In late October 2018, Google announced that the famous search engine is updating its policy and software to prevent misuse and unintentional problems. One of the most affected parts of the browser update is the extensions – as the company has taken steps to increase security processes to make sure that both users and developers will not abuse the feature.
However, developers widely criticized the move saying the changes will cripple extensions to block ads and is also counterintuitive to the security improvement it aims to achieve with the change.
The changes, called Manifest v3, were first proposed and announced late last years, many developers started to notice the changes for ad blockers last January. Developers around the world have spoken up against the changes and their potential to limit extensions’ capability to block unwanted ads.
Last week, Google assured developers by announcing their plan to revise Manifest v3 to ensure them that they do not want to remove ad blockers in the browser.
Devlin Cronin, a software engineer on the Chrome team, wrote in a Google Groups post last week, that the team’s intention was never to prevent or break content blocking. “We are committed to preserving that ecosystem and ensuring that users can continue to customize the Chrome browser to meet their needs. This includes continuing to support extensions, including content blockers, developer tools, accessibility features, and many others, ” he added.
The Manifest v3 intends to design a software update for Chrome to improve its extensions’ performance, privacy, and security. However, the backlash that it received over the proposed updates highlight the search giant’s scale and dominance. According to Stat Counter, Chrome, which has 1 billion users around the world, accounts for 62% of global website usage.
“These changes are in the design process,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “We want to make sure all fundamental use cases — including content blockers — are still possible with these changes and are working with extension developers to make sure their extensions continue to work while optimizing the extensions platform and better protecting our users.”
Ghosterly, one of the ad blocked developers that staunchly opposed the planned changes on Google’s flagship browser, have triggered Google’s Cronin to make the clarification post. Ghosterly released a study last week that said that extensions would only impact Chrome’s performance for only about a tenth of a millisecond.
Rumors from a trusted source said that the methodology employed by Ghosterly is questionable noting that the said Cronin’s post was not a response to the study. /apr
5 Days After Release, Google ‘Pixel 3A / 3A XL’ Criticized For Poor Performance
Back in the days, when Google releases new hardware, the fascination towards these new product lines are apparent. Indeed, when it comes to devices, Google is the Picasso or the Michaelangelo of modern technology, who’s craftsmanship resonates into something spectacular.
Recalling the early days of the Google Pixel, and how demand strike due to the exceptional performance, Google was in the pinnacle of mobile success. The excellent taste of build quality, the incredibly smooth performance, and most importantly, the cameras. Every crisp detail witnessed on the Google Pixel sounded as if its the phone to beat.
Then came the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, which most of us concludes as the most solid Android device Google offered. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL is the perfect example of the common phrase don’t judge the book by its cover. The phone may not look like the future of smartphones, but it packs a beast that probably surpasses its successor, the Pixel 3.
The Pixel 2 sports a 5-inch screen while its larger variant, the Pixel 2 XL, shows off an edge-to-edge 6-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio. Priced at an exceptionally budget-friendly range, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL now runs on Android Q beta for better photo quality, water resistant, and a much easy Google Assistant button.
At some point, these two previous Pixel phones were a testament to Google’s years of hard work and experimentation to offer top-tier mobile performance. And that transpire into incredible sales turn around with both Pixel and Pixel 2 running out of stock. In 2017, Google sold 3.9 million Pixel and Pixel 2 phones. Although the Pixel and Pixel 2 are no exception to any smartphone flaws, these devices maintained a steady reputation for Google.
Now, heading to Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, Google’s most expensive Android device yet; this is where Google Pixel phones fall into a downhill slope. Aside from its high price point, the Pixel 3 made its predecessor, the Pixel 2, the juicier option. Without a doubt, the camera is Pixel phones’ creme-de-la-creme, and it got better in Pixel 3 via its machine-learning software that enhances photo quality. But, its weak battery life and sparse memory management (sporting 4GB RAM while others do 6GB) suck the life out of the Pixel 3. A report from 9to5google.com revealed that six months after the Pixel 3’s release, owners are still facing an ample amount of issues that Google failed to address.
Continuing to its latest flagship, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, Google’s budget-friendly alternative to the Pixel 3, the response towards the new Android device seem to fall short due to some shortcomings. Five days after its most awaited release, consumers in various forums and social media sites backlashed over the Pixel 3a’s poor performance.
Usually, Google is amassed of admirations and praises due to its unique and potent mobile craftsmanship. This time, however, as much as Google wants to mitigate the Pixel and Pixel 2’s success, it might have been the worst one yet.
