recognition system doesn’t pick up the right person? It’s a basic functionality, but one that you should pay close attention to.

Opinion by Sveva Biocca

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What do you think?

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Which Google service or product do you think will change the world in 2017? Have you tried the Google Assistant? W’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Google Pixel 2 XL: Face off

Standing tall and proud and armed with the S-Pen, the Galaxy Note 8 phablet takes on the lean and cunning Google Pixel XL 2 in this battle of the big boys. I’ll be repping my favorite phablet in this face-off, while AndroidPIT Italy’s Luca Zaninello will be championing his beloved Pixel 2 XL.

Design: Large and in charge

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Both smartphones come wearing this season’s must-have outfits, namely glass and aluminium. The two devices can even look quite similar at a superficial glance, especially when in monochrome color. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 sleek curves and glass back do give it a more premium and stylish feel. The Pixel 2 XL does, however, sport an attractive black and white ‘Panda’ version that elevates it in terms of appearance.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 thickness Superficially similar at a glance. / © AndroidPIT

The Note 8’s size is part of its charm and basically eliminates the discomfort of squinting at small phone screens, but does make it somewhat unwieldy. More than any other phablet, it often demands two-handed use and shuffling it up and down my palm to adjust its position. This takes some getting used to, but that’s the price to pay for its best quality, the display.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

The Pixel 2 XL is more compact than the Note 8 but this doesn’t mean that it is less bulky. The Google Pixel 2 XL is still a phablet with generous dimensions and it’s very difficult to operate it with one hand. The construction is great but it doesn’t reach Samsung latest flagship’s glory. There’s one thing that i really like about the Pixel 2 XL: the 2.5D glass on the front is really curved on the edges even without a curved display. In the hand the smartphone feels good and doesn’t slip away that much, the metal body is solid but the plastic-like paint doesn’t give you the same premium feeling that the Note has.

Display: Size isn’t everything

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

While both phones feature an attractive display, it’s in this field that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 really shows its strength. The Note 8 has a display measuring a record-breaking 6.3 inches. The bezels have shrunk away to near non-existence accommodate the big screen. The Super AMOLED panel display in the new Galaxy Note has a 2,960 x 1,440-pixel resolution, and blew me away when it came to watching movies fullscreen, playing games or scrolling through websites. Even the default starry black ‘sky’ on the always-on display is a joy to behold. The only downside is that the curved edges, which make the overall shape of the phone more attractive and stylish, are actually not so practical for the display, which suffers from noticeable color distortion along the edges.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 front close Displays as different as night and day. / © AndroidPIT

In daily use, the Note 8 could well turn you into a screen addict. I found that I always preferred to watch media on the Note 8, sometimes even not bothering to fire up my PC in favor of Samsung’s phablet.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Can we just skip this part? Jokes aside, the Google Pixel 2 XL is not famous for having the best smartphone screen in the world. The problems with the LG-made OLED panel made their way into the headlines of all the major blogs and there’s nothing you can do to fix that. The 6-inch QuadHD+ panel is bright enough but not the brightest, the colors are well calibrated and natural looking but compared to the over saturated Samsung panels they just look washed out. If you have used a Samsung smartphone in the past few years, your eyes need to adapt to the changes.

Anyway the display is not that bad, and in everyday use, you’ll be satisfied with the HDR and DCI-P3 colorspace capabilities, it just doesn’t hold up to a direct comparison. Also, there’s the bezels: around the display there’s a lot of unused space because Google needed room for their “squeezable” frames and front facing speakers on the top and bottom.

Camera: The all-seeing eye of Google

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

The Note 8 has a seriously impressive dual OIS 12 MP camera setup on the back that is quiet, good in low light and benefits from fast autofocus. This makes it excellent for portraits, zooming, or shooting a moving subject. The front selfie camera is not quite as good at a resolution of 8 MP.  The Note 8 is also great for video, capable of recording 30 fps video at 4K resolution and 60 fps at full HD. It bears repeating about the screen, too. Once you’ve got the video, the Note 8’s gorgeous display is great for viewing it.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 cameras One camera can be better than two if you know how to use it. / © AndroidPIT

So, a really great camera from Samsung’s side, fine. Maybe one of the best, but I’ll admit compared to Google’s latest, it might not be the best. Google’s engineers are the masters of camera software optimization, and when it comes to smartphone photography, good hardware only takes you so far.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Here is where Google does what they do best. On paper, the single 12 MP camera of the Pixel 2 XL is nothing exceptional, but the software optimization of the Mountain View company shows how good software can do a lot. The new pixels have a camera that supports PDAF for quick focus and uses these dual-pixels to achieve one of the best bokeh effects ever made, all without a second camera. Photos are great in almost any light condition and the dynamic range in the photos thanks to HDR+ is amazing. There is also a hybrid stabilization for videos that uses OIS and EIS at the same time. And that’s not all: second-generation Pixels are equipped with a dedicated chip called Pixel Visual Core designed by Google that should further improve photographic quality with the help of AI.

The chip is not yet active so we will see the world’s best camera for smartphones improve even more in the near future! It’s a pity that there is no manual/pro mode, but the point and shoot of Pixel 2 makes the best out of its sensor in every situation.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (US-version) vs. Google Pixel 2 XL technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (US-version) Google Pixel 2 XL
Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 195 g 175 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh 3520 mAh
Screen size: 6.3 in 6 in
Display technology: AMOLED POLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (522 ppi) 2880 x 1440 pixels (537 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12.3 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: TouchWiz Stock Android
RAM: 6 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD Sorry, not yet available!
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Features: Stab the Galaxy, squeeze the Pixel

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

The secret weapon of the Note 8 is the S-Pen. The Galaxy Note 8’s stylus functions are unique among current flagships and actually really fun and useful. You can write and pen notes directly on a powered-off display, create GIFs, draw, precisely select and copy text even in difficult-to-reach places. At first, the stylus seemed kind of gimmicky, but once I started using it, I realized it was indispensable for getting the most out of the Note 8. The stylus enables an extra level of precision that’s useful in a variety of situations, and makes two handed use feel much more natural and convenient.

It’s certainly more useful than the Pixel 2 XL’s party trick, the Active Edge.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 side by side Can’t leave out that trusty S-Pen. / © AndroidPIT

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

Yeah, the Note has a stylus and so what? Not everyone might need that at all, even if it has to be said that its utility is indisputable. Personally, I have never had the need for a stylus and therefore it is certainly not its presence that will make me choose one smartphone compared to another. On the other hand, on Google Pixel 2 XL we find the Active Edge function, similar to the one found on the HTC U11. The squeeze is not programmable and is used to call up Google Assistant at any time even when the screen is off. It’s not a revolutionary feature, but you’ll find yourself using Google’s AI much more often than you would believe. At the beginning, I thought it was a useless function, but in the long run it has its merits.

