Google Pay gets 3 handy new features that could save you time and money

Google Pay is receiving three new features that collectively aim to make online shopping easier and more transparent. At first, it may seem strange how the tech giant is updating Google Pay when the app is scheduled to go offline on June 4 in the United States. 

However, it turns out the patch is rolling out to the Google Pay payment system rather than to the app itself. The Google Pay app is still set to be discontinued in about two weeks from the time of this writing. You’ll see the following changes appear on desktop and mobile.

According to their announcement post, the company states “American Express and Capital One cardholders” will now see the benefits they can receive when checking out on Chrome desktop in the “autofill drop-down” menu. Google gives the example of someone buying a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Your American Express Gold Card may offer three times the travel points, while a Capital One Quicksilver Card will give you “1.5 percent cash back on [your] purchase.” There are plans to add “more cards in the future” as well.

Google Pay Card Benefits in Autofill

(Image credit: Google)

Next, the buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment option is expanding to more “merchant sites and Android apps across the US.” Google appears to be working with two BNPL services, Affirm and Zip, to make the expansion possible. Exactly which websites and apps are unknown, and Google didn't provide any additional details in the post, although we did ask.

Autofill update

The first two features are exclusive to people in the United States; however, the Autofill update is seeing an international release. Moving forward, shoppers on either Chrome or Android can use biometrics or their screen lock PIN to verify card details. With this, you'll no longer have to enter your security code manually.

Google Pay - Autofill update

(Image credit: Google)

Autofill will normally work without a hitch, but Google states if it detects suspicious transactions, it’ll prevent payments from going through. Also, users can “set up device unlock” to have Google Pay ask you to unlock your smartphone to reveal “full card details.” It ensures your card isn’t used by other people who might have access to your device.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives. The Google Pay update is currently rolling out. While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best Android phones for 2024.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

I’m finally going to use these Chrome extensions to save me money in 2024

Let’s face it, almost everyone could use a bit of help saving money these days, with the cost-of-living crisis and various inflationary pressures still kicking around globally, alongside other factors that can make finances a struggle.

I’ve certainly been counting the pennies here and there, but one area where I’ve slacked off is with web browsing. I have, of course, been aware that there are ways to save money using extensions for my chosen web browser – Chrome – but I just haven't got round to doing anything about it, or installing any of those helpful add-ons.

That’s all about to change. Read on to see the extensions that I’m going to enlist in an effort to save me a bit of cash over the course of 2024, in case you might want to follow in my footsteps.

Honey, I shrunk the price tag

Why haven’t I used Chrome extensions to help with online shopping before? It’s a good question, and one that I don’t have a good answer for. ‘Procrastination’ about sums it up, though.

Anyway, for money-saving, the recommendation from my fellow colleagues (TechRadarians, if you will) is that one of the most important extensions that I should make a beeline for is Honey (pun fully intended, in all its awfulness).

A laptop screen showing the Honey Chrome extension

(Image credit: Honey)

What’s Honey? It’s an extension from PayPal that’s essentially an online shopping assistant, so when buying a product in Chrome, Honey will also scour the web for coupons for the best discount. These can then be applied and one way or another, I’m hoping I’ll save a bit of cash. Plus it’s possible to get cashback reward points on top, as a bonus, for those who have a PayPal account in ‘good standing’ (but only with participating retailers).

There will likely only be small savings here and there, but as they say, it all adds up, and over the course of next year I’m hoping to be a noticeably better off by the time the online shopping dust settles.

Camel companion

3 tips for saving money with your Windows PC

1. Power settings
Type ‘power’ in the search box on the taskbar and click on the option for ‘Power and sleep settings.’ In here, you can set your monitor and PC to go to sleep after a short while of not being used, making some power savings on your energy bill.
2. Power settings part deux
While in the ‘Power and sleep’ panel, check out the ‘Additional power settings’ link which allows you to specify more frugal power plans if you really want to cut the running cost of your PC (but remember, doing so will impact performance).
3. Tab taming
One of TechRadar’s best Chrome extensions, Tab Wrangler is great if you’re a tab addict like me. It automatically closes tabs that aren’t being used (but you can easily fire them up again), helping to save a tiny bit of power usage.

The Camelizer is another extension I intend to bag in the new year as a partner to Honey for saving money on my online shopping. It's widely used by the TechRadar team all year round, but particularly during shopping events like Prime Day and Black Friday.

The Chrome add-on is particularly handy for anyone like myself who’s a Prime member and orders regularly from Amazon – because it tracks historical Amazon pricing.

For most Amazon products, the extension serves up a graph of how its pricing has dropped, and risen, over time. That way, I can be sure of whether any item really is at a good price, or if it might be likely to drop a good chunk again (perhaps at the next big sale), so I can wait and save more if that’s a likely prospect. This extension also gives me the ability to have an alert piped through if a product drops to a certain price level – pretty nifty.

A laptop screen on a green background showing The Camelizer Chrome extension

(Image credit: Future)

If you're in the US, the aforementioned Honey does also have a price tracking feature for Amazon. I live in the UK, though, and Honey won’t track anything but (US) pricing – so myself, and everyone else across the globe, needs an alternative. 

The Camelizer extension (and another alternative, Keepa) are built especially for this purpose, and provide more detailed info on price history than Honey (including third-party marketplace listings, and second-hand prices for that matter).

Cashing in with cashback

Lastly, another recommendation given to me by TechRadar's online shopping whizzes has been TopCashback. The savings made with this service – in the form of cashback returns, as you might guess, on purchases – can really add up. I’ve seen the evidence of this, and don’t need any more convincing – moreover, the Chrome extension is a great way to access these benefits.

The idea is simple: a load of companies sign up with TopCashback and when anyone makes purchases from those retailers, TopCashback gives the buyer a certain percentage of cashback on the outlay.

With the normal service, the user needs to go to the TopCashback website and search for the retailer to see if they’ve signed up to the scheme, and what items might apply. It’s all a bit clunky, but the beauty of the Chrome extension is that it automatically checks any site visited and flags available cashback offers on products, which is much more convenient.

A laptop screen on a green background showing the TopCashback Chrome extensions

(Image credit: Future)

To get cashback, all you need to do is click the ‘activate’ prompt that pops up when buying something. This Chrome add-on also flags up some voucher codes as a bonus.

The slight catch with the extension is that not every retailer is supported. But most are, and the convenience aspect is what swings it for me. I don’t really fancy having to constantly navigate to the website to perform pre-purchase searches (and realistically, I’ll probably forget to do so half the time anyway).

I'm also going to risk the temptation of filling up my Chrome toolbar with more extensions than the three that I've mentioned (Honey, The Camelizer and TopCashback). While I'm aware that there are countless others (including Rakuten, Fakespot and more), I'll be starting the year with that golden trio – and if you fancy saving some money in 2024, you should too.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

New Windows 11 energy-saving option could save money and extend your laptop’s battery life

Windows 11 laptops could soon benefit from improved battery life thanks to a change in the works currently in testing.

The new feature called ‘Energy Saver’ is in the freshly released preview build 26002 of Windows 11 in the Canary channel (the earliest testing avenue).

Microsoft describes it as an extension of battery saver, and it reins in system performance to give you more battery life. The blurb for the feature notes it will limit some background activities, so apps and the system may run a bit slower, or be a touch less responsive when you return to them, but your laptop will last longer.

Energy Saver can be set to kick in when your battery percentage drops to a certain level, or you can manually select it. In the latter case, the option is present in the quick settings accessed via the system tray (far right on the taskbar).

Speaking of the quick settings panel, in build 26002 Microsoft has applied some other work here, including experimenting with a tweak that makes it pop up faster and act more responsively, which will be a useful addition to the mix.

Furthermore, dealing with VPNs has been improved in quick settings, with the introduction of the ability to turn your VPN on or off with just a single click.

For all the gory details of the changes made in build 26002, check out Microsoft’s blog post (spoiler alert – they’re not all that gory).

Analysis: Energy Saver – and Money Saver, too

What we don’t know yet is how much effect this new Energy Saver will have in extending battery life, but Microsoft is certainly billing it as a more heavy-duty method of eking out greater longevity than battery saver, so that’s promising.

What’s also interesting with this feature is that while it’s designed for laptops, Microsoft is also allowing it to be used for desktop PCs (or notebooks plugged into the mains and not running on battery, for that matter).

In short, this allows you to save a bit of money when running your desktop PC all day – maybe you work from home and do so, like us – if you’re happy with somewhat constrained performance levels, of course. With power bills being what they are, though, and the cost-of-living crisis still very much around, it’s a useful option to have. Not to mention an environmentally-friendly choice, to boot.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 could get a smart feature to help you save money on energy bills

Windows 11 could be getting a new change to give you an idea of how much power your desktop PC chugs through on a daily basis – and per app power usage data, too.

Or at least this is a new feature spotted in the latest preview build of Windows 11 (from the Dev channel), albeit the functionality is hidden away.

The ever-present Windows testing detective on Twitter, PhantomOfEarth, uncovered the feature using ViVeTool. (That’s a Windows configuration utility that can be used to poke around under the hood and enable features lurking in the background, still yet to be enabled by Microsoft).

See more

As you might imagine, these features are hidden for good reason – they are still wonky and incomplete, and that’s very much the case with what we see here.

But the broad gist of it is that in build 23506, Microsoft is turning the Battery Usage panel into Energy (& Battery) Usage, meaning that it’ll be relevant not just for the best laptops out there and battery levels, but to show power usage for desktop PCs.

As PhantomOfEarth explains, the panel will show energy usage data for the Windows 11 PC, and break that down to individual apps, too – so if there’s an energy hog piece of software on your system, it’ll be clearly visible.

People running desktop computers will be able to see energy usage, but those with laptops can choose to switch between energy usage and battery level (so don’t worry, the latter isn’t being ditched).

Microsoft will also provide overall energy use and emissions data, but as the leaker observes, this is not yet finished and appears to display placeholder readings for now.

Analysis: Inbound for the 23H2 update? Perhaps…

It’s no surprise to see the feature isn’t fully working, because as we noted above, this is why the Energy (& Battery) Usage panel hasn’t yet been sent live in Windows 11 – it isn’t ready.

However, it’s something we expect will be added in time, given that it’ll be pretty useful to see a full breakdown of your PC’s power usage and environmental footprint, as it were. (At a time when those concerns are becoming increasingly sensitive, of course).

Being able to view your energy footprint and adjust your PC’s settings to see how you can do better – and save money on energy bills, hopefully, even if only a little – will be a welcome ability. Indeed, we can see this feature being tied into Microsoft’s AI project eventually, so you’ll be able to request: “Copilot, help me save energy on this PC.” Followed by a useful set of changes based on the relevant data collected here (well, hopefully).

At any rate, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this functionality arrive in the Windows 11 23H2 update (when Copilot will theoretically also pitch up, but we remain unconvinced about that rumor).

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

YouTube is making it easier for creators to make money — here’s how

In a surprising move from the massive video platform, YouTube has announced that it would be lowering the requirements for its YouTube Partner Program, which will make it easier for content creators to monetize their content.

Under these new requirements, YouTubers will be eligible to apply for partnership at 500 subscribers, a 50% cut from the previous 1,000 needed. Other requirements will also be lowered, such as creators only needing 3,000 valid watch hours instead of 4,000, as well as 3 million YouTube Shorts views compared to 10 million before.

According to The Verge, the site is also “opening up a handful of monetization methods to smaller creators, including paid chat, tipping, channel memberships, and shopping features.”

The shopping affiliate program is especially interesting. It was previously only available by invitation to select creators, but thanks to these sweeping changes, YouTube Partner Program participants in the US with at least 20,000 subscribers can now apply to it.

These changes will be initially rolling out in the US, UK, Canada, Taiwan, and South Korea, with plans to increase the number of regions later on.

YouTube is actually doing some good (TikTok too!) 

YouTube has been rolling out some pro-creator and user-friendly changes to its site as of late. Some of these include retiring overlaying banner ads on the desktop version, YouTube Premium for iOS getting better quality videos, and harnessing the power of AI to create real-time translations for its videos.

While some changes have been well received, like the feature that lets viewers see the most-watched parts of a video via a clear graph, others, like the site's continuous attempt to block ad-blockers, have been less popular.

Regardless, it’s good to see that YouTube is working to actively improve the experience. And it’s not only YouTube, as other social media platforms like TikTok have been working to make similar quality-of-life changes. 

For instance, The Verge details how TikTok’s “video paywall feature, Series, would be available to creators with more than 10,000 followers but that users with 1,000 followers who met other requirements could also apply to participate in the program.”

It’s good to see some positive news surrounding these sites, and fingers crossed that YouTube doesn’t end up in some serious hot water soon after this announcement. I’m afraid it’s a little too late for TikTok, though.

If you want to see how to make money using YouTube, or how to create a YouTube channel, we have you covered! Also, make sure you check out our best webcams guide as well.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google Wallet’s latest update lets you save more than just your money

Google Wallet just got a lot more useful thanks to a sizable update that focuses on meeting users’ everyday needs.

The update comes alongside Google's big June feature drop and adds three new features to the ID, credit card, and ticket-management app. Chief among them is the official launch of state ID and driver’s license support for people living in Maryland. We first saw the ID support late last year when the beta rolled out. From the looks of it, the requirements are still the same: you need to have a “phone running Android 8.0 or later,” plus the device lock must be enabled. 

Those digital ID cards can also be used at TSA PreCheck lines at certain airports to speed up the screening process. The full list can be found on the official TSA website.  In the coming months, digital ID support should be rolling out to residents of Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia.

Moving down the list, users will be able to digitize passes that contain either “a barcode or QR code” simply by taking a photo of it. You’ll be able to upload things like gym membership cards, transit tickets sporting a QR code, and parking passes. Additionally, Google Messages will now be able to directly upload a received boarding pass or train ticket to Wallet. However, RCS (Rich Communication Services) must be enabled first. The newfound Messages support is seeing a limited rollout as it’ll only work with “Vietnam Airlines and Renfe, Spain’s leading train operator.” No word on whether or not the feature will expand to work with other travel businesses. 

Future plans

The work isn’t over yet as Google plans on growing the Wallet app even further. The company states it’s currently working with American health insurance company Humana on “developing a digital version of [the latter’s] insurance card”. Because it would contain sensitive information, this type of pass will require card owners to verify themselves before adding or using the data. People can use either biometrics, a PIN, “or other methods.” For UK users, there are plans to allow residents a way to “save their National Insurance Number” onto Wallet via the HMRC app.

Later this year, the tech giant states it’ll introduce support for “corporate badges… giving employees convenient and secure access to buildings” at their workplace. Speaking of access, Google Wallet is slated to release to more countries “in the next few weeks” although it’s unknown where exactly. We reached out to Google for clarification on launch windows for other regions and future updates. This story will be updated if we hear back.

With all this talk about traveling, you may be thinking about planning your next vacation. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s guide on the best travel and weather apps for Android if you need some help.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft is changing Windows 11 to help you save money on power bills

Windows 11 has received another preview build in the Dev channel, and it brings in a number of tweaks and additions, including beefing up a feature that should help your PC use a bit less electricity.

That would be Content Adaptive Brightness Control (CABC), which as of preview build 23424, works not just with laptops on battery power, but when they’re plugged in – and indeed with desktop PCs too.

What CABC does is intelligently dim (or lighten) certain parts of the screen depending on what content is being displayed, the idea being that it can cut back power usage without hampering the ‘visual experience’.

In other words, the tweaking on the dimming front shouldn’t make any noticeable difference to the image you’re looking at on-screen, and it should save you a bit of power (and therefore cash, over time).

The feature can be set to be always on, or it can be disabled, or alternatively you can choose to have CABC kick in only if you’re on battery power (on a laptop of course).

Windows 11 Adaptive Brightness now works with desktop PCs

(Image credit: Microsoft)

What else is new for build 23424? There’s a new widget board which is now bigger, so it’s three columns wide (rather than two) and much roomier (assuming the device’s screen has enough real-estate to cope).

Along with this, there’s the usual gamut of fixes and minor tweaks, all of which are detailed in the usual blog post published with every preview build.

Notable pieces of minor tinkering include improving the speed of running searches within the Settings panel, and a change to produce better performance when playing games with a high polling mouse (a super-precise fancy gaming mouse, basically).

Analysis: Small savings that could add up (we hope)

Bringing adaptive brightness control to a desktop PC might sound a bit daft, considering it’s really more a battery-saving feature for laptops. But if like us, you have your PC turned on for about 60 or 70 hours a week, tiny little power savings will add up across the year – especially with energy pricing being what it is these days (sky-high where we are).

So, this is a useful addition we think, providing that as Microsoft asserts, there’s no noticeable hampering of the quality of the monitor image when the feature is turned on. Of course, you don’t have to switch it on if you don’t want to.

Microsoft’s work with widgets seems to be progressing at a speedy pace, too. The more expansive widget board was previously seen in limited testing in the Canary channel, which is the earliest test channel, just a week ago. Now it’s already in the Dev channel and more widely rolled out.

There are other widget-related changes theoretically in the pipeline that we might see soon, too. That includes Microsoft’s experiments with animated icons for widgets (which we have to say look quite nifty), and the rumored possibility has been floated that users may eventually be allowed to drop widgets onto the desktop. It seems fairly clear that widgets are quite a big thing for Microsoft, so expect to see more of them in Windows 11 down the line.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

DuckDuckGo’s new DuckAssist may give Bing and ChatGPT a run for their money

DuckDuckGo is the latest search engine getting on the generative AI train. It recently launch the beta of its new summarization tool known as DuckAssist, which utilizes “natural language technology” from both OpenAI and AI research company Anthropic.

Though similar to Bing, DuckAssist is not quite like ChatGPT. Instead of utilizing multiple sources to create the summaries, the tool uses primarily just one: Wikipedia. DuckDuckGo specifically chose Wikipedia “because it’s a public resource with a transparent editorial process that cites all the sources used in an article”. The company also points out that since the platform is frequently updated, DuckAssist will always deliver up-to-date information – at most, a few weeks old. Occasionally, the tool will pull from other platforms like Encyclopedia Britannica. However, Wikipedia will be the main one.

Using a single source for information brings with it multiple benefits, according to DuckDuckGo, like being able to generate answers for a vast number of queries quickly. Additionally, only pulling from Wikipedia and its sources reduces the rate of hallucinations – a problem generative AIs have where the tech will just make something up unrelated to the search query.

Work in progress

The way DuckAssist works is pretty simple. All you have to do is ask DuckDuckGo a question, and it’ll immediately write up a summary, complete with the sourced Wikipedia article at the bottom. It’ll even point to the specific section of said article where the original information can be found. 

The announcement post gives some suggestions on how to get the most out of DuckAssist. For example, “phrasing your search query as a question [or] adding the word ‘wiki’” increases the chances the summary will appear.

Since the tool is in beta, it’s not perfect. DuckDuckGo admits DuckAssist will not get it right 100 percent of the time. It may omit key information, give the wrong information, cite the wrong source, or all three at once – especially if it’s a particularly complex question. Also, not every query will be given an answer such as asking about recent global events. 

Because of these issues, DuckDuckGo is asking users to provide suggestions on DuckAssist and how it can improve the tool. Next to the summaries will be an anonymous feedback link where you can send feedback.


The tool is currently available on DuckDuckGo’s mobile apps and browser extensions, although not everyone will get to try it out. For those who can, it’s free and totally private. None of the queries will be used to train any AI models nor will OpenAI, Anthropic, or any third-party have access to that information. DuckAssist will roll out to all users within the coming weeks assuming everything goes well with the beta. 

It’s worth mentioning this is the first of a series of AI-assisted features that DuckDuckGo is working on. Not much else is known beyond that, but It'll be interesting to see what the developers come up with. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, that’s because Brave launched something very similar on its own web browser. Be sure to check out our coverage of Brave’s Summarizer feature

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

How CISOs Follow The Money

The Crown Jewels, Internal Dollars, Funded Adversaries, VC Money, Value At Risk, Business Alignment shared as options of how to follow the money. Also suggested are a few ways to protect the organizat…

Articles RSS Feed

Read More