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By Jay Bonggolto
Google now opens Office files in Drive in editing mode on the web
by Jay Bonggolto
Google has begun rolling out a fresh update that changes how Microsoft Office files are opened in Drive on the web. Office documents now open in editing mode by default.
The latest change applies when you double-click on a compatible Office file. This includes documents with such file types as .docx, .doc, .ppt, .pptx, .xls, .xlsx, and .xlsm. However, you will be redirected to the “Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides” Chrome extension instead of Docs, Sheets, or Slides if that extension is installed. Password-protected files are exempted, though.
The new setting is turned on by default. However, if you want to keep its previous setting, Google still lets you use the preview mode by right clicking the document and then clicking "Preview".
It basically solves one pain point with Google Drive, which previously would open an Office document in preview mode with no way of editing the file. Although you could download the document in order to make some changes, that always required one more step than simply letting you edit it once opened.
These changes are rolling out now to Rapid Release domains. However, Scheduled Release domains are set to receive it starting on November 30. It will be available to those with personal Google accounts and business users.
Google raises its sustainability goals, will make plastic-free packaging by 2025
by João Carrasqueira
Google is stepping up its sustainability game with new goals for its own hardware products, the company announced today. Last year, the search giant had already set some goals in this regard, such as using recycled materials in all of its new products by 2022, but it reached that goal early, as all Pixel and Nest devices released this year use recycled materials to some extent.
In that light, Google is setting some more ambitious goals. For starters, the company is committing to using at least 50% recycled or renewable plastic materials across all of its products by 2025, with recycled materials being prioritized whenever possible.
On top of that, Google wants to achieve UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill certification for all of its final assembly facilities by 2022, ensuring the "vast majority" of the waste from its manufacturing processes are recycled. The certification in question requires at least 90% of waste materials to be diverted through methods other than waste, with varying levels of the certification being awarded for higher percentages, though Google didn't point toward a more specific goal.
Finally, Google is committing to using completely plastic-free packaging that's also 100% recyclable by 2025. it also renewed its commitment to ensure that shipping of its products to and from direct customers is carbon neutral.
By Abhay V
YouTube's mobile apps get player UI updates, gesture to toggle full-screen, more
by Abhay Venkatesh
YouTube today announced a bunch of new enhancements making it to the service’s mobile apps that improves usability and adds a few new features. These improvements include a new gesture for switching to a full-screen view, additions to the video player and the Video Chapters feature, and much more.
The first of the improvements is to the recently introduced Video Chapter feature that lets creators segment videos into parts for easier viewing. The firm is adding a nifty new list view for chapters that lists them all with preview thumbnails that let users easily navigate to their desired section of the video. This negates the need to scrub through the chapters on mobile devices to locate users’ desired segments.
There are a bunch of improvements to the video player itself. An icon to toggle Closed Captions is now present on the player, saving users the effort of navigating to the menu and turning them on. The icon is accompanied by the autoplay toggle that is now being moved to the top from below the player. Another addition is the ability to switch between elapsed time and a countdown timer for the video timestamp by simply tapping on it. While some users might have had this feature for a while, it looks like the addition is being made widely available.
The firm is also adding a new gesture. Now, users can swipe up on the player to toggle to full-screen, just like the swipe down gesture to toggle out of the full-screen view. There are new suggested actions that show up at the bottom to prompt users to rotate their screens or use the VR view, depending on the video. The company says that it is working to add more suggestions in the future.
Lastly, the search giant is adding ‘Bedtime Reminders’ to aid users in limiting their app usage before heading to bed. The digital wellbeing feature is being added to the list of current controls that offer break reminders and notification controls.
The features are rolling out to the YouTube apps for Android and iOS starting today.
By Rich Woods
OnePlus announces its first Snapdragon 4 and 6 series devices under the Nord brand
by Rich Woods
OnePlus Nord N10 5G Today, OnePlus announced the Nord N10 5G and the Nord N100. You might recall that the company unveiled the first Nord. That Nord never came to the United States, but OnePlus did promise that a Nord was coming. Now we know what it meant.
Pete Lau, Founder and CEO of OnePlus, said, "OnePlus’ mission to share better technology with the world means that we strive to make cutting-edge technology more accessible to a wider range of users. The OnePlus Nord N Series represents the next step in our strategy to expand our smartphone offerings to more price points. Now even more users can get a burdenless experience without sacrificing quality."
Powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 690 chipset, the Nord N10 5G is squarely a mid-range device. But even though it's a mid-range device, it still packs some premium features, such as its 6.49-inch FHD+ 90Hz smooth display and Warp Charge 30T support. It has 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4,300mAh battery.
As for the camera, it's a quad-sensor setup with a 64MP main lens, a 119-degree ultra-wide lens, a macro sensor, and a monochrome sensor. It also has a 16MP front camera. The Nord N10 5G comes in a Midnight Ice color, and is coming to Europe starting at £329. North American pricing is coming later.
OnePlus Nord N100 And then there's the OnePlus Nord N100, which comes with a Snapdragon 460 chipset, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage. It's got a 6.52-inch 60Hz display, a 5,000mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. It comes in Midnight Frost, and is coming to Europe for £179 with North American pricing coming later.
By Rich Woods
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Google Assistant unboxing and impressions
by Rich Woods
Nearly a year and a half ago, I reviewed Lenovo's Smart Clock, which was basically a four-inch smart display with Google Assistant and costs $79. But now, Lenovo is here with the Smart Clock Essential, lowering the barrier of entry to just $49.
To be clear, the feature set of the Smart Clock Essential is a subset of what's offered from the Smart Clock, because this isn't a smart display at all. There are no fun clock faces to choose from, and there are no fancy animations when you ask what the weather is. You can't even use it as a digital picture frame.
Instead, this is a smart speaker that's built into a regular old LED clock. That clock tells you the time and the temperature outside, and that's it. It's definitely a scaled down device. It does have the Google Assistant, and that's the whole value proposition. It's a clock with a Google Assistant smart speaker built into it for $49.
Personally, I like these two-in-one types of devices. I'm not big on virtual assistants, so I wouldn't want a standalone Google Assistant device taking up space. I'd rather have something useful, like a clock, that has Assistant built into it. Check out my impressions below: