You can now join a video call straight from Google Docs

Joining a Meet video call is now easier than ever thanks to a new feature that will allow users to join directly from Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.

The Google Workspace update allows users to join a video conferencing call with just a click, meaning there's no need to scrabble around for a calendar invite or email.

Going forward, Google Docs users will see a new icon next to the “Share” button, allowing them to join a Meet video call directly from their document.

Google Docs video calls

The new taskbar will house a full list of all the video calls and meetings a users has scheduled, including dates and times, with the join button showing once a meeting is live.

As mentioned, it will be present not just in Google Docs, but also Sheets and Slides, giving users multiple ways to join.

Google Docs join a Meet call

(Image credit: Google Workspace)

Google says this new approach will also allow users to have the content they are working on open and within sight whilst on a call, rather than needing to juggle multiple apps or browser windows.

The tool was first announced last month, but is now rolling out to all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business users now. It will be on by default, with users starting to see the changes immediately.

“To help teams do their best work in the hybrid work world, as many of us begin a return to office, we continue to make enhancements to Google Meet to help ensure that video meetings are inclusive and collaborative no matter the location or device preference,” the entry in the Google Workspace update blog states.

 “We hope this feature makes it easier for everyone in the meeting to collaborate in real-time while having a conversation—all from the same tab.”

Google Meet is also set to soon receive a new picture-in-picture mode, which will allow Chrome users to bring up a floating meeting window that sits on top of other browser tabs.

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Cybersecurity experts join forces to combat coronavirus security threats

The coronavirus outbreak has led to a rise in hacking attempts and cyberattacks which is why an international group of close to 400 volunteers with expertise in cybersecurity have banded together to form a new group to combat these threats.

The group, called the Covid-19 CTI League (for cyber threat intelligence), has members in more than 40 countries and includes professionals who sold senior positions at major companies including Microsoft and Amazon.

VP of cybersecurity strategy at Okta, Marc Rogers is one of the four initial managers of the effort and he said the group's top priority would be preventing cyberattacks against medical facilities and frontline responders. In fact, the Covid-19 CTI League has already begun working on dealing with hacks of health organizations.

Covid-19 CTI League

The newly formed group is currently using its contacts at internet infrastructure providers to help stop phishing attacks and other financial cybercrime which preys on people's fears of the coronavirus to trick them into installing malware on their computers.

Rogers explained to Reuters how the coronavirus has led to a huge surge in phishing attacks, saying:

“I’ve never seen this volume of phishing. I am literally seeing phishing messages in every language known to man.”

According to Rogers, the Covid-19 CTI League has already managed to dismantle one campaign that used a software vulnerability to spread malicious software. However, he did not share any more details as the group is choosing to keep its operations close to the chest to avoid any retaliation from the cybercriminals it's trying to stop.

Rogers also revealed that law enforcement has been surprisingly welcoming of the group's collaboration.

Via Reuters

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Disney, Apple and Amazon join Netflix and YouTube in reducing streaming quality

Desperate times call for desperate measures – and Disney, Apple and Amazon have now joined Netflix and YouTube in reducing the video quality of their streaming services across Europe.

The idea is to reduce the strain on internet networks across the continent, and it's something the European Union authorities have specifically requested in order to keep the digital traffic flowing.

Disney Plus is opening its doors in most of Europe this coming Tuesday, March 24, though the launch in France has been pushed back to April 7. According to an official statement, bandwidth use will be cut by a quarter.

Amazon has taken a similar approach with its Prime Video service over the last few days, promising to "reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience" in the European countries where it operates.

Putting the brakes on

While Apple hasn't made any official announcement yet, 9to5Mac has spotted a reduction in video quality in Europe in recent days – quite an aggressive reduction in fact, though it may even out over time.

Netflix and YouTube were the first streaming services to fall in line with the EU directive, though it now appears that everyone with a video platform is going to be taking steps to tackle the huge increase in people stuck at home.

While network operators have said they are confident that there's enough spare capacity in the system to cope with everyone becoming habitual binge watchers, it would appear that no one wants to take any chances.

As yet there's no sign of similar movies in the US or elsewhere.  At the same time, tech companies are busy pushing out trustworthy coronavirus information through apps and sites that are easy to access.

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