This Gmail update just made it harder than ever to avoid video calls

Avoiding video conferencing meetings could soon be trickier than ever now that Google has made it much simpler to join a video or audio call via Gmail.

The company has announced that users can now start or join meetings and audio calls from 1:1 chats in Google Chat in Gmail on Android and iOS.

“As some teams begin to return to office, while others remain distributed, we hope this makes it easier to connect with your colleagues in the hybrid work world,” Google wrote in a blog post announcing the new addition. “This feature will allow you to seamlessly switch between chat to a video or audio call when needed, helping you collaborate and move your work forward.”

Google Chat calls

Going forward, Gmail users will now see a phone and video icon in the top right corner of a 1:1 Google chat window that, when clicked, will start a direct call with the contact.

In order to join a call, you just need to select the phone or video chip within the 1:1 chat window, and while on a call, you’ll see a banner of the person you’re on a call with, the call duration and a Meet icon in the chat roster.

Missed calls will be indicated with a red phone or video icon within the conversation and the chat roster.

Google Workspace video call

(Image credit: Google)

The feature is hosted as part of Gmail, so if you select to join a call from the Google chat app, you'll be redirected to the Gmail app. If you don't have the Gmail app installed on your device, you’ll be prompted to download it via Google Play store or the App Store

The feature, which will be rolled out to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers by default, is currently only available for 1:1 meetings so far. This means there's no group calls for the moment, but given the ongoing popularity of video calls, this can't be too far away.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams update will make your life harder, but for good reason

Microsoft is set to roll out an update for collaboration platform Teams that will add a layer of friction to using third-party app integrations, but for good reason.

According to a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft Teams users will soon have to manage permissions manually for each third-party app they want to use via the web client.

“In order to better secure Microsoft Teams third-party applications that request native device permissions – such as camera, microphone or location access – we will be requiring users to manually opt-in for these permissions per app in the Microsoft Teams web browser experience,” wrote Microsoft.

This is already the case across the Microsoft Teams desktop and mobile clients, the roadmap entry goes on to explain.

The new web client permissions system is still under development, but should take effect for all users by February next year.

Microsoft Teams apps

Since the start of the pandemic, collaboration software vendors like Microsoft, Zoom and Slack have worked hard to expand upon in-built functionality (video conferencing, VoIP, messaging, file-sharing etc.) with third-party integrations.

In Microsoft’s case, the company is aiming to turn Teams into a central hub for work, by building as wide a range of functionality into the platform as possible, from cloud storage and CRM to project management, calendering and more.

Only last week, Microsoft revealed it is developing a new-look app store that should make it easier to identify the most useful third-party integrations on a per user basis.

As the number of Teams applications grows, however, the likelihood one might be abused for cybercriminal purposes rises too. To nip any potential issues in the bud, Microsoft will soon require users to manually specify app permissions across all Teams clients (desktop, mobile and now browser).

Of course, the measure won’t stop users from giving malicious apps access to their webcam and audio feed, but at the very least it will force people to think twice about which apps they engage with.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More