Battery: Is wireless charging worth it?

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Samsung may have been overly cautious with the battery in the Note 8 after the tragedy of the exploding Note 7 that made them a laughingstock. The 3,300 mAh keeps it running all day and then some, depending on your use levels, but is still a disappointingly average power supply for a top-of-the-range smartphone. Thanks to Quick Charge and integrated Qi technology for wirelessly charging the battery, the Galaxy Note 8 can quickly and easily shoot back up to 100 percent while charging. The Note 8 is a device for power users, but the battery life doesn’t really reflect that.

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A lack of wireless charging leaves Google’s Pixel 2 XL embarrassingly behind the curve.

What do you think?

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Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

The Pixel 2 XL has a 3,520 mAh battery. It is not the largest on the market, but it does its job well. Thanks to Google’s software optimization and thanks to Oreo’s new background process management the smartphone battery has never left me dry during my days, not even in the most demanding ones. There is a quick charge that (according to Google) guarantees 7 hours of use with only 15 minutes of charging time. The metal body prevents wireless charging unfortunately.

Verdict: The workhorse versus the adventurer?

Galaxy Note 8 (Nicholas)

Both devices are strong contenders in the competition for the hearts (and wallets) of the premium smartphone buyer. Both sell for over $ 900. Which one you drop your hard-earned cash on may well depend on the kind of user you are.

AndroidPIT google pixel 2 xl vs samsung note 8 back side Pixel 2 XL has the best camera and stock Android, but lacks some of the premium features of the Galaxy Note 8. / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy Note 8 stands out as the most powerful and versatile all-rounder. Thanks to the stylus, it’s perfect for note-taking (waiiit…I see what they did there!) and more heavy-duty work. You can even use the DeX to connect it to your PC peripherals and use it as your desktop workstation. Samsung’s flagship is more than just a big smartphone, its premium specs and adaptability give it the potential to become the focus of all your daily tech needs.

The Pixel 2 XL, on the other hand, might not be as good all-round but excels in its strong points. With its fantastic camera and seamless integration with Google’s ecosystem, it lends itself more to fun, social and casual use.

Pixel 2 XL (Luca) 

If your main use is working with documents, maps, mail and an intensive use of a stylus, Note 8 is the only choice. Note 8 is also the master of multimedia content (speaker aside). If you are looking for a more concrete smartphone in everyday life, in the use of social networks, with a simple but unbeatable camera and that doesn’t leave you out to dry during your days, the Pixel 2 XL could be right for you. The Pixel 2 XL simply works. And it works very well. In addition, you have unlimited space for your photos on Google Photos and three years of updates directly from Google. It doesn’t shine with its appearance or the quality of the display, but the user experience Google has managed to guarantee with this smartphone is second only to what Apple guarantees with iPhone and not by much.

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Do you already own a Galaxy Note 8 or Pixel 2 XL? Let us know what you think!

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Our best tips and tricks for the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL

Both smartphones are equipped with stock Android 8.0 Oreo, and have set aside bloatware and elaborate features, as is Google’s tradition. With the Pixel and Pixel 2, the Mountain View company has evolved and hidden a little surprise inside its smartphones.

Jump to tips:

Song information always at your fingertips

The Google Pixel 2 has an interesting feature that can replace Shazam and other music recognition apps. Thanks to exclusive Google technology, your new Pixel can now recognize up to 10,000 songs, displaying the artist’s name and song title directly on the Always On screen.

Capture There’s something almost magical about music recognition. / © AndroidPIT

The recognition technology operates from an offline folder stored on the smartphone, so you don’t need an internet connection to recognize a song. This folder is automatically updated when the user connects to Wi-Fi, and varies according to the country. The most useful feature allows you to touch the name of the song displayed on the Always On screen and immediately open Google Assistant, which provides information about the song and allows you to play it on Google Play Music.

Here’s how to enable (or disable) the function:

  • Open the Settings
  • Enter the Sound section
  • Tap on Advanced to display hidden menus
  • Tap on Now Playing at the bottom of the list
  • You can enable (or disable) the feature here

This function has no impact on the battery, and it only listens to the ambient noise every 60 seconds (not permanently). I was quite impressed by this musical recognition, particularly in environments where background noise was very present.

Squeeze the side of your smartphone to launch your favorite app

As with the HTC U11, the new smartphones from Google are equipped with squeezable sides. But unlike the HTC smartphone, the Google Pixel limits this function to the activation of Google Assistant, just as Samsung did for Bixby. Although it’s not as bad as Bixby, this feature is rather useless for the time being.

If you want to use this feature to launch another app, it’s possible! That’s what the developer flar2 thought, and he added the compatibility to his Button Mapper app with Active Edge on XDA Developers.

However, the feature that enables the launch of Google Assistant is deeply linked to the phone system, making it difficult to make any changes. The developer therefore uses a trick to know when the voice assistant is active, in order to stop it from being executed, and replaces it with the app or the feature of your choice. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s better than nothing if you’re without root. Obviously, this feature will disable Google Assistant. Take your time to think about it before you decide to follow the developer’s dedicated tutorial on the site.

Prevent photos from automatically disappearing from your smartphone

Google smartphones are designed to deliver high quality photos, with their incredible specs and unlimited storage space for photos and videos on Google Photos.

Pixels also have a feature called Smart Storage, which deletes photos from your smartphone’s internal memory after 90 days if they are stored on Google’s cloud. It’s not to every user’s taste, as some would like to keep their photos to view them offline. Here is a guide on how to disable this feature:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select the Storage menu
  • Disable the Smart Storage function

smartstorage It’s highly important to have the choice of enabling and disabling this feature, in order to avoid pictures from disappearing after 90 days without asking for them to be deleted! / © AndroidPIT

There you have it. You can still set up the feature manually from Google Photos, and manage your free space from the app’s side menu.

Save battery life in dark mode

The two new Google Pixel 2 smartphones are equipped with an OLED display, which means that each black pixel on the screen is a pixel that’s turned off. This saves energy, especially when there are many black pixels (although the difference isn’t that impressive either).

dark mode Will you be attracted to the dark side of the force? / © AndroidPIT

By activating the dark theme, you’ll be able to enjoy the Quick Toggles in black, a selection of apps in dark and translucent hues, and a dark background screen. Unfortunately, the theme is not active in other apps, not even by going into the settings. To activate dark mode, you just need to set a background with many shades of black. It also works with Live Wallpaper.

