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Google updates Docs with integrated search on Android, dictation, and advanced change tracking

Google updates Docs with integrated search on Android, dictation, and advanced change tracking

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Plus new templates, chart tools, and a Google Classroom update

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Google's productivity suite just got a big update timed to students' return to school. Changes across Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Google's Classroom product for teachers focus on making common tasks effortless, product managers said at an event today in San Francisco. The changes, which include integrated search and voice typing for Google Docs, will begin rolling out today.

The biggest changes are coming to Google Docs, and they'll likely make your life easier whether you're a student or you've long since graduated. To start with, Google is rolling out dictation in 40 languages, building on its years of developing voice-recognition technology across its product lineup. Unlike most dictation software on the market, Google's "voice typing" doesn't require you to train it by speaking a bunch of practice sentences. You just tap and start talking, and it works on Docs for Android, iOS, and the web.

Just tap and start talking

The second big update to Docs is Android-only, at least for now: integrated search, which is available in the app's "Research" tool. Google Docs already has a research tool on the web, but searches kick you out of Docs into a new tab. The new tool opens up a split window that lets you search for text or images; when you see something you want to save, you can tap a new "insert" button and add it to your document. I assume a version of the feature will eventually come to the web and iOS, but Google declined to comment.

The final update to Docs lets you see all new changes to a document since the last time you opened it. Just click the "see new changes" button and they'll be highlighted on the page. If you're working on a document with multiple people, their changes will be highlighted in different colors; hover over the change and you'll see the name of the person who made it. Google Docs still has a full version history, but this makes it easier to quickly scan a document to see what's new.

Other updates to Google's productivity suite include a range of new templates for Docs, Sheets, and Slides; a refreshed user interface for Forms; and a new "explore" feature in Sheets that attempts to create useful charts automatically out of the data in the spreadsheet. Google is also rolling out a Chrome extension that lets teachers share web pages to every student in their classroom with a couple of clicks.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

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Emma RothSep 24
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The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


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Andrew WebsterSep 24
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At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


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Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


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Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
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Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


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Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


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If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


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Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.