Google’s Hangouts Extension Operates More Like Its Own App Now

2016-09-10-02

Chrome: Google has released an update to its Hangouts extension that gives it a bit of a new look alongside some new functionality.

The new version of the extension puts the design in line with the Android and iOS apps. It also makes it so the extension works more like a standalone app. This means it’ll work when it’s closed, and you can pin Hangouts to your Dock or taskbar. If you used the now-defunct Hangouts app, the extension seems like a solid replacement. You can snag the update now.

Google’s Hangouts Extension Operates More Like Its Own App Now

Google Maps’ App Adds Alternatives to Booking an Uber Ride

A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride sharing signs on his car windscreen in Santa Monica

Google on Thursday said that it was adding ride-hailing services Lyft and Gett in the U.S. to its mapping service. A button for ordering a Lyft ride will now appear inside the Google Maps app along with a similar one for ordering a Gett ride in New York City, the only U.S. city where Gett operates.

The move gives users more options in Google Maps beyond Uber, which was already available through Google Maps in addition to other transportation options like public transit, walking, and driving. Gett was previously available for U.K. users.

Google Maps’ App Adds Alternatives to Booking an Uber Ride

Chrome is stepping up its war on the unencrypted web

2016-09-09-04

Chrome is getting serious about websites that don’t use encryption. The next version of Chrome will include a new warning for unencrypted login sites, according to a post today on the Google Security Blog. Chrome 56, which is planned to launch in January, will mark HTTP login pages as “not secure” in a window next to the address bar. Unencrypted HTTP is particularly dangerous for login pages, as it could allow an attacker to intercept passwords as they travel across the network.

The post also lays out Chrome’s long term plan for discouraging unencrypted web connections. In the years to come, the team plans to warn Chrome users away from all sites served over unencrypted HTTP, beginning with Incognito mode “where users may have higher expectations of privacy.” Planned changes include labeling all HTTP pages with the red triangle warning symbol, currently only used for irregularities in HTTPS.

“Chrome currently indicates HTTP connections with a neutral indicator,” writes Emily Schechter of the Chrome Security team. “This doesn’t reflect the true lack of security for HTTP connections. When you load a website over HTTP, someone else on the network can look at or modify the site before it gets to you.” That weakness can be used to inject malware seamlessly into unencrypted web traffic, commonly known as an injection attack.

Chrome is stepping up its war on the unencrypted web

Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits

2016-09-09-03

GOOGLE HAS BUILT a half-trillion-dollar business out of divining what people want based on a few words they type into a search field. In the process, it’s stumbled on a powerful tool for getting inside the minds of some of the least understood and most dangerous people on the Internet: potential ISIS recruits. Now one subsidiary of Google is trying not just to understand those would-be jihadis’ intentions, but to change them.

Jigsaw, the Google-owned tech incubator and think tank—until recently known as Google Ideas—has been working over the past year to develop a new program it hopes can use a combination of Google’s search advertising algorithms and YouTube’s video platform to target aspiring ISIS recruits and ultimately dissuade them from joining the group’s cult of apocalyptic violence. The program, which Jigsaw calls the Redirect Method and plans to launch in a new phase this month, places advertising alongside results for any keywords and phrases that Jigsaw has determined people attracted to ISIS commonly search for. Those ads link to Arabic- and English-language YouTube channels that pull together preexisting videos Jigsaw believes can effectively undo ISIS’s brainwashing—clips like testimonials from former extremists, imams denouncing ISIS’s corruption of Islam, and surreptitiously filmed clips inside the group’s dysfunctional caliphate in Northern Syria and Iraq.

Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits

Improving the deduplication flow when uploading to Google Drive

2016-09-07-07

A common use case for Google Drive users is to download a file from their Drive to modify it locally, and then to re-upload the new version. In the past, this would result in duplicate files (the original and the new one), and users would have trouble finding the latest version. That’s why we’re introducing a change in Drive to deduplicate files which were uploaded in this way.

Once launched, when users upload files that have the same filename as an existing file, they’ll be deduplicated, and the old file will be in revision history. This is so that if any mistakes are made, users can get back to the previous version. Similarly, uploaded folders will be merged with folders of the same name.

