Google Docs wants to help you spot when you’re being phished

Spotting potential security threats such as phishing scams on Google Workspace should soon be a lot easier thanks to a new update to the software suite.

Google has revealed it is releasing an upgrade to its online collaboration platform that will provide more information on who is tagging you in comments or questions.

This means that whenever you are mentioned in a comment on a Google Docs document, Sheets spreadsheet or Slides slideshow, it should be easier to spot that the notification is legitimate.

Workspace email alerts

Previously, only the name of the commenter was included in email alerts sent to a user after they had been mentioned in a comment. Google says that in order to provide more security and insight, it will now also include the commenter's email address, showing they are a legitimate user.

Google Workspace comment email

(Image credit: Google)

“We hope that by providing this additional information, this will help you feel more confident that you’re receiving a legitimate notification rather than a spam or phishing attempt by a bad actor,” the company noted in a blog post announcing the news.

The feature is rolling out now, and is available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers, and users with personal Google accounts.

The move is the latest addition from Google Workspace to improve security for its users. The company added end-to-end encryption to the platform back in June 2021 in what was a slightly late move, but one that added a significant protection boost for its entire software collection.

This launch also saw Google enabling businesses to set up their own in-house key service, enabling them to take charge of their encryption keys.

The company is also looking to draw in more new users with the launch of Workspace Migrate, which offers an easier way for admins to assess and plan migration projects to its platform.

This includes looking to move a large amount of enterprise data, such as that from Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft OneDrive, file shares, and Box migrations.

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Did Apple win CES 2022 without even being there?

Google, Intel, Nvidia, AMD. These and other companies made it a mission to mention Apple in some way at this year’s CES.

While Apple wasn’t actually at the event in Las Vegas, it still felt like everyone was talking about the company.

If you watched Intel and Nvidia’s live streams, you would have heard about products that were faster than Apple’s M1 Max chips for example (although further research looks to have put cold water on these claims by both companies already).

It’s only when you scratch the surface that you find that Apple has already been regarded as the winner at CES this year in a variety of categories, without being there in any official capacity.

Apple was in the eye of many at CES 2022

Intel was quick to compare its newest Alder Lake chips with the M1 Max, currently available in the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch models. The press release directly states that the Intel Core i9 chip is faster than the M1 Max, but when you consider the heat that dissipates from this CPU compared to Apple’s chips, there’s more than just speed that Apple beats the competition on.

Intel comparing its Core i9 chip with Apple's M1 Max

(Image credit: Intel)

The Core i9 can draw up to 115 watts of power, while the M1 Max requests 60 watts in regular use, and it usually doesn’t exceed 90 watts when macOS demands more power from the chip.

But this is just one example from Intel, as the company also showcased Apple Watch and iMessage integration with upcoming Evo PCs through Screenovate, an app that was recently acquired by the company in December.

Google also announced an effort to mimic the connectivity that Apple’s ecosystem of devices boasts. Soon, you’ll be able to pair multiple devices through an upcoming feature called Fast Pair. This allows your Android phone to unlock your Chromebook, or having your Pixel Buds being able to swap between your phone and laptop with no issue.

However, this isn’t just about Google and Intel being inspired by Apple’s software features.

But wait, there’s more

Find My is Apple’s service of integrating with other products that can be found through the Find My app. It’s the same method that AirTags offer, but the company is allowing other companies to use the same technology. Targus was one example at CES by integrating Find My into a backpack.

Belkin also announced earbuds that would feature Find My, alongside a mount for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series that will be able to track your face, ideal for video calls or for creating the next viral TikTok video.

There’s also more efforts by companies such as Eve to integrate Apple’s HomeKit, which is a way of managing your home devices through the Home app, so you can control lights, your heating, and soon window blinds to switch on and off around your home when needed.

These are just some examples of what was announced at CES 2022, but it only shows how Apple was everywhere at the event, but not present itself. The only time where someone from Apple appeared at CES was in 2020 when Jane Horvath, Apple's senior director of privacy, took to the stage in a privacy roundtable.

