Gmail will no longer harass you with notifications outside working hours

Gmail is easily among the best email services; it offers safe, reliable, and secure email from one of the internet's largest companies.

But anyone who uses Gmail for work, through Google Workspace, knows the pain of out-of-hours emails from your boss that flash up on the screen and ruin your zen. 

Google is listening, though, and recently announced an update for Gmail that works with Apple's new Focus mode for iOS, one of the best features for getting digital peace and quiet. 

The idea is kind of like notification profiles on Android; you can set specific notifications, apps, and services to be silent in different times of the day, such as when you're at home. 

Gmail can now work with these profiles – either automatically generated by Apple or customized by the user – to make sure that you get the exact notifications you want. Aimless emails? Gone. Important, critical updates? Those get through. 

“You can now specify which Google Chat and Gmail contacts you still want notifications from when your iOS device is in Focus mode,” explained Google. “This is useful in situations where you need to limit screen time, but don’t want to miss an important message when other notifications are silenced.” 

The importance of digital peace 

After the pandemic forced everyone to work from home, or at least partially work from home, getting some digital peace became very important. 

When there is no obvious boundary between the office and home environment, making sure that notifications don't get through during “you” time is vital. 

Managing notifications, especially on iOS before the latest update, was a bit of a pain. You either had to silence them all or dive into Settings every single time. 

Apple made the process a lot easier with iOS 15 and we really recommend setting up some different Focus profiles to get the ball rolling, especially if you don't have a work phone that can just be switched off. 

The set-up can be a bit of a faff, but once you get past that it's really simple – and perfect for keeping digital peace of mind without missing important updates. 

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It’s finally happening – Twitter is working on an edit button, but is this a good thing?

If you've been wishing to edit those tweets with spelling mistakes without having to delete them, Twitter has announced that it's working on an edit feature.

This feature request has become a meme in itself, with many users asking for this for years. If you use Twitter, you've most likely been in a situation where you've posted a tweet from the previous evening, and you notice that there's a missing letter or a missing comma that skews what you were trying to convey.

Twitter has confirmed that the feature will first arrive as a test for Twitter Blue users, which is its subscription service that brings benefits such as undoing a sent tweet after a short amount of time.

But while this sounds like good news for many, it may be an example of being careful what you wish for.


Analysis: This may hinder rather than help users

Other social platforms have had this feature for years. If you posted something on Facebook for example and it's missing a word, you can quickly edit the post and add the word back in.

Instagram and Tiktok also have similar features, but for Twitter, it's not as simple as adding an edit button.

Many users have wanted an easy method to edit a tweet without deleting it, especially if it's about a topic that's long since finished for example. But Twitter has a slippery slope with this, as many use the platform as a news feed and as a way of conversing with followers on certain subjects. Editing these tweets could make your input worse.

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But there are other dangers to this feature if it's not implemented right. Twitter's Head of Consumer Product, Jay Sullivan, rightly said during the announcement, that editing a tweet could alter a topic of conversation that could be sensitive to many, and could construe different meanings.

Editing tweets is not something that I've wanted Twitter to focus on – it's rather a bigger focus on curtailing abuse and spam accounts that have been more prevalent since the pandemic began in 2020.

But this feature could stay as a test, or as an exclusive feature of Twitter Blue. However, the announcement has excited many, so it now depends on whether the feature measures up to the wishes of its users, or if it's used to alter conversations for the worse.

Regardless of what happens, Twitter clearly has another challenge on its hands now that editing tweets are finally official.

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It’s finally happening – Twitter is working on an edit button, but is this a good thing?

If you've been wishing to edit those tweets with spelling mistakes without having to delete them, Twitter has announced that it's working on an edit feature.

This feature request has become a meme in itself, with many users asking for this for years. If you use Twitter, you've most likely been in a situation where you've posted a tweet from the previous evening, and you notice that there's a missing letter or a missing comma that skews what you were trying to convey.

Twitter has confirmed that the feature will first arrive as a test for Twitter Blue users, which is its subscription service that brings benefits such as undoing a sent tweet after a short amount of time.

But while this sounds like good news for many, it may be an example of being careful what you wish for.


Analysis: This may hinder rather than help users

Other social platforms have had this feature for years. If you posted something on Facebook for example and it's missing a word, you can quickly edit the post and add the word back in.

Instagram and Tiktok also have similar features, but for Twitter, it's not as simple as adding an edit button.

