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By Jay Bonggolto
Chromebooks gain new security and accessibility updates for remote learning
by Jay Bonggolto
Google launched a faster way to sign into some websites with Chrome OS earlier this year without using the password you've created for those sites. Thanks to the company's Web Authentication (WebAuthn) feature, you can log into supported websites using the PIN or your fingerprint you've used to sign in to your Chromebook.
Today, Google announced that it's bringing the ability to log into a Chromebook using a six-digit PIN to education users. The feature will be available starting in August on devices powered by an H1 security chip. You'll be prompted to set up a PIN when you sign into your assigned device. The search giant noted that the new update is meant to support students as they participate in remote classes using the devices assigned by their schools.
Google is also rolling out a new accessibility update in August that will allow students to choose a certain point on their screen with the new Point Scanning navigation mode. It's part of the Switch Access input method for Chromebook that allows users to control their cursor using a built-in keyboard or an external device that connects via USB or Bluetooth. To use this feature, you need to select the horizontal location of your choice first and then choose the vertical location.
In addition, Chrome OS has added a new panning method to its full-screen magnifier that lets you keep the mouse at the center of the screen as the viewport pans with the mouse's movement. Previously, you could only pan the screen when the mouse reaches the edge of the magnified viewport.
Google also released new tutorials for its screen reader ChromeVox. These include a quick orientation and interactive lessons. A new page is also added in the admin console to display the Chrome Insights Reports, which show the Automatic Update Expiration date of a device.
EU Commission launches Google antitrust probe over its ad serving
by Paul Hill
The European Commission has announced that it has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Google to find out whether it favoured its own online display advertising technology services over the competition's ad tech to the detriment of other providers, advertisers, and online publishers.
The Commission will look at a whole range of issues that it’s concerned about in relation to Google's ad practices, but one of the most high-profile items on its list pertains to Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox that will prohibit the use of third-party cookies in favour of Google’s federated cohorts alternative which could hurt other ad providers’ ability to target relevant ads at users.
Google has previously announced that it would prevent third-party advertisers from accessing the advertising identifier on Android if the user decides to opt out of personalised advertising. In its investigation, the EU Commission will examine the effects of this policy on online display advertising and online display advertising intermediation markets.
Commenting on the decision to launch the probe, Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, said:
The Commission has said that it will take into account the GDPR rules which help users maintain their privacy online and that this investigation seeks to ensure that Google is competing fairly with other firms. It said that this “in-depth investigation” will now be carried out as a matter of priority but didn’t state how long it’ll take.
By Abhay V
Microsoft is issuing DMCA complaints to take down leaked "Windows 11 ISO" links
by Abhay Venkatesh
Earlier this week, a Windows 11 ISO for build 21996.1 leaked to the web, letting users try out the yet-to-be-announced offering from Microsoft. The build that seems to have been compiled late in May provides a first look at what the Redmond giant is teasing to be the “next generation of Windows”.
As the leaked build does not paint the complete picture of the OS update owing to it being a pre-release version – one that hasn’t even been released to Insiders –, Microsoft seems to want to restrict users from downloading it, which is why it is issuing DMCA complaints to Google (spotted by Fossbytes) in some regions asking the search giant to take down results containing articles from publications with links to the ISO files. Interestingly, in the linked Microsoft Japan complaint, the firm does confirm the Windows 11 name as it is requesting for the removal of “Windows 11” ISOs, claiming that those are leaked copies of “the unreleased Windows 11” OS.
The company is slated to hold a dedicated event to show off Windows 11 on June 24, and it probably (and understandably) wants users and enthusiasts to reserve their judgement about the upcoming update till it is officially unveiled. Components such as the Microsoft Store, which is said to be receiving a major refresh, are yet to be shown off or talked about. Additionally, the leaked version lacks other improvements that will likely be served through the way of Feature Experience Packs that can be delivered without the need for an OS update, something that is currently being targeted only to internal employees.
There is also a lot that is unknown, such as whether there will be a separate update to Windows 10 this fall (version 21H2) and what the update and support lifecycles look like for Windows 11. What seems to be increasingly certain is the ‘Windows 11’ branding, which is present in the About Windows (winver) pop-up, setup process, and even in the DMCA notices.
By Jay Bonggolto
YouTube for iOS adds support for picture-in-picture mode in the US
by Jay Bonggolto
YouTube confirmed today that it has started rolling out support for picture-in-picture (PiP) mode to its iOS app in the U.S. The feature is available initially to premium subscribers, with a wider release for everyone in the country scheduled soon.