Claims regarding Google’s Digital Wellbeing software slowing down Pixel 3’s performance is all over Reddit. A thread from Reddit user “ploewer” details that after turning the Digital Wellbeing feature, the Pixel 3 runs like a real flagship. Hence, a software that should be meant as a helpful tool for the device turned out to be an off-putting feat.
Google Digital Wellbeing is a transparent tool that monitors your usage and maintains the balance between life and tech. In a sense, it’s Google’s response to the increasing number of smartphone addictions. Well, the Digital Wellbeing software should not turn your Pixel 3 into a sluggish device. It should be a useful feat that runs in the background and tracks your overall activity in both apps and device in general. These data are valuable, especially if you’re aiming for a more productive day instead of spending most of your time staring at the screen.
If more evidence proves that the Digital Wellbeing software, indeed, slows down the Pixel 3’s performance, it’s a total let down, especially for a feature that intends to be useful. As of the moment, Google is yet to respond with regards to these claims from some Pixel owners. And as per its temporary resolution, the only thing to do is to disable the feature.
Pixel 3 and its budget-friendly counterpart, the Pixel 3a, is leading Google to massive setbacks. Pixel 3a and 3a XL owners complain about weaker camera performance. And the most glaring issue faced by most users is the device’s slower performance, a speed that rivals its predecessor in an off-putting way.
Undoubtedly, Pixel 3a/3a XL price cuts may be appealing to some consumers. However, this comes for some spec cuts too. So, did Google unwilling shuts Pixel 3’s hopes after 3a’s release? Or, is Google becoming a weary smartphone maker?
Android Q Is Now Available In Beta And Here Are Things You Should Be Excited About
Today, over 2.5 billion devices in the world are powered by Google’s Android operating system. Good as it may sound for business, but that’s certainly a big number to satisfy and Google’s working double time to meet customer demands.
During Google I/O, they announced the new Android OS called Android 10 Q. They’re picking up unfinished business with last year’s Android 9 Pie, and I could almost hear everyone at attendance in the conference sigh ’Finally.’
There are tons of new features coming with the latest Android 10 Q that would undoubtedly make rivals like Apple have a hard time looking away.
I’m saying it now, Google’s updates on the Android 10 Q isn’t just for show. There are useful and practical features that would surely give it a boost against competitors.
Data Security and Privacy
For starters, in a critical time of discussing privacy protection in the digital age, Google has decided to take a more proactive role in trying to meet expectations.
One of which is allowing some functionalities on devices powered by Android 10 Q through more advanced AI tech. What Google presented was that information can now be processed locally without the need to send data from the device to their servers and back. In other words, Google won’t be having a copy of the information you put into their system.
Second of which is through allowing security updates to reach more users more efficiently. In the past, security updates take too long because they’re packaged along with major updates that manufacturers and sometimes also carriers take too long to ship. With what Google calls its Project Mainline, they can send security updates through the Google Play Store.
Project Mainline wouldn’t be able to perform complete software updates, but it will be good enough to mitigate issues on prolonged security updates, and it will also be able to detect and patch bugs faster.
Like many other devices and applications, the Android 10 Q is also joining the bandwagon and will be introducing their version of dark mode.
As expected, it will be able to turn your device to black by toggling a few buttons. When using the battery saver mode, the dark theme will automatically be triggered since the great thing about Android 19 Q’s dark theme is its pure black versus the grayish black some developers opt for. In this sense, devices tend to save more energy.
At first glance, the gestures on the Android 10 Q might seem familiar. That’s because it is. It’s pretty much copied from Apple’s gesture commands.
In Android 10 Q, there’s a thin white line at ghe bottom of the screen that you can prompt to perform gestures. You swipe up and drag across to go into a multitasking view. You swipe across it quickly to switch between apps.
But the difference it has compared to Apple and probably why it’s better is that the thin white line at the bottom is its own entity instead of being part of the screen. It doesn’t cover the bottom.
Moreover, and probably up for debate, Google has also decided to abandon the back button and replace it with a sideswipe motion. At the moment, it’s still to be determined whether it’s from the right of the screen across, the other way around or both. Personally, this is a great feature either way, but as a righty, I would appreciate it as a sideswipe motion from the right across the screen.
Probably the most significant feature introduced in the Android 10 Q is the Live Caption. Quite literally, it enables your device to place captions instantly. This can be used during video calls, videos and more.
What Live Caption does is transcribe audio when triggered. This can easily be set up in settings and once triggered, a black screen will pop up to place text as you’re watching a video or talking to a friend. Text size and screen space can also be adjusted to your preference.
Moreover, in line with Google’s commitment to privacy, Live Caption can process information locally on the device too. Although it may take a few seconds of lag it’s undoubtedly something in its early days and would surely take on more improvements in the future.
In fact, the feature is seen on Google’s other platforms, putting it on a mobile device is something still worth calling at the edge of innovation.
At the moment, it is only available for the English language but I reckon Google will soon work on making it possible for other languages as well.
The beta version of Android 10 Q is available today on more devices compared to other Android OS probably because Google wants more people to test it our before it officially launches as an Android OS update.
Here are the list of devices that can try out the beta version:
- Asus ZenFone 5Z
- Essential PH-1
- HMD Global Nokia 8.1
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- LG G8 ThinQ
- OnePlus 6T
- Oppo Reno
- Pixel 2
- Pixel 3
- Realme 3 Pro
- Sony Xperia XZ3
- Tecno Spark 3Pro
- Vivo X27
- Vivo NEX S
- Vivo NEX A
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
- Xiaomi Mi 9
Give it a try and let us know what you think!
How Google Banks On Data Privacy
The need for data privacy on the Internet has never been so in demand as conversations about it dramatically increased over recent years mainly rooting from Facebook’s controversies. As a matter of fact, Google has its own fair share of sketchy mishaps that includes controversial government contracts and Chinese deals.
However, unlike Facebook, Google has shown to have taken the issue seriously and have been actively addressing the issue and securing the idea of private Internet consumption beginning with the incognito mode on Google Chrome. Over the past decade, Google has made the effort to materialize the idea unlike Facebook’s consistent loud promises and announcements that hardly ever reach people’s grasp.
Especially in a time where Google is under fire regarding issues with the inappropriate workplace environment, mistreatment, and discrimination to name a few, hearing and seeing how Google plans to go forward with a more secure and safe online environment is a great way to bring back people’s trust.
One of many steps Google is planning to address security concerns is through Android Q, which is an upcoming software update for all Android devices. Through that software, Google will be able to deliver faster security update through the Play Store, which is virtually present in all Android devices except the ones in China. Google calls it ‘Project Mainline.’
As of the moment, security updates are prolonged due to the waiting time between Android and manufacturers like Samsung and LG to ship them out. By directly handling the updates in the Play Store, Google will be able to cut down that waiting time.
Google won’t be able to perform all updates through Project Mainline. For starters, there 12 ‘modules’ that they are capable of updating. By breaking them down into smaller and more easier versions, Google can patch small bugs or potential major flaws quicker than it did before.
The second thing Google is planning to incorporate in its set of security features is the feature that allows you to auto-delete app-activity, location, and web location information.
Believe it or not, Google stores a lot of data regarding your activity under its software. This allows Google to give you personalized recommendations and ‘guess’ your preferred actions while using their software. However, manually deleting these data in the past would result in less personal experience.
In the future, Google will give you two options when deciding to auto-delete your personal data: 3 months or 18 months. With his, any data stored in their servers older than the opted duration would be deleted. Fortunately, this won’t make your user experience completely abandoned and unknown but it will, in fact, be a less but it will limit Google from accessing information in return.
The third feature that Google’s integrating into its cybersecurity procedure is the ability of their AI tech to process data locally. This can be seen in new forms like the Google Nest Hub Max and the Google Assistant. Basically, Google’s AI can now process ambient information without the need to deliver them to servers or the cloud for processing.
Local AI processing means that Google won’t b able to have complete access to any data or information that you will be inputting such as facial recognition in the Nest Hub Max or location services with the Google Assistant.
On the topic of location services, Google Maps will also be integrating an incognito feature along with Search. By using incognito mode, any information used under these platforms will not attribute it to a specific user, making the data stored in Google’s servers basically as nobody. This feature is currently available on YouTube and would be available in Google Maps and Search later in the year.
Lastly, Google is planning to bank on an almost private web browsing experience with the new features they are planning to incorporate with Google Chrome.
Right now, web browsers are riddled with cookies that allow users to experience an easier browsing experience but it also exposes users to a lot of negative experiences too.
Specifically, cookies are used to store some of your data into a specific website and cookies are also left when you move from one website to another. This helps to keep you logged on a specific website or remember your preferences whenever you decide to come back. For some users, they would like to choose to opt out of that conveniences to help keep personal data away from said websites.
In relation, cookies are also used by websites to target ads by using your information and also makes you vulnerable to online hackers that try to tap into these cookies.
As a solution, Google is deciding to implement a new set of features that will allow you to access websites without the need to allow leaving cookies when you visit them. At the moment, it’s hard to identify cookies that determine a user’s log-in and set of preferences from third-party cookies that exploit your personal information.
Google has promised to find a way through these concerns to deliver a safer and more secure browsing experience in the future.
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