Google TV Gets Its Profiles
Google TV, the slick TV-focused operating system skin from Google that runs on its cute little Chromecast with Google TV dongle, is getting profiles this week. You may be thinking that sounds familiar, and well yeah, that’s because profiles were announced in October of last year. They are really here this time, though, we think.
In October, because Google told us to expect profiles “soon,” we explained them this way and told you how setup would work:
With profiles on Google TV, Google is giving each person recommendations based on interests and preferences, access to an individual watchlist, and recommendation help from Google Assistant, again, based on your personalized tastes. So going forward, when you fire up that little baby Google TV remote, you’ll be able to choose your own account to get to watching.
To setup a new profile, you should be able to swipe over to your account icon (top right), and then add another account, just like you would if you were trying to add a kid profile.
Fun! So when exactly can you get profiles up and running? Google would only commit to begin rolling out today, with rollout taking place to all users “over the next few weeks.” You may see the option today or it may be weeks out. Either way, rollout has apparently started.
Galaxy Watch 4 Owners, Google Assistant Arrives
Samsung and Google took their time, but Google Assistant is now available on the Galaxy Watch 4 series (So much for this summer?). After almost a year of waiting, Google Assistant arrives as an app that can be installed on either Watch 4 model to then be accessed as a voice assistant from the wrist.
The introduction of Google Assistant after all this time does not mean that Samsung’s Bixby is going anywhere. Instead, the two companies are talking about how you will be able to access both Bixby and Google Assistant.
Using Google Assistant from a Galaxy Watch 4 means getting help with on-the-go questions and “access to fast, more natural voice interactions,” according to Samsung. Let’s just hope it works more seamlessly as a stand-alone app than it does on all of the other non-Samsung Wear OS watches who have had pretty lackluster Assistant experiences over the years.
As far as availability, rollout begins today in 10 markets: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, The UK and USA.
At the time of this post, we still aren’t seeing Assistant available to our Galaxy Watch 4 units. Once it shows up and we have a better understanding of how to get it up and running, we’ll share those details. Verizon slipped a month ago and showed a potential setup guide, which you can still view here.
Google Play Store Gets a Massive Design Update
Making a stop through Google Play’s web store this morning on my commute presented me with quite the surprise. Look at this new web layout!
Google Play, for those who haven’t visited the web experience in some time, hasn’t been properly updated in more years than I keep track of. It is as dated as a web experience can get from a company as large as Google and who typically tries to push design ideas across the tech landscape. It has needed an overhaul for a while.
In the new layout, we’re getting a lot of white and empty space when expanded onto a large screen. The experience now starts on a “Games” tab like the Play Store on your phone or tablet, with categories at the top for “Apps,” “Movies & TV,” “Books,” and “Kids” next to it. There are quick controls to switch between phones, tablets, TVs, and Chromebooks as well, and you have to wonder if a Watch option might be there soon enough.
Once you navigate to an app or game listing, there’s more white, but also a modernized look. App icons are now a borderline squircle with shadow, instead of just a box because the app developer only made a square logo. You don’t have to scroll much to see similar apps or to contact the developer, plus the “Install” button is much more prominent. The actual install pop-up, where you select a device, is still the old UI for now.
Maybe most importantly, the recently “Updated on” date isn’t buried at the bottom of the listing and is now just below the app’s description. Now, when you find an app and wonder if it’s an outdated mess or properly maintained before installing it, you won’t have to dig very far.
Should you need to access your library, payments and subscriptions, activity, offers, Play Points, Family settings, etc., you’ll do so by clicking on your profile button in the top right. This matches up to most of Google’s apps at this point and should be a familiar place to look for most of you.
Overall, I’d consider this a clean simplification of an outdated layout. Gone is the sidebar that weirdly pushed you to “Entertainment” for years; in is a straight-forward, online app store that would rather you find games over movies.
To access this, Google likely has to have pushed it to your account. The current default URL for it is play.google.com/store/games. My personal Gmail account is seeing it, while my GSuite account unsurprisingly isn’t.
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