Google directs Chrome extensions to disclose what they do with user data

Back in September, Google made some linguistic changes to the Play Store policies concerning the in-app payment system to clearly define how it is implemented. The company has now made some updates to its policy governing Chrome browser extensions, specifically around how user data is processed, to make it easier for users to understand before they hit the blue ‘Add to Chrome’ button. Google says that the update to its policy will limit the scope of what developers can do with all that user data and prevent misuse.

“Starting January 2021, each extension’s detail page in the Chrome Web Store will show developer-provided information about the data collected by the extension, in clear and easy to understand language. Data disclosure collection is available to developers today,” the company said in a Chromium blog post. Developers will be required to disclose data usage behavior directly in the privacy tab of the developer dashboard. Data disclosures collection has already been released for developers, and they will start showing up on Chrome Web Store listings starting January 18 next year.

The data usage certification that developers will be required to disclose to the users.

In order to ensure that users are fully aware, developers will have to disclose – in simple words – the type of data that their extensions collect. Plus, they will also have to show the certification that they get from Google for complying with the updated data usage policies. In case a developer hasn’t received the compliance nod from Google, a notice telling users the same will be shown on Chrome Web Store listings of their extensions.

Additionally, Google has also introduced additional policies that govern the ways in which user data can be used, some of which are listed below:

  • Ensuring the use or transfer of user data is for the primary benefit of the user and in accordance with the stated purpose of the extension.
  • Reiterating that the sale of user data is never allowed. Google does not sell user data and extension developers may not do this either.
  • Prohibiting the use or transfer of user data for personalized advertising.
  • Prohibiting the use or transfer of user data for creditworthiness or any form of lending qualification and to data brokers or other information resellers.

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New M1 MacBook Air has been found with 128GB for just $799

Benchmarks, reviews, and several opinions prove that Apple’s latest M1 devices are some of the most powerful laptops in the market. Apple’s new M1 lineup includes a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, and a Mac mini. You can get one of these new products starting at $699 for the Mac mini, $999 for the Air, and $1,299 for the Pro. However, a new MacBook Air with 128GB storage for just $799 has appeared, but it may not be for everyone.

The latest M1 MacBook Air has been spotted with 128GB storage at Apple’s US Education Institute Hardware and Software Price List. Now, what’s curious about this is that the M1 MacBook Air is only available with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB storage options on the Apple Store. Less storage also means a lower price, that’s why its price tag reads $799, but who is this variant meant for?

Reddit user “u/dduci97” was the one who found the new Air listed with an M1 chip, with an 8-core CPU, a 7-core GPU, 8GB RAM, and 128GB. However, Apple hasn’t made this variant available on its US Education Store, which makes us believe that it will not be available for the general public. Now, Apple is giving options to purchase the MacBook Air in bulk quantities, which could mean that it will target schools or universities as possible buyers, and if it does become available for everyone, this MacBook Air could arrive with an $899 price tag, meaning it would be the cheapest option in years.

On another note, Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak were recently interviewed by Ars Technica. They were asked about the possibility of using Microsoft and Windows on the M1 Macs since there is currently no Boot Camp feature for them. They were very clear to say that it’s “up to Microsoft.”

“As for Windows running natively on the machine, “that’s really up to Microsoft,” he said. “We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications. But that’s a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs. But the Macs are certainly very capable of it.”

He also suggested that one of the best possibilities in the future would be to have Windows in the cloud, making reference to CrossOver, which allows x86 Windows apps to run on Apple M1 Macs, using Rosetta 2. Further, Ars Technica did a series of tests of the latest M1 Chrome, showing that it’s up to 80 percent faster than the Rosetta 2 version. Just in case you were planning on downloading Chrome on your new M1 MacBook Air.

“Across all tests, the native M1 version of Chrome performed between 66 and 81 percent better than the version of Chrome running through Rosetta 2. Safari was the fastest browser of all, of course, having been designed by Apple, and it came out on top across all of the tests.”

You can easily download the new M1 version of Google Chrome for your Apple Silicon Mac by going to the Chrome website. You just have to select the “Mac with Apple Chip” option after clicking the download button.

Source MacRumors

Via MacRumors

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Pocketnow Daily: Apple CUTS 30% App Store Tax: Sorry Epic Games.. (video)

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Samsung Galaxy S20+, latest M1 13-inch MacBook Pro and more devices on sale

You already know how this goes so as per usual, let’s begin today’s show with deals. Starting off with the Samsung Galaxy S20+ which is $250 off, leaving the entry level variant for $950 shipped which is actually cheaper than what you would pay for the regular S20. The Galaxy Note 10+ is also $250 off, leaving the 256GB of storage variant for $850. The latest M1, 13in MacBook Pro is $49 off, that leaves the entry-level variant for $1250 and trust me, that thing is worth it. We also have discounts on Logitech Peripherals, like in the case of the G903 gaming mouse, which is $22 off, leaving it at $128 shipped. Finally, the Galaxy S10 Lite is $145 off, leaving that at $500 shipped. We have more deals on other Logitech products, Samsung Gaming monitors and more, in the links in the description.

