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By Abhay V
Google extends support for Chrome on Windows 7 by six months, to now end in 2022
by Abhay Venkatesh
Google today announced that it is extending support for the Chrome browser on Windows 7 by another six months, with the end-of-support now set for January 15, 2022, moved from the earlier July 15, 2021 timeline. The new date makes it exactly two years since Windows 7 reached its end of life. The company says that the decision was based on the feedback received from its enterprise customers and data about companies’ migration plans to Windows 10.
The search giant adds that many organizations were slated to migrate to Windows 10 this year. However, the challenges brought about by the pandemic resulting in differing priorities for enterprise IT teams have delayed the migration. The firm also cites a Kantar study that it commissioned that notes that 21% of organizations are still in the process of migrating from the legacy OS to the Redmond firm’s latest offering.
Additionally, Windows 7 is still being supported for some users that have opted for Extended Security Updates, the price of which doubles every year. The Mountain View company says that such users can “benefit from Chrome’s security and productivity” features since the browser will not only receive security updates but also new features. It also touts the upcoming enterprise features that Windows 7 users will be able to leverage thanks to the extended support period.
Lastly, Google says that it will “continue to evaluate the conditions [its] enterprise customers are facing” and will communicate any other changes in the future.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 20262.1010 to the Dev channel
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft released a new cumulative update for Windows Insiders in the Dev channel. After releasing build 20262 earlier this week, you can now download build 20262.1010. According to the team, there's nothing new and this update only exists to test out the servicing pipeline.
In other words, it's just like a regular old build of Windows 10 that's arrived in the Dev channel over the last month. Microsoft switched to the fe_release branch last month, removing some existing features and not adding anything new. This is typical for when the company is about to release a big feature update, but that's not the case here. In fact, the company was clear that fe_release does not represent a feature update.
It's just sort of going through the motions, and Microsoft has been silent on what's coming for Windows 10. The Windows Insider Program that was supposed to be the bridge of communication between the company and enthusiasts hasn't said a word; only that right now, Insiders aren't testing anything meaningful. Indeed, not only are these builds not giving you anything new to test out, but they're not even coming from a development branch, so they don't actually mean anything. And if they do mean something, Microsoft hasn't said.
So if you're on build 20262, you're going to get KB4594431 today. It's a meaningless cumulative update for a meaningless build of Windows 10.
Gmail and more Google apps are getting widgets on iOS
by João Carrasqueira
Apple's iOS 14 added support for home screen widgets for the first time, and companies have been working to catch up and add widgets to their own apps. Google is one such company, and after adding a widget for the Search app back in September, the Mountain View giant has now revealed a few more apps getting their own iOS home screen widgets.
Some of the widgets are rolling out in the next few days, and those are for Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Fit. The first two are fairly similar, featuring a search bar at the top and a couple of quick links. In the Gmail widget, you can start composing a new message or get a glimpse at how many unread emails you have. For Drive, you get links to the "files you're most likely to need".
Meanwhile, Google Fit simply shows a summary of your activity in the past week. You can see your daily and weekly goals for heart points and steps and whether you've met them.
Coming a little later, the Calendar widget shows your upcoming events. And next year, Chrome is also getting its own widget, which is similar in design to Gmail and Google Drive widgets. A search/address bar is at the top, along with links to open an incognito tab, use voice, or scan a QR code.
There's also a smaller widget with a "prehistoric surprise", which is likely a reference to the dinosaur game that's displayed when you try to open a webpage in Chrome without an internet connection. These widgets are available now for Chrome Beta users, but the general public will only get them in 2021.
By Abhay V
Microsoft aims to stop Chromium browsers from launching with elevated privileges
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft’s recent Chromium commit suggests that the company is working to add a way to “de-elevate” browsers, meaning that it does not want users to launch the browser with elevated or administrative privileges owing to security concerns. The commit termed “Automatically de-elevate browser when launched as elevated” was submitted to Chromium Gerrit (spotted by WindowsLatest) and has had some interesting responses.
The Redmond firm argues that the browser’s ability to automatically switch out of elevated privileges and re-launch under normal user privileges will help it solve problems such as executables downloaded from elevated browsers running with admin privileges, leading to easy access to system files. The company says that browser elevation is “unnecessary” and can cause problems.
However, the idea was met with skepticism from Google engineers who suggested that the choice must be with users and that a prompt to let users know of the elevated browser could be a better idea. Microsoft says that it experimented with a “bubble dialog” warning in the corner, but noticed that the prompt was displayed “way more often” when the browser was launched from an installed or other elevated programs, which led to many user complaints.
Currently, the discussions between the engineers point towards working on a feature to automatically de-elevate downloads and executables run from a browser with elevated privileges. This will ensure that users will explicitly run installers or other programs with elevated privileges if required, and avoid letting the browser automatically run elevated programs.
By Rich Woods
Google Chrome now supports ARM Macs, and Edge support is coming soon
by Rich Woods
Last week, Apple finally unveiled its new ARM-powered Macs, and now they're hitting the market. That also means that it's time for app developers to start optimizing their apps for it. In fact, it's not such a simple task. Apps need to be recompiled for the new architecture, lest they deal with the performance impact of running in Apple's Rosetta 2 emulation.
Google released its ARM64 Chrome browser today, and when downloading the browser, you'll be presented with an option to download the Intel or the Apple Silicon version. Since then, Microsoft has also confirmed that its Chromium-based Edge browser is on the way to supporting the Apple M1.
Of course, this is sort of something that app developers have to do. Unlike Microsoft's ARM64 efforts, which feel like more of a side-project, Apple is transitioning its entire lineup to its own custom ARM processors. It's leaving behind Intel completely.
A great example of this is that Google still hasn't released an ARM64 version of Chrome for Windows. And as we exclusively reported over a year ago now, Google has had ARM64 Chrome ready to go on Windows, but it just hasn't released it.