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You can now use the Google Assistant button while playing Stadia games

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Nearly every Made by Google product released in the last few years includes a way to invoke the Google Assistant, and the Stadia Controller is no different. The Stadia Controller’s Google Assistant button has suddenly become far more useful, as you can now use it while playing your games.

Since launch, the Stadia Controller’s Google Assistant button was extremely forward looking, used only to launch games from Stadia’s home screen, but anyone who watched Stadia’s debut at GDC 2019 knew that Google had much larger ambitions for the Assistant in gaming. In that original demo, it was suggested that the Google Assistant could be used to do incredible things like pulling up a video tutorial of how to complete a certain part of the game.

While we’ve likely still got some waiting to do before the Google Assistant can walk us through Tomb Raider puzzles, as of this week we’re now one step closer to that future. As noted by Android Police, you can now use the Google Assistant button to access the full Assistant experience while playing on Chromecast — Android and desktop Stadia players will still need to wait.

Pressing the button brings up a slick new overlay with the usual four-color Assistant logo and the “Hi, how can I help?” prompt. From there, you can simply speak your request to the Assistant, with normal queries like general knowledge questions and smart home controls working similar to a smart speaker, though you currently can’t ask to play things like music or videos.

This is all possible because the Google Stadia Controller has a built-in microphone on the underside, solely used when the Google Assistant has been invoked. As explained in a Google Support document, the controller’s light will blink to let you know when the microphone is on and listening. And of course, before the Assistant button will ever work, you need to enable Stadia’s Google Assistant support in the app’s settings.

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Lenovo working on dual-purpose Android tablet and external monitor, ‘Yoga X’

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One feature that Android fans have to be envious of the iPad for is Sidecar, the ability to use your iPad as an external display. It seems the folks at Lenovo are eyeing an interesting way to solve that by making an Android tablet that doubles as an external monitor, the “Yoga X.”

This evening, two different leakers shared information about an upcoming device from Lenovo, reportedly called the “Yoga X.” Evan Blass shared an image on his Patreon depicting a simple illustration of this Yoga X, with a design that suffices it to say odd for a typical Android tablet. At first glance, it looks more like Chromebook folded into presentation mode than an Android tablet.

Fellow leaker Till Kottmann, via XDA-Developers, has provided a bit more context on what this device has in store. According to internal Lenovo documentation uncovered by Kottmann, which references a “second screen UX wireframe,” the Lenovo Yoga X will be able to connect via mini HDMI to another device. In doing so, the Android part of the tablet will lock to secure your data and the Yoga X will act as a display for what you’ve connected — be it a laptop, game console, or phone.

Elsewhere in the internal document, reportedly parts of the tablet’s Android side will still function as normal, including the brightness and volume controls as well as the audio output, should you want to use the Yoga X’s speakers.

Unfortunately, no other details have been discovered, such as specs, display size, or pricing. Given the lack of details and how bold and experimental an idea it would be to turn an Android tablet into an external display, it’s entirely possible this “Lenovo Yoga X” could never reach the market.

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Google surveying Android 11 Beta 2 users about what still needs to be fixed

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Following the latest beta on Wednesday, there is only one more Android 11 release before the public launch later this quarter. Google today released a survey asking testers to chime in on Android 11 Beta 2.

As we did for Beta 1, we’d like your feedback on the latest version of Android 11 on your Pixel device. This anonymous survey should take only a few minutes to complete. This helps us identify improvements or regressions between releases and prioritize key issue areas.

This follows last month’s survey on the initial beta and starts by having users confirm their device and build number. The anonymous survey polls you about “Android Feature/Area Satisfaction” in 10 areas, including Stability, Performance, Messaging, and App Experience.

It then asks whether you’d “recommend [Beta 2] to your friends and family” in its current state. There’s also a question about how “this beta build compare to the previous Android 11 beta build.” The four options are “Better,” “Same,” “Worse,” and “I didn’t try the previous beta build.”

We’d like to understand if you’re noticing improvements or regressions between beta releases.

That leads Google to ask about the “top issue area you experienced” and whether it would make you leave the Android Beta Program. Lastly, there’s an open field to “provide additional feedback on your experience.”

The final part of this survey is an open text field to leave any other comments about Android 11 Beta 2.

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Alphabet Scoop 095: Understanding Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, and Pixel 5… and a Nest speaker

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This week we dive into the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a (5G), and Pixel 5 following their surfacing in the Google app. In addition to making sense of Google’s 2020 phone lineup, we talk about the upcoming Nest speaker that was just officially teased.

Alphabet Scoop is available on Google Play, Google PodcastsiTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, and through our dedicated RSS feed for Pocket Casts and other podcast players.

New episodes of Alphabet Scoop are recorded every Thursday afternoon at 4-5 PM ET and published on Friday mornings. Subscribe to our podcast in Google Play or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.

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Drop us a line at [email protected]. You can also soon rate us in Google Play, Google PodcastsApple Podcasts or recommend us in Pocket Casts to help more people discover the show.

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