Category Archives: Android Blog

News and notes from the Android team

Celebrating a Sweet Decade of Android

Ten years ago, we introduced the first version of the Android operating system with the T-Mobile G1, and launched Android Market (now Google Play) the very same day. Android has grown up a lot since then—there are now more than 2 billion active Android devices around the world.

The operating system itself has gone through some major transformations, too. The G1 ran on Android 1.0—a version so early, we didn’t even name it after a dessert. The debut included features that you know and love today like pull-down notifications, sharing content across apps and multitasking between apps. But it didn’t have more advanced features like voice search, turn-by-turn navigation or NFC. 10 years later, we’ve come a long way! Our latest release of the operating system, Android 9 Pie, has all of those features and harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to make your phone smarter, simpler and more adaptive.

On the occasion of Android’s 10th birthday, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to look at the earliest versions of Android, the major improvements of each release and how far we’ve come:

Cupcake (Android 1.5) added virtual keyboards, customization options and easy ways to share.

Cupcake.png

With the introduction of virtual keyboards, Cupcake opened the doors to full touchscreen Android devices. And with home screen app widgets, you had more ways to customize your device, a defining feature still used today, alongside app folders. Sharing directly from your smartphone became easier with more ways to copy and paste and the ability to capture, share and upload videos.

Donut (Android 1.6) gave you one easy place to search across your phone and the web.

Donut introduced Android’s Quick Search Box, which lets you get search results from both the web and across your phone, from a single box on the homescreen. Even in these early days, the system was designed to learn which search results were more relevant, getting you to the right results faster the next time you typed in a relevant query. We also introduced support for different screen densities and sizes, laying the foundation for the very high density screens and variety of phone sizes we see today.

Eclair (Android 2.0+) changed driving forever with Google Maps navigation and speech-to-text.

Eclair.png

Google Maps navigation made Android smartphones, well, smart. Turn-by-turn directions using Google Maps data included many features found in a typical in-car navigation system: a forward-looking 3D view, voice guidance and traffic information—all for free on your high resolution phone. Eclair also added speech-to-text transcription, which lets you input text like emails and messages with your voice.

We also introduced a fan favorite feature: live wallpapers.

Voice Actions in Froyo (Android 2.2+) helped you do even more hands-free.

Froyo.png

Froyo took Android voice capabilities to the next level with Voice Actions, which let you perform key functions on your phone—searching, getting directions, making notes, setting alarms and more—with just the sound of your voice. Sounds familiar

Gingerbread (Android 2.3) added early battery management capabilities.

Gingerbread.png

Gingerbread helped you get the most out of your battery life by knowing exactly how your device was using it, from screen brightness to any active app. With Android 9, we’ve taken battery life management to a whole new level with Adaptive Battery, which uses AI to learn the apps you use most and prioritize battery for them.

Honeycomb (Android 3.0) extended Android to more shapes and sizes.

Honeycomb.png

Honeycomb’s new Holo design language, along with larger layout and rich animation support, made the most of your tablet’s screen. This was the first version of Android that was intended for different form factors, laying the groundwork for more robust and flexible platforms introduced later, like Android TV, Android Auto, Android Things and Wear OS by Google.

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) introduced smooth moves

Ice Cream Sandwich introduced a simplified and streamlined design to help you get things done on your phone faster. New features like app folders, a favorites tray and widgets made it easier to find and use your favorite apps. The addition of NFC didn’t just pave the way for mobile payments—it also made “beaming” of maps, videos, links and contacts easy by placing two phones together.

Navigation became more intuitive with the arrival of quick settings and the ability to swipe to dismiss recent apps and notifications, features first introduced in tablets with Honeycomb, brought to phones. This release reflected a renewed focus on creating fluid experiences in Android—an effort that continues to this day with intuitive gestures in Android 9.

Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) brought personalized and intelligent assistance to the palm of your hand

Jelly Bean.png

A precursor to the Google Assistant, Google Now in Jelly Bean helped you get the information you needed at just the right time—like the daily weather as you got dressed and commute times before you walked out the door. Notifications became richer, allowing you to expand them to show more content and immediately take actions, such as liking a post, archiving an email or even blocking future notifications.