OPPO Find X3 series to come with system-wide 10-bit color support

OPPO got on the spotlight yesterday thanks to their new concept smartphone and the other things we got at their INNO Day Conference. Well, Day 2 just happened in China and, they just confirmed that they are working on the Find X3 Series. Now, we don’t have much information on what we’re getting here but, one thing they did say is that we will be getting a native 10-bit display on this phone. OPPO says that they’re R&D team is preparing new algorithms in areas like distortion-correction, multi-frame noise reduction and extreme super-resolution. It will support Digital Overlap HDR mode. Check out the links in the description for other technical details they mentioned but, the Find X2 Pro already had probably my favorite display of the year, so we’re not going to complain about it getting better.

Google Pay app gets a redesign and some new features

Now let’s talk about Google as the company has just unveiled a revamp to their Google Pay app through a livestream today. Basically it delivers a complete redesign. It now shows you friends and family to which you can pay directly and nearby businesses that accept Google Pay as well in the top right corner. You also get other features like payment history at certain establishments as well as a new Explore Tab and a new Insights Tab. Google’s objective is for you to manage your money better with a budget feature in the Insights tab and they are also adding support for Plaid which lets you connect your bank or credit card. Another cool feature is letting you import pictures of receipts from Google Photos, that is if you’re still using it after the dilemma. There’s a ton of other features coming to the app so, check out the links below and FYI, the update is currently rolling out in the US to both Google Play and iOS.

Google offers an optimized version of Chrome for Macs with Apple’s M1 chip

Chrome gets a huge performance boost and a useful tab search tool

And since we started with Google, Let’s talk about Google Chrome as, the company is bringing some very interesting and welcome changes. Yesterday they announced v87, which is currently rolling out, and it gives Chrome its biggest boost in performance in years. You get upgrades like it opening 25% faster and page loading speed is going up by 7%, all while using less RAM and cutting down on the power consumption. They’re also adding other things like tab search, action buttons for better productivity and more. Something else we just got is an optimized version of Chrome for the new M1 Macs which we are testing as, the regular Chrome app quits pretty often if you’re not on the optimized version. Now, if you go to their website, you might not see the optimized one so if you’re rocking one, make sure to check out the link in our description to get it. So yeah, we hope Chrome works out all of their resource issues as they have been working on it for quite some time now.

Samsung might be working on a cheaper foldable phone called Galaxy Z Flip Lite

Samsung has really shifted their strategy towards foldables as of late and with those rumors of the Galaxy Note disappearing it makes a lot of sense. Well, a couple of days ago we covered a list of Samsung flagships that we should expect next year and a couple of them were cheaper foldables, one of them being a Z Fold FE and a a Z Flip Lite. Well, according to a new tweet from Ross Young, they are no longer hearing about a Z Fold Lite or FE anymore but apparently the Z Flip Lite is still on the table. What’s kind of impressive here is that Samsung will still be using their UTG technology on this phone, despite it being a cheaper device. This means that it won’t be as fragile as the original Galaxy Fold and it ensures some longevity. Of course this is still a rumor though, we are somewhat close to the Spring already which is when we got the original Z Flip. The thing about it is, we know that a lot of you guys are interested on foldables but the price tag is simply a deal breaker so, would you guys like a Z Flip Lite?

Story of the day:

Apple is halving its commission rate to 15% for most developers

And finally for the hottest news today, we have something that’s oddly for the ban section which Diego still hasn’t made graphics for. Well not really but, almost part of the ban section let’s move on to Apple. If you remember, the whole Apple vs Epic situation started because of Apple’s infamous 30% tax, which Epic Games wanted them to waive for customers to pay the actual value at which they sell their cosmetics. Well, you already know how that went but, it seems like Apple is doing something for smaller developers through their new “Small Business Program”. Cupertino just announced that they are lowering their commission to 15% but, it is strictly for developers that earned $1M or less in the previous calendar year. Apple mentions that this will benefit the vast majority of developers that sell digital goods and other services on the App Store, with this new Business Program launching on January 1st, 2021. They also said how small businesses are the backbone of the global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. For developers who surpass the $1M threshold, they will still get the 30% commission but, if somehow they fall below that $1M mark by the end of the year, they will be able to apply and get the 15% through the program. So, it looks like what Epic Games was doing did work, just not for them.

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Chrome gets a huge performance boost and a useful tab search tool

Chrome browser has garnered a bad reputation for being a resource hog, and in my personal experience, it does lead to some serious throttling on machines with low-end hardware. Google has today announced that with v87 – which is now rolling out – the company is giving Chrome browser its biggest performance boost in years. And the numbers being touted by Google are pretty substantial.