Activate night mode (blue light filter)

The blue light filter helps protect our eyes when we’re using smartphones in the dark. This is why it’s interesting to automate the feature so that it activates from sunset to dawn, allowing our eyes to relax and facilitate sleep (obviously, at the cost of a losing a little color accuracy).

  • As usual, go to Settings
  • Tap on Display
  • The option for Night Light is located here
  • In the Schedule menu, you can choose to activate the option from sunset to sunrise, or at a custom time.

nightmode Although the display looks very yellow on the picture, the effect is actually lighter and your eyes will thank you for it.  / © AndroidPIT

Automatically connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi

With your new smartphone, you don’t have to worry about disconnecting from Wi-Fi when you leave home, or reactivating it when you arrive at work or at your university library. The Google Pixel 2 is able to recognize the proximity of a known and used Wi-Fi network (like at home or at work) in order to connect or disconnect from it automatically.

You’ll no longer have to remember switch your Wi-Fi on or off each time: the Pixel does it all by itself. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s definitely helpful. To activate the feature, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap Network & Internet
  • Tap on Wi-Fi
  • Find the Wi-Fi Preferences menu at the bottom
  • The first option is the one we need to Turn on Wi-Fi automatically

The option is enabled by default, but if you want to make sure, you can follow the steps described above.

Automatic Do not Disturb mode during driving

I’ve already mentioned how smartphones are becoming an increasing distraction during travel, so I won’t lecture our poor readers again. However, there are times when being disturbed by a smartphone can be particularly dangerous, like when driving. That’s why Google offers the possibility of configuring the smartphone so that it automatically enters “do not disturb” mode when driving a vehicle. To activate this feature, follow this process:

  • Go to Settings
  • Enter the Sound menu
  • Select Do Not Disturb preferences
  • You will find a list of presets for the feature, but the one we are interested in is Driving (the last one)
  • After tapping on this option, you can activate it using the usual switch

dnd pixel drive It’s possible to set the Do Not Disturb mode for other occasions. / © AndroidPIT

Now, every time you’re behind the wheel, you won’t be tempted by constant notifications from your work, email apps and incoming calls. But remember that not using your phone while driving is mostly dependent on your will to do so.

Activate the camera in one step (and more gesture tricks)

Not everyone knows that Google Pixel 2 offers practical gestures for the camera. The first, and most well-known among them is the one that allows you to press the phone’s on/off button twice in order to quickly launch the camera app, and potentially not miss the best shot of your career.

camera gestures These features are enabled by default. / © AndroidPIT

What if you wanted to take a little selfie? Once the camera app is opened, simply twist your wrist twice quickly to switch between the rear and front camera. You look a little silly, but once you get used to it, it’s hard to stop!

Disable HDR+ mode

Google’s HDR+ mode allows Pixel 2 to achieve unparalleled results in terms of brightness dynamics, taking multiple shots and choosing the best out of each of your photos, without you even knowing it. The pictures taken in this mode are remarkable, but you don’t always want to see everything in a picture. Sometimes you just want to take a picture with backlighting, showing black silhouettes… In these cases, the HDR+ may well spoil the desired effect, which is why it’s possible to disable this function.

  • Go to the Camera app
  • Open the menu on the top left (with the three lines icon)
  • Tap on Settings
  • In the Photo category, tap on Advanced
  • Here you can activate HDR+ control, which will place a button on the main screen of your camera app.

Screenshot 20171020 150814 Take full control over what’s happening in your camera. / © AndroidPIT

With the switch, you can force HDR+ on, turn it off or leave it on auto, which is the default.

Do you know any other tips and tricks for the new Google smartphones? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Google Pixel 2 review: Function over form

At the beginning of October, Google presented its two new high-end smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. We’ve had the chance to do an in-depth review of each, and now we present you with our final verdict of the Pixel 2. Is this device as interesting as it seems? Read on to find out.

Good

  • Waterproof
  • Latest version of Android
  • Fast updates
  • Excellent camera
  • Original features (Google Lens, etc)

Bad

  • Dated design
  • Some bugs present at launch

Lowest price: Google Pixel 2

Best price

Google Pixel 2 release date and price

The latest smartphones from Google were made available on October 20, and are being sold exclusively (for now) in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, India and Germany. The Pixel 2 is priced at $ 649 for the 64 GB version and $ 749 for the 128 GB version. In the US, the Pixel 2 can be bought from the Google Store, Best Buy and Verizon. In addition, it is compatible with other major carriers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, which is offering a 50 percent off BYOD (bring your own device) rebate.

google pixel 2 front Here is the Google Pixel 2. / © AndroidPIT

Google Pixel 2 design and build quality

The original Pixel smartphones generated some surprise with their unique mix of glass and metal on the rear. The Pixel 2 continues with this design choice, but it gives the impression that you’re holding a cell phone made of plastic since it’s so light. It’s a blast from the past, as it’s been a long while since I’ve held a high-end smartphone that weighs so little.

google pixel 2 side1 The Google Pixel 2 feels good to hold. / © AndroidPIT

The trend of the moment is to offer 18:9 display ratios (or 2:1 as the manufacturers say). The Pixel 2 XL follows this trend, but the smaller Pixel 2 lags behind with a 16:9 ratio and big bezels at the top and bottom of the display like its predecessor. Whatever the reason for this design compromise may be, the result feels a bit disappointing.

On the back of the device, there is still a separation between the body and top area around the camera which is easy to both see and feel. The white model has a grey top section, the black model has a deep black top, and the blue model has a darker top as well.

google pixel 2 camera The ring around the camera glass protrudes slightly. / © AndroidPIT

Following in the footsteps of Apple, Huawei and several others, Google has decided to do away with the standard headphone jack. If you don’t want to buy new headphones or just don’t like wireless ones, you can use the adapter that Google provides in the box.

The volume button position may take a little getting used to, as it’s placed a bit lower than usual toward the middle of the side of the phone.

The materials on back of the device feel pleasant and are resistant to fingerprints. The small Pixel 2 is very nice to hold thanks to its thinness (7.8 mm) and its weight (143 g). However, the light weight can make it seem fragile.

The USB Type-C port and fingerprint scanner remain in the same place as on the original Pixel. The NanoSIM card tray is located on the left, but don’t expect to find a MicroSD or Dual SIM card slot. The Pixel 2 is IP67 certified against water and dust.

Google Pixel 2 display

The display of the Pixel 2 isn’t hugely revolutionary, either. The display is Full HD (1,080 x 1,920), rather than the Quad HD we’d prefer to see in a 16:9 flagship. The screen to body ratio is 67.9%, and considering the fact that the navigation buttons are on-screen, that doesn’t sound particularly enticing.

In practice, though, the display leaves a good impression. It’s a Samsung OLED, unlike the larger Pixel 2 XL which comes from LG, and there’s a notable difference between the two in terms of color representation. On the larger model, colors are more bland. This will definitely be noticeable to the trained eye, but others might not catch the difference at first glance.

As is often the case with OLEDs, the display appears a bit bluish when held at certain angles. On the whole, the Pixel 2’s screen is satisfactory. The jury is still out on the Pixel 2 XL’s display, and my colleague Luca elucidates this aspect in his review of that device.

androidpit features screen pixel 2 The Pixel 2 features an Always On Display feature, which can be turned off if desired. / © AndroidPIT

Google Pixel 2 special features

Active Edge

If you’ve been keeping track of the flagships released this year, you might have heard about HTC’s Edge Sense feature already. Google is offering a similar feature with its new Pixel smartphones called Active Edge. This feature allows you to launch Google Assistant just by squeezing the sides of the phone. You can set a custom pressure level to avoid accidentally triggering it, too.

Make sure Google Assistant is set up, or the feature won’t work. You can do this by long pressing the home button. If that launches Google On Tap rather than Assistant, the Active Edge feature won’t work until configured.

eSIM

Google offers two types of SIM cards: nanoSIM, which should be familiar already, and eSIM.

Is Google heralding the disappearance of normal SIM cards? Perhaps these will go the way of the headphone jack, as eSIM cards aren’t just on the Pixel 2. The iPad Pro and several smartwatches already make use of them. Regardless, it’s still possible to use the Pixel 2 with a standard nanoSIM.

Google Pixel 2 software

Both of the new Pixels ship running Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of Android. Anything less would have been a huge surprise since these smartphones are coming from Google itself and, like the Nexus devices which came before, are expected to get updates before any other devices. Nevertheless, we’ve noticed that some other phones (the Sony Xperia X1, Xperia X1 Compact, Samsung Galaxy A5, etc) have gotten the October 2017 security patch before the Pixel 2, which is still on September’s patch at the time of writing.

google pixel 2 hero New Google Pixel 2 home screen / © AndroidPIT

Several new features have been added since the last Pixel. The search bar is now on the bottom of the screen, making it easier to access and allowing for a widget at the top to display the date, temperature and the weather. The Google App on the left, formerly called Google Now, can be disabled easily via the home screen settings. The pretty Live Earth wallpapers already known from the first Pixels also make an appearance here.

As explained above, the famous Google Assistant is also on the new Pixels. It can be launched several ways: by squeezing the Active Edge, saying “Ok Google”, pressing the home button or by tapping the microphone button next to the search bar. Interestingly, Google Assistant can do some tasks, which don’t require internet access, offline. For example, it can launch applications without being connected to the internet.

androidpit home pixel 2 Disable the Google app to the left of the home screen (left). Live Earth wallpapers (right).  / © AndroidPIT

The new Pixel devices are also able to detect music played in the background while offline, and they are constantly listening. The list of detectable songs currently numbers 17,000, but there will be more in the future. I’ve yet to use the feature, and it wasn’t automatically triggered by ambient music in the time I was using it.

Google Pixel 2 performance

Like most of the high-end flagships of the moment, the Pixel 2 has a Snapdragon 835 processor with an Adreno 540 GPU. The octacore Qualcomm processor has four Kryo cores clocked at 2.35 GHz, and another four clocked at 1.9 GHz. The software and hardware of the Pixel 2 work excellently together, as evidenced by the performance.

The Pixel 2 has ‘just’ 4 GB of RAM, which is plenty for particularly smooth multitasking. For internal memory, you have the choice between 64 and 128 GB.

Though software updates from Google will likely work out these kinks soon, during my review, there were several instances of apps crashing. Though it wasn’t frequent enough to cause any real issues, it shows that at the time of writing the device isn’t quite there yet.

Though not relevant to evaluating the experience of using the device everyday, we tested the Pixel 2 using various benchmarking apps to help us compare it to the competition. You can check out the results below.

Google Pixel 2 : benchmark results

 
  Samsung Galaxy S8 Google Pixel 2
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.1 3174 3681
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.0 3217 4922
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 27330 38271
Geekbench Single Core 1983 1916
Geekbench Multi Core 6402 6372
PCMark Work Performance 6135 7385
PCMark Storage 4644 4535

Google Pixel 2 audio

The Pixel 2 has stereo sound, with speakers located on the front of the device, in the bezels above and below the display. The audio quality is good, even at maximum volume.

The standard headphone jack is nowhere to be found, so you’ll have to make use of an adapter (not included), use a Bluetooth headset or buy USB Type-C headphones. High quality audio codecs like LDAC, AptX HD, etc are present.

As mentioned above, the Pixel 2 is always listening in the background, in order to provide contextual information on any music that might be playing. This feature isn’t active by default, and the songs it can detect are limited for now. If it does recognize music, it displays information about the song on the lock screen.

Call quality is consistently good, and I had no issues hearing or being heard with the Pixel 2.

Google Pixel 2 camera

We’ve been anxiously anticipating the Pixel 2’s camera, and we’re happy to say that our expectations have been met. My colleague Stefan, our resident photography expert, says that the test photos we took with the Pixel 2 looks like they were taken a small camera rather than a smartphone.

Configuration and results

The hardware specs of the camera aren’t extraordinary on paper. The same IMX362 sensor from the HTC U11 is used here. With 12.2 MP, a pixel size of 1.4 microns and a sensor size of 1/2.55 inches, this is standard hardware for a high-end device. That being said, here we have optical image stabilization, unlike with the original Pixel.

So, if the specs aren’t extraordinary, how does the Pixel 2 achieve such great results? The explanation is in the software. When you press the shutter button, the camera shoots more than one photo and combines them into a final image. Out of these, 10 are underexposed and one is normal. This allows for a wider dynamic range with the small sensor, making details visible in dark and bright areas when the patterns are high contrast.

androidpit google pixel 2 photo sample The Pixel 2’s camera works well even in low light. / © ANDROIDPIT

Aside from the dynamic range, the camera has a lot to offer. Despite a few exceptions, the white balance is accurate in most cases and the colors are very true to life. When the brightness is accurate, the result is even better than the first Pixel which washes out the blacks a bit.

In the coming weeks, once Android Oreo arrives, Google will activate the Visual Core chip. With the Preview version of Android 8.1 this isn’t yet possible, but afterward, the camera performance should improve even further.

Even more interesting is the low light potential of the device. The Pixel 2 captures excellent shots in less than ideal lighting scenarios. The accurate brightness, rich details and lack of noise result from several factors: the combination of multiple photos, short opening times, low ISO sensitivity, and software magic. Even photos taken at night look excellent, with true to life colors, unlike the competition. Of course, in a future article, we will do a direct comparison of the Pixel 2 with other flagships of the moment.

Portrait mode

Portrait mode with the Pixel 2 is when you take a picture of a person, and artificial intelligence then blurs the background. You can see an example in the photos below, where our model Pierre appears on a normal and a blurred background. Portrait mode is also available with the front camera. The technology behind this is quite complex.

Using HDR+ technology, the camera snaps a quality photo that is rich in detail. After that, AI steps in: the neural network analyses the image to understand where the background to be blurred is based on its prior learning, which is naturally Machine Learning. Though the tech is complex, this is as simple as turning on Portrait mode for the user. The end result is two photos, like what you see below: the original detailed shot, and the blurred Portrait shot.

androidpit google pixel 2 portrait mode Portrait mode before and after. / © ANDROIDPIT

Motion Photos

A new software feature called Motion Photos has been added. Instead of capturing a single photo, a mini video of up to 4 seconds is captured. This might not be the most useful function, and it can be disabled in any case.

Google Lens

When taking a photo with your Pixel 2, you can use Google Lens to identify what you see. The idea is to be able to ID what you’re photographing with as much detail as possible. For example, if you take a photo of Berlin’s famous TV Tower, Google Lens will tell you the exact name of the building. This isn’t anything Earth shattering, but over time, Machine Learning will advance and it will be more useful and impressive. For example, Google Lens in the future might be able to not just identify a monkey in a photo, but also tell you whether it’s a chimpanzee or a marmoset.

androidpit google pixel 2 google lens Google Lens recognizes what’s in the photo. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Pixel 2 battery

The Google Pixel 2 has a 2,700 mAh battery, and you might wonder whether that’s enough capacity to keep up with the demands of a powerful processor. It manages to hold its own without difficulties for a full day of heavy use, including WhatsApp, YouTube, Spotify, calls, messages and more. With lighter use, it can last up to a day and a half, which is proof that Google has optimized both the software and hardware. With regard to the charging speed, the Pixel 2 reached 100 percent from 39 percent in just an hour and 15 minutes. You can count on a full charge after around an hour and a half.

On the software side, there were some changes in the menu courtesy of Android Oreo, including the addition of a counter that tells you how much on-screen time has been spent since the last full charge.

Google Pixel 2 technical specifications

Dimensions: 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 143 g
Battery size: 2700 mAh
Screen size: 5 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (441 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12.3 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

When you first pick up the Pixel 2, you may not feel overwhelmed with excitement, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Google has optimized both the software and hardware of its latest flagship. The software interface offers a pleasant experience, in spite of a few temporary bugs, the performance is as good as you’d expect and the camera results are excellent.


Comments below may refer to a previous version of this article.

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Google addresses unresponsive edges on Pixel 2 XL screen

The ongoing saga of Google Pixel 2 XL display problems continues with reports of the screen not responding to touch near the edges. But Google is already working on a fix to address this issue.

Oh, Pixel 2 XL. We really, really want to love you. Seriously, it has a lot of great qualities, which you can check out in our full review.  But since its release, the larger Pixel 2 has been dogged by various issues, mainly related to its display, with reports of screen burn-in and washed out colors that might even see a class action suit brought against Google. 

Now a new issue with the Pixel 2 XL screen has surfaced, and it’s one we can personally corroborate, as it’s affecting the our own unit right here in the AndroidPIT office. The Pixel 2 XL appears to have trouble registering touches near the edges of the screen (in our case, particularly when it comes to taps around the bottom right corner). This can lead to a frustrating experience when you want to, say, close an ad that’s appeared in that part of the screen, and it’s also where certain controls, such as microphone use on WhatsApp, might appear.

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On affected devices it usually takes several taps to get the display to acknowledge what you’re doing, or necessitates turning the phone on its side to switch to landscape view. 

It seems that Google’s software designed to prevent the phone activating from accidental touches is being a little too over-protective in these cases, and fortunately, Google has already confirmed that they are working on an update to solve this. So far, Google’s support updates for the Pixel 2 phones have been fast and effective, such as when they moved to fix the clicking issue last week. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for this problem to go away either.

Have these issues put you off buying the Pixel 2 XL? Or are you reassured by Google’s support?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Why 2017 will be the year of the Google Assistant

In just a year, the Google Assistant – using Artificial Intelligence (AI) – has been able to learn new languages, recognize different voices and extend its reach to different platforms and media. In other words, the machine is learning and evolving rapidly. Available on the two largest mobile operating systems, Android and Apple, I reckon the Google Assistant is going to be the most exciting piece of technology we’ll see develop in 2017.

I want to know what the hype is around NVIDIA Shield TV games.

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You might already have read about machine learning and the importance of your data in the development of AI. However, this article will not address the consequences or intentions behind the use of the Google Assistant, but instead I will consider its evolution and its functions.

The Google Assistant will finally support other languages ​​like Portuguese, French, Japanese and German. In addition, Google’s artificial intelligence now serves users of the world’s second-largest operating system, Apple’s iOS, and is already present on almost every Android smartphone in some form or another, whether this is through Google Now, Photos, Allo or even the Assistant itself.

The Google Assistant’s function includes always listening and talking to devices around you. So when you get home after a long day’s work, for example, you can use the Google Home Assistant to turn on the lights, regulate the room temperature, ask about updates in your schedule, check the news… you can even look at pictures from security cameras, launch a YouTube video or play a playlist on Spotify.

However much this may seem far-fetched, this is actually already a reality for some people and is part of their day-by-day process. In the United States, for example, where Google Home has been around for almost a year or Amazon Echo has been used for over two years, this kind of automation is already part of the daily routine. This is looking like it will change in 2017, with more devices arriving on the market with the “Google Assistant Embedded” label, with Google Home being marketed in more and more countries, and even the Wizard on your smartphone will be able to do much more.

In this way, many more people will be able to introduce the search engine’s artificial intelligence into their daily lives, from reminders of where they parked the car right up to the point that a purchase is made. This flow of actions can even be done with or without a smartphone, instead using a smartwatch or Android TV. In fact, in some countries, you can use Google Allo to have a relatively good experience with the Google Local Language Assistant.

Google Allo Install on Google Play

Introducing AI ​​into your life involves more than just plugging it in

Do not think that introducing AI into your life is easy. On the contrary, it will depend on your dedication as well. I just bought an Amazon Echo, and even after reading a lot about Alexa, the artificial intelligence developed by Amazon, I confess that making it work the way you want is almost like teaching a child. You need to set up “skills” with which you can control your home’s lights (bulbs need to be connected wirelessly of course), get a source for news, an intelligent connection system for your TV and so on.

AndroidPIT philips hue 9235 You will need to teach Alexa “skills” so that she can control the lights in your home. / © AndroidPIT

Google Home, which is a speaker specifically designed to support the Google Assistant, also needs to learn from the user through daily use and “actions”, and this takes time. However, in favor of the Assistant, it has the bonus that it understands context so despite needing to be activated by a specific command (Ok Google or Hey Google), you can have a conversation without having to make previous references. Neither Siri nor Alexa can do that yet.

Incidentally, the Assistant’s integration with Google services also works to your advantage. Navigating from one point to another using Google Maps is more accurate than any other service that Alexa or Siri can use. Offering search results using Google’s search engine is almost unbeatable, and working together with Google Photos will result in an even better experience at the launch of Google Lens sometime this year.

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2017 will be the year of Google Assistant and other AI technologies

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Everything indicates that 2017 will be the year of Google Assistant

What we saw at the Google I/O 2017 showed that, even superficially, Google Assistant and Artificial Intelligence should take center stage this year. Of course, investing in these two areas alone will not be enough, but the search engine giant knows that; it is encouraging developers and manufacturers to create opportunities within the Assistant. Cloud TPUs, which are Google’s new generation of processors that can perform algorithms for machine learning, are faster, more efficient, and more affordable so that businesses and developers can take advantage of them.

In addition, 5G needs to develop and reach different markets so we can live the Internet of Things (IoT) in its fullness. There is one thing I’m sure of: 2017 will be the year of Google Assistant and other AI technologies. The reason for this is the simple fact that many more people will start incorporating the Assistant into their daily lives and with that, achieving the automation of day to day tasks which can lead to mutual benefits.

Have you tried the Google Assistant? What do you think of it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Google Play Store not working? Here's what you can do

There are quite a few factors that could possibly affect the Play Store, we’ll run through the troubleshooting methods beginning with simple solutions down to the more complicated, but at any point you can follow the link to the detailed solution down below:

1. Troubleshooting guide – getting started

First of all you’ll want to make sure the problem is on your end and not a wider problem with Google. Check the Play Store status on a service like downdetector, for example. If a lot of users are reporting a similar problem, then chances are it’s on Google’s side and you’ll need to wait for them to fix it.

If you suspect the problem is on the user end, you’ll first want to restart your phone. It seems obvious, but this can be a quick solution to many issues. If your problem repeats, then it’s time to get to work.

To start off, we want to check a couple of simple things outside of Google Play that might be affecting its performance. Namely, your that your date and time settings are correct and that your Internet connection is working properly. 

2. Check Google apps

If the Play Store is frozen or glitching, force close it by swiping it away or going to Settings > Apps > All select the Google Play Store and hit “Force stop”.

Then, you’ll want to make sure that Google Play itself is up to date and clean. This involves making sure you have the latest version of Google Play installed. If you still have problems, you’ll want to do some housekeeping. This means clearing the Google Play Store cache and, if this doesn’t solve things, going further and clearing out your Play Store data.

If there’s still an issue after the Play Store has been cleaned up, we’ll have to go a little deeper, and clear data and cache on Google Play Services, as well as make sure to Install the latest version of Google Play Services. If the issue persists, the next step (make sure to record your passwords, etc.) is to reset your Google account on your device.

3. Check third party apps

The steps above should confirm whether the issue lies with the Google Play system itself, but sometimes the problem can originate from a different, related app, that can be interfering with the Play Store. First, check your disabled apps, and make sure that you enable Download Manager. You should also disable your VPN if you have one.

4. Drastic solutions

Now, we’re getting to some more technical solutions that need to be done with care, so make sure you’ve tried the above methods first. Now, if you’ve rooted your device, then we recommend to delete the file “hosts.txt” in your system directory. If this doesn’t work or if you don’t want to root your phone, then return to the Play Store and uninstall previous updates.

Finally, as a last resort, you can always perform a factory data reset on your smartphone. This will erase all your data, so make sure to back up first.

Below are all the solutions outlined in detail.

Check your date and time settings

Google checks your Android smartphone’s date and time for the Play Store. If the store does not find a time, then it could cause some issues. Google’s servers could have a tough time syncing with your device and cause your Play Store to act up.

To fix this issue, you need to go into your the Settings in your Android device. Under System you should see Date and Time. Tap on this and you will see whether your phone is on the Automatic date and time provided by your network. If it isn’t already then you should toggle it on.

If your device is on automatic and your Google Play Store is still not working then you should manually set the date and time. You first need to turn Automatic date and time off. Then start by entering the date and time with as much accuracy as possible. If this doesn’t work, don’t worry, there are still many more solutions for getting your Google Play Store up and running again.

AndroidPIT google play not working 2 Setting the date and time could help if your Google Play Store is not working. / © AndroidPIT

Check your Internet connection

It may seem too simple or easy, but checking your Internet connection could solve the problems you’re having. Try switching from Wi-Fi to mobile data, or vice versa, and see if the problem persists. You should also try switching your phone to “airplane mode” and back again. Finally, you can reset your router to make absolutely sure you have a good connection.

Install the latest version of Google Play 

It’s silly, but sometimes a Google Play update is available but won’t automatically download until days after being released. If you get the APK, you can have the newest version immediately though. Read this article to find out how.

playstore Make sure you have the latest version of Google Play Store. / © AndroidPIT

Clear the Google Play Store cache

In some cases, you can get the Play Store going again by just emptying the cache. The cache is a storage area that temporarily holds data so it can be quickly retrieved without needing to be reloaded. This could solve your problem and emptying it is easy.

First go in the Settings from your smartphone’s home screen. You should then go into your Apps or Application manager, it depends on your device. From there you should either be able to scroll down and hit Clear cache or you might have to first go into Storage then Clear cache.

Once this has been completed, go back into your Google Play Store and see if your problem has been solved. If not, you should try one of the other solutions here.

AndroidPIT google play not working 1 Try clearing the cache. / © AndroidPIT

Clear out your Play Store data 

Deleting your data from the Play Store is similar to our first tip but erases quite a bit more. It sets the app back to square one and gets rid of your saved information, hopefully including whatever glitchy data was causing the problem.

Remember, when you do this your files, settings, accounts, databases and other information will be erased. You should make sure you have the log-in information for the account as it will be taken off the Google Play Store account.

To get started, head into your Settings and find the Apps or Application manager. From there you should be able to scroll down to Clear data or go into Storage first then Clear data.

AndroidPIT google play not working 4 Clearing your cache and/or data could fix the problem you’ve been having. / © AndroidPIT

Clear data and cache on Google Play Services

It is possible that Play Store problems could stem from issues with Google Play Services. If Google Play Store is the heart of your Android device, then Google Play Services is its soul. Play Services is the mysterious background process that allows apps to communicate with different parts of your device, enabling them to sync, send push notifications and so on.

If clearing the cache and data in your Google Play Store didn’t work then you may need to go into your Google Play Services and clear the data and cache there. Doing this is easy.

You need to go into your Settings and hit Application manager or Apps. From there, find the Google Play Services app (the puzzle piece). Depending on your device, you should be able to tap the Clear cache button or you might need to go into Storage first then hit Clear cache. If that fails to solve the problem, come back to this page and hit Manage space or Manage storage then tap Clear all data.

AndroidPIT google play not working 3 Clearing the data and cache in Google Play Services can fix your Play Store problems. / © AndroidPIT

Install the latest version of Google Play Services

Another thing that may help is to download and install the latest version of Google Play Services and the Google Play Store. The most current version of the software is likely to be the most stable, so it’s useful to keep it updated.

Firstly, you need to make sure your Google Play Store is up-to-date. Go into the Google Play Store app and hit the menu button (three lines in the top left hand corner of your screen). From there tap Settings and under General you should be able to see when your Google Play app updates. Tap Auto-update apps and ensure that Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi is checked. Now, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Getting the latest version of Google Play Services is much more difficult and too long to mention here. Read our tutorial here for a detailed explanation on how to get the latest version

AndroidPIT google play not working 5 Is your Google Play Services app up-to-date? / © AndroidPIT

Reset your Google account on your device

We’re now coming to the slightly more drastic solutions. If your Play Store app still isn’t working, then you may need to refresh your Google account on your Android device. This will mean your Google account on your entire phone will be reset and not just in the Google Play Store. Make sure you know the account(s) before you start this. You could lose the entire account if you’re not careful.

So to do this, remove your account then add it again. It’s pretty simple to do. Go to your Settings and tap Accounts. Now you need to tap the Google account you want to remove, then tap the menu icon (three dots at the top right) and tap Remove account. Do this for every Google account on your device.

Now you need to re-enter your Google account. Go back into your Settings and tap on Account again. The only thing you should see is Add Account. If you see an account then you forgot to remove one. Tap Add Account and follow the on-screen steps to re-add your account.

AndroidPIT google play not working 1 Removing your Google account then re-adding it could help. / © AndroidPIT

Check your disabled apps

Many apps need other apps in order to function properly. This is especially true when you’re dealing with system apps such as the Google Play Store. If you recently disabled an app that could be your problem. Luckily, this is easy to fix.

Go into your Settings and Application manager or Apps and scroll to the bottom. This is where disabled apps end up. If you see any disabled services, just go into these and hit Enable and see if that helps.

AndroidPIT google play not working 6 Enable your disabled apps. / © AndroidPIT

Disable your VPN

Having a VPN is a great way to get all your favorite media outside your geographic location. You can even use a VPN to install an app in the Play Store of another country. But your VPN could be causing you problems with your Google Play Store in the region you’re currently in.

If you have a VPN enabled on your Android device you should disable it. Go into your Settings and tap More or More networks depending on your device. Hit VPN and toggle it off. 

AndroidPIT google play not working 9 Disable your VPN and that might help. / © AndroidPIT

Enable Download Manager

There is a chance that the Play Store will stop working if your download manager is disabled. If this is the case, the solution is simple.

Go into your Settings and tap either Apps or Application manager (depending on your device). You should either see all of your apps or you might have to choose All. From there find Downloads or Download manager and hit this.

You should be able to see if Download manager is disabled. If it is then you’ll see a button marked Enable. Simply tap this button to switch Download manager back on. If all you see are buttons for Force Stop and Disable (possibly grayed-out, as seen below), then Download manager is not disabled and you can rule this possibility out.

AndroidPIT google play not working 7 Disabling the Android Download Manager wreaks havoc on your system. / © AndroidPIT

Delete the file “hosts.txt” (requires root)

For advanced users who have already rooted their device, open your root-privileged file explorer of choice. Then go to your root/system directory and search for “hosts.txt” and delete the file. Note: do not touch any of the other system files!

Uninstall previous updates to Google Play

Generally, when you have a problem with an app you can just uninstall it and then reinstall it. Well, that works for some apps, but the Google Play Store is a system app on your Android device. What you can do instead is uninstall previous updates to the app and this might help your problem.

You first need to head into your Settings, tap either Apps or Application manager, and you should either see all of your apps or you might have to choose All. From there find the Google Play Store and tap Uninstall updates.

If your Google Play Store is still not working then you need to go back and reinstall the updates. From there, head down to our last solution.

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Google Play Store errors are easy to fix

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Perform a factory data reset on your smartphone

If you’re still facing problems after having tried all of the above, then you may have little choice but to do a factory reset. This is a drastic measure and there are consequences. All of your data will be lost. So you should perform a complete backup beforehand.

Once your data is backed it’s time to do a reset. Go to your Settings and tap Backup & reset. Now, make sure the Back up my data slider is on. Tap Back up account to select which account you want your data backed up to. Ensure you have access to this account.

Once you’ve done this, go to the Backup & reset menu and tap the Factory data reset button at the bottom. Confirm that you want to do this, and your phone will be as it was when you bought it. Your data will be restored when you log back into your Google account.

AndroidPIT google play not working 8 Make sure you back everything up before performing a factory reset. / © AndroidPIT

Did these solutions work for you? Do you have any other advice to get the Google Play Store working again? Let us know in the comments.