Ok Google, tell me about KitKat (Android 4.4)

KitKat built on the earlier Voice actions, uniting the helpfulness of Google Now with improvements in voice technology and letting you launch voice search, send a text, get directions, or play a song just by saying “Ok Google.” KitKat also brought lighter colors and transparency to Android’s design, setting the stage for Material Design in Lollipop.

Android 5.0’s Lollipop brought great design to Android

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With Lollipop, we brought Material Design to Android, introducing an entirely new look and feel that made it easier to navigate your device. Material Design is a visual language that combines the classic principles of good design with the innovation of technology and science. Lollipop also made it more seamless to transition across the devices that you use throughout the day, so that you can pick up where you left off across Android phones, tablets, TV and wearables.

Help was on tap in Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Marshmallow represented another next step in the journey to the Google Assistant we know today. With Now on Tap, you could simply tap and hold the Home button to get contextual help—customized to your task at hand, without having to leave what you were doing, whether in an app or on a website.

To help save your juice for the things that matter most, Marshmallow brought some new battery saving features: Doze, which automatically puts your device into a sleep state when it’s at rest, and App Standby, which limits the impact of less frequently used apps on battery life.

We also introduced run-time permissions, which help users better understand and evaluate requests for apps to have access to certain data.

N was for Nougat (Android 7.0) and new emoji

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Nougat focused on improvements to the ways you were already using your phone—adding multi-window to let you run two apps side by side, instant reply within notifications, adjustable display size for improved accessibility, and Data Saver which limits how much data your devices uses on background. We also introduced VR mode to enable high-quality VR experiences for apps, and 63 new emoji that focus on better gender representation—in all six skin tone options. 🙌

The world’s favorite cookie became the world’s favorite new Android release—Android 8.0 Oreo

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Oreo introduced ways to navigate tasks on your phone more seamlessly, like picture-in-picture, and Autofill, which helps you log into your apps faster. Oreo also continued to simplify the Android experience with more visual cohesion and easier gestures—like swiping up from the homescreen to see all your apps.

And with Oreo (Go edition), we built our first-ever configuration of Android specifically optimized for entry-level devices, ensuring that first-time smartphone users get a fast, powerful experience.

Android 9 Pie serves a slice of Digital Wellbeing

Pie.png

The way we use our phones—and how much time we spend on them—has changed a lot since the days of Cupcake. So one of the biggest changes in Android 9 Pie is the introduction of new ways for you to take control of your digital wellbeing, including a new app timer and a dashboard that lets you see how much time you spend in various apps. With Android 9, your phone also changes the way it works by learning from you—and working better for you—the more you use it. Artificial intelligence now powers core capabilities of your phone, from predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most and the ones it thinks you are going to use soon.

From the early days of Voice Actions with speech-to-text to an increasingly helpful smartphone with AI at its core, Android has continued to evolve over the past 10 years. And thanks to our open-source platform and the passionate community of users, partners and developers, Android has empowered innovations and given people access to the power of mobile technology.

Source: Android


Technology for today’s world: helping you reclaim a sense of balance

“Focus on the user and all else will follow.” It’s one of the first principles Google laid out in the early days, and it’s still a guiding force as we build new products. And these days, focusing on the user means understanding that, for many people, technology has become a source of distractions, rather than a useful tool. Research the Android team released earlier this month indicates that mobile devices can create a sense of habit and obligation that is hard to break, even as people look for ways to create a healthy relationship with technology.

With this in mind, over the past year, teams across Google have turned their attention to building features that help you better understand how you use your devices and apps, disconnect when you want, and create healthy habits for your whole family. Here’s a look at some of the ways we’re helping you reclaim a sense of balance and focus on what matters most to you:

Digital wellbeing data and controls for your Android phone

Android 9 Pie lets you see a dashboard of how you’re spending time on your device, including how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, and how many notifications you’ve received. You can also set time limits on apps, like “30 minutes for Chrome.” When you’re close to the limit, you’ll get a nudge reminding you, and when time is up you won’t be able to use the app anymore (unless you cheat!). You can also try Wind down, which helps you remember to stop scrolling and get to sleep. These features are currently in beta for Pixel users.

