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Tip: Run Gmail Offline on ChromeOS

Chromebooks are intended to be used with an Internet connection – at least that’s how it all started. As time has progressed, though, and as ChromeOS has started becoming a more viable alternative to Windows, there are more and more apps and options for using a Chromebook offline. Did you know that Gmail also offers the ability to be used offline? When you turn on offline use for the Gmail website, you can still access your inbox without a connection. To do it… Open the Gmail website. Go to Settings – Offline and enable offline email. There’s a couple of choices you need to make like how long to store emails, if attachments should be downloaded, and what to do with offline data files, but you’ll be able to use Gmail without an Internet connection. This i...

With a Serious Exploit Being Actively Targeted Against Windows 7, Google Pushes Windows 10 Upgrades

Google recently patched a zero-day flaw in its Chrome web browser, but a second one that affects Windows 7 is still being actively exploited. Google relayed the information about the vulnerability to Microsoft, and the Windows company has responded directly to Google that a fix is in the works. Of course, there’s no timeline given, so Windows 7 users are vulnerable. Based on the vulnerability that only affects Windows 7, Google is providing this guidance: As mitigation advice for this vulnerability users should consider upgrading to Windows 10 if they are still running an older version of Windows and to apply Windows patches from Microsoft when they become available. We will update this post when they are available. Details: Disclosing vulnerabilities to protect users across platform...

Google Chrome’s PDF Reader Gives Away User Information – Fix Not Planned Until April

According to EdgeSpot, a vulnerability exists in the included PDF reader for Google Chrome. This affects all iterations of Google Chrome, including ChromeOS. The vulnerability has been labeled as a zero-day flaw and has existed since December 2018 when EdgeSpot began noticing “leaking” PDF data. Since late last December, some interesting PDF samples were found by our engine. These samples acted as “no problem” when opened in popular Adobe Reader, however, they made suspicious outbound traffic when they’re opened locally on Google Chrome. The information that is collected and distributed to an unknown recipient: The public IP address of the user. OS, Chrome version etc (in HTTP POST header). The full path of the PDF file on user’s computer (in HTTP POST payload). Edg...

Google Duo Launches on the Web

Designed by Google as a competitor to things like Skype and Facetime, Duo has struggled to become a choice for Internet-based communication. It was reported only a few weeks ago that Google will roll out a web version of the communication software. Today, that version is now available. The web version can be accessed at this link: https://duo.google.com/ Like the company’s search engine, Duo sports a simple, sparse, and clean interface. And, using Duo is easy. Simply select a synched contact or enter a phone number to connect.

Google Uses AI to Turn You into a Better Writer

According to Google, deadlines are often stretched due to having to wait to deliver a report because a copy editor isn’t around. A lot of users use extensions and plugins like Grammarly to help, but Google believes that capable grammar checking should be part of a productivity suite – particularly for those in business. To deliver this, Google is employing new machine translation techniques in it’s G Suite productivity tools. According to a blog post announcement today… We first introduced spell check in Google Docs to help folks catch errors seven years ago, and have since improved these features so that you can present your best work. Today we’re taking that a step further by using machine translation techniques to help you catch tricky grammatical errors, too, wi...

Duo Security Releases CRXcavator into Public Beta to Identify Dangerous Chrome Extensions

According to Duo Security, a third of the extensions available for Google’s Chrome web browser have serious and potentially damaging security flaws. The company outlays the problem in a recent blog post: Democratizing Chrome Extension Security Essentially, extension developers either are clueless when it comes to developing secure solutions, they are just lazy, or in some cases, could be delivering secret but devastating payloads on purpose. Duo Security also uses the blog post to announce a beta product called CRXcavator. The online tool allows you to submit a Chrome extension ID so it can scan to and report its security status. https://crxcavator.io/ With the recent announcement by Microsoft to begin utilizing Chromium for its own Edge browser – which will include Chrome exte...

