Google chat in gmail now features 1:1 audio and video calls

  • Google Chat in Gmail will now let you make 1:1 audio and video calls, Google has announced through a blog post.
  • As a result of the update that was initially announced in September, the users who have enabled Google Chat in Gmail will start seeing the phone and video icons on the top-right corner of a 1:1 chat.
  • You can enable Google Chat in Gmail by turning on Show the chat and spaces tab after going to General > Chats from the settings menu on the Gmail app.
[Via]

Google temporarily disrupts a botnet that infected 1 million devices

  • Google said Tuesday it has moved to shut down a network of about one million hijacked electronic devices used worldwide to commit online crimes, while also suing Russia-based hackers the tech giant claimed were responsible.
  • Google said the network includes about one million Windows-using devices worldwide for crimes that include stealing users’ credentials, and has targeted victims from the United States, India, Brazil and southeast Asia.
  • The hackers also used Google’s own services to distribute the malware – the internet giant took down some 63 million Google Docs and terminated over 1,100 Google accounts used to spread Glupteba.
[Via]

Google Pixel watch code-named Rohan is in the works to arrive in 2022

  • According to a new report from Insider, the Pixel watch code-named Rohan is in the works.
  • The watch will have basic fitness tracking features, including step counting and a heart rate monitor, with Google also reportedly working on debuting a Fitbit integration into Wear OS with the new watch when it launches.
  • Google has started rolling out its Camera app version 8.4 to older Pixel phones, bringing camera features from Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
[Via]

Google delays mandatory return-to-office beyond January 10 amid Omnicron threat

  • Google said it is indefinitely pushing back its January return-to-office plan globally.
  • Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it is indefinitely pushing back its January return-to-office plan globally amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and some resistance to company-mandated vaccinations.
  • Google said the update was in line with its earlier guidance that a return to workplaces would begin no earlier than Jan. 10 and depend on local conditions.
[Via]

No plans from government to charge Facebook, Google for news : MoS IT Rajeev Chandrashekhar

  • No proposal by govt to charge Facebook, Google for news: MoS IT Rajeev Chandrashekhar.
  • The government has no plans to charge tech giants like Facebook and Google for using news content of publishers just like Australia, said Rajeev Chandrashekhar, minister of state for Information and Technology.
  • The Australian government tabled the world’s first media legislation in parliament that forces Google and Facebook to negotiate a fair payment with news organizations for using their content in Facebook’s newsfeed and Google’s search.
[Via]

Following RBI restrictions, Google announces adjustments to automatic payments in India.

  • The change is significant because many users have a card number saved to their Google Work account or Google Play account to make monthly payments for subscription-based services.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has directed that no entity or merchant, other than card issuers and card networks, should store card details – or card-on-file – from January 1, 2022.
  • For users who had their card information saved in order to pay for their Google One subscription or their Google Cloud work accounts, this could pose new problems.
[Via]

Google news showcase adds Malayalam and Bengali languages

  • Google on Tuesday announced support for two more languages, Malayalam and Bengali, for Google News Showcase to help readers access news in these languages.
  • The tech giant had extended its Google News Showcase offering to India in May. It is an online experience and licensing program to support news organizations and readers.
  • In September it had added support for four languages – Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu – in addition to English and Hindi in the dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover.
[Via]

Google Meet can now hold upto 500 in Workspace editions

  • Google has raised the participant limit for its videoconferencing platform Google Meet for select premium Workspace tiers.
  • Separately, it is rolling out the ability to delete a named ‘space’ in Google Chat for select Google Workspace users.
  • The feature enabling users to delete a ‘space’ in Chat will not be available for Google Workspace editions that have Google Vault.
[Via]

Google in its India- first features introduces assistant-enabled vaccine booking pilot

  • Google announced on November 18 a slew of India-first product features and new partnerships at the seventh edition of its Google for India conference.
  • At the conference, Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan announced a new pilot of Google Assistant-enabled, end-to-end vaccine booking flow on Chrome for Android browser in the country.
  • Google has announced the launch of 100,000 scholarships for Google Career Certificates in collaboration with Nasscom foundation, Tata Strive, and SafeEducate who will help in identifying underserved learners across the country for a free enrolment to a Google Career Certificate of their choice.
[Via]

Epic CEO blasts Apple and Google, calls for a universal app store

  • Epic Games Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney renewed his attack on Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google as the world’s dominant mobile duopoly before calling for a universal app store that works across all operating systems as the solution.
  • Legal filings from Epic this week alleged Google set up an internal task force to confront the issue of Fortnite sidestepping the company’s app store and fees.
  • Epic Games operates its own Epic Games Store for PC gamers, which also charges a platform fee, albeit a lower one, and Sweeney doesn’t dispute Google and Apple’s right to profit from their work.
[Via]

NFT searches on Google at an all-time high.

  • Google’s keyword search data shows interest in nonfungible tokens has surged to record levels, with traffic beating out search terms pertinent to many crypto assets ranked among the top ten.
  • According to Google Trends, interest in NFTs saw a dramatic spike at the start of the year as Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot and vintage Ethereum-based NFTs saw frenzied speculation.
  • According to Google Trends, NFT search traffic is currently dominated by Asian nations, with China, Uganda, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines topping the keyword’s search rankings.
[Via]

Gmail, Google Chat and other google services hit a brief outage across Europe, Asia and US

  • Google services- Gmail, Google Meet, Google chat have been hit by outages across Europe, with several users reporting problems across its products.
  • Along with Gmail, Google Chat, Google Meet, Google Groups, and Google Calendar are also affected, with each program showing an alert on the official Google Workspace dashboard.
  • Earlier, in June, outages also hit websites across the globe, affecting news websites and social media platforms-Reddit, Twitch, Spotify, and Pinterest.
[Via]

Google launches “Project Relate” to ease communication for people with speech impairments

  • Google’s Project Relate app is a new machine learning-based research app to make communication easier for people with speech impairments.
  • In order to get to Project Relate, Google started a crowdsource data program back in 2019 called Euphonia, which gathered examples of how people with different speech disabilities sound like.
  • With the Listen feature, the app transcribes the user’s speech to text in real-time, so they can copy-paste the text into other apps, or let people read what they wish to tell them.
[Via]

3 Indian non-profits to empower women gets a grant of $2.5 Mn from Google

  • Tech giant Google’s philanthropic arm org on Monday granted $2.5 million to three Indian non-profits to create pathways to prosperity for women and girls.
  • The three non-profits are Samhita-CGF, Pratham Education Foundation, and SwaTaleem Foundation.
  • It is part of Google.org’s $25 million commitment towards women’s empowerment. The three non-profits are part of the 34 funding recipients of the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls from across 19 countries.
[Via]

Google underpaid thousands of international ‘shadow workers,’ violating labor laws around the world

  • Google underpaid thousands of international contract workers, violating pay-parity laws in several countries, The New York Times and The Guardian reported Friday.
  • The tech giant’s compliance department discovered the mistake but chose not to immediately compensate the underpaid temporary staff, according to the reports, and instead only corrected rates for new employees in the hopes of avoiding legal, financial, and reputational damage.
  • The New York Times and The Guardian both reported that the issue has been flagged to the SEC, as even though the same pay-parity laws do not exist in America, the lack of public disclosure of the issue could be viewed as a material impact to Google’s business, and one that should have been mentioned in company filings.
[Via]