The redesign is set to help Google compete better with Microsoft’s Outlook on the business side and modernise consumer email by bringing features from its inbox email client into the main Gmail experience. This is the biggest overhaul in five years, bringing a new look, advanced AI-powered features and improved privacy.
“This is an entire rewrite of our flagship, most-used product,” said Jacob Bank, product manager lead for Gmail, which 1.4 billion people use each month.
For consumers, headline features include the ability to snooze emails, as you would with an alarm clock, until a specified time or date, and what Google calls “nudge”, which displays messages with quick reminders that you haven’t responded to certain messages so that “nothing slips through the cracks”.
The smart reply feature, found within Google’s Gmail app on smartphones that suggests quick reply phrases based on the content of the email, will also be rolled out to the web.
Cosmetic changes also bring Gmail in line with Office, placing Google’s calendar, tasks and note-taking services within the same page as emails and alongside existing instant messaging options.
Google has also improved Gmail’s phishing protection with new and more dominant warnings about suspicious emails, as well as a new confidential mode that allows users to send emails with expiration dates, prevent the forwarding, copying, downloading or printing of emails and revoke previously sent emails. Emailers can also dictate that recipients have to input a one-time password to read certain messages, in an attempt to ensure that only the intended recipient receives the information. Google’s approach for its email service has changed from consumer-centric to business-centric as it pushes its commercial G Suite products to business.
One of the things holding G Suite back for businesses has been limited offline capabilities. Gmail now offers up to 90 days of emails offline, allowing users to search, write and manage messages without internet access in the browser.
The changes to Gmail will roll out over the next few weeks with consumers able to opt into the new look by selecting the “Try the new Gmail” option under settings once it is available. Changes to the G Suite system will require system administrators to turn on options before they are available to workers using the Google tools.
The Guardian/technews (26th April 2018)
Shares in the UK’s biggest technology firm, Micro Focus International, have plunged after it warned of a sharper than expected fall in revenues. Micro Focus specialises in extending the life of older IT systems for Customers such as BMW and American Express.
Shares in the company were down 42% in afternoon trading. Problems are thought to stem from its purchase of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s software business for £6.8bn, with problems of integrating the business.
Chief executive of Micro Focus, Kevin Loosemore, is stepping down from his role in order to spend time with his family and pursue other projects. He will be replaced by chief operating officer Stephen Murdoch.
The company’s statement added that its cost savings drive was ahead of schedule and its net debt was expected to be in line with expectations.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (20th March 18)
Dyson has announced plans to build an electric car by 2020. Dyson already has a 400 strong team working on the project and has doubled the number of scientists working on its battery programmes over the last year. The electric car team are looking for a further 300 engineers. The team, originally based in Malmesbury in the Cotswolds, will be shortly moving to a new research and development base in Hullavington in Wiltshire. The firm is yet to decide where its electric cars – once designed – will be manufactured.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (1st March 18)
Vodafone and CityFibre have announced a long-term strategic partnership that will bring ultrafast Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to up to five million UK homes and business by 2025.
CityFibre are the UK’s largest alternative provider of wholesale fibre network infrastructure. Under the agreement, Vodafone will have a period of exclusive rights, mainly during the build phase of each city network, to market ultrafast consumer broadband services on the FTTP network to be built, operated and owned by CityFibre.
Construction of the first phase of deployment to one million premises is due to start in the first half of 2018 and will be largely complete in 2021.
FTTP networks use fibre-optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or workplace to the Internet, providing extremely fast and reliable broadband and services capable of Gigabit speeds.
The partnership will help to bridge Britain’s fibre gap, bringing world-class Gigabit-capable FTTP connections to households, businesses and public sector sites such as schools, hospitals and GP surgeries, and delivering 50% of the UK Government’s target of ‘full fibre’ to 10 million homes and businesses.
C&W in Business (Issue 63 Jan/Feb 2018)
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said he does not want his nephew to be on a social network. His comments come after more and more people are voicing their concerns about Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.
Speaking at a coding-related event at Harlow College in Essex, Mr Cook, who does not have a son, said he would put boundaries in place and would not want him on a social network.
Ofcom reported under-age use of social media was on the increase – prompting the NSPCC charity to accuse Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the problem. Social networks have also been accused of allowing their platforms to be manipulated by ‘fake news’ and propaganda.
Two of Facebook’s executives have acknowledged issues with their service. Elliot Schrage, public policy chief, said ‘ We have over-invested in building new experiences and under-invested in preventing abuses’. Facebook’s civic engagement product manager, Samidh Chakrabarti, has also blogged that social media companies in general need to be more aware about the influence they wield. ‘If there’s one fundamental truth about social media’s impact on democracy, it’s that it amplifies human intent – both good and bad,’ he said. ‘I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can’t. That’s why we have a moral duty to understand how these technologies are being used.’
Robert Kyncl, You Tube’s chief business officer, has said that he does not believe that the service should be regulated by third parties. ‘We’re not content creators, we’re a platform that distributes the content.’
Social media companies also face growing criticism that their products are addictive in nature. The recently created Time Well Spent campaign group said ‘What’s best for capturing our attention isn’t best for our wellbeing,’ they also went on to say that platforms would not change unless made to do so.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (23rd January 18)
A new strain of ransomware, named ‘Bad Rabbit’ has been found spreading in Russia and the Ukraine. The malware has affected systems at three Russian websites, an airport in Ukraine and an underground railway in the capital city of Kiev.
Bad Rabbit bears similarities to the WannaCry and Petya outbreaks earlier this year. It is not yet known just how far this malware will be able to spread. US officials said they had received multiple reports of Bad Rabbit ransomware infections in many countries (such as Turkey and Germany) around the world.
The US computer emergency readiness team said it “discourages individuals and organisations from paying the ransom, as this does not guarantee that access will be restored”.
A privately owned Russian news agency, Interfax, was particularly hit hard. Its website displayed the ‘our service is temporary unavailable’ message for over twenty-four hours.
On the morning of 25 October, it transpired that Russian banks had also been targeted but, luckily, were not compromised.
Bad Rabbit encrypts the contents of a computer and asks for a payment – in this case 0.05 bitcoins, or about $280 (£213).
Cyber-security firms, including Russia-based Kaspersky, have said they are monitoring the attack.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (25th October 17)