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Google collaborated with Intel on Pixel Visual Core AI chip

With the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones, Google announced a change in strategy—from “mobile first” to “AI first”. A teardown of the Pixel 2 XL has revealed some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits about what this means in practice, and how the various giants of tech are working on developing artificial intelligence.

The AI-enabled hardware in the Pixel 2 phones comes in the form of the Visual Core chip, a powerful IPU (image processing unit). The secret chip, made specifically for photography processing and assisting with AI functions in apps, has eight cores, plus an ARM Cortex-A53 CPU. According to Google, it will make HDR+ run five times faster while using less than one tenth of the energy of a regular processor. 

The Visual Core was originally a secret, currently dormant on all the Pixel phones, but is scheduled to be activated by the upcoming Android 8.1 update

Google and Intel: A covert collaboration uncovered

But Google had a helping hand with this nice bit of hardware. A teardown of the Pixel 2 XL from repair site iFixit revealed the naked Pixel Visual Core chip, which was marked with the serial number “SR3,” like some Intel chips. Although Google did not initially disclose any details as to their manufacturing partners on the Visual Core, a spokesperson later confirmed to CNBC that they had worked with Intel on the Pixel Visual Core, noting that no existing chip could satisfy Google’s mission for the new Pixel devices.

Google and Intel’s partnership is interesting because Intel has previously struggled to make its mark on mobile devices and has previously pulled out of developing chips for smartphones and tablets. But the presence of Intel chips in the Pixel phones reflects a resurgence of interest in the mobile market for them.

The fact that Google approached Intel to work together also shows that Intel are making progress in AI development and becoming more confident in the face of competition from Nvidia, whose GPUs are favored by AI researchers, and of course from Apple and even Google themselves.

AndroidPIT Kirin chip 8657 Huawei’s Kirin 970 chip comes AI-ready. / © AndroidPIT

In the smartphone world, AI-enabled chips are set to become the standard among high-end flagships. Right now, Huawei is the frontrunner, thanks to the remarkable Kirin 970 processor that comes with the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. But we’ll soon find AI in much more than smartphones. Other smart appliances and digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant will make more use of it. Samsung is preparing their own imminent entry into the AI arena.

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The advent of AI as a common feature of consumer electronics raises quite a few tricky questions, but also many exciting possibilities. For anyone unfamiliar with the history and applications of artificial intelligence, I’d recommend our own guides on AI and machine learning. We’re all going to be seeing a lot more of it in 2018.

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Google I/O proves that Google is still the boss

Google has today reached unforeseen proportions worthy of a 90’s science fiction movie. With the Google I/O 2017, the big G showed that it owns the Internet. This years’ line-up included a lot of exciting headliners such as artificial intelligence, VR, AR, big data and, most importantly, Machine Learning. Let’s see how Google fared at the #io17.

I would like to try playing games with a TV box.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future and Google is dominating this field

Last year, Google introduced its Assistant, a voice that comes from your phone that wants to help you with whatever task you need to do. This year, it’s going to be available in more languages than the limited options so far, including French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish. It has already been well developed in English and it’s not bad at picking up what you’re asking. For other languages, you’ll have to wait until the summer at the earliest but maybe even the end of the year.

In addition to the Assistant, Google has teleported artificial intelligence into pictures. It’s been a few years now since we saw how it could translate letters from Chinese by just using the camera, and it’s been two years since they introduced Google Photos. This application includes a free secure service for copying all your photos and videos onto the cloud. With this testing facility, Google can organize your life.. or at the very least, your photos.

google io 2017 103 Automatically share your photos with people that are in them thanks to the Google Assistant. / © Screenshots: ANDROIDPIT

Artificial intelligence is starting to get a bit scary

Google Photos can recognize and organize photos depending on what appears in the picture. The next step, which was introduced this year, will be to recognize people’s faces as they appear in photos and automatically share the relevant photos with them. This is where I start to get apprehensive. Google’s artificial intelligence will be able to recognize us just like in so many futuristic movies (think: Minority Report!).

This new image recognition technology called Google Lens, combined with the Google Assistant, will make our lives much easier. In addition to organizing your photos, it will be able to connect you to a Wi-Fi network by just taking a photo of the back of the router where the network name and password are displayed, which up to now is something that we have always had to do manually.

google io 2017 029 Google Lens can help you connect to Wi-Fi by simply taking a photo. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

What we saw at the #io17 is only the tip of the iceberg for AI

In reality, Google Lens and Google Assistant aren’t all that’s on offer. Under the hood, there is the hidden Google.ai. This is a new department that supports the company in each of its departments in gathering advanced artificial intelligence, based on the cloud (with Cloud TPU and Tensor Flow) and that is able to learn for itself through Auto Machine Learning.

Tensor Flow is the open source platform for numeric computation and machine learning. Currently, it is used by huge companies such as SAP or IBM, but it’s also helping to carry out research all over the world. With this tool, you can detect illnesses like cancer by analyzing images, or estimate animal populations through aerial photos. The possibilities are endless and it’s Google’s tool.

google io 2017 178 Tensor Flow, Google’s machine learning power at your service. / © Screenshots: ANDROIDPIT

To improve Tensor’s computing power, Google has brought in new hardware: Cloud TPUs. Each unit moves up to 180 teraflops (100 times the power of the GPU on a Play Station 4) and it is used for machine learning.

Google plans to invest even more in cloud technologies and artificial intelligence in our ever-connected 21st century world.

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Google delegates the virtual reality field

This is the part still has some room for improvement. Google cardboard was a revolution in that it provided a virtual reality facility that could work on any smartphone. It was great to try but it wasn’t the most enlightening experience, particularly compared to the Playstation VR or HTC Vive, for example. So, last year, it brought out a new version of Google virtual reality: DayDream. But this new platform hasn’t been as much of an asset as the first one. We can only assume that the hardware requirements are slowing down the launch.

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Google is still a while away from dominating the Virtual Reality market

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So, with that in mind, Google has started to delegate its new platform for virtual reality on smartphones and this year, we’re going to see two new standalone VR headsets: HTC Vive and Lenovo VR. The thinking behind this seems to be to create competition by offering more products. On a side note, this summer DayDream wil become available for the Samsung Galaxy S8.

google io 2017 214 New standalone VR headsets that don’t require a smartphone. / © Screenshots: ANDROIDPIT

It’s clear that Google needs to improve in this area and it’s looking for partners to help it compete with the Sony and Samsung platforms. We’ll have to wait until next year to see what happens in this field and I’m sure it’ll be something worth keeping an eye on.

What do you think? Do you think Google is still ruling the Internet?

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