25% faster, 5x lower CPU usage, and 1.25 hours of extra battery life

To start, Google claims to have reduced the CPU usage of Chrome by 5x, while simultaneously adding 1.25 hours of battery life as per internal benchmarks. This has been achieved by prioritizing active Chrome tabs in the foreground compared to other programs and functions, something Google calls Tab Throttling and Occlusion Tracking

These under-the-hood improvements to Chrome also ensure that the browser now opens up to 25% faster and page loading speed has also gone up by 7%, all the while using a lesser amount of RAM and cutting down on power consumption. And on the Android platform, Google claims that Chrome will now load pages almost instantaneously as users go back and forth

Universal tab search tool in Chrome browser

Google is also adding a few additional tools to the Chrome browser. The first one is a tab search feature. As the name makes it abundantly clear, users will be able to quickly find a tab from a universal list of tabs, irrespective of the windows or groups they are placed in. You can either scroll the whole tab list or just search its name from the search field. The tab search tool will first make its way to Chrome OS and will arrive on other platforms soon. 

Chrome Actions in the search bar
Chrome’s URL field will now also show action buttons based on your query

Google is also making the universal search bar at the top in Chrome even more useful. Now, when users type a relevant query that resembles a settings option, they’ll see an action button that will take them directly to the requisite settings page. For example, when you type delete history in the search bar, you will also see an action button that will guide you to the appropriate page in Chrome’s settings section where you can delete your browser history. 

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Chrome’s “Kaleidoscope” page will put all streaming services in one place

It is no doubt that many of us have subscribed to multiple streaming services, and when it comes to accessing them quickly on a PC, we rely on solutions like a bookmark or putting a card on the browser homepage. But if you rely on Chrome browser to access streaming services on your PC, a neat new feature is coming your way.

First spotted by Chrome Story, Google is working on a new project called Chrome Kaleidoscope that will aggregate all your favorite streaming services in one place, or rather, a single page. The page, which is not yet widely functional, is accessible on the chrome://kaleidoscope URL in the experimental Canary channel.

The Chrome Kaleidoscope URL currently shows the above message (Image: Chrome Story)

As per screenshots obtained by Chrome Story, the aforementioned page will show icons for services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, which can be clicked to open the desired streaming service. However, the Chrome Kaleidoscope project currently appears to be stuck in the internal testing phase and there is no concrete information as to when it will be rolled out widely.

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Google is finally implementing 64-bit architecture for Chrome on Android

Even though support for 64-bit architecture on Android was announced over half a decade ago, its adoption has been really slow. Surprisingly, Google’s own Chrome browser for Android has been stuck on the 32-bit train. But things are finally going to change with Chrome 85 on devices running Android 10 or a later version.

Spotted first by AndroidPolice, Chrome 85 dev build and Chrome 86 on the experimental Canary channel are listed as 64-bit apps. In comparison, the latest stable version of Chrome (v83) and Chrome beta (v84) are both stuck on 32-bit architecture. But it appears that Chrome will initially jump the 64-bit bandwagon only on devices running Android 10 or a later version.

Image: AndroidPolice

Google announced over a year ago that it will be phasing out 32-bit apps by August 2021, and will go all-in on 64-bit for app submissions after that deadline. It is good to see Google taking the initiative here, but Chrome being one of the company’s key offerings, it is almost a shame that the transition didn’t happen earlier as almost all Android phones out there now support 32-bit apps.

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Chrome will remove demanding ads that drain battery, data and system resources

Chrome is arguably the fastest web browser, and also the most demanding one. Google is now trying to somewhat improve the latter by cracking down on ads that consume a disproportionately high amount of data, drain the battery life, and strain the system resources.

Google says it has found a small fraction of ads that exhibit such behavior, and to tackle the issue, Chrome will limit the resources used by an ad before users can interact with it. Once an ad reaches the limit, Chrome will remove it and will show an “Ad removed” message at that spot. Here’s how it looks:

Google is creating a limit of “4MB of network data or 15 seconds of CPU usage in any 30 second period, or 60 seconds of total CPU usage” for ads on Chrome. Surprisingly, only 0.3% of ads go past this limit, but that small fraction of ads alone accounts for 27% of network data used by ads and 28% of all ad CPU usage.

Google says it will test the new ad behavior monitoring experiment over the next few months before implementing it in August.

Source: Chromium Blog

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Chrome is getting a tab grouping feature to make your browser life easier

I usually have 15-20 Chrome tabs open on my laptop (I’m confident that it’s not just me). And yes, it is quite a task in itself shuffling through all those tabs. Thankfully, Google is soon introducing a feature that will make life easier for all tab hoarders like me, and that trick is called tab grouping.

With tab grouping, users will be able to rearrange tabs in a labeled group that can also be color-coded for easier identification. After that, users can freely move the tabs and organize them accordingly in groups on the tab strip. And if labeling a tab group sounds boring, you can also use an emoji instead of words.

Chrome_Tab-Groups_In-Line-Image-v7.gif

Google says just like regular tabs, groups will also be saved and will re-open just the way you left them once you fire up Chrome browser again. Tab grouping will arrive on Chrome for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS starting next week. But if you can’t wait and are feeling adventurous, try the latest build of Chrome Beta to experience tab grouping before other mortals.

Tab-Groups-Organization-Example_v1r1.gif

Source: Google Blog

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Google faces record fine (again) for gaming Android’s dominance in Europe [UPDATE]

Google has been fined more than €4 billion for tying up Android with its search and web services. We've updated this story with a statement from Google.

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