The feature offers a nifty option to watch a video in a small pop-up window on top of other tasks you want to do on your device at the same time. It comes in handy for occasions when you want to open your email, for example, and continue watching a video on the app at the same time. You can do so simply by playing a video in the app and then tapping the home button. The video will then shrink into a smaller player.
It has been available for quite sometime now, although it's limited only to certain platforms. For example, the capability was released to YouTube users on Android 8.0 Oreo for free in the U.S. back in 2018 after exclusively launching on YouTube's premium version.
Apple also introduced support for PiP when it announced iOS 14 in June of last year, allowing YouTube's mobile site users to watch a video on Safari on top of other tasks. However, that capability vanished in September 2020 for non-premium YouTube members. It was reinstated a month later on the service's mobile site for those users.
By Usama Jawad96
How to enable auto-destruct on your inactive Google account
by Usama Jawad
If, like me, you have a bunch of Google accounts and you don't use all of them frequently, you'll be interested to know that Google has a handy utility called "Inactive Account Manager" which does exactly what its name says it does.
Basically, it offers you a couple of ways to handle your inactive accounts, including sharing associated data with your trusted contacts and even enabling self-destruct on it. There could be multiple reasons you would want to do this, including some morbid ones similar to what Facebook introduced a while back.
My personal motivation for setting this up is that I have multiple Google accounts apart from my primary one, which I have created in the past decade or so for numerous reasons such as having a secondary account, an account to prank people, an account I don't use anymore because of its silly username, and more. In the past, I have likely used these accounts for signing up to online platforms and services but do I still need them? I'm not so sure. But since I'm not 100% sure of either option, Google's Inactive Account Manager is a nifty tool that I can use to ensure that I really don't need some accounts anymore. The company uses information about your last sign-ins, your online activity, your usage of Gmail, and Android check-ins to validate the activity status of your account.
But of course everyone would have their own reasons for utilizing this capability, and for many, it may be completely unnecessary. However, if you belong to the former group, read on to find out how to enable this functionality for your account as well!
First, you need to sign into your Google account and head over to the Inactive Account Manager here. Click on "Start" which will kickstart the configuration process. In the first step (screenshot above), you will have to enable the "inactive" time period that Google should consider for your account before it triggers its inactivity plan which you are yet to configure. Unfortunately, the only options available are 3, 6, 12, and 18 months, and there is no way to define a custom value.
You will also be required to set up your phone number and a couple of email addresses. Google will contact you multiple times via SMS and email before it triggers your inactivity plan, should the day ever arrive. If you chose "3 months" in the inactivity section, Google will start contacting you one month before the trigger, if you selected "6 months", it will contact you two months prior, and if you selected 12 or 18 months, it will chase you three months prior to expiration. Click on "Next" after you're done.
This brings you to the step where you can add up to 10 people to inform in case your account expires. You also have the ability to share a lot of your Google account data with them, and a subset of it can be seen in the screenshot above. You can choose to practically share all of your data or none of it. People you share data with will be able to access it for up to three months after your account is considered inactive. These "trusted" contacts will be sent a link via email through which they'll be able to download the data you shared with them. You can also add their phone number and a personal message as a way for Google to validate that your data is actually being shared with the intended person, but this granular configuration is optional.
You can also configure an "AutoReply" that automatically sends out a predetermined response to emails addressed to you. You can also set this up to respond to people in your contacts list only.
It is important to note that this whole section is completely optional. Furthermore, no one you add will be informed of your choice until your account is eventually considered inactive. You can decide to inform no one, share no data with them, and set up AutoReply for no one, it's completely up to you. Once you've configured this section to your liking, click on "Next".
Finally, you also have the capability to enable self-destruct on your inactive Google account. It is noteworthy that all your associated data and accounts will be affected differently, and it is better to go through Google's guidance here before you do decide to pull this particular trigger. If you do enable it, your account will auto-destruct three months after it is considered inactive, during which time people who you shared any data with will also be able to download it. Another point of note is that even though your account will be deleted, no one will be able to reuse your ID which ensures that no one can impersonate you online using your exact email ID.
Once you've reached a decision, click on "Review Plan", which will show you a summary of your inactivity plan, enable you to set up email alerts reminding you that you've configured Inactive Account Manager, and confirm the plan. That's it!
Have you configured your Google account's inactivity plan or do you intend to? Did you find this guide useful? What other guides would you like to see on Neowin? Let us know in the comments section below!