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Google’s Apps Work Different on iOS 15

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Many of Google’s key apps work slightly different on Apple’s iOS 15. These are the changes you need to know about.

Apple’s iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 started rolling out this week and they come with a feature called Focus Mode.

This a new OS-level setting that’s designed to eliminate distractions by restricting certain types of notifications while the setting is active.

Focus Mode replaces Do Not Disturb, which blocked all notifications regardless of what they were or who they were from.

That’s not ideal in all cases. Perhaps you’re driving and want to eliminate distractions while being able to receive important Google Maps notifications.

That wouldn’t have been possible before without a significant amount of manual setting adjustments.

Focus Mode lets users indicate the times they do not want to be disturbed, based on set periods like sleep time or work time.

Users can choose which contacts or apps are allows to trigger notifications when Focus Mode is active.

For example, a loved one can still send a message when everyone else’s notifications are blocked.

Google has updated its apps to behave different when focus mode is active. This is important to be aware of if you were an avid user of Do Not Disturb mode.

In addition, Google’s apps have new widgets and allow for a new way to find content in Apple’s Spotlight search.

Here’s more about Google’s iOS 15 updates.

Google’s iOS Apps on Focus Mode

Google has updated several of its apps to work with Focus mode and make notifications as relevant and timely as possible.

“For example, if you’re navigating somewhere with Google Maps, we’ll still let you know when you need to make a turn or if there are changes to your route — like road closures or unexpected traffic. Focus mode won’t silence these helpful, timely reminders.

Similarly, the Google Home app will let you know if there’s an unfamiliar face at your door. And if you set a reminder in Google Tasks that’s linked to a specific time, like “take the cupcakes out of the oven at 11:45,” we’ll be sure to notify you.”

Google notifications that aren’t as urgent will go to the iOS Notifications Center, where users can check them when it’s convenient.

These updates will roll out in the coming weeks across apps like Gmail, Meet, Tasks, Maps, Home and many other Google apps.

Bigger Widgets on iPad OS 15

Apple’s latest update to the iPad operating system allows users to place widgets on the Home Screen just as they can on iPhones.

Google is taking advantage of this by introducing bigger widgets for iPad.

In the coming weeks, Google Photos and YouTube Music will roll out extra large versions of their popular widgets so you can easily access some of your best Memories and favorite music on your iPad Home Screen.

Search YouTube in iOS

Google is making it possible to search for songs in YouTube Music using Apple’s Spotlight search.

Starting today, if you search for a song in Spotlight, you can start playing it directly in YouTube Music.

Google didn’t hint anything coming in the future, but this really shows what it can do with iOS when Apple lets it.

Any future integrations with Spotlight search will surely be dependent on Apple’s approval.

Source: blog.google.com


Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google.com, September 2021.</1>

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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