News

18 Aug
Gmail Now Lets You Send Mails Secretly to Users
Gmail Now Lets You Send Mails Secretly to Users

Gmail is now letting users send mails via the Confidential Mode which was first demonstrated few months back, when the mailing client was getting a design makeover.

Confidential Mode is a secretive form of sending mails for users, who want to lock the content that’s getting shared and also have a timer that ensures the mail expires. How many times have you dithered from sending critical information like bank account number or password to someone via Gmail? That’s probably going to be sorted now.

This is probably the first time that we’re seeing mail that has an option of expiring, something that has been highly used for social media platforms like Snapchat, and even Instagram.

The feature is now rolling out to the new-look Gmail app on Android, iOS and even the web version for PCs.

How the user receives a mail send via confidential mode. 

How the user receives a mail send via confidential mode.

New confidential mode allows you to remove the option to forward, copy, download or print messages — useful for when you have to send sensitive information via email like a tax return or your social security number.

Google Blog

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How to send mails secretly. 

How to send mails secretly. 

(Photo: Gmail screen grab)

How to Send Mails in Confidential Mode

  1. Open Gmail (app or on a browser) and compose a new mail
  2. Select Confidential Mode on the top right of the Gmail app
  3. Web users will see it at the bottom of the mail
  4. Select duration of mail (day, week, month or year)
  5. You can send the mail with SMS Passcode or without it
  6. Enter the mobile number of the user receiving the mail

Use a passcode for the person to open the mail. 

Use a passcode for the person to open the mail.

Gmail also claims that sending confidential details like credit card numbers, bank information and passwords among others (not recommended though).

Choose the duration for which the mail will exist. 

Choose the duration for which the mail will exist. 

 

These features are making way to your devices and PCs in the coming days. During our experience with the option, we found all the points advertised are working as expected. Taking the passcode via OTP route, the security part also gets covered.

All in all, looks like an interesting option for mail users – something worth trying out over the next few months.

 

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14 Aug
Google Voice redesigned
Google Voice redesigned

At Cloud Next 2018, Google announced that Google Voice was now a part of G Suite and showed off a redesigned app. That mobile revamp is now beginning to roll out on iOS with new features for enterprise users, and it’s likely coming soon to Android.

As a part of G Suite, Google Voice aims to compliment Hangouts Meet video conferencing by offering a calling solution for enterprise customers. The version includes specific features like managing users, detailed reports, and setting up call routing functionality. When provisioning and porting numbers, admins can assign to either individual users or entire departments.

This redesign also involves a significant tweak of the mobile apps, starting with a new icon that’s reminiscent of the old Hangouts Dialer and replaces the previous light blue and white logo.

The new dark green background is the same shade as Hangouts Chat and Meet, with that accent color present throughout the rest of the application.

Signaling the new focus on traditional telephony, “Calls” is now the first tab in the bottom bar if you’re logged in with a G Suite account. This is followed by a new “Contacts” section that provides dedicated access to your address book. The functionality is not new given how opening search would already display an alphabetical list of contacts. There is a quick shortcut to add new contacts at the top of the list, as well as the ability to edit existing ones.

Meanwhile, “Messages” is now the third tab with “Voicemail” still at the very right. Again, this update is more of a reorganization of the app. Dark green is used to highlight the current tab you are viewing, as well as the calling and new message FAB.

 

 

 

Google touted at Cloud Next 2018 that the new Voice closely integrates with other G Suite services. Do not disturb can be enabled automatically based on “working hours” as determined by Google Calendar. This Digital Wellbeing feature can leverage machine learning to infer your work hours based on past events and takes into account time zones. As such, messages received after hours will automatically be forwarded, while calls go straight to voicemail.

The Contacts and Calendar-based DND functionality appears to be limited to enterprise G Suite accounts. Regular and free Google accounts will continue to see Messages as the first tab followed by Calls and Voicemail. Keypad is the fourth tab, while the Calendar integration does not appear in Settings.

Version 18.33 is rolling out now to iOS, while there are already reports of Android users getting the update last week. Meanwhile, given that these features were under development in our last APK Insight of Google Voice, the Play Store update is likely coming sooner than later.