And, the year before, the company decided to put up a banner in front of CES promoting the fact that your information is stored on your iPhone only.

Apple showcasing a privacy banner back at CES 2019

(Image credit: Future)

This just proves that Apple doesn’t need to be at CES – companies such as Belkin with its products and Intel with its charts do the hard work for the company regardless. While there’s still doubt on whether events like this are still needed in a post-pandemic world, the underlying theme was that companies are getting ready to suit up for a battle that’s mostly, already been won by Apple.

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LastPass is being spun off from LogMeIn

LogMeIn has revealed its intentions to spin off the popular password manager and security tool LastPass as a standalone company.

The company's password manager is used by over 30m users and 85k businesses worldwide and is set for strong and sustained growth going forward as both consumers and businesses continue to prioritize password security.

By establishing LastPass as a standalone business, LogMeIn plans to increase investment in its customer experience, go-to-market functions and engineering to accelerate its growth in password management, Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

Chief executive officer of LogMeIn, Bill Wagner provided further details behind the reasoning to spin off LastPass in a press release, saying:

“The substantial scale of LastPass, its tremendous growth, and its market leading position and brand makes it a perfect candidate to seize new opportunities as its own standalone company. Today's announcement also reflects our strategic priority to strengthen and invest in our flexible work enablement portfolio across unified communications and collaboration and IT management and support. We believe that LogMeIn is well positioned to continue to deliver strong results and capitalize on the tremendous opportunity in today’s virtual environment.”

Spinning off LastPass

According to LogMeIn, the significant majority of LastPass' business is represented by corporate customers which makes sense given how password management has become a business imperative for organizations of all sizes.

At the same time, the shift to working from home during the pandemic has fueled the adoption of new accounts and applications with 50 percent of those surveyed in the company's 2021 Psychology of Passwords report saying that they now use twice the number of accounts today compared to pre-pandemic levels.

LastPass employs a zero-knowledge security model which empowers end users to generate, secure and share credentials seamlessly while also monitoring their personal information on the Dark Web. By reducing the number of credentials users need to remember through simplified access with SSO and passwordless MFA, LastPass further improves security for businesses.

We'll likely hear more regarding LastPass becoming a standalone company next year when LogMeIn's plans go into effect.

We've also featured the best password manager and best business password manager

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Vivaldi CEO accuses Microsoft of being ‘blatantly anti-competitive’ in pushing Edge browser

Vivaldi’s CEO has fired a copious amount of flak at Microsoft in a fresh move in the browser wars, accusing the software giant of going “back to its old tricks” with promoting the Edge browser in Windows.

Jon von Tetzchner, chief executive of the rival Vivaldi browser, wrote a lengthy blog post which complains about how it’s “frustrating in 2021 to find Microsoft blatantly engaging in anti-competitive practices once again”.

We have, of course, made plenty of comments in recent times about how Microsoft is walking a thin line in terms of pushing too hard with promotion for Edge within its desktop operating system Windows.

Most recently, that has included pop-ups that attack Chrome specifically (‘that browser is so 2008!’) and pushing ads for other Microsoft services within Edge, as well as making it more difficult to change your default browser away from Edge within Windows 11 (the latter is a course Microsoft is apparently now reversing, fortunately, at least in preview builds for now).

As Tetzchner points out, when he got a new Windows laptop, the first thing he did was to use Edge (which is the default choice of browser, of course) to search for Vivaldi in order to install that, but the OS warned him that ‘there’s no need to download a new web browser’ because, basically, Edge is the best around.

Tetzchner further points out that Microsoft asks for confirmation of a switch away from Edge to a new browser as the default, and even after that, when you next use Edge, it’ll pop-up a panel to try to reclaim the position of default browser.

He further observes: “Microsoft’s moves seem desperate. And familiar. It is clear they don’t want you to use other browsers. They even offer to pay you to use the browser via their Microsoft Rewards program.

“This is not the behavior of a confident company developing a superior browser. It’s the behavior of a company openly abusing its powerful position to push people to use its inferior product, simply because it can.”

He urges folks to ask for Microsoft to be investigated for these “obvious anti-competitive practices”.

