Another month has gone by, and that means another month of Google doing overhauls big and small. Google touches so many parts of our lives it’s easy to miss some of the tweaks rolled out. But, just like Android gets some neat new apps, Google’s online tools also get an overhaul. Here’s what got upgraded and what it means for you.
Gmail Gets Some Security Overhauls
Gmail launched a Security Checkup that lets you boot third-party apps you no longer trust from your Gmail, tightened up the review process for those apps, and has included a permissions page, similar to Android’s, that explains exactly what the app wants to do. Then you can decide whether or not you want to allow them to do it. It’s not perfect control, but it gives you a lot more freedom with your data.
Chrome Officially Makes Your Favorite Webpage Insecure
If you’re the the kind of person who pays attention to your browser bar, you’ve probably noticed an ongoing security upgrade on the internet where HTTP has been changed to HTTPS. The S on the end stands for “secure,” meaning your web traffic is a little harder for a hacker to watch (although admittedly, not impossible). Chrome has taken the step of officially declaring HTTP “insecure,” which functions both as a warning to people concerned about online safety, and a shaming campaign for your favorite site. Hey, don’t complain to us, we upgraded years ago.
Learn Morse Code With GBoard
GBoard is Google’s official mobile keyboard, and as part of its accessibility features, it’s added Morse code support which is pretty cool. But if you’re not a Boy Scout, ham radio fan, or other very specific species of nerd (and sorry, nerds, but you know it’s true) Google made a fun game that’ll teach you the basics in less than an hour.
Google Images Can Now Find Images By Pose
This is probably one of Google’s goofier ideas. They’ve paired a tool that tracks your poses as you strike them with one that finds photos in that pose. Get in front of the camera, do a goofy dance, and make a GIF to fire off to your friends. The underlying technology is actually pretty cool, but let’s face it, we’re in this for the GIF.
Google Pay Gets A Little More Useful
Granted, Google Pay is playing second fiddle to Venmo at the moment, but Google’s making a concerted effort to get it caught up. Google Pay added two new useful features this month. The first is, well, Venmo basically, where you can use Google Pay to send money to your friends. The second though lets you store tickets and boarding passes on the app — particularly useful if you’re not a fan of Ticketmaster’s app or the boarding pass apps that are too often a bit clunky. Your payment info has also been given a new interface to make it easier to manage.
YouTube Gets Into Local News
Unsurprisingly, considering the ongoing scandal that is Alex Jones hopping onto YouTube and ranting, Google’s been bearing down rather hard on what it calls the Google News Initiative (or GNI) on YouTube. It’ll be linking through to authoritative (read: Non-conspiracy theory) news sites to break down salient topics, and will be helping local news outlets get more access to YouTube. This isn’t going to solve all their problems, but at least they’re making an effort.
Is there an upgrade we missed? Let us know in the comments!