Many users have wanted an easy method to edit a tweet without deleting it, especially if it's about a topic that's long since finished for example. But Twitter has a slippery slope with this, as many use the platform as a news feed and as a way of conversing with followers on certain subjects. Editing these tweets could make your input worse.

See more

But there are other dangers to this feature if it's not implemented right. Twitter's Head of Consumer Product, Jay Sullivan, rightly said during the announcement, that editing a tweet could alter a topic of conversation that could be sensitive to many, and could construe different meanings.

Editing tweets is not something that I've wanted Twitter to focus on – it's rather a bigger focus on curtailing abuse and spam accounts that have been more prevalent since the pandemic began in 2020.

But this feature could stay as a test, or as an exclusive feature of Twitter Blue. However, the announcement has excited many, so it now depends on whether the feature measures up to the wishes of its users, or if it's used to alter conversations for the worse.

Regardless of what happens, Twitter clearly has another challenge on its hands now that editing tweets are finally official.

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Apple could be working on a whole host of financial and banking tools

Apple is reportedly working on a multi-year plan to develop its own payment processing technology and infrastructure in an effort to further build out its portfolio of financial products.

As reported by Bloomberg, the move would allow the iPhone maker to reduce its reliance on outside partners but it could also enable the company to expand its payment features beyond the US.

According to people familiar with the matter that spoke with the news outlet, the multi-year plan would bring a number of financial tasks in-house including payment processing, risk assessment for lending, fraud analysis, credit checks and other customer-service functions like handling disputes.

Since Apple is reportedly investigating the idea of launching its own hardware subscription service, being able to run credit checks and risk assessments before providing customers with devices makes a great deal of sense.

Future financial products

Although Apple already offers a credit card as well as peer-to-peer payments for businesses, its efforts to develop its own payment processing technology and infrastructure  will be focused on future financial products.

Back in July of last year, news broke that the company is also working on a “buy now, pay later” feature for Apple Pay Transactions that would allow customers to pay for items across four interest-free payments every two weeks or across several months with interest. While the plan with four payments is known internally as “Apple Pay in 4”, the longer term payment plans have been dubbed “Apple Pay Monthly Installments”.

While Apple will continue its partnership with Goldman Sachs according to Bloomberg, the company has been discussing using in-house technology for its “Apple Pay in 4” plan. 

At the same time though, the company’s in-house financial services could allow it to expand future services to additional countries. Currently Apple Pay is available in over 70 countries but other services such as peer-to-peer payments, Apple Card and Apple Cash are still US-only.

The news that Apple wants to bring more of its financial services in-house also aligns with a recent job posting looking for a hardware validation engineer to help upgrade its datacenters. Storing financial data and handling transactions could put a heavy load on its systems which is why the company wants to upgrade its datacenters with “next-generation” storage and server equipment from Intel and AMD.

Via 9to5Mac

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Massive Google Workspace update dials up the fight for hybrid working supremacy

Google has lifted the lid on a series of updates for its Workspace suite of productivity and collaboration software designed to cater to the needs of the hybrid working era.

Some of the upgrades are small, like the ability to react with emojis during video meetings, but others could have a major impact on the way in which workers collaborate on shared documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

Most significantly, Google says it will integrate Meet directly into Docs, Sheets and Slides in the coming weeks, which will allow Google Workspace users to quickly spin up a meeting when collaborating on a project. Unlike traditional screen-sharing, video feeds will be housed within a dedicated sidebar, positioned alongside the content the team is working on.

Google Workspace for hybrid working

Since the birth of G Suite in 2006, Google has competed directly with Microsoft in the office software space, going up against the famous Microsoft 365 suite, which houses the likes of Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc.

One of the defining features of Microsoft’s offering is tight integration between apps and services, extending all the way out to the Windows operating system on which most business computers run. And although Google stole the march on Microsoft when it came to the cloud-based model, individual G Suite apps have historically felt much more isolated.

When Google rebranded its productivity suite as Workspace in 2020, however, the company announced it would make a concerted effort to create a more “deeply integrated user experience”, by improving the level of interoperability between its various productivity apps.

Google Docs

Google Meet will soon be integrated directly into Docs, Slides and Sheets. (Image credit: Google)

The latest round of Google Workspace updates take strides towards achieving this goal, capitalizing on the full breadth of the suite to create functionality that should help workers improve their productivity in a hybrid working setting.

In addition to new synergies with Workspace office software, Google Meet will also receive a new picture-in-picture mode next month, which will allow Chrome users to bring up a floating meeting window that sits on top of other browser tabs.

And from a security perspective, Google is set to launch client-side encryption for Meet calls in May, with optional end-to-end encryption to follow by the end of the year, bringing the service on-par with Teams and Zoom.

To support asynchronous collaboration, meanwhile, Google is preparing a number of updates for its Spaces messaging platform. Most notably, the company is improving the search functionality to help users surface the most relevant conversations and rolling out Slack-like inline message threading, which is apparently a highly requested upgrade.

Google Workspace

(Image credit: Google)

“One of the hopeful signs of a return to normalcy is seeing many of our customers make plans to come back into their offices. And they’re asking for strategies that will make hybrid work a more equitable and productive experience for everyone. We’re also beginning our own transition to hybrid work in early April,” said Google.

“As we gear up for that, it feels like a time of optimism for new ways of working together and the potential for hybrid models to become the sustainable norm. When designed well, a hybrid model gives employees the flexibility to deliver their best from anywhere, while bringing them together thoughtfully for the power of in-person collaboration.”

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Massive Google Workspace update dials up the fight for hybrid working supremacy

Google has lifted the lid on a series of updates for its Workspace suite of productivity and collaboration software designed to cater to the needs of the hybrid working era.

Some of the upgrades are small, like the ability to react with emojis during video meetings, but others could have a major impact on the way in which workers collaborate on shared documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

Most significantly, Google says it will integrate Meet directly into Docs, Sheets and Slides in the coming weeks, which will allow Google Workspace users to quickly spin up a meeting when collaborating on a project. Unlike traditional screen-sharing, video feeds will be housed within a dedicated sidebar, positioned alongside the content the team is working on.

Google Workspace for hybrid working

Since the birth of G Suite in 2006, Google has competed directly with Microsoft in the office software space, going up against the famous Microsoft 365 suite, which houses the likes of Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc.

One of the defining features of Microsoft’s offering is tight integration between apps and services, extending all the way out to the Windows operating system on which most business computers run. And although Google stole the march on Microsoft when it came to the cloud-based model, individual G Suite apps have historically felt much more isolated.

When Google rebranded its productivity suite as Workspace in 2020, however, the company announced it would make a concerted effort to create a more “deeply integrated user experience”, by improving the level of interoperability between its various productivity apps.

Google Docs

Google Meet will soon be integrated directly into Docs, Slides and Sheets. (Image credit: Google)

The latest round of Google Workspace updates take strides towards achieving this goal, capitalizing on the full breadth of the suite to create functionality that should help workers improve their productivity in a hybrid working setting.

In addition to new synergies with Workspace office software, Google Meet will also receive a new picture-in-picture mode next month, which will allow Chrome users to bring up a floating meeting window that sits on top of other browser tabs.

And from a security perspective, Google is set to launch client-side encryption for Meet calls in May, with optional end-to-end encryption to follow by the end of the year, bringing the service on-par with Teams and Zoom.

To support asynchronous collaboration, meanwhile, Google is preparing a number of updates for its Spaces messaging platform. Most notably, the company is improving the search functionality to help users surface the most relevant conversations and rolling out Slack-like inline message threading, which is apparently a highly requested upgrade.

Google Workspace

(Image credit: Google)

“One of the hopeful signs of a return to normalcy is seeing many of our customers make plans to come back into their offices. And they’re asking for strategies that will make hybrid work a more equitable and productive experience for everyone. We’re also beginning our own transition to hybrid work in early April,” said Google.

“As we gear up for that, it feels like a time of optimism for new ways of working together and the potential for hybrid models to become the sustainable norm. When designed well, a hybrid model gives employees the flexibility to deliver their best from anywhere, while bringing them together thoughtfully for the power of in-person collaboration.”

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Twitter down: social media website and app aren’t working – again

It feels like every other week that the internet breaks – you've guessed it (from the headline), Twitter is down.

The social media giant is unavailable to loads of users – trying to access the web page brings up the message “Something went wrong. Try reloading.”, and the app won't refresh with newer tweets.

Reports on downdetector.co.uk jumped up into the thousands within minutes of the outage – it's worth pointing out that, while the reports also rose on downdetector.com (in the US), they didn't rise by nearly as much.

It sounds like a limited issue, as lots of TechