Monday , 25 June 2018
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Google Updates: Flights, pens, telly times (and more free apps)

FIRST OFF apologies for the lack of a column last week, blame the slow speed of penicillin.

Things Google related you may have missed this week:

What’s going on with Google in the US is often a barometer of what we’ll get over here in Blighty soon, so we’re excited to learn that Google can now read TV schedules. The big block here is that, at the moment, Sky Q doesn’t really integrate with anything else so the skill wouldn’t be much use to its prime market, but we’re hoping it’s a matter of time.

If streaming is more your bag though, YouTube’s TV service has rolled out to Apple TV and Roku (again, in the US) bringing more ways for you to cut the cord with an cable company. It’s also getting even tighter support for your Netflix account.

A slightly bizarre one, Google has joined the Universal Stylus Initative. Styli, as well as being Steve Jobs’ nemesis, are also a confusing issue, and not everything works with every screen. Now Google has joined a group determined to sort out the confusion and make a standard for everyone. Unsurprisingly, Apple is not a member.

Finally, Google wants to try and beat the airlines at their own game. It plans to use its machine learning technology to predict if your plane is going to be late, before the dreaded ‘bing-bong’ of doom. Frankly, it’s not that hard. In most cases, if it left late, or the previous outbound flight was late, you’re screwed, but adding a bit of science will help predict if there’s any chance of making up time.

For other Google stories on INQ this week, you can always click here.

Your three-for-free this week are a little meatier than of late. At this time of year, there tends to be a tilt towards games going free, but fortunately, we’ve found some good utilities.

If you’re doing a building project, Snagbricks (£5.99) is a blinder – it allows you to do all your site auditing, snag finding, safety inspection and quoting in one app.

If you’re not, you could try Fella (£0.59) one of the increasing number of web-wrappers with bells on, designed to improve the experience of the ever bloated Facebook app. It offers a choice of theme, reduces data, works on a slow connection and brings back that holy grail – Messenger in the same app. Lush.

Finally nBubble takes a bit of getting used to, but if you like your notifications to show in pop-ups instead of swipe downs, this is a very slick little app, worth a try to see if you like it.

As ever, the price of these apps may go up as well as down. µ

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