Digital ground rules for your family

Every year, more and more kids have access to connected devices: according to our research, 75 percent of kids age 6-12 own or share a tablet, and 52 percent of kids age 6-12 own or share a smartphone. Our Family Link app, which is now available in nearly every country around the world, helps parents better manage their kids’ experience with technology. Family Link lets parents set screen time limits, approve or block certain apps, remote lock devices, and view activity reports so they can stay in the loop on how their kids are exploring.

Last week we shared that in addition to using Family Link for children under 13, parents around the world can use Family Link to supervise their teen’s existing Google Account (see applicable age for a teen in your county).

You choose how you YouTube

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re watching YouTube videos. That’s part of the fun! But for those times you want to set some boundaries, YouTube has added features to help you understand how much time you’re spending in the app and help you take a break. The new Time Watched profile tells you exactly how much time you’re spending in the app, and you can set a reminder for yourself to take a break once you’ve hit a certain amount of time. We’ve also added the option for you to bundle YouTube notifications into one daily digest. You can even choose what time of day you want to see it.

We’ve always aimed to build products that help you get things done efficiently and free you up to focus on the other things that matter to you—from Search, where our goal has always been to get you an answer as fast as possible, to tools like Smart Reply in Gmail which suggest text for you. That’s more important now than ever, and we’ll keep building with that principle in mind.

The world we live in today is very different from the one when Google started back in 1998. We’re no longer using clunky computers to perform simple searches and send basic emails—with the phones in our pockets, we can accomplish things we couldn’t have come close to doing with ye olde desktop. But as technology becomes increasingly woven into our day-to-day, making sure it’s improving life—instead of distracting from it—is more important than ever. That’s focusing on the user, and that’s what we’re continuing to do.

Source: Android


Expanding Emergency Location Service in Android to the U.S.

Accurately locating someone during an emergency call is critical for reducing response time and can be the difference between life and death. More than 80 percent of emergency calls come from mobile phones, but locating these phones can be challenging as traditional emergency location technologies can fail indoors or have a radius that’s too big to be useful.


In 2016, we announced Emergency Location Service (ELS) in Android. ELS provides a faster, more accurate location to emergency communications centers when an Android user places an emergency call, helping save lives by shortening emergency response times. It provides a more accurate location both indoors and outdoors by using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks and sensors—the same high-accuracy location you see when using Google Maps.


Over the last two years, we’ve been expanding ELS worldwide; it's now available in 14 countries and provides location to emergency centers for more than 140,000 calls per day. Today we’re announcing the launch of ELS in the U.S. with RapidSOS, T-Mobile and West, to bring more accurate location more quickly to emergency centers.
android emergency location services

How Emergency Location Services in Android works

ELS is supported on 99 percent of Android devices (version 4.0 and above). The ELS service activates where it is supported by your wireless provider or emergency infrastructure provider. We partner with wireless providers and public safety organizations to activate ELS in a country. You don't need to install a separate app, update your OS, or have special hardware to benefit from more accurate location. The location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers—without passing through Google servers, and only when you explicitly call an emergency number.

Bringing more accurate emergency location to the U.S.

In partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS, we provide ELS location directly to emergency communications centers through their secure, IP-based data platform. RapidSOS integrates with existing software at emergency centers in the U.S. to provide a faster, more accurate location with ELS. In testing the technology in the U.S., emergency centers have told us ELS has already helped save lives in their jurisdiction, decreasing the average uncertainty radius from 159 meters to 37 meters (from 522 feet to 121 feet). At the Collier County Sheriff's office in Florida, a caller who had given an incorrect address was able to be found thanks to ELS. And in Loudon County, TN, ELS helped emergency responders get to a non-English speaking caller who was struggling to communicate her address.

