gmail

Yubico launches its dual USB-C and Lightning two-factor security key

Posted by | Apps, authentication, computer security, cryptography, Gadgets, gmail, hardware, iPad, iPhone, macbooks, mobile devices, Password, password manager, Security, security token, Yubico, Yubikey | No Comments

Almost two months after it was first announced, Yubico has launched the YubiKey 5Ci, a security key with dual support for iPhones, Macs and other USB-C compatible devices.

Yubico’s newest YubiKey is the latest iteration of its security key built to support a newer range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, iPad and MacBooks, in a single device. Announced in June, the company said the security keys would cater to cross-platform users — particularly Apple device owners.

These security keys are small enough to sit on a keyring. When you want to log in to an online account, you plug in the key to your device and it authenticates you. Your Gmail, Twitter and Facebook account all support these plug-in devices as a second-factor of authentication after your username and password — a far stronger mechanism than the simple code sent to your phone.

Security keys offer almost unbeatable security and can protect against a variety of threats, including nation-state attackers.

Jerrod Chong, Yubico’s chief solutions officer, said the new key would fill a “critical gap in the mobile authentication ecosystem,” particularly given how users are increasingly spending their time across a multitude of mobile devices.

The new key works with a range of apps, including password managers like 1Password and LastPass, and web browsers like Brave, which support security key authentication.

Powered by WPeMatico

Google is shutting down its Trips app

Posted by | Apps, computing, gmail, Google, google search, google trips, iOS 10, Mobile, mobile phones, TC, world wide web | No Comments

Google is shutting down its Trips app for mobile phones, but is incorporating much of the functionality from the service into its Maps app and Search features, according to a statement from the company.

Support for the Trips app ends today, but information like notes and saved places will be available in Search as long as a user signs into their Google account.

To find attractions, events and popular places in a geography, users can search for “my trips” or go to the new-and-improved Travel page in Google.

Google announced changes to their Travel site in September 2018, which included many of the features that had been broken out into the Trips app. So now the focus will be on driving users back to Travel and to include more of the functionality in Google’s dominant mapping and navigation app.

Soon users will be able to add and edit notes from Google Trips in the Travel section on a browser and find saved attractions, flights and hotels for upcoming and past trips.

In Maps, searching a destination or finding specific iconic places, guide lists, events or restaurants can be done by swiping up on the “Explore” tab in the app.

Tapping the menu icon will now take users to places they’ve saved under the “Your Places” section. And soon the maps app will also include upcoming reservations organized by trip and those reservations will be available offline so a user won’t need to download them.

Screen Shot 2019 08 05 at 2.42.05 PM

 

Powered by WPeMatico

Google makes travel planning easier

Posted by | airline, computing, gmail, Google, google china, google travel, Google-Talk, Google.com, Mobile, TC, world wide web | No Comments

Google today announced a major revamp of its travel planning tools on the web. After launching a similar set of tools on mobile last year, the company today announced that google.com/travel on the web will now let you see information about all of your previously reserved trips and easily switch between flight, hotel and package searches.

In many ways, this finally brings all of Google’s travel services under one hood — a process that has taken far longer than I would’ve anticipated after Google bought ITA nine years ago.

Google Trips is essentially the landing page for the new site and brings together your existing bookings and information about your destination. The service will then feed your travel information back into Google Search and Maps. To do this, Google.com/travel (which I think we can safely call Google Travel, even if Google itself doesn’t do so), will use the confirmation emails and receipts from your Gmail inbox to build the timeline of your trip.

Because both the web and mobile versions are now on feature parity, this also makes it easier to pick up your trip planning on any device. Like always, though, you won’t be able to make any reservations through Google’s systems. Instead, Google will send you to an airline’s or hotel’s reservation system to complete a booking.

The actual flight and hotel search engines are still the same, though if Google previously offered the ability to buy flight and hotel packages, it did a good job of hiding that. Now, this option gets first billing, together with the hotel and flight searches.

“Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device. We’ll continue to make planning and taking trips easier with Google Maps, Google Search and google.com/travel—so you can get out and enjoy the world.”

Sadly, Google hasn’t ported Inbox’s useful Trip Bundles over to Gmail yet, though, despite promises to do so before shutting down Inbox. For the time being, the new Google Travel site is a pretty good alternative.

