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  1. iOS 15 launched today, and Google has taken the opportunity to announce some updates and improvements they have made to the iPhone and iPad apps so they take better advantage of the new operating system. Focus Mode Google has announced that their notifications will now work with focus mode, with important notifications coming though, but most other notifications being suppressed. For example, if you’re navigating somewhere with Google Maps, the app will still let you know when you need to make a turn or if there are changes to your route — like road closures or unexpected traffic. Focus mode won’t silence these helpful, timely reminders. Similarly, the Google Home app will let you know if there’s an unfamiliar face at your door. And if you set a reminder in Google Tasks that’s linked to a specific time, like “take the cupcakes out of the oven at 11:45,” Tasks will still notify you. But notifications that aren’t as urgent or don’t require immediate action will go right to the Notifications Center, where you can check them whenever is most convenient for you. The improvements will start rolling out in the coming weeks across Gmail, Meet, Tasks, Maps, Home and many other Google apps. Bigger widgets for iPad In the coming weeks, Google Photos and YouTube Music will roll out extra large versions of their popular widgets so you can easily access some of your best Memories and favorite music on your iPad Home Screen. Easier access to Google on iOS Starting today, if you search for your favourite song in Spotlight, you can start playing it directly in YouTube Music. Of course, to access these new features you need to be running iOS 15, which should be rolling out to your handset today. Google announce app updates to better support iOS 15
  2. Google resumes updating its major iPhone and iPad apps, starting with YouTube The vast majority of Google’s iOS apps have not been updated since early December. A trio of smaller Google applications saw new versions towards the end of last month, while YouTube for iPhone and iPad was just updated this evening. Following the last YouTube release (15.49.4) on December 7th, iPhone owners this evening are seeing version 15.49.6. The release date is officially February 13th, making for a very odd weekend update by Google. As usual, the YouTube team continued with its practice of using generic release notes Fixed bugs, improved performance, drank way too much coffee While it’s normal for tech companies to pause work over the winter holidays, updates usually resume by mid-January. Some speculated the lack of releases was due to app nutrition labels, but YouTube filled out the App Privacy section long before this update today. In fact, the YouTube family (Music, TV, and Studio), save for Kids, was updated with the Apple requirement in early February. Google publicly stated its commitment to add labels, and the current count is at over a dozen apps: As Google’s iOS apps are updated with new features or to fix bugs, you’ll see updates to our app page listings that include the new App Privacy Details. These labels represent the maximum categories of data that could be collected—meaning if you use every available feature and service in the app. The YouTube update comes as iPhone owners earlier this week encountered a “This app is out of date” message when attempting to sign-in with a Google Account. There was no actual security issue, and the warning was quickly removed. Hopefully, other Google app updates will follow soon. The latest Chrome for iOS is notably 24 days late, though feature parity was not lost given the server-side update nature of most Google services. For example, the Google app got a major redesign of how Search results are displayed last month. Source: Google resumes updating its major iPhone and iPad apps, starting with YouTube
  3. Google’s own iOS apps are now literally begging for updates that don’t exist ‘You should update this app.’ Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge Google hasn’t updated many of its iOS apps in weeks, perhaps to avoid potential criticism from what might be revealed from Apple’s new mandatory App Store privacy labels. But now, some of Google’s own iOS apps seem to be complaining about the wait: we’re now seeing confusing notices inside Gmail, Google Maps and Google Photos saying that the apps are out of date — even though there aren’t newer versions of the apps available (via Techmeme editor Spencer Dailey). To see the notice, you have to be logging into your account — so if you’re already logged in, you might not see it. After you type in your email address, you might see this warning message: “You should update this app. The version you’re using doesn’t include the latest security features to keep you protected. Only continue if you understand the risks.” Google’s notice informing a Verge staffer that their app is out of date. After you tap the continue button, you can use the app as normal — they still work. But without additional context, users might worry that they don’t have the latest and most secure version of an app. Google had promised its apps would start including the new mandatory Apple app privacy labels in a blog post on January 12th, and the company has technically kept its word. Google Authenticator and Stadia, for example, have been updated with the labels, and in our testing with those two apps, we didn’t see the “this app is out of date” message. We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this article with anything we hear. Google’s own iOS apps are now literally begging for updates that don’t exist
  4. Google wants to clear things up for Huawei device users: Google’s apps and services cannot be preloaded on new Huawei devices and are not available due to U.S. government restrictions. If users try to download Google apps and services through a side door, or essentially download them from somewhere other than the Play Store, bad things can happen. The company published this information in a support article for its Android Help Community, titled “Answering your questions on Huawei devices and Google,” on Friday. It said that it had continued to receive many questions on whether Google services could work on new Huawei devices, and therefore wanted to offer guidance. The U.S. government banned Google, and all American companies, from doing business with Huawei in May of last year due to national security concerns. In the article, Google stated that it has continued to work with Huawei to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on Huawei device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019. That’s when the company was placed on the Entity List, the U.S. government’s blacklist. The U.S. government has issued temporary general licenses that allow Google to collaborate with Huawei on these models. Google said that it would continue to provide updates to the Huawei devices mentioned above “as long as it is permitted.” The company cannot provide updates to new Huawei devices made available after May 16, 2019. These new models are not certified Play Protect devices, or devices that are vetted by Google to ensure they are secure, and they do not have the Play Protect software preloaded. Google’s Play Protect software is built-in malware protection for Android. “To protect user data privacy, security and safeguard the overall experience, the Google Play Store, Google Play Protect and Google’s core apps (including Gmail, YouTube, Maps and others) are only available on Play Protect certified devices,” wrote Tristan Ostrowski, Android and Play legal director. “Play Protect certified devices go through a rigorous security review and compatibility testing process, performed by Google, to ensure user data and app information are kept safe. They also come from the factory with our Google Play Protect software, which provides protection against the device being compromised.” However, there is another way to get Google apps and services. This is called sideloading, or downloading an app from some place other than the Play Store. In the article, Google advises users not to do this, for their own security. “In addition, sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.” Unfortunately for Huawei device users, the situation between the U.S. and Huawei doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The U.S. government has recently claimed that it has proof that Huawei has “back doors” built-in that allow it to spy on mobile phone networks employing Huawei equipment. It also charged Huawei with three new crimes: conspiracy to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy. At least for now, it looks like new Huawei device users will have to get used to living life without Google. Source
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