Android Police

Manuel Vonau-Senior Google Editor

Manuel Vonau

Senior Google Editor

About Manuel Vonau

Manuel Vonau is Android Police's Google Editor, with expertise in Android, Chrome, and other Google products — the very core of Android Police’s content. He has been covering tech news and reviewing devices since joining Android Police as a news writer in 2019. He lives in Berlin, Germany.

Manuel studied Media and Culture studies in Düsseldorf, finishing his university career with a master's thesis titled "The Aesthetics of Tech YouTube Channels: Production of Proximity and Authenticity." His background gives him a unique perspective on the ever-evolving world of technology and its implications on society. He isn't shy to dig into technical backgrounds and the nitty-gritty developer details, either.

Manuel's first steps into the Android world were plagued by issues. After his HTC One S refused to connect to mobile internet despite three warranty repairs, he quickly switched to a Nexus 4, which he considers his true first Android phone. Since then, he has mostly been faithful to the Google phone lineup, though these days, he is also carrying an iPhone in addition to his Pixel phone. This helps him gain perspective on the mobile industry at large and gives him multiple points of reference in his coverage.

Outside of work, Manuel enjoys a good film or TV show, loves to travel, and you will find him roaming one of Berlin's many museums, cafés, cinemas, and restaurants occasionally.

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Sign in to your old Google account now to save it from deletion

Google will start deleting inactive Google accounts in December, but it’s easy to prevent

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As Google announced earlier this year, inactive Google accounts will be deleted starting December 2023. Google will send plenty of reminders before that happens and will start with those accounts that were never used, but it’s clear that it will no longer keep inactive accounts around indefinitely. To prevent your account from being deleted, you can sign in and use the account for some simple actions.

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Google Chrome is making a big change to extensions by mid-2024

Manifest V2 has a new end-of-life date, but Google made Manifest V3 friendlier to adblockers

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Google Chrome’s up-and-coming new extension manifest, Manifest V3, is slated to replace its predecessor for good next year. The company has announced that it will discontinue Manifest V2 in June 2024, remotely deactivating extensions that still rely on it and preventing installations via the Chrome Web Store. Manifest V3 has faced criticism from adblock developers in particular, complaining that the new specification is too limiting, but the company has made some amends.

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What’s new in Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1

Google’s surprise new release packs a few long-awaited features

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Google surprised many with the launch of the Android 14 Quarterly Platform Release 2 (QPR2) beta in mid-November, all while the QPR1 beta is still in full swing. The company usually first releases stable versions before turning to the next beta. Then again, Google did just this before when it launched QPR1 in September, ahead of the stable Android 14 launch. While Android 14 QPR1 will all but certainly go stable as the December Feature Drop at the end of 2023, Android 14 QPR2 should arrive for everyone in March 2024 as the March Feature Drop. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming quarterly platform release.

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Android 14 QPR2 could let you remove that pesky At a Glance widget on your Pixel

Not everyone wants to use Google’s baked-in widget

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Google might soon let you remove the At a Glance widget from your Pixel’s home screen. The widget has been a staple Pixel feature for years now, but not everyone wants or needs it to be visible at all times on their home screen. Android 14 QPR2, released this week, is adding experimental support for removing the widget, allowing you to use the space for apps or other great widgets.

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Google’s password sharing is live in Chrome Canary, here's how it works

Google’s Password Manager now makes it possible to share your credentials with family members

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Back in August, Google was spotted making progress on adding a password sharing option to Chrome. Fast forward a few months, and the feature is live in one of the latest Chrome releases, Canary 121. With the right flags enabled, you can share credentials stored in your Google Password Manager with other members of your Google family group.

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Google Maps promises to stop leading you to the wrong station entrance

Google Maps is rolling out big improvements to transit navigation, list collaboration, and emoji reactions

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Google Maps has announced a slew of new updates today. The company is launching a new public transit routing system with better routes and clearer station entrances and exits. There are also improvements for collaborative lists and emoji reactions for user content like photos and reviews, with support for Emoji Kitchen. The changes are rolling out over the next few weeks to Android and iOS.

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Niagara Launcher wants to fix custom icon packs for good

The fan-favorite custom launcher is bringing three built-in packs as part of Niagara Pro

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Niagara has just announced a new family of icon packs that are supposed to take the hassle out of using custom icon packs and themed icons. The launcher’s new built-in “Anycon” icon packs use Niagara’s existing algorithm to closely match unsupported apps with generic fitting icons. The icon packs are available as part of Niagara’s Pro version and built into the launcher itself.

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Android’s latest optimizations save up to 95 petabytes of storage globally

Over one billion devices benefit from ART code size optimizations, leading to 50 to 100MB saved per device

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Google released a new version of the Android Runtime (ART), which is in charge of translating apps’ bytecode into native instructions. According to the company, the new version is more efficient than its predecessor and uses up about 9% less code without any performance penalties. This allows memory and storage savings of about 50 to 100MB per average Android device, resulting in 47 to 95 petabytes saved on all supported devices globally.

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Google Photos’ new stacks could finally help me clean up my library for good

Google Photos storage isn’t free anymore, and I’m thankful for any tool that makes cleaning up easier

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Ever since Google took away free unlimited storage on Google Photos, I knew I’d have to figure out a way to keep my ever-growing photo library slim and lean. Google’s existing tools are a passable point to get started, but they lack important context. That’s why I’m very excited to get my hands on Google Photos’ new photo stacks, which are supposed to group similar photos taken at roughly the same time in a stack much like Top Shot does. While this is primarily intended to make it easier to scroll through your library, it will also make it much easier to pick a single great shot and discard the rest.

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Chrome for Android could soon work better with your password manager

Google is testing a new ‘autofill options’ section in settings

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Google Chrome has long offered its own autofill system for your addresses, credit cards, passwords, and more. The company is slowly reworking this system into its full-fledged Google Password Manager, competing with other great password managers like 1Password and Bitwarden. Chrome’s internal autofill system sometimes makes it difficult to use external password managers, though. It looks like an upcoming tweak to the browser could fix this.

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Google Pixel 8 review: The Pixel for the masses

The Pixel 8 doesn't need every feature the 8 Pro offers, it's packing more than enough

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The Google Pixel 8 is here, and it's likely Google's most distinct non-Pro model yet. It’s significantly smaller and lighter than its predecessor, giving it a different touch and feel than the Google Pixel 8 Pro. It also misses some key features compared to its bigger sibling, giving the $300 price gap between the two a lot more meaning than in previous generations.

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Here's one way Android 14 drastically improves battery life

Google patched a loophole that allowed apps to stay active in background infinitely

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Many people who upgraded their Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 units to Android 14 reported better heat management and battery life. This is thanks to a ton of power-saving optimizations, among them event scheduling and app caching improvements. It turns out the company is also fighting bad actors who try to get around background app limitations with the new operating system.

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Android 15: Our wishlist and what to expect

Here's what we know about Android 15 so far and our wishlist of what we would like to see in the release

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The first Android phone turned 15 years old. It's time to think about Android 15. With Android 14 available in stable, rumors and leaks are spreading about what next year's Android version has in store. We spotted a few key details over the last few months. While we wait for more information, we have things we would love to see. Dive into everything we know about Android 15 and our wishlist of features in this article.

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Chrome flags: What they are and how to use them

Supercharge your browser with experimental features

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Google Chrome is a priority choice for most people, with solid features, seamless integration with other Google services, and dominance in the Android phone market. Its Chromium foundation is the building block that many of its competitors, like Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, and Brave, are created with. That's why you can expect a similar feature set across Chromium-based browsers. Beneath these features are hidden experimental tricks you can activate to enhance your browsing experience. Google calls them Chrome flags, and we explain all you need to know about them.

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Some Nest speakers don't know what a timer for 12 minutes is

They know what a 12-minute timer is, though

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Google Assistant used to be the flagship product Google pushed into all kinds of other apps and services, with the Nest speakers and displays at the forefront of the company’s vision to an always-connected future. We all know that Google Bard and other generative AI endeavors are quickly taking Assistant’s spot, with smart home devices and the Assistant itself losing more and more features. It looks like you can count the ability to set a timer for 12 minutes among those, too.

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Google Chrome could soon restore your web apps on Android

A new flag for a ‘PWA Restore UI’ has surfaced

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Many web apps have become so powerful today that they’re barely distinguishable from native applications. They can even be distributed via the Play Store, as is the case with Twitter Light, for example (yes, that app is still called Twitter for some reason, not X). Web apps can also simply be installed via your browser, and they will behave no differently from apps installed via the Play Store — except for when you switch to a new device. While you can easily restore all of your Play Store apps, you need to reinstall web apps manually. It looks like Chrome is looking into a restore function of its own to fix this oversight.

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Android 14: The complete guide to Google's new release

All the details we have on Android 14 in one central place

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Google's stable Android 14 release came later than expected, but that doesn't matter now that the new Android version is here. After months of testing, the new Android release is available, making its way to all supported Google Pixel phones and rolling out to all other Android phones. Android 14 is not as feature-packed and doesn't introduce nearly as many changes as Android 12, which introduced a new design language, but it's a bigger update than Android 13.

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Chrome for Android flips on the Material You toggles in settings

Chrome Canary 121 gives us a preview of Material Design 3 toggles in its settings

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Google Chrome already looks fairly in line with Google’s Material Design 3 guidelines, offering dynamic Material You colors and subtle new shapes that fit the design language. While you can see dynamic theming in settings, Google so far hasn’t bothered updating the toggles to match the new, bolder style. With Chrome 121, currently in Canary, this is changing. Here, Chrome offers the new Material Design 3 toggles.

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Google Pixel Fold: Price, specs, news, and features

Everything you need to know about Google's first crack at a folding phone

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Google finally unveiled the Pixel Fold at Google I/O 2023, its first folding phone that goes head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. Like Samsung's flagship foldable, this device is a book-style folding phone that has a regular smartphone-like screen on the front and a tablet-like display on the inside. But unlike that model, it uses a completely different aspect ratio to make the device wide and short.

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Google could kill certain kinds of YouTube Vanced alternatives for good

The company is exploring an integrity API that could lock down WebViews with DRM, which some Vanced alternatives rely on

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Last year, Google already killed YouTube Vanced for the first time. The company sent the makers of the modded, ad-free YouTube app a cease and desist letter, forcing them to shut down the project. However, eager copycats were quickly found, with new versions of Vanced making the rounds online. Since cease and desist letters are ultimately just a game of cat and mouse, Google appears to be looking into a way to stop one kind of Vanced alternatives once and for all.

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