Powered by WPeMatico

Gmail turns 15, gets Smart Compose improvements and email scheduling

Posted by | Android, computing, email, G Suite, gmail, Google, Google Allo, Mobile, mobile software, operating systems, webmail | No Comments

Exactly 15 years ago, Google decided to confuse everybody by launching its long-awaited web-based email client on April 1. This definitely wasn’t a joke, though, and Gmail went on to become one of Google’s most successful products. Today, to celebrate its fifteenth birthday (and maybe make you forget about today’s final demise of Inbox and tomorrow’s shutdown of Google+), the Gmail team announced a couple of new and useful Gmail features, including improvements to Smart Compose and the ability to schedule emails to be sent in the future.

Smart Compose, which tries to autocomplete your emails as you type them, will now be able to adapt to the way you write the greetings in your emails. If you prefer “Hey” over “Hi,” then Smart Compose will learn that. If you often fret over which subject to use for your emails, then there’s some relief here for you, too, because Smart Compose can now suggest a subject line based on the content of your email.

With this update, Smart Compose is now also available on all Android devices. Google says that it was previously only available on Pixel 3 devices, though I’ve been using it on my Pixel 2 for a while already, too. Support for iOS is coming soon.

In addition to this, Smart Compose is also coming to four new languages: Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

That’s all very useful, but the feature that will likely get the most attention today is email scheduling. The idea here is as simple as the execution. The “Send” button now includes a drop-down menu that lets you schedule an email to be sent at a later time. Until now, you needed third-party services to do this, but now it’s directly integrated into Gmail.

Google is positioning the new feature as a digital wellness tool. “We understand that work can often carry over to non-business hours, but it’s important to be considerate of everyone’s downtime,” Jacob Bank, director of Product Management, G Suite, writes in today’s announcement. “We want to make it easier to respect everyone’s digital well-being, so we’re adding a new feature to Gmail that allows you to choose when an email should be sent.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Gmail on mobile gets a fresh coat of Material Design paint

Posted by | Android, email, gmail, Google, Mobile, operating systems, TC | No Comments

Gmail on mobile will soon get a new look. Google today announced that its mobile email apps for iOS and Android are getting a redesign that is in line with the company’s recent Material Design updates to Gmail, Drive, Calendar and Docs and Site. Indeed, the new UI will look familiar to anybody who has ever used the Gmail web app, including that version’s ability to select three different density styles. You’ll also see some new fonts and other visual tweaks. In terms of functionality, the mobile app is also getting a few new features that put it on par with the web version.

Like on the desktop, you can now choose between the default view, as well as a comfortable and compact style. The default view features a generous amount of white space and the same attachment chips underneath the email preview as the web version. The comfortable view does away with those chips and the compact view removes a lot of the space between messages to show you more emails at a glance.

I’ve been testing the new app for a bit and quickly settled on the comfortable view, as I never found the attachment chips all that useful in day-to-day use.

In line with Google’s Material Design guidelines, all the styles feature relatively subtle but welcome animations that don’t take a lot of time but give you a couple of extra visual cues about what’s going on as you work your way to Inbox Zero.

Google also notes that the new design makes it a bit easier to switch between accounts. I’m not sure I agree (I definitely find the implementation of this in Inbox, which is sadly going away soon, easier to use), but if you regularly use this feature, it’s still easy enough to use. The switcher is now part of the search bar, though, which is a bit confusing and took me a moment to find.

One nice addition to the mobile app is that the large red phishing and scam warning box from the web version now also appears in the mobile app.

Powered by WPeMatico

Here’s how Google is revamping Gmail and Android security

Posted by | Android, Apps, gmail, Google, Mobile, privacy, Security | No Comments

Eager to change the conversation from their years-long exposure of user data via Google+ to the bright, shining future the company is providing, Google has announced some changes to the way permissions are approved for Android apps. The new process will be slower, more deliberate and hopefully secure.

The changes are part of “Project Strobe,” a “root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and our philosophy around apps’ data access.” Essentially they decided it was time to update the complex and likely not entirely cohesive set of rules and practices around those third-party developers and API access.

One of those roots (or perhaps branches) was the bug discovered inside Google+, which theoretically (the company can’t tell if it was abused or not) exposed non-public profile data to apps that should have received only a user’s public profile. This, combined with the fact that Google+ never really justified its own existence in the first place, led to the service essentially being shut down. “The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement,” Google admitted. “90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

But the team doing the review has plenty of other suggestions to improve the process of informed consent to sharing data with third parties.

The first change is the most user-facing. When an application wants to access your Google account data — say your Gmail, Calendar and Drive contents for a third-party productivity app — you’ll have to approve each one of those separately. You’ll also have the opportunity to deny access to one or more of those requests, so if you never plan on using the Drive functionality, you can just nix it and the app will never get that permission.

These permissions can also be delayed and gated behind the actions that require them. For instance, if this theoretical app wanted to give you the opportunity to take a picture to add to an email, it wouldn’t have to ask up front when you download it. Instead, when you tap the option to attach a picture, it would ask permission to access the camera then and there. Google went into a little more detail on this in a post on its developer blog.

Notably there is only the option to “deny” or “allow,” but no “deny this time” or “allow this time,” which I find to be useful when you’re not totally on board with the permission in question. You can always revert the setting manually, but it’s nice to have the option to say “okay, just this once, strange app.”

The changes will start rolling out this month, so don’t be surprised if things look a little different next time you download a game or update an app.

The second and third changes have to do with limiting which data from your Gmail and messaging can be accessed by apps, and which apps can be granted access in the first place.

Specifically, Google is restricting access to these sensitive data troves to apps “directly enhancing email functionality” for Gmail and your default calling and messaging apps for call logs and SMS data.

There are some edge cases where this might be annoying to power users; some have more than one messaging app that falls back to SMS or integrates SMS replies, and this might require those apps to take a new approach. And apps that want access to these things may have trouble convincing Google’s review authorities that they qualify.

Developers also will need to review and agree to a new set of rules governing what Gmail data can be used, how they can use it and the measures they must have in place to protect it. For example, apps are not allowed to “transfer or sell the data for other purposes such as targeting ads, market research, email campaign tracking, and other unrelated purposes.” That probably puts a few business models out of the running.

Apps looking to handle Gmail data will also have to submit a report detailing “application penetration testing, external network penetration testing, account deletion verification, reviews of incident response plans, vulnerability disclosure programs, and information security policies.” No fly-by-night operations permitted, clearly.

There also will be additional scrutiny on what permissions developers ask for to make sure it matches up with what their app requires. If you ask for Contacts access but don’t actually use it for anything, you’ll be asked to remove that, as it only increases risk.

These various new requirements will go into effect next year, with application review (a multi-week process) starting on January 9; tardy developers will see their apps stop working at the end of March if they don’t comply.

The relatively short timeline here suggests that some apps may in fact shut down temporarily or permanently due to the rigors of the review process. Don’t be surprised if early next year you get an update saying service may be interrupted due to Google review policies or the like.

These changes are just the first handful issuing from the recommendations of Project Strobe; we can expect more to appear over the next few months, though perhaps not such striking ones. To say Gmail and Android apps are widely used is something of an understatement, so it’s understandable that they would be focused on first, but there are many other policies and services the company will no doubt find reason to improve.

Powered by WPeMatico

Gmail for iOS and Android now lets you turn off conversation view

Posted by | Android, computing, email, gmail, Google, Google Allo, mail, outlook.com, Software, TC, webmail | No Comments

When Gmail launched with its threaded conversation view feature as the default and only option, some people sure didn’t like it and Google quickly allowed users to turn it off. On mobile, though, you were stuck with it. But here’s some good news for you conversation view haters: you can now turn it off on mobile, too.

The ability to turn off conversation view is now rolling out to all Gmail app users on iOS and Android . So if you want Gmail to simply show you all emails as they arrive, without grouping them to”make them easier to digest and follow,” you’re now free to do so.

If you’ve always just left conversation view on by default, maybe now is a good time to see if you like the old-school way of looking at your email better. I personally prefer conversation view since it helps me keep track of conversations (and I get too many emails already), but it’s pretty much a personal preference.

To make the change, simply tap on your account name in the Settings menu and look for the “conversation view” check box. That’s it. Peace restored.

Powered by WPeMatico

Google Drive will hit a billion users this week

Posted by | Android, cloud storage, computing, gmail, Google, google cloud, Google Cloud Next 2018, Google Play Store, google search, Google-Drive, Google-Maps, San Francisco, Software, TC, YouTube | No Comments

Google loves to talk about how it has seven products with more than a billion users. Those are its flagship search service, Gmail, Chrome, Google Maps, YouTube, Android and the Google Play Store. Indeed, Android actually has more than 2 billion users now. Later this week, we will be able to add an eighth service to this list: Google Drive, the company’s online file storage service that launched back in 2012.

The company made the announcement at its Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco — though somehow it doesn’t want to commit to saying that Drive has already hit that billion user number, or when exactly it’ll do so. “Later this week,” is about as good as it gets right now, but if you want to buy some fireworks to celebrate, you probably still have a day or two to prepare.

It’s actually been a while since we last got any updated stats about Google Drive. At last year’s Google I/O conference in May, the company said that Drive now stored 2 trillion files and that it had over 800 million daily active users. At this year’s Google I/O, the company didn’t offer any updated numbers for Drive, likely because it was still waiting to cross the billion users number.

Over the course of the last year, Google launched a number of business-focused features for Drive, including Team Drives and Drive File Stream, as well as new machine learning-powered features for all users. The company also launched its new Drive-centric backup and sync tool for Mac and PC last summer.

Powered by WPeMatico

Gmail proves that some people hate smart suggestions

Posted by | Apps, gmail, Google, Mobile, rant, smart, Social | No Comments

Gmail has recently introduced a brand new redesign. While you can disable or ignore most of the new features, Gmail has started resurfacing old unanswered emails with a suggestion that you should reply. And this is what it looks like:

The orange text immediately grabs your attention. By bumping the email thread to the top of your inbox, Gmails also breaks the chronological order of your inbox.

Gmail is also making a judgement by telling you that maybe you should have replied and you’ve been procrastinating. Social networks already bombard us constantly with awful content that makes us sad or angry. Your email inbox shouldn’t make you feel guilty or stressed.

Even if the suggestions can be accurate, it’s a bit creepy, it’s poorly implemented and it makes you feel like you’re no longer in control of your inbox.

There’s a reason why Gmail lets you disable all the smart features. Some users don’t want smart categories, important emails first and smart reply suggestions. Arguably, the only smart feature everyone needs is the spam filter.

A pure chronological feed of your email messages is incredibly valuable as well. That’s why many Instagram users are still asking for a chronological feed. Sure, algorithmic feeds can lead to more engagement and improved productivity. Maybe Google conducted some tests and concluded that you end up answering more emails if you let Gmail do its thing.

But you may want to judge the value of each email without an algorithmic ranking.

VCs could spot the next big thing without any bias. Journalists could pay attention to young and scrappy startups as much as the new electric scooter startup in San Francisco. Universities could give a grant to students with unconventional applications. The HR department of your company could look at all applications without following Google’s order.

When the Gmail redesign started leaking, a colleague of mine said “I look forward to digging through settings to figure out how to turn this off.” And the good news is that you can turn it off.

There are now two options to disable nudges in the settings on the web version of Gmail. You can tick off the boxes “Suggest emails to reply to” and “Suggest emails to follow up on” if you don’t want to see this orange text ever again. But those features should have never been enabled by default in the first place.

The new look of gmail has this new little reminder and I keep reading it as “Received 4 days ago. Really?” And this is stress I just don’t need. pic.twitter.com/IHp9wATORl

— Mary Kate McDevitt (@MaryKateMcD) June 11, 2018

Ooh, new Gmail has an incredibly annoying feature where it bumps a message ending in a question to the top of your inbox with a banner saying “Received 2 days ago. Reply?”

— Seb Patrick (@sebpatrick) June 8, 2018

Switching back to classic @gmail. I REALLY don’t need these “Received 6 days ago. Reply?” notes. I have four jobs connected to six email accounts. I’ll manage my own productivity, thanks. #oldmanyellingatthesky #leavemealone

— mitchell bloom (@bloomin_onions) June 13, 2018

Wtf Gmail on mobile now resurfacing emails I haven’t replied to with a “received two days ago. Reply?” Label. Insane. Can’t seem to turn it off. Breaks my entire inbox.

— Tom Critchlow (@tomcritchlow) May 18, 2018

I’m not really a fan of gmail’s new feature that hounds you if you don’t reply to emails. ‘Received 2 days ago. Reply?’ I don’t need to technologically enhance anxiety.

— Thomas Lynch (@thomasjlynch) January 11, 2018

Hey @gmail,

One message in my inbox suddenly has a garish red message.

“Received 2 days ago. Reply?”

Never seen this happen and never want this suggestion. pic.twitter.com/HkEgkcKS3E

— Brendan Falkowski (@Falkowski) June 8, 2018

Powered by WPeMatico

Gmail launches its first public iOS beta to test support for third-party accounts

Posted by | Apps, email, gmail, Google, iOS apps, Mobile, TC | No Comments

 Google wants to make Gmail the place where you check all your email accounts, not just your Google accounts. The company announced this week it’s testing a new version of the Gmail app on iOS that will allow users to add their non-Google accounts, including those from Outlook (including Hotmail or Live), Yahoo, and elsewhere. The announcement, which was sent out via a tweet from the… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico