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John Skeats
815,890 followers -
Qi Healer and Writer
Qi Healer and Writer

815,890 followers
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Shutdown of Consumer Google+ Moved from August to April

The title pretty much says it all. Google has moved the shutdown of consumer Google+ from August to April 2019 due to the discovery of another vulnerability in the Google+ API (even though the vulnerability was corrected by Google before anyone exploited it). The API itself will shutdown within 90 days. Read +Peggy K's post below for the details.
Sunsetting of Google+ pushed up to April 2019, Google+ API will shut down in 90 days, new privacy bug in the Google+ API squashed

We will sunset all Google+ APIs in the next 90 days.  Developers can expect to hear more from us on this topic in the coming days, and can stay informed by continuing to check the Google+ developer page.

We have also decided to accelerate sunsetting consumer Google+, bringing it forward from August 2019 to April 2019.  We want to give users ample opportunity to transition off of consumer Google+, and over the coming months, we will continue to provide users with additional information, including ways they can safely and securely download and migrate their data.

And there was a new Google+ API bug introduced in November, and now fixed:
With respect to this API, apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile—like their name, email address, occupation, age ... —were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public.

In addition, apps with access to a user's Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.

Google has begun the process of notifying consumer users and enterprise customers that were impacted by this bug. Their investigation is ongoing as to any potential impact to other Google+ APIs.

Google+ Developer Page: https://developers.google.com/+/

Full list of profile information the API can access
https://developers.google.com/+/web/api/rest/latest/people

Read about a new Google+ API bug introduced in November, and how Google dealt with it:
https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/expediting-changes-google-plus/
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Google Settles on a Coherent Messaging and Video Calling/Meeting Strategy

After offering an arguably absurd collection of messaging and video calling/meeting products over the years, Google has finally settled on what looks like a very solid, coherent strategy based on four products for different communication scenarios, as follows:

* Phone number-based messaging (texting): Messages (formerly Android Messages)
* Google Account-based messaging: Hangounts Chat
* 1:1 Video calling (either phone number or Google Account-based): Duo
* Video meetings: Hangouts Meet

Messages and Duo are available to all consumer users today. Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are currently only available to G Suite users, but Google indicated that they will migrate all users from the original Hangouts to the new Hangouts products before shutting down the orginal Hangouts.

See the details (including the upcoming shutdown of Allo) in +Peggy K's post below.
The latest on Google messaging: Allo will be retired in favor of Messages, Hangouts Chat and Meet will eventually be available to consumers

Google will shut down Allo in March 2019. They will "take what they’ve learned from Allo and put it to work to make Messages even better."

How to export your conversation history from Allo
https://support.google.com/allo/answer/7365005#download

Google has been working with the mobile industry to develop RCS in Android Messages - enhanced text messaging with features like the ability to chat over WiFi, create rich group chats, see typing indicators and read receipts, and share high-resolution photos and videos across platforms.

Some Allo features like Smart Reply, GIFs and desktop support usage already been added to Messages.

Google's latest news about RCS
https://blog.google/products/rcs/

Duo will continue to be Google's consumer video calling service. Duo is available for Android, iOS, and Chromebooks, and allows one-to-one video calling.

Classic Hangouts will be around until Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are available to consumers

Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat are designed for team collaboration, and are currently only available to G Suite customers.

Google says ”at some point [Hangouts Meet and Chat] will be made available for existing Hangouts users, too. We’re fully committed to supporting Hangouts users in the meantime."

My thoughts:

Despite the jokes about Google's proliferating messaging services, this actually represents a simplification of what they offer:

Messages: SMS and RCS, phone number based accounts

Duo: 1:1 video calling, phone number based accounts and Google accounts (with mobile phone verification)

Classic Hangouts: group video calling and text conversations, Google account based

Hangouts Meet: group video calling, currently G Suite only, user account based

Hangouts Chat: text based conversations, both direct messaging and "Rooms" for collaborative group projects, correctly G Suite only, user account based

Read the full update:
https://www.blog.google/products/messages/latest-messages-allo-duo-and-hangouts/
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This Week's Update from +Peggy K

Lots of good information here. I won't summarize it because that would be redundant, so read Peggy's post below...
New this week: Google Photos no longer shares to Google+, new Google My Business app to help interaction with customers, Project Fi always-on VPN and more

This coming week is Thanksgiving in the US, which means big sales and few updates. That means updates needed to be launched this past week, to get ahead of the holiday. There

* While Google+ won’t be completely shut down until August 2019, other Google products and services will be disconnected before then. This week Google Photos removed the option to share images to Google+. You can still share a link to an image in your Google Photos account, or select a recent image from Google Photos when creating a new Google+ post. (Technically you can select an older image from Google Photos, but that requires scrolling through your photo library to find it.)

* The Google contact cards that appear on mobile when you click a profile photo in Hangouts or Gmail, or the About button on a Google+ Profile have a new uniform look. Contact info is highlighted, and there are buttons to Hangout, Email, Call or Schedule an event (although some of those may be greyed out, depending on whether you have that person’s email address or phone number in your contacts).

* This week Google rolled out new tools for businesses and customers to interact. The new Google My Business mobile app lets business owners and managers create a post, view stats, and see and respond to customers who messaged you or left a review. And now customers can message businesses in the Google Maps mobile app. Now the question is whether customers are really interested in following and messaging businesses directly.

* Project Fi subscribers can now enhance the privacy and security of all their internet connections by using Fi’s enhanced VPN option. This update also improves switching from poor wifi connections to cellular data. If you are in the US and want to give Google’s Project Fi phone plan a try, use my referral code (link), and we will both get a $20 credit.

* YouTube’s VR180 Creator Tool is now available for Windows, in addition to Mac and Linux. It makes it faster to process footage, add metadata and publish.

* If you are a YouTube Partner with at least 10,000 subscribers, you can now sell Teespring merchandise to your fans in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Portugal.

* YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published an op-ed in the Financial Times, explaining how article 13 of the EU’s revised copyright directive could harm the creator economy and have potentially unintended consequences for both creators and consumers of video. Wojcicki also met with Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market and European Parliament members to discuss this issue.

* The new “Night Sight” option in the Google Camera app on Pixel phones does an amazing job capturing images in very dim light, with long exposures that use machine learning to compensate for your natural hand shake and capturing natural colors.

* This week was the 2018 Chrome Dev Summit. They talked about faster loading and smooth web pages and progressive web apps, web.dev a site with “hands on” guidance for web developers, Project Visbug, an extension allows web design right in your browser and more.

* Squoosh.app is a new “buttery smooth” web tool from Google Chrome Developers that let you easily resize, reformat, and compress your images on desktop and mobile.

* Finally, the New York Times published anl investigation into Facebook’s handling of the use of its platform for the spread of Russian propaganda. It suggests they were more interested in PR, lobbying politicians and smearing critics than actually dealing with the problems. Facebook acknowledges they were “slow to spot Russian interference”, but deny that they paid anyone to spread misinformation or attack their critics.

Click the link below for more tips and updates for YouTubers, AdSense Publishers, webmasters and more.

Get all this week’s tips and updates:
https://www.peggyktc.com/2018/11/weekly-update-november-17-2018-photos.html

Upcoming
* November 18: Deadline to apply for the Google Podcasts Creator Program
https://googlecp.prx.org/

* November 20: AdSense on Air: All you need to know about the HTTPS migration
https://events.withgoogle.com/google-adsense-livestream/upcoming-livestreams/#content

* November 30: Google Partners Discover: Drive online to offline sales
https://events.withgoogle.com/google-partners-livestream-hub/discover/#content

Image: “Tommy” by Chris Burke on Flickr. Shared under a CC BY 2.0 license.
https://flic.kr/p/aqq2iE
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Don't Fall Prey to False Google Support Numbers

Lots of scammers pretend to offer support for Google products. Some simply want to take your money while others try to compromise people's Google accounts and computers. See +Peggy K's post below for more information about how to find and recognize real Google support resources.
Beware fake Google support numbers!

Scammers have been posting "support" phone numbers in the Google product support forums and across the web.

Google does not offer phone support for most products, and when they do, they usually have you submit a form and call you back.

The best way to find support:
1. Open the Google Support Center at support.google.com
2. Click the product you need help with to open that product's support center
3. If direct support is available, you should see a "Contact Us" link either at the top of the page, or on the left menu on mobile.

Here are Google Contact resources for some of those products that do offer direct assistance. Note there is no general contact email or phone number for general Google support.

Google My Business
https://support.google.com/business/contactflow

Google Ads
(for advertisers)
https://support.google.com/google-ads/gethelp?issue_description=Contact

Google Ads Local Services Support
(For advertisers)
https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7652697

AdSense Publishers
(account eligibility requirements apply)
https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/2581949

YouTube Creators and Partners
(account eligibility requirements apply)
https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3545535

YouTube Paid Memberships & Purchases
(YouTube Premium, YouTube Music, YouTube TV, movie purchases)
https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/7071292

Google Play
(Apps, Movies, Music, Books , Newsstand and more)
https://support.google.com/googleplay/contactflow

Google Drive
https://support.google.com/drive/contactflow

Project Fi
https://support.google.com/fi/contactflow

Pixel Phone
https://support.google.com/pixelphone/contactflow

If you have a Google One account, you can also get direct support for a number of Google products that don't normally offer 1:1 support:
http://one.google.com

Chris Andrews has the details of how the scam works:
https://consumer.press/scam-alert-fake-customer-service-numbers-posted-in-forums/
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This Week's Update from +Peggy K

This was a sad week with Google's announcement that the consumer version of Google+ (which is what most of us use) will be shut down in August. Peggy does a great job of overviewing that announcement and some related announcements, so I won't try to even summarize what she said. Read on...
New this week: Google+ for consumers to shut down, new “smart” Pixel 3 phones and “Made by Google” devices, Google Photos “Live” albums and more

This was a sad week for us avid Plussers, as Google announced the consumer version of Google+ will be shut down. There was good news too with new Google hardware with integrated AI and Assistant, new Photos features and shiny new look and name for the Google Product Experts program. This week’s update is a bit of a monster, so I've divided it into sections.

The shutdown of Google+

I am still working on a detailed write-up up my thoughts on the demise of Google+, but here’s an overview of what’s happening: on Monday, Google announced they had discovered (and fixed) a bug that may have revealed some user Google+ profile information to developers. Oh, and because of low usage and the “significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations” the consumer version of Google+ will shut down by August 2019. The official Google+ Page didn’t make even a minimal announcement until the next day.

There have been no details about what will happen to user accounts and the Google products that are still integrated with Google+. The initial response from the tech press mostly focused on the data-exposing bug.

Since then has been a lot of confusion and some understandable sorrow and bitterness from long-time and dedicated Plussers, who understandably feel poorly treated by the abrupt announcement and lack of information. In any case, I feel a bit that way. However, I think the folks on the Google+ team do care about us few who are active on Google+. On Friday the Google+ Page posted a more complete announcement, with comments open. And I’m hopeful we will get more details soon about how the shutdown process will work.

I plan to be on Google+ for a while yet: https://plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC/posts/igxFXJ7xQ5B

Discuss: https://plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC/posts/9N12dTSHkf9

Google+ in G Suite getting new features

Google+ isn't really dead, because Google announced new features for enterprise customers that will be available in the coming months. Admins will be able to review and moderate employee posts, there will be new ways to direct and discover content with tags, admins will be able to create custom streams for employees, post analytics and more.

Discuss: https://plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC/posts/btMHmRU9Paq

About that privacy bug

But what about that bug in the Google+ People API that exposed user data to developers? Google says it only involved “static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age”, was limited to up to 500,000 Google+ accounts. They have no evidence that the data was misused or that developers even knew about it.

It sounds like the privacy implications may not be that significant. But what is bad is that the bug was discovered and fixed back in March, but not revealed at the time “because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage”. That comes from internal Google memos obtained by the Wall Street Journal, which they published an article about - probably not-coincidentally - on Monday. It remains to be seen whether there are any repercussions for Google.

Other steps Google is taking to improve account security and privacy

As a result of Project Strobe, the aforementioned review of developer and app access to Google account and Android device data, Google is making some additional changes:

* On Android devices consumers will get more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app.
* Google is limiting the apps and services with access to Gmail data to those that enhance email functionality
* Only the Android app you have set as the app for calls or text messages will be able to receive call log and SMS permissions

Discuss: https://plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC/posts/4dhJrPc9A7b

Made by Google hardware, with AI and Assistant everywhere

What I thought I’d be focusing on this week was Google’s big hardware event on Tuesday. The new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were announced, with a mighty notch on the XL and deep integration with Google Assistant.

Put your Pixel 3 on its wireless charger and it becomes a smart home hub, it can screen potential calls for you and it will be the first phone where the Assistant make restaurant reservations for you and to get Smart Compose in the Gmail mobile app. And the camera has some cool features noted below.

Google also announced the Google Pixel Slate tablet with Chrome OS and the Home Hub smart hub-with-a-screen, along with an updated version of the Google Home app.

It may or may not be significant that Google apparently didn’t mention “Android” once during the event.

Discuss:https://plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC/posts/BJKf7tSj9Cz

New Google Photos and smart Google Camera features

The Pixel 3 cameras have great hardware specs, and a bunch of cool software features, Motion Auto-Focus and video stabilization on front and back cameras, Group Selfie to include everyone, Photobooth Mode that uses AI to decide when to snap the picture, and Playground augmented reality mode with Playmoji that can react to you and with each other.

Google Photos also launched Live Albums, that automatically update with photos of specific people or pets. Live Albums can display on the Google Home Hub and the Pixel 3 on its wireless dock.

And Google Photos lets you select a different “Top Shot” in a series taken by the Pixel 3 and edit the background on Portrait mode photos.
isicuss: https://plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC/posts/3z2NxFzAsVX

More updates
* The Google Top Contributor Program is now the Google Product Experts Program.

* You can now have Google Slides add real-time captions during your presentation

* Google's newly expanded Safety Center is rolling out in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K.

Plus there are more tips and updates for webmasters, AdSense Publishers, YouTubers, Plussers and more. Read on for details. Click the link below for details.

Get all this week’s tips and updates:
https://www.peggyktc.com/2018/10/weekly-update-october-13-2018-google.html

Upcoming
* 15-16 October: Adobe MAX: Creativity & Community
https://theblog.adobe.com/watch-the-keynotes-live-from-adobe-max/

* 17 October: National Association of Broadcasters Show
https://www.blog.google/products/admanager/join-us-advanced-tv-events-fall/

* 19 October: Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout
https://plus.google.com/+GoogleWebmasters/posts/REvM85AP5Fa

Image: An Autumnal Sunset on the Russian River Evening Glow by William Keith, 1878 (Public Domain)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:An_Autumnal_Sunset_on_the_Russian_River_Evening_Glow_by_William_Keith,_1878.jpg
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Cow Avoids the Slaughter House by Hiding Out as a Deer

Bonnie the Wonder Cow was to be sold along with the rest of the cows on her farm because the owner had died. The cows were being scheduled to be picked up by the new owner, but apparently Bonnie decided that taking that ride might not be in her best interest, so she took off into the woods.

Being alone in the woods in upstate New York can present serious risks for animals because of coyotes, hunters, and tough winters. Bonnie must have decided that safety in numbers would be a good policy. Since there were no cows to join up with, she joined a herd of deer. She stayed with the herd and survived through the winter (with some help from a friendly human named Becky Bartels who trekked through up to three feet of snow every day at 6:30 AM to deliver food to the herd.

Bonnie was still at risk come spring because several neighbors threatened to slaughter her if she wandered on their properties, so Becky contacted a farm sanctuary for assistance. They came, but Bonnie was very wary of everyone but Becky, so they had no luck on their first two trips to retrieve Bonnie. On the third trip, they were able to sedate her. Bonnie now resides at the Farm Sanctuary where she will be able to live out her life comfortably and safely.
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How a Prius Actually Works

I've been a very a happy owner of a Toyota Prius for a number of years now. The first time I test drove a Prius, I commented that I felt as if I was driving the first real 21-century car because it was obvious to me that it was on a whole different level than any other car I had ever driven. I love my Prius but have often wondered about how it achieves the seemingly incredible gas mileage that I routinely see (~50 MPG plus or minus a little.). The attached video does an excellent job of explaining the technology that makes a Prius a Prius.
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Is Your Router is Infected with VPNFilter? Check Now!

There's a really nasty threat to your security in the wild called VPNFilter. If your router is infected, VPNFilter can collect your confidential information, modify information sent to and from your devices through your router, and even make your router unusable.

The good news is that Symantec has provided a really easy way for you to check whether your router is infected. Just click the button on the webpage below (after indicating you read and accept the Terms of Use), and you will be told instantly whether your router is infected. If it is, you will also find instructions for what to do.
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Guinness World Record for Solving 3 Rubik's Cubes -- While Juggling!

A 13-year-old boy from China set a Guinness World Record for a feat I can barely comprehend. I taught myself to solve +Erno Rubik's wonderful invention many years ago but can't come close to the speed-cubing records. I understand, however, how people can reach that point with a combination of dexterity and knowledge of Rubik's Cubes and algorithms for solving them. Similarly, I can juggle but am not a great juggler by any stretch of the imagination. This young boy, however, combined those two activities in a way that boggles the mind.

He was given 15 seconds to examine three scrambled Cubes, and then the challenge began. He picked them up and solved them while juggling them! To do that, he had to keep track in his mind of the states of each of the cubes, catch them in an orientation that allowed him to make the moves he needed to make to solve the Cubes, make each move quickly enough toss the Cube in time to catch the next one, and -- of course -- not drop any of the Cubes along the way. He pulled that of in an astounding 5 minutes 6.61 seconds!

FYI, you can watch the video itself at https://youtu.be/h6Qbwz0Uik8, but I recommend reading the Guinness World Record article about it below.

#RubiksCube
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Do Plants Have Feelings?

The video in +Leanne Osborne's post below strongly suggests that plants -- or at least the two plants in the video -- are sensitive to positive and negative messages they hear about themselves. One can certainly argue that the demonstration does not have the controls needed to stand up to the requirements of the scientific method, but the results are compelling nonetheless. If confirmed, one could only imagine how the results are extensible to human beings and other animals. The video is only a couple of minutes long. I encourage you to take the time to watch it.
Interesting Experiment: Bullying a Plant

IKEA launched their own experiment to demonstrate how verbal bullying can affect plants, and thus rings true for people as well. Each plant was isolated in its own box, and had negative put-down recordings in one box, and positive compliments in the other. Over time, the bullied plant had shown signs of withering, while the other plant flourished.

If words can affect plants, they can surely affect people. Let's all do our best to be good to one another. Think twice before saying/typing something to someone.
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