ELS is also available for Android users on T-Mobile in the U.S. If you’re on T-Mobile’s network and make a call to 911, your Android phone can send your location to the emergency center to help first responders locate you quickly. Wireless providers like T-Mobile have existing ways to share emergency locations with emergency centers, but this integration with ELS will help deliver higher accuracy locations faster than before.

Finally, we’ve already launched ELS in the U.S. Virgin Islands through a partnership with West and a regional wireless provider, Viya. West is an emergency technology company that works directly with wireless providers. For Android users on Viya, our integration with West allows your more accurate location to be delivered more quickly with ELS to emergency centers through existing channels by wireless providers.

Helping users around the world

As we've launched ELS around the world, we've heard about the impact that our more accurate location has made in critical, emergency situations. In Austria, a mountain biker in a remote, heavily forested area suffered a serious accident and called emergency services for help. The legacy emergency location systems provided a location with a radius of more than 900 meters (about half a mile), while ELS was able to provide a location within 12 meters (39 feet) to help first responders locate the biker.

In New Zealand, Fire and Emergency received a call from someone who had seen a fire while he was driving along a rural highway. The caller didn’t know where he was on the highway. Using ELS, Fire and Emergency New Zealand was able to locate the caller and the fire, and dispatch a crew to put the fire out.

As we continue to expand ELS in Android in the U.S. and to additional regions and countries, we’re grateful for the opportunity to provide assistance when our users need it most. To learn more, check out our website at https://crisisresponse.google/els.

Source: Android


Helping more families set digital ground rules with Family Link

Parents constantly tell us that they want their kids to experience the best of what tech has to offer–while also developing a healthy relationship with technology. Giving parents the tools they need to make the choices that are right for their families is critical, and we take our role here very seriously. Last year we launched the Family Link app to help parents stay in the loop while their kids are using Android devices. Family Link helps parents keep an eye on screen time, manage the apps their kids can use, and more. Over the coming days, we’ll make Family Link available to more families, on more devices, and in nearly every country in the world. 

Family Link can now help parents with teens manage technology

Family Link originally launched for kids under-13, but we’ve heard overwhelmingly from parents that the app is still useful as their kids enter their teen years. This week, parents around the world will be able to use Family Link to supervise their teen’s existing Google Account for the first time (see applicable age for a teen in your country). There are some differences when supervising a teen’s account with Family Link. For example, teens are free to turn off supervision if they choose to, but we let parents know. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual family to have a conversation and decide what’s right for them.

Better Chromebook support for kids and teens

The need for supervision doesn’t end with mobile devices. Now, Family Link is available for Chromebook for kids and teens, allowing parents to manage website restrictions and account settings for their child from their device. Soon, parents will also be able to set screen time limits and manage the apps their child can use on Chromebooks.

Continuing to grow together

With more parents in more places able to use Family Link, we want to hear your thoughts on how we’re doing. If you want to share your ideas with us, just open the Family Link app, click the menu in the top left corner and tap “Help and feedback.”

Source: Android


The search for JOMO: New research on digital wellbeing

As researchers on the Android team, we spend a lot of time out in the world, listening to our users. To do our best work, we leave our passions behind. Objectivity is key. But it’s hard not to develop empathy, especially when you start to notice that not everything about people’s experience with technology is positive.

As early as 2015, we noticed that increasingly, people we talked to were raising a flag about how distracting notifications on mobile devices can be. So we started thinking a lot about the role of notifications on people’s phones, and how we could build a better experience to help people achieve balance. We started with some small changes in Android Nougat, like bundling notifications and making it easier to reply to a message without opening the app.

But we knew there was more that we could do to understand how phones might be making it harder for people to disconnect, and the frustration this was generating. So last year my colleague Safia Baig and I embarked on a research project to do that, and we’ve just published the results.

What we found

Working across different cultures, we conducted our research in the U.S. and Switzerland. We spoke at length with and shadowed for hours at a time 19 participants aged 18-65, using either Android or iOS smartphones. We also analyzed data we had previously collected from 112 participants in China, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, and the U.S. over a period of two years.  

Surprisingly, we found few differences across cultures, countries, gender, age groups or types of devices people were using. Across the board, mobile devices loaded with social media, email and news apps, were creating a constant sense of obligation, generating unintended personal stress.

Our research found two reasons why people's relationships with their phones was evolving in this manner. First, there are a lot of engaging things to do with your phone, and it’s hard to break the habit. One person we interviewed said that the phone was far from liberating: “It’s like a prison. You can get lost in your phone and not get out. Social media, gaming, being available [to others] all day… you can’t get away.” Second, people feel that there is a social obligation to reply to messages very quickly, and to be available all the time: “My phone is like a little pet—it goes with me from room to room.  I don’t want to miss any messages.”

While people look forward to vacations, one of the few times they are able to disconnect, they also want to be able to choose when to detach: When they have an unplanned or forced disconnection (e.g., leaving their phone at home, running out of battery), they feel anxiety and extreme inconvenience. They lose productivity, they worry about others wondering why they’re not replying to messages, they worry about missing important information—they have a fear of missing out (“FOMO”).  

How we can help people find balance

Our research indicates three ways the mobile industry can help people toward a healthy relationship with their phones:

  • Facilitate disconnection—by giving people information that helps them reflect upon their own usage and digital behaviors, and the tools to disconnect, like the Digital Wellbeing Dashboard in Android 9, and YouTube’s Time Watched profile

  • Reduce temptation to re-engage, by adding an extra step like the App Timer in Android 9 Pie

  • Allow for partial disconnection—for example, keeping the essential phone functionalities available, while restricting other applications

app timer

The App Timer in Android 9 is an example of how phones can be built to reduce temptation to re-engage

We’ve begun to make some of these changes across Google products with our Digital Wellbeing effort, which we announced at I/O this year. Digital Wellbeing is a core concept of Android 9 Pie, and we’ve recently introduced more controls across platforms like YouTube. We’re also working on building tools that allow parents to control the type of access their kids have to technology, through Family Link.

A sense of obligation has crept into tech. People want tools to break it. They want to be able to set aside their phone sometimes, not worry about missing anything absolutely urgent, and feel in control of their phone use. We have a responsibility to make that easier—to give people a way to reclaim their time and not feel tied to their devices. But we also believe that we should give people something more—not just more control or a better balanced relationship with technology, but the “joy of missing out,” or “JOMO.”

Technology should improve your life, instead of distracting from it. There’s a lot more work to be done, but the first step toward bringing JOMO into people’s lives is to start listening. This research represents some of our earliest efforts to do that, with much more to come.

Source: Android


Introducing the new Google Fit

There’s a lot of talk out there about how to stay active and healthy: “get your steps in,” “sitting is the new smoking,” “no pain, no gain.” It can feel overwhelming. So we’ve worked with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to understand the science behind physical activity and help you get the amount and intensity needed to improve your health.

Activity goals to improve your health

The new Google Fit is centered around two simple and smart activity goals based on AHA and WHO’s activity recommendations shown to impact health: Move Minutes and Heart Points.

When it comes to your health, it’s important to move more and sit less. Earn Move Minutes for all of your activity and get motivated to make small, healthy changes throughout your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or catching up with a friend over a walk instead of a coffee.

Activities that get your heart pumping harder result in even greater health benefits. Heart Points give you credit for these activities. You’ll score one point for each minute of moderate activity, like picking up the pace while walking your dog, and double points for more intense activities like running or kickboxing. It takes just 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week to reach the AHA and WHO’s recommended amount of physical activity, which is shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep, and increase overall mental well-being.

However you move, make it count

When you’re walking, running or biking throughout the day, Google Fit will automatically detect these activities using your phone or watch sensors—like the accelerometer and GPS—to estimate the number of Heart Points you earn. If you’re into a different type of exercise, you can choose other activities like gardening, pilates, rowing or spinning, and Google Fit will calculate the Heart Points and Move Minutes achieved during your workout. Google Fit also integrates with other fitness apps like Strava, Runkeeper, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal, so you get credit for every Move Minute and Heart Point you earn. You’ll get tips and help to adjust your goals over time based on your activity. Your journal will show your activities, achievements and goal progress across all of your apps.

If you already use Google Fit on Android phone or Wear OS by Google watch, you’ll see these changes on your phone or smartwatch beginning this week. If you’re new to Google Fit, learn more at google.com/fit and join us on our way to a healthier and more active life. 

Source: Android


Android 9 Pie (Go edition): New features and more options this fall

We believe everyone across the globe should have powerful, high-quality device experiences. That’s why we introduced Android (Go edition) last year, with the goal to provide a fast and smooth experience optimized for first-time and entry-level smartphone owners.

We welcomed our first wave of Android (Go edition) phones this April, and now there are more than 200 devices available in 120+ countries including India, South Africa, U.S., Nigeria and Brazil. We also continued to refine the core operating system and have added a variety of new useful features to apps like Google Go, YouTube Go, Files Go and more.

Whether it comes with a HD or regular VGA screen, 4GB or 8GB or 16GB of storage, or 3G or 4G support, there’s a Go edition device for everyone. In some countries, devices are available for as little as $30 USD. With more than 100 manufacturers planned to release devices before the end of the year, you can expect even more options when choosing your first Go edition device.

Go phones

Android 9 Pie (Go edition)

With Android (Go edition), we aim to bring the latest Android improvements to more entry-level phone buyers. As part of the release of Android 9 Pie, we’re introducing a brand new Go edition experience. Pie (Go edition) includes:

  • Up to an additional 500MB of storage available out of the box

  • Faster device boot times

  • Top-of-the-line security features like verified boot

  • A accessible dashboard for tracking and monitoring data consumption

Comparing OOB storage across Pie, Oreo and non Go phones

Android Pie (Go edition) comes with up to an additional 500MB out of the box compared to Oreo (Go edition), and more than twice what you’d find on a non-Go edition phone

Collectively, these features help solve some of the most common pain points for entry-level device owners: storage, performance, data management and security. Keep an eye out for the first devices offering the new Pie (Go edition) experience to hit shelves later this fall.

Go with Google

A core part of the Go edition experience is the fully redesigned set of Google apps, which are specifically built to serve the needs of first-time smartphone owners. These apps include unique features, like free downloading in YouTube Go, that aren’t found in the classic app. Since February we’ve introduced a number of improvements to our suite of apps:

  • Google Go now offers the ability to read webpages aloud and highlights each word so you can follow along.
Google Go
  • YouTube Go makes it easier to enjoy videos while using less data with new features like gallery mode for downloaded content.

  • Maps Go now features navigation, making it possible for people with Go edition devices or unstable connections to use turn-by-turn directions whether you’re traveling by car, by bus, or on foot.

maps go navigation
  • Files Go, which has saved users ~90TB of space since launch, is now capable of transferring data peer-to-peer, without using mobile data, at speeds up to ~490Mbips.

  • Assistant Go now supports additional languages including Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Indonesian, and has expanded support for device actions like controlling Bluetooth, camera and flashlight, and added reminders.

  • Android Messages App for Android (Go edition) is now ~50 percent smaller in size and the Phone App includes caller ID and spam detection.

With a broader range of options and better performing phones, more people can come online for the first time and have access to essential, helpful information. We’re excited to keep the momentum going.

Source: Android


Android has created more choice, not less

If you buy an Android phone, you’re choosing one of the world’s two most popular mobile platforms—one that has expanded the choice of phones available around the world.

Today, the European Commission issued a competition decision against Android, and its business model. The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission’s own market survey confirmed. It also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones.  

Today, because of Android, there are more than 24,000 devices, at every price point, from more than 1,300 different brands, including Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish phone makers.

android provides choice

The phones made by these companies are all different, but have one thing in common—the ability to run the same applications. This is possible thanks to simple rules that ensure technical compatibility, no matter what the size or shape of the device. No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules—they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks.

To be successful, open-source platforms have to painstakingly balance the needs of everyone that uses them. History shows that without rules around baseline compatibility, open-source platforms fragment, which hurts users, developers and phone makers. Android’s compatibility rules avoid this, and help make it an attractive long-term proposition for everyone.

Creating flexibility, choice and opportunity

Today, because of Android, a typical phone comes preloaded with as many as 40 apps from multiple developers, not just the company you bought the phone from. If you prefer other apps—or browsers, or search engines—to the preloaded ones, you can easily disable or delete them, and choose other apps instead, including apps made by some of the 1.6 million Europeans who make a living as app developers.

Removing and replacing preloaded apps

In fact, a typical Android phone user will install around 50 apps themselves. Last year, over 94 billion apps were downloaded globally from our Play app store; browsers such as Opera Mini and Firefox have been downloaded more than 100 million times, UC Browser more than 500 million times.

This is in stark contrast to how things used to be in the 1990s and early 2000s—the dial-up age. Back then, changing the pre-installed applications on your computer, or adding new ones, was technically difficult and time-consuming. The Commission’s Android decision ignores the new breadth of choice and clear evidence about how people use their phones today.

A platform built for the smartphone era

In 2007, we chose to offer Android to phone makers and mobile network operators for free. Of course, there are costs involved in building Android, and Google has invested billions of dollars over the last decade to make Android what it is today.  This investment makes sense for us because we can offer phone makers the option of pre-loading a suite of popular Google apps (such as Search, Chrome, Play, Maps and Gmail), some of which generate revenue for us, and all of which help ensure the phone ‘just works’, right out of the box. Phone makers don’t have to include our services; and they’re also free to pre-install competing apps alongside ours. This means that we earn revenue only if our apps are installed, and if people choose to use our apps instead of the rival apps.

Good for partners, good for consumers

The free distribution of the Android platform, and of Google’s suite of applications, is not only efficient for phone makers and operators—it’s of huge benefit for developers and consumers. If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn’t include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem. So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model.  

We’ve always agreed that with size comes responsibility. A healthy, thriving Android ecosystem is in everyone’s interest, and we’ve shown we’re willing to make changes. But we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms.  

Rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition and Android has enabled all of them. Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal. 

#AndroidWorks

Source: Android


Google for Brazil: Technology that serves people’s needs, wherever they may be

It's a constant challenge to ensure that technology works well for people with different needs around the world, especially where connectivity is limited and basic smartphones are the main gateway to the internet. Today, at our second annual Google for Brazil event in São Paulo, we shared updates on how we're making our products work better for people in Brazil—and elsewhere in the world. We also gave an update on our efforts to make the internet more inclusive, highlighting a new initiative in Brazil to empower women to succeed in a digital world.

Google for Brasil.jpg

New soccer experience on Search

Given Brazil's passion for soccer, we couldn't think of a better place to kick off an enhanced experience for football fans on Search, just in time for the World Cup. For this year's tournament in Russia, fans everywhere will be treated to a new immersive experience that includes group tables, stats, trending players and a host of other features that let you follow matches in real time and see highlights on your phone. For more about all that we've prepared for soccer fans, check out our World Cup post.

World Cup Search on Google

Android Oreo (Go edition) coming to Brazil

As an open source platform, Android has helped democratize access to the internet in places like Brazil. But for more people to come online, they need affordable smartphones that offer a smooth experience when browsing the web and using apps. That's why we developed Android Oreo (Go edition), a lighter version of our OS optimized for entry-level devices. Android Oreo (Go edition) is now coming to Brazil on new devices made by our partners Positivo, Multilaser and Alcatel—an important step in our efforts to give more people access to computing.
Android Go

Brazil elections on Search

2018 is an election year in Brazil, and we want to connect voters with useful and reliable information as they prepare to vote in October. In that spirit, we're planning features on Search that will allow Brazilians to stay up to speed on key dates, the candidates and other critical information about the election. We're also adding the option for presidential candidates to post statements directly on Google about where they stand on key issues. And on election day, you'll be able to keep track of the results on Search.


When the campaign kicks off in August, we'll roll out a Google Trends hub for Brazil that offers an overview of the race through the lens of Search. The hub will be a one-stop shop for data about search interest in candidates and their parties, the most searched questions and other related queries, all in real time.

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More local Actions on the Assistant

We launched the Google Assistant in Brazilian Portuguese less than a year ago, and Brazil is now among the top three countries in daily active users. Portuguese is also the second most popular language for Assistant usage on smartphones.


Brazilians already use the Assistant to send WhatsApp messages, play music on Spotify, and watch videos on YouTube or Netflix. Now we’re working with more than 30 local partners to bring more Actions to the Assistant. In the next few months, Brazilians will be able to order a pizza with iFood, book a table with Restorando, hail a ride with 99 and do much more by using nothing but their voice.


Enhancing Maps for Brazilians

A new feature on Maps will help Brazilians navigate a São Paulo law that restricts motorists from driving in designated parts of the city during peak traffic hours one day a week. All they need to do is give the last number of their license plate and Maps will provide customized directions to avoid restricted areas.


We’ve also more than doubled the number of Brazilian cities on Maps with real-time transit information, to 15 from six. The list now includes cities like Campinas, Caxias do Sul, Uberaba and Campina Grande.
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Art Selfie debuts in Brazil

Remember those fun selfies resembling famous artworks that went viral earlier this year? Well, now the Art Selfie is making its Latin American debut in Brazil. Brazilians can find an artistic match for their selfie in Google Arts & Culture's vast collection, which includes masterpieces from institutions such as São Paulo's Pinacoteca and Rio de Janeiro's Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. Give it a try on the Arts & Culture app.


Grow with Google

Grow with Google offers free training sessions, tools and events to help people grow their skills, career or business. We've taken Grow with Google to four cities in Brazil already, training 17,000 people, and plan to hit four more states by year-end.
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A Grow with Google session for 3,000 people in Brasilia in May

Technology can also play a key role in helping to reduce gender inequality. That’s the thinking behind Womenwill, which aims to create economic opportunities for women. We brought Womenwill to Brazil in March, and since then more than 2,500 women have undergone training in leadership, negotiation techniques, personal finance and digital marketing.


While that's a promising start, there is much more to do. Today we announced a Google.org grant of $1 million for Instituto Rede Mulher Empreendedora, a Brazilian nonprofit that promotes and supports entrepreneurship among women. The grant will help them train up to 135,000 women in Brazil over the next two years.


We hope that each of the announcements we made today will have an impact on people's lives in one way or another. And we remain committed to bringing the transformational power of technology to people everywhere.

Source: Android


Now you can add Suica and WAON to Google Pay in Japan

When we brought Android Pay to Japan in 2016, our goal was to create a unique mobile checkout experience that was tailored to Japanese shoppers. Since then, we’ve unified the different ways consumers pay with Google into a single brand: Google Pay. We’ve also updated the app to make paying faster and simpler, promote easy access to offers, and provide one, convenient place to manage e-money and loyalty cards on mobile using your Google Account.


Now, we’re rolling out two new ways to pay that will make checking out online, in stores, and across Japan even easier.

Suica and WAON now available on Google Pay

Starting today, you can add and manage your Suica and WAON cards in Google Pay if you live in Japan and have an Osaifu-Keitai eligible phone. This means four major Japanese prepaid e-money cards—nanaco, Rakuten Edy, Suica and WAON—can all be used with Google Pay. You’ll be able to pay with Google Pay at the hundreds of locations that accept any of these cards, plus pay on transit anywhere Suica is accepted.

New ways to pay JP

The Google Pay app makes organizing and managing all your cards effortless. You can use the app to quickly sign up for e-money cards using the information from your Google Account, check your balances and easily add money with your credit card, and set up low balance alerts so you’re always ready to go. You can also see your recent activity across all of your cards, get customized offers and rewards, and find helpful tips in the app’s Home tab.


And if you use Google Pay for transit, you can check your commuter pass, bullet train, and green ticket details, plus register your Tpoint and dPoint cards and scan them right from the app.


Adding Suica and WAON brings us one step closer to making paying faster and simpler for everyone, everywhere. Keep an eye out for even more features and new ways to pay in the upcoming months, and get the app now to see just how easy paying can be.

Source: Android