Improving the deduplication flow when uploading to Google Drive

Android 7.0 Nougat: All the features of Google’s new mobile operating system and how to download it onto your smartphone

2016.08.29 04

Google’s latest operating system Android 7.0 Nougat is now available for certain phones to download. Read on for all the key features you need to know about Google has begun to roll out its latest software, Android 7.0, also known as Nougat. The tech giant has a long tradition of naming its updates after sweet treats, including Marshmallow, KitKat and Ice Cream Sandwich, and this year it opened the decision up to its fans.

Although the company has being releasing developer previews of Android N, as it was previously known, as far back as March, the final version is now finally available to download. Here are all the key features in the new update, and how you can download it.

Android 7.0 Nougat: All the features of Google’s new mobile operating system and how to download it onto your smartphone

How to Enable Chrome OS Developer Channel, Try New Features

2016.08.24 02

Chrome OS may be Google’s simple, minimalist operating system, but the company is still adding features to make it more useful for users. These features are often first found in Developer Mode, which isn’t difficult to enable.

For example, users running Chrome OS in Developer mode can access a PIN Unlock feature, so they don’t have to type in your entire Google password to unlock the display after putting the notebook to sleep. Here’s how to enable Chrome OS’s Developer Mode.

Chrome OS may warn you from using Developer mode, telling you it’s not as stable as regular Chrome OS, but remember, you’re already saving all of your files in the cloud. What’s the worst that can happen: having to perform factory restore?

How to Enable Chrome OS Developer Mode, Try New Features

Instantly See Every Keyboard Shortcut on Your Chromebook with This Combo

2016.08.24 01

Ask any computer power user how much more efficient they are by using keyboard shortcuts, and the general consensus will likely be “a lot.” It’s no different for Chrome OS users, and Google baked-in a slew of useful keyboard shortcuts—including one that will show you all the others.

Basically, if you’re ever in need of a definitive list of every Chrome OS keyboard shortcut available to you, just press Ctrl+Alt+/ on your keyboard.

Hitting that one shortcut will show an on-screen keyboard, where you can then press Ctrl, Alt, Shift, and Search (or any combination of the four!) to expose all available shortcuts with the currently-pressed combination. It’s pretty awesome.

For example, if you can’t remember how to take a screenshot, just hit the master shortcut, then press Ctrl. You’ll quickly find that the combination of Ctrl + “switch window” will take a screenshot. Add the Shift key to that combination, and it’ll take a regional screenshot. Use Ctrl+Alt+switch window to grab a screenshot of a window.

There is a huge collection of key combinations that you can use on Chrome OS, so this is definitely something you’ll want to explore more thoroughly.

Instantly See Every Keyboard Shortcut on Your Chromebook with This Combo

Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy

2016.08.18 02

Google on Monday launched Google Duo, a one-on-one video calling app that runs on iOS and Android.

The app will be available worldwide in the next few days, said Justin Uberti, principal software engineer at Google.

Duo switches from cellular service to WiFi, and transitions from high-speed to lower speed wireless service smoothly, promising to let users continue video calls irrespective of their location and service speeds, although video degradation may be apparent on slower services.

A separate account isn’t necessary to sign up for the app — a phone number will suffice.

Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy

Google May Paint IoT Fuchsia

2016.08.18 01

A team at Google is working on a new operating system called “Fuchsia,” according to information that recently turned up on Github, but details are sparse.

Fuchsia “is a new open source project that is not at all related to Android or Chrome OS,” Google spokesperson Joshua Cruz told LinuxInsider.

He declined to provide further details about Fuchsia, saying only that “we have many revolving open source projects at Google.”

Fuchsia already has undergone some testing, and it is booting “reasonably well” on NUCs based on Intel’s Skylake and Broadwell processors, according to a discussion thread on Y Combinator’s Hacker News. It also is booting on the Acer Switch Alpha 12, and soon will support the Raspberry Pi 3. Work on drivers is in progress.

Fuchsia reportedly is built on the Magenta kernel, which is based on Google’s LittleKernel project.

However, Google draws distinctions between Magenta and LK.

Magenta targets modern phones and PCs with fast processors and nontrivial amounts of RAM with arbitrary peripherals doing open ended computation. LK is a kernel designed for small systems typically used in embedded applications.

Magenta’s inner constructs are based on LK, but the layers above are new. That said, a Magenta process is based on LK-level constructs such as threads and memory.

Fuchsia reportedly uses Flutter, a new project to help devs build high-performance, high-fidelity mobile apps for iOS and Android from a single code base, consistent with Java’s “write once, fit many” concept. It also uses the Dart application programming language, which Google employs to make very large apps.

Google May Paint IoT Fuchsia