 

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11 Aug
Many Android devices ship with firmware vulnerabilities
Many Android devices ship with firmware vulnerabilities

Asus, Essential, LG, and ZTE have all vowed to patch security flaws found by mobile security firm Kryptowire, according to Wired. The firm’s research was meant to point out that some security meltdowns stem from code written by phone companies to modify Android.

Researchers found bugs in the firmware of 10 separate devices carried across the major American carriers, according Wired, which saw an early version of Kryptowire’s report. The security lapses could lead to everything from letting an attacker lock someone out of their device, to getting control over their microphone and more — though most of the attacks that the researchers detailed required users to download some sort of malicious app before they could take advantage of the holes present in the firmware. Their research, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, is being presented today at the Black Hat USA security conference.

According to Kryptowire, these vulnerabilities stem from Android’s open nature, which allows third-parties to tweak the code and modify the interference or create completely different versions of Android. However, as the researchers found out, this open-style system can also lead to gaps in the phones’ security. Wired says the research looks at these flaws as a problem endemic to Android.

“A lot of the people in the supply chain want to be able to add their own applications, customize, add their own cod,” Kryptowire CEO Angelos Stavrou told Wired. “That increases the attack surface, and increases the probability of software error.”

One particularly bad example was found in the Asus Zenfone V Live smartphone. According to Wired, Kryptowire found enough holes in its code to expose users to a complete takeover of their device — screenshots and video recordings could be taken of their screen, and someone could, theoretically, read and changing their text messages. Asus said it is “aware of the recent security concerns” and that it is “working diligently and swiftly to resolve them” with a patch.

Essential, LG, and ZTE all responded to Wired with statements saying they had fixed some or all of the problems identified by Kryptowire after being alerted by the firm. Whether those patches have been rolled out to all users is less clear, however, as only AT&T confirmed it had deployed any of these updates. And as the researchers point out, this update process is, itself, broken for many, with updates often taking months to put together and make their way to users.

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11 Aug
Microsoft releases two new Windows 10 previews
Microsoft releases two new Windows 10 previews

Microsoft today released two new Windows 10 previews for PCs. The first build, which contains only bug fixes, is from the RS5 branch, which represents the Windows 10 update the company plans to release later this year. The second build is from the 19H1 branch, which, as its name indicates, will arrive in the first half of next year.

It’s becoming more common for the Windows Insider program to get two new builds on the same day (the last time was only about two weeks ago). Microsoft is becoming more comfortable developing two updates of Windows 10 at once.

Windows 10 is being developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released five major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, and April 2018 Update.

Windows 10 build 17735

As mentioned, this build doesn’t offer any new features. This is largely because the RS5 branch is feature-complete, and Microsoft is mainly now focusing on fixing bugs.

This desktop build includes the following general bug fixes and improvements:

  • Fixed an issue resulting in Reveal not working in Build 17733, for example in Start or Settings.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in links that launched one app from another app not working in the last few flights for some Insiders.
  • Fixed an issue in Windows Mixed Reality where the voice command, “Flashlight on,” would fail to activate the flashlight feature.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in Notepad’s “Search with Bing” feature searching for “10 10” instead of “10 + 10” if that was the search query and also fixed an issue where accented characters would end up as question marks in the resulting search.
  • Fixed an issue where Ctrl + 0 to reset the zoom level in Notepad wouldn’t work if the 0 was typed from a keypad.
  • Fixed an issue where nearby sharing would become blocked on the sender device after canceling share to three different devices.
  • Narrator Scan Mode has been improved to prevent multiple stops for a single control.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator said “Not a Narrator command” when navigating Win32 menu bar items.
  • Removed the Windows alert sound when performing the Narrator Find command.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator got stuck at a word boundary when making a selection using select current and previous character.

In the RS5 branch, this update bumps the Windows 10 build number for PCs from 17733 (made available to testers on August 8) to build 17735.