Analysis: Overzealous pushing of Edge is arguably unnecessary anyway

We’ll leave any arguments of Edge being an ‘inferior product’ aside, because we don’t agree on that score. It’s actually a pretty good browser in many ways, and that kind of makes Microsoft’s actions and pushing it in an overzealous manner all the more mystifying (and frustrating). Edge should really sell itself, given time, so hey Microsoft, why not do just that: play the waiting game, keeping improving the browser, and watch the adoption level tick up as time rolls on.

We do agree that Microsoft needs to steer clear of all this Edge promotion within Windows 10 and 11, as if anything, it’s likely to backfire and push people away from the browser, anyway. And certainly any underhandedness when it comes to trying to change default browsers must absolutely be stopped.

The path of popups and countermeasures trying to stop you switching away from Edge as the default browser will be nothing new to experienced Windows users, of course. But these kind of dialog boxes could confuse the less tech-savvy, and even cause them to switch back to Edge by accident, potentially, which really isn’t on.

Windows – or any operating system – should be built around user-friendliness, and that friendliness extends to allowing the user their choice of browser without any catches or ‘reminders’ that they could get confused about or stumble over.

Via Neowin

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With Notepad being updated for Windows 11, what other apps could benefit?

More of Microsoft’s apps are slowly being updated to match the aesthetic of Windows 11, but three apps could also benefit from this upgrade.

Notepad is the latest to reap the benefits of Fluent Design, with re-arranged features, an updated look, and a dark mode option for when you decide to change your desktop theme to a darker shade.

Currently in testing in the Insider Build Dev Channel of Windows 11, where you can test features under development, it’s the most significant update of Notepad in years, similar to Paint’s update a few months ago.

However, with Notepad and soon a new Windows Media Player about to be released to everyone in a forthcoming update, we wondered what other applications could benefit from a similar refresh in Windows 11.

Our three picks


Windows 11 weather widget

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Users of iOS 15 have been treated to a redesigned weather app, which adapts to the state of the weather in your location. If it’s raining, droplets of water will bounce and land on the menus, while a ray of sunshine with lens flare will cover the whole layout on another day.

Seeing something similar in Windows 11 would be great, compared to the simple user interface we currently have. There’s a weather widget, but it feels as though there should be more to take advantage of the Fluent Design language of Windows 11.

Alongside this, notifications would be a great addition for when there’s rain scheduled, so you can prepare for an umbrella when you need to head out for some errands.


Pinball3D running in Edge browser, in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

While you can download games from the redesigned Microsoft Store, alongside Android apps that are about to arrive for Windows 11, there’s a distinct lack of built-in games available.

Windows XP, released in 2001, arrived with a built-in pinball game that allowed you to ramp up high scores to see how long you could last with three balls.

While we spoke about how the game has been rebuilt as a web app, we’d love to see a sequel or a remake come to Windows 11. Have it feature achievements and unique 2-player modes. Perhaps allow each player to control one flip action, while another controls part of the pinball table.

There’s plenty of potential here, and after twenty years, it’s time for a revival.

Windows Update

Windows 11 update showing as available

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Updating your PC can be frustrating, especially when an update doesn’t work properly. Going to the Settings app in Windows 11 is a slight improvement compared to Windows 10, mainly due to available updates being more visible, but there’s a lot more that can be done.

Easier ways of seeing which updates were installed and which failed would be a great first start, but the process of registering and de-registering for the Windows Insider Programme could go a long way.

This is where you can try out versions of Windows under development that have features not available to the wider public. This is how Notepad and the new Windows Media Player are currently being tested.

If you want to remove your PC from the Insider Programme, you’re required to wipe your PC, which isn’t an ideal solution. Apple does it better by removing your Mac or iOS from the beta program once a new update is officially released, leaving your data completely.

Instead, having the Insider Programme and Windows Update as one separate app, with a simplified user interface could be a big help to those who are anxious about updating their PCs, in fear of updates worsening their devices.

Updates with explainers on what they are and what they feature could help break down that anxiety and give a greater understanding of what an update can provide.

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