Spotify users’ lives will get a lot simpler with Google’s new Play Store update

Spotify and Google are teaming up to give users on Android smartphones more choice on how they pay for a Premium subscription to the music platform.

From later this year, you'll be able to choose for the payment to either go through Spotify's own system or Google Play Billing instead, according to the latest Spotify Blog Post. The change is expected to come to other big-name apps as well, though we’ve yet to hear specifics.

The initiative is being called ‘User Choice Billing’, and it will give you the option to choose between giving more to the creators of the apps you use or continuing to contribute to Google’s Play Store infrastructure. 

But, which payment system is likely to be best for you?


Analysis: Which payment system will be better? 

Giving people more choice is rarely a bad thing, but here it definitely feels like you’re being asked to weigh up two nearly identical options.

When Epic Games tried to circumvent Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store payments in Fortnite mobile, it attracted customers by charging less for in-game goodies than if they bought via the third-party. Unfortunately, we don’t expect this will be the case here, as it’s a Google-led initiative.

If Spotify Premium costs less through Spotify than through Google’s Play Store (or vice versa), then you’d have no reason to opt for the pricier option.

So, assuming both systems are equally expensive for the customer which is better? If you want to maximize the portion of your money going to Spotify, then most likely its own private system will be best. 

But, for convenience, Google’s billing is likely to be your best option. As all of your subscription payment data is stored in one place, the next time that you get a new debit or credit card you won’t have to remember everywhere that it’s used – you just have to update your details once, and your subscriptions will all continue.

Additionally, it’ll be easier to keep an eye on the subscriptions that you have. It’s not hard to forget that you have recurring billing set up for an app you rarely use, so by storing all of your subscriptions in one location within Google Play, you’d be able to quickly scroll through and find out what you’re paying without having to decode your bank statements.

If the service spreads to other apps and services, it might also give you the option to pay for digital goods without having to give your card details to a platform that you aren’t familiar with.

However, as with all upcoming features, we’ll have to wait and see just how much of a time or money saver 'User Choice Billing' ends up being when it launches.

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Google IO 2022 dates, registration, and what to expect from Google’s online show

Google announced its IO 2022 keynote conference for May 11, concluding on May 12, which will mainly be an online event.

While we don't have confirmation yet of what's appearing, it's likely that we'll see Android 13 appear as a preview, similar to last year's Android 12 launch at Google IO 2021.

Like last year, much of Google IO 2022 will be held online, but you can register to attend, according to its FAQ.

After Google canceled its 2020 event due to the pandemic, Google IO 2021 was online only. But with this year's event seemingly hosting an online and offline audience, we may see more demos this year of what Google's been working on.

We suspect Sundar Pichai will kick off the main keynote on May 10, which we expect will be free to stream as before.

See more

We won't know officially until the May 11 keynote what Google intends to show off, but we can already extrapolate based on the rumors and leaks coming from Google's camp. Below, we'll predict Google's hardware and software lineup for Google IO 2022, as well as explain how the virtual event will work.

LATEST NEWS

Google IO 2022 is announced as a mostly-online event, but you can register to attend.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Google’s yearly developer conference
  • When is it? May 11-May 12, 2022
  • How can I register / how much does it cost? On the Google event page for free; all you need is a Google account

Google IO 2022 Registration

(Image credit: Google)

What are the Google IO 2022 dates?

Google revealed that its developer conference would take place from Wednesday, May 11 through Thursday, May 12. Google regularly schedules its annual three-day conference for mid-May, making these dates on-brand for the company.

The traditional keynote hasn't been confirmed as yet, but we expect it to be held on the first day of IO 2022, May 11.

Google IO 2022 Logo

(Image credit: Google)

Is Google IO online-only?

Google canceled the May 2020 event in early March 2020, right at the advent of the pandemic when everyone had begun to shelter in place and live events felt increasingly unsafe.

Google normally holds the Google IO keynote and subsequent developer sessions in physical gatherings at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, where COVID-19 restrictions on large events are slowly being lifted across the country. 

But with Google IO 2021 repeating the same plan as 2020, many had assumed that IO 2022 would follow. This has turned out to be partly true, as you can register to attend, but the company has said that invites will be hard to attain.

How Google IO 2022 will work

Most casual Google users associate Google IO with the keynote address, which streams online where anyone can watch it. But in previous years you could also buy a pass to attend Google developer sessions, new product demos, labs to learn about new code, and other events for professionals or hobbyists. 

This year, most of those events look to be virtual and free, with Google announcing more details as the event gets closer.

Some Google IO 2022 events will be free to all and rewatchable on-demand, as in previous years. But there will be other events that will require you to reserve a slot due to its popularity.

Google IO stage

(Image credit: Future)

What to expect at Google IO 2022

Based on Google's annual product and software calendar, plus all the leaks and rumors we've heard about, we have a general idea of what Sundar Pichai and the Google execs will discuss during the Google IO 2022 keynote. Here are the highlights:

Android Logo

(Image credit: Google)

Android 13

The latest Android OS is already in the developer beta stage on Pixel 6 phones and lower, but we're certain that Google will spend time outlining Android 13's undisclosed tricks on stage. 

With Apple almost certainly introducing iOS 16 at WWDC in June, Google will want to jump ahead of that and show off its newest innovations first. It could even announce the launch of the Android 13 public beta, though that isn't confirmed.

While the preview shows few hints towards Android 13, it does look as though privacy will be another focus for Google in this release, alongside more refined theme options.

With Android 12L focusing on tablets more than ever, there's a chance that we may see an Android 13L that's primarily tailored for tablets and foldable devices.

The back of a Google Pixel 6 Pro in yellow

(Image credit: Google)

Less likely: Pixel 7 and Pixel Tablet

Google is actively developing the Pixel 7 and a Pixel foldable phone, alongside a rumored Pixel Tablet, potentially for a simultaneous October 2022 release. That's far enough out that Google may not want to show off their specs or hardware until it's closer to Fall.

But Google IO has primarily been software-focused, with the only hardware being shown in previous years, being a Chromecast or Google Home products.

However, with IO 2022 allowing some attendees, there's always a chance that hands-on demos is something that the company will want to take advantage of.

wearOS Google

(Image credit: Google)

New Fitbit hardware or Wear OS updates

Ever since Google bought Fitbit despite antitrust concerns, we've been curious how Google will put its personal spin on the best Fitbits of the future. 

Since Google IO 2021, we've seen a bigger focus from the company on how Wear OS 'fits' in its product line, but we've yet to see another Google-branded smartwatch return.

This may be the year that we see a section dedicated to Fitbit, Wear OS, and more. Google is aware that the Apple Watch rules over all others in the category, and 2022 may be the year that we see some more major improvements.

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Google IO 2022 dates, registration, and what to expect from Google’s online show

Google announced its IO 2022 keynote conference for May 11, concluding on May 12, which will mainly be an online event.

While we don't have confirmation yet of what's appearing, it's likely that we'll see Android 13 appear as a preview, similar to last year's Android 12 launch at Google IO 2021.

Like last year, much of Google IO 2022 will be held online, but you can register to attend, according to its FAQ.

After Google canceled its 2020 event due to the pandemic, Google IO 2021 was online only. But with this year's event seemingly hosting an online and offline audience, we may see more demos this year of what Google's been working on.

We suspect Sundar Pichai will kick off the main keynote on May 10, which we expect will be free to stream as before.

See more

We won't know officially until the May 11 keynote what Google intends to show off, but we can already extrapolate based on the rumors and leaks coming from Google's camp. Below, we'll predict Google's hardware and software lineup for Google IO 2022, as well as explain how the virtual event will work.

LATEST NEWS

Google IO 2022 is announced as a mostly-online event, but you can register to attend.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Google’s yearly developer conference
  • When is it? May 11-May 12, 2022
  • How can I register / how much does it cost? On the Google event page for free; all you need is a Google account

Google IO 2022 Registration

(Image credit: Google)

What are the Google IO 2022 dates?

Google revealed that its developer conference would take place from Wednesday, May 11 through Thursday, May 12. Google regularly schedules its annual three-day conference for mid-May, making these dates on-brand for the company.

The traditional keynote hasn't been confirmed as yet, but we expect it to be held on the first day of IO 2022, May 11.

Google IO 2022 Logo

(Image credit: Google)

Is Google IO online-only?

Google canceled the May 2020 event in early March 2020, right at the advent of the pandemic when everyone had begun to shelter in place and live events felt increasingly unsafe.

Google normally holds the Google IO keynote and subsequent developer sessions in physical gatherings at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, where COVID-19 restrictions on large events are slowly being lifted across the country. 

But with Google IO 2021 repeating the same plan as 2020, many had assumed that IO 2022 would follow. This has turned out to be partly true, as you can register to attend, but the company has said that invites will be hard to attain.

How Google IO 2022 will work

Most casual Google users associate Google IO with the keynote address, which streams online where anyone can watch it. But in previous years you could also buy a pass to attend Google developer sessions, new product demos, labs to learn about new code, and other events for professionals or hobbyists. 

This year, most of those events look to be virtual and free, with Google announcing more details as the event gets closer.

Some Google IO 2022 events will be free to all and rewatchable on-demand, as in previous years. But there will be other events that will require you to reserve a slot due to its popularity.

Google IO stage

(Image credit: Future)

What to expect at Google IO 2022

Based on Google's annual product and software calendar, plus all the leaks and rumors we've heard about, we have a general idea of what Sundar Pichai and the Google execs will discuss during the Google IO 2022 keynote. Here are the highlights:

Android Logo

(Image credit: Google)

Android 13

The latest Android OS is already in the developer beta stage on Pixel 6 phones and lower, but we're certain that Google will spend time outlining Android 13's undisclosed tricks on stage. 

With Apple almost certainly introducing iOS 16 at WWDC in June, Google will want to jump ahead of that and show off its newest innovations first. It could even announce the launch of the Android 13 public beta, though that isn't confirmed.

While the preview shows few hints towards Android 13, it does look as though privacy will be another focus for Google in this release, alongside more refined theme options.

With Android 12L focusing on tablets more than ever, there's a chance that we may see an Android 13L that's primarily tailored for tablets and foldable devices.

The back of a Google Pixel 6 Pro in yellow

(Image credit: Google)

Less likely: Pixel 7 and Pixel Tablet

Google is actively developing the Pixel 7 and a Pixel foldable phone, alongside a rumored Pixel Tablet, potentially for a simultaneous October 2022 release. That's far enough out that Google may not want to show off their specs or hardware until it's closer to Fall.

But Google IO has primarily been software-focused, with the only hardware being shown in previous years, being a Chromecast or Google Home products.

However, with IO 2022 allowing some attendees, there's always a chance that hands-on demos is something that the company will want to take advantage of.

wearOS Google

(Image credit: Google)

New Fitbit hardware or Wear OS updates

Ever since Google bought Fitbit despite antitrust concerns, we've been curious how Google will put its personal spin on the best Fitbits of the future. 

Since Google IO 2021, we've seen a bigger focus from the company on how Wear OS 'fits' in its product line, but we've yet to see another Google-branded smartwatch return.

This may be the year that we see a section dedicated to Fitbit, Wear OS, and more. Google is aware that the Apple Watch rules over all others in the category, and 2022 may be the year that we see some more major improvements.

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Google’s March 2022 update for Android and more is out – but is it worth updating?

A new month brings a roundup of updates from Google, which applies to all of its products that feature its Google software loaded on.

You may already see these as a notification on your Pixel 6 or Samsung S22 Ultra as a required update. These are similar to Microsoft's efforts for monthly updates in Windows 11, where small refinements or bug fixes are grouped into one download package.

But these updates aren't limited to Android – Chromebook, Chrome OS, WearOS, Android Auto will all have this update, ready to download and install as well.

What's in Google's March update?

While the main bug fixes for this March update vary between Games and Wallet Management, Google Play Store is its main focus:

  • Improvements to the Play-as-you-download feature to let gamers start playing mobile games while the app download continues to reduce waiting times.
  • New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.
  • Optimizations allow faster and more reliable download and installation.
  • New features to the Play Pass and Play Points programs.
  • Enhancements to Google Play Billing.
  • Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe.
  • Various performance optimizations, bug fixes, and improvements to security, stability, and accessibility. 

If the update hasn't shown as a notification on your Google device, go to Settings > About > Software Update, and a box should appear, listing the March 2022 update.

These monthly updates are always recommended, as they can help improve privacy, quash bugs and bring in features across your Google devices, from your smartphone to your car.

But with Google rumored to host another I/O event where it announces new updates to all of its products and software releases, we may see a substantial monthly update on the horizon soon.

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Google’s cookie replacement plan just passed a major hurdle

Google's plan to replace third-party cookies with its new Privacy Sandbox standards is one step closer to becoming a reality after receiving approval from the UK's competition regulator.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it has formally accepted the search giant's commitments regarding how it will develop its new standards in such a way that they don't impede competition or unfairly benefit Google's advertising business.

In a press release, chief executive at the CMA, Andrea Coscelli explained that while the regulator has approved Google's new set of standards, it will still be keeping a 'close eye' on the search giant as it develops these proposals, saying:

“The commitments we have obtained from Google will promote competition, help to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguard users’ privacy. While this is an important step, we are under no illusions that our work is done. We now move into a new phase where we will keep a close eye on Google as it continues to develop these proposals. We will engage with all market participants in this process, in order to ensure that Google is taking account of concerns and suggestions raised.”

Privacy Sandbox proposals

After abandoning its original FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) proposal, Google recently introduced a substitute called Google Topics that will serve ads to users based on broad interest categories as opposed to using granular and often more sensitive data collected by third-party cookies.

Now that the CMA has formally accepted the company's commitments, they have become legally binding and Google has said that it will apply them globally. As part of these commitments, the company will develop its Privacy Sandbox proposals in a way that's transparent and it will also publish test results.

Google has also confirmed that it won't remove third-party cookies from Chrome until the CMA gives the all clear that its new alternatives don't raise any competition concerns. At the same time, the search giant won't share data within its business in a way that is unfair and gives it an edge over its competitors.

There is still some time left until Google phases out third-party cookies in Chrome as the company plans to put its Privacy Sandbox standards in place by the end of next year. However, other browsers such as Firefox and Safari have already decided to block third-party cookies outright.

Via The Verge

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