This build has eight known issues:

  • Your PC will bugcheck (GSOD) when deleting a local folder that is synced to OneDrive.
  • When you upgrade to this build you’ll find that the taskbar flyouts (network, volume, etc) no longer have an acrylic background.
  • When you use the Ease of Access Make Text bigger setting, you might see text clipping issues, or find that text is not increasing in size everywhere.
  • On Windows 10 in S Mode, launching Office in the Store may fail to launch with an error about a .dll not being designed to run on Windows. The error message is that a .dll “is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error. Try installing the program again…” Some people have been able to work around this by uninstalling and reinstalling Office from the Store.
  • When using Narrator Scan mode Shift + Selection commands in Microsoft Edge, the text does not get selected properly.
  • Narrator sometimes does not read in the Settings app when you navigate using Tab and arrow keys. Try switching to Narrator Scan mode temporarily. And when you turn Scan mode off again, Narrator will now read when you navigate using Tab and arrows key. Alternatively, you can restart Narrator to work around this issue.
  • A potential increase in Start reliability and performance issues.
  • After setting up a Windows Mixed Reality headset for the first time on this build with motion controllers, the controllers may need to be re-paired a second time before appearing in the headset.

Windows 10 build 18214

This 19H1 build is for Windows Insiders who have chosen the Skip Ahead option, meaning they continue to receive builds from the RS_PRERELEASE branch. Only a small subset of Insiders can opt into Skip Ahead, as Microsoft still needs testers helping with RS5.

This build mainly catches up the 19H1 branch with the improvements and fixes made recently in the RS5 branch. It supports Your Phone app, for example, which the RS5 branch already supports. It still hasn‘t quite caught up yet, however, and it’s clear Microsoft’s main focus is on RS5.

This desktop build includes the following general bug fixes and improvements:

  • Fixed the issue resulting in the Clock & Calendar flyout sometimes not appearing until you clicked Start or the Action Center. This same issue impacted both notifications and the taskbar jump lists appearing. Thank you to all the Windows Insiders who gave feedback on this issue.
  • Fixed an issue that could result in an unexpected sihost.exe error when entering Safe Mode.
  • Fixed an issue where Timeline’s scrollbar didn’t work with touch.
  • Fixed an issue where when naming a tile folder in Start it would commit as soon as you pressed space.
  • You should find apps resize better now after monitor DPI changes. As always, we appreciate feedback in this space.
  • Fixed an issue where the enabled/disabled state of Fast Startup would be reset to default after upgrading. After upgrading off of this build your preferred state will persist.
  • Fixed an issue where the Windows Security icon in the taskbar systray would become a little bit blurrier every time there was a resolution change.
  • Fixed an issue where the USERNAME environment variable was returning SYSTEM when queried from an un-elevated Command Prompt in recent builds.
  • Updated the messaging in Snipping Tool, which could be in for a renaming.

In the 19H1 branch, this update bumps the Windows 10 build number for PCs from 18204 (made available to testers on July 25) to build 18214.

This build has 15 known issues:

  • The dark theme File Explorer is on its way to Skip Ahead, but not yet there. You may see some unexpectedly light colors in these surfaces when in dark mode and/or dark on dark text.
  • When you upgrade to this build you’ll find that the taskbar flyouts (network, volume, etc) no longer have an acrylic background.
  • When you use the Ease of Access Make Text bigger setting, you might see text clipping issues, or find that text is not increasing in size everywhere.
  • When you set up Microsoft Edge as your kiosk app and configure the start/new tab page URL from assigned access Settings, Microsoft Edge may not get launched with the configured URL. The fix for this issue should be included in the next flight.
  • You may see the notification count icon overlapping with the extension icon in the Microsoft Edge toolbar when an extension has unread notifications.
  • On Windows 10 in S Mode, launching Office in the Store may fail to launch with an error about a .dll not being designed to run on Windows. The error message is that a .dll “is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error. Try installing the program again…” Some people have been able to work around this by uninstalling and reinstalling Office from the Store. If that doesn’t work, you can try to install a version of Office not from the Store.
  • When the Narrator Quickstart launches, Scan Mode may not reliably be on by default. To verify that Scan Mode is on, press Caps Lock + Space.
  • When using Narrator Scan mode you may experience multiple stops for a single control. An example of this is if you have an image that is also a link.
  • If the Narrator key is set to just Insert and you attempt to send a Narrator command from a braille display then these commands will not function. As long as the Caps Lock key is a part of the Narrator key mapping then braille functionality will work as designed.
  • There is a known issue in Narrator’s automatic dialog reading where the title of the dialog is being spoken more than once.
  • When using Narrator Scan mode Shift + Selection commands in Edge, the text does not get selected properly.
  • Narrator sometimes does not read combo boxes until Alt + down arrow is pressed.
  • For more information about Narrator new keyboard layout and other known issues, please refer to Intro to New Narrator Keyboard Layout doc (ms/RS5NarratorKeyboard).
  • A potential increase in Start reliability and performance issues.
  • If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring – optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

Don’t install either build on your production machine.

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09 Aug
Microsoft releases dark theme for File Explorer
Microsoft releases dark theme for File Explorer

Microsoft today released a new preview for PCs with dark theme support in File Explorer and improvements to Narrator. This build is from the RS5 branch, which represents the Windows 10 update the company plans to release later this year. The company is also releasing builds from the 19H1 branch, which, as its name indicates, will arrive in the first half of next year.

Windows 10 is being developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released five major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, and April 2018 Update.

Back in May, Microsoft released the first Windows 10 build to support a dark theme in File Explorer. Today’s build completes “what we set out to do for this release,” the team announced. That doesn’t mean dark theme development is done, but it does mean that what you see in File Explorer in this build is what you’ll get in the next Windows 10 release.

This desktop build also includes the following general bug fixes and improvements (most of which are for Narrator):

  • The XAML shadows have been taken offline and acrylic has been removed from some popup controls. They will be back in a later build.
  • Fixed an issue from recently flights where the touch keyboard might become invisible on the screen.
  • Fixed an issue in recent flights where components of a notification with a progress bar (like the one when using nearby sharing) might flash every time the progress bar updated.
  • Fixed an issue where on certain devices if you reset your device and chose to keep files, after logging back into Windows the Sound Settings page would be unresponsive.
  • Fixed the issue where the High Contrast dropdown flashed when the values were changed.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator couldn’t access all the emoji in the Touch Keyboard’s emoji panel.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator didn’t say “selected” after image was selected using the keyboard.
  • Fixed the issue where Touch Narrator’s focus remained on the word even after deselecting it.
  • Fixed the issue where the Narrator key got sticky when using the Mouse Mode command.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator’s Command Restore Default dialog was not read by Narrator.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator’s copy and paste feature would say “selection removed” but the selection remained.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator automatic dialog read the Command key Assignment dialog twice.
  • Improved the Narrator experience when moving by character and announcing phonetic pronunciations.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator focus and keyboard focus got out of sync after navigating TreeView controls.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator misread the Calculator app’s display on focus for values over 100.
  • Fixed the issue where when launching Narrator QuickStart using the link in Narrator Settings, the Narrator icon would appear in the taskbar.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator couldn’t read the label of the Word document recovery dialog.
  • Fixed the issue so Narrator can now navigate the New Notepad Status Bar contents.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator Scan mode navigation didn’t progress after tabbing onto a link.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator navigated out of the Microsoft Edge browser window using Scan mode on some web pages.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator crashed when Developer Mode was in use and the generated string to display was null.
  • Fixed the issue where Narrator continuous reading got stuck on a table element in some HTML emails.

Today’s update bumps the Windows 10 build number for the RS5 branch from 17730 (made available to testers on August 3) to build 17733.

This build has 11 known issues:

  • Your PC will bugcheck (GSOD) when deleting a local folder that is synced to OneDrive.
  • Clicking a link to launch one app from another app may not work for some Insiders.
  • When you upgrade to this build you’ll find that the taskbar flyouts (network, volume, etc) no longer have an acrylic background.
  • When you use the Ease of Access Make Text bigger setting, you might see text clipping issues, or find that text is not increasing in size everywhere.
  • On Windows 10 in S Mode, launching Office in the Store may fail to launch with an error about a .dll not being designed to run on Windows. The error message is that a .dll “is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error. Try installing the program again…” Some people have been able to work around this by uninstalling and reinstalling Office from the Store.
  • When using Narrator Scan mode you may experience multiple stops for a single control. An example of this is if you have an image that is also a link.
  • When using Narrator Scan mode Shift + Selection commands in Microsoft Edge, the text does not get selected properly.
  • A potential increase in Start reliability and performance issues in this build.
  • After setting up a Windows Mixed Reality headset for the first time on this build with motion controllers, the controllers may need to be re-paired a second time before appearing in the headset.
  • When using a Windows Mixed Reality immersive app, saying “Flashlight on,” may fail to activate the flashlight feature even though the status appears as active on the Start menu.
  • If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring – optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

As always, don’t install this on your production machine.

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