This week in games: E3 rumors start springing forth, EA doubles down on loot boxes

This week in games: E3 rumors start springing forth, EA doubles down on loot boxes

12:30pm, 11th May, 2018
We’re entering that weird period before every E3 where the “leaks” start appearing and it’s impossible to know what’s real or not. Case in point: Pretty much all the news this week.Look for rumors about Rage 2, Splinter Cell, and “Forza Horizons 5” (?) below, plus EA’s Andrew Wilson reiterating support for loot boxes, Rusty Lake making a short film, a trailer for a snazzy looking shooter called Atomic Heart, and details on Red Sox pitcher David Price’s Fortnite ban.The Free in the Flood I don’t know what exactly is tied to. Not May Day, nor Easter, nor Groundhog Day, nor the equinox, or any other obvious spring event. Regardless, it means cheap games for you—and one free game, too. , a (their words) “rogue-lite river journey through the backwaters of a forgotten post-societal America.” Basically, you float down a river on a raft and try not to die. Grab it before mid-day Saturday and it’s yours to keep, with a Steam key included.
Google Assistant: 12 awesome features you should be using

Google Assistant: 12 awesome features you should be using

8:00pm, 9th May, 2018
Google has had voice search features in Android for years, but when Google Assistant rolled out on the Pixel in October 2016, everything finally came together. You can now get Assistant on all modern Android devices, and Google has already announced at I/O 2018 that will make it even better (okay, and maybe a little too real, in the case of Duplex).It can be easy to miss the improvements if you don’t obsessively keep an eye on the news, so here they are in one place: the 12 coolest new features in Google Assistant.Sync connected smart home devices Ryan Whitwam/IDG Google Assistant supports numerous smart home devices, but you might notice that devices you’ve just added to your account don’t always work right away. That’s because Assistant isn’t constantly scanning for new connections. You can give it a kickstart.
Destiny 2: Warmind review: A small expansion surrounded by bigger steps towards salvation

Destiny 2: Warmind review: A small expansion surrounded by bigger steps towards salvation

9:45am, 9th May, 2018
The good news: There’s light at the end of the long, dark-ish tunnel that is Destiny 2’s endgame woes. The bad news: It’s not Warmind, probably.No surprise, really. The smart money’s betting on a Hail Mary expansion this fall, another Taken King-style resurrection for the much-maligned () sequel. But I know some people were hoping Warmind ($20 on ) might salvage Destiny 2’s first year and, well, it doesn’t. Having played through the additional story missions and spent a few hours in the other modes, Warmind feels more like the second act of a trilogy, the setup so whatever releases this fall has a smooth landing.
Google Lens: 6 new features we can't wait to try out

Google Lens: 6 new features we can't wait to try out

5:15pm, 8th May, 2018
We all know Google as a powerhouse for search results when we’re entering text into a search engine, but the substantial improvements to Google Lens announced at Google I/O today effectively transform the AI service into a real-time search engine for the world around us—all with the help of on-board camera apps. Here’s what we’re looking forward to the most.Augmented reality integration with Google Maps Sometimes, especially in unfamiliar cities, it’s hard to tell which direction you’re facing, even when Google Maps shows you right where you’re standing. Google It’s also a good way to check out reviews for nearby places.
Everything revealed at Google I/O 2018: Android P beta, huge Maps overhaul, Google Assistant gets personal

Everything revealed at Google I/O 2018: Android P beta, huge Maps overhaul, Google Assistant gets personal

5:15pm, 8th May, 2018
Your own personal GoogleImage by Mike Simon/IDGGoogle always pulls out the stops for the keynote at its annual I/O developer conference, and this year was no exception. Google I/O 2018 lacked the flashy flagship hardware that defined previous keynotes—nary a new Chromebook, Pixel, or Google Home could be found—but it still managed to shine, thanks to some serious improvements to the software and services underlying the entire Google ecosystem.
Android P: More AI, fewer disruptions, and a nod to the iPhone X

Android P: More AI, fewer disruptions, and a nod to the iPhone X

2:30pm, 8th May, 2018
Android P is shaping up to be a substantial update for Google’s smartphone operating system, with new AI-powered features, a major navigation change, and a suite of tools aimed at curing smartphone addiction.Google released a in March, but announced many more features on Tuesday during its I/O developers conference. The update will become generally available later this year.AI everywhere On Android P, Google is using its AI chops to improve battery life. By predicting which apps you’re likely to use at a given time, and shutting down other apps that are running in the background, Google says it can reduce CPU usage by 30%. Android P will also learn how uses adjust screen brightness in different situations, and will attempt make those changes on its own.
Major Google News overhaul starts rolling out today on web, Android, and iOS

Major Google News overhaul starts rolling out today on web, Android, and iOS

2:30pm, 8th May, 2018
After years of minor updates, Google is finally rolling out a major overhaul of its News platform. Announced at Google I/O on Tuesday, the new Google News is more personal and customizable, made to better surface the news you care about from the sources you trust. Updates are rolling out to the , , and iOS app beginning today; the update should reach everyone by next week.For You When you first open the new Google News, you’ll be greeted with a personal briefing of the top five stories selected for you. These are chosen by AI that scours the web and selects stories it thinks you’ll care about the most, given your interests and preferred sources.
Google Assistant wants to talk to you like a friend—and call in your dinner reservation

Google Assistant wants to talk to you like a friend—and call in your dinner reservation

2:00pm, 8th May, 2018
Google Assistant may have debuted as a bonus feature in the company’s ho-hum Allo messaging app, but it’s been on a roll ever since. The AI helper is now embedded in more than 500 million devices worldwide, Google revealed Tuesday during its annual I/O developer conference keynote. The company is rolling out new features and products to make Assistant more helpful no matter what sort of device you use—and to keep pace with Amazon Echo’s fast and furious improvements.And get this: In the future, Google Assistant will even call local businesses to book appointments for you.It’s true. Google’s machine learning chops have advanced far enough that you’ll be able to ask Assistant to schedule an appointment for you at a business that can’t be easily booked online, and Google’s big brains in the sky will actually ring local shops to set up a reservation.