Tip: Viewing and Customizing the Data Google Assistant Collects

All voice assistants and smart speakers capture user data to ensure that the service is tailored to a more personal experience. But, they all also provide logs and customization settings so you can view what’s been captured and then modify the type and amount of information that’s collected. Google does this with its Google Assistant. And, now that the company has rolled out Google Assistant to all supported Chromebooks, it’s more important than ever to get a handle on the information that’s being collected. See: Tip: Enabling Google Assistant for ChromeOS 72 and Later For ChromeOS/Chromebook users, these links can also be found in the Google Assistant settings, which can be accessed by going to  Search and Assistant area in ChromeOS Settings, and then into the Goog...

Google Adds Flight Delay Notifications to Assistant

In a blog post extolling its travel-based services, Google also announced that its Flight Delay Predictions (rolled out earlier this year) is now available within its Google Assistant. Google Assistant can now take these predictive results and turn them into proactive Flight Delay warnings for travelers. To help with the increase in delayed flights this time of year, the Google Assistant now shows you predicted flight delays, too. You can ask things like, “Hey Google, is my flight on time?” or “Hey Google, what’s the status of the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Denver?” And to make it easier to stay up-to-date on changes to your flight time, over the next few weeks the Assistant will begin proactively notifying you on your phone if we predict a flight delay and tell you the ...

Newfound Bug Forces Google to Shutter Google+ Earlier Than Expected

For those still using Google’s social network experiment, it really is time to move on. Google today has announced a revamped timeline for sunsetting the Google+ service. The reason lies behind a newly found bug in its software that could expose customer data. Google says no customer data has been exposed to date over this new bug, but to ensure nothing is compromised it is shutting down its API services to third parties within 90 days. Additionally, the company has modified the overall service shutdown from August 2019 to April 2019. Full details: Expediting changes to Google+ Note that these changes impact the consumer version of Google+. Google+ will live on as an Enterprise option for GSuite customers, acting as a business community mechanism more similar to Lotus Notes than Micr...

Tip: Using Google Assistant on an iPhone

Apple restricts usage of non-Siri voice assistants on its iOS devices, but Google has figured out a workaround. To get Google Assistant to work on an iPhone, do this: [1] Download the Google Assistant app. [2] Open Google Assistant on your iPhone. [3] Tap the Add to Siri option. [4] As part of the setup process, the Google Assistant app will ask you to record the phrase “OK Google” Now, to access the Google Assistant, just say “Hey Siri, OK Google” if you have always-listening mode enabled for Siri. Maybe Amazon will get wise and try the same thing soon.  

Amid Admission it Covered Up a Security Breach, Google Outs its Enterprise Google Plus while Sun-setting Its Consumer Version

Did you know that Google Plus has an Enterprise version? If you answered “No” you’re not alone. Apparently, no one knew. As part of what Google calls Project Strobe, the company is shutting down its consumer version of Google Plus starting now and lasting through August of 2019. The company cites lack of customer interest in the consumer version while touting it as intended for Enterprises without giving much more evidence that anyone is actually using it. However, this announcement comes in response to a full review of its privacy and security policies based on a security breach in Google Plus in March 2018. According to Google’s own admission, it failed to disclose the breach for 6 months and due to log retention policies really has no idea which accounts were com...

Amazon Gets Its Spot in the Default Assistant List for Pixel 2

Unlike most Android and (definitely) iPhone handsets, Google’s Pixel 2 smartphones have had the ability to change the default assistant. Up until now, Microsoft was the only company that had taken advantage of this capability. But, recently, Amazon Alexa has begun showing up in the list thanks to a recent Alexa app update. You can now go into the Assistant setting on the Pixel 2 and choose Amazon Alexa as the default. Of course, who knows how long this might last, or how the ability might be hampered in the future, considering Google’s and Amazon’s war on YouTube access and other things. Google has never played nice with any of its competitors. Remember how it revoked YouTube access to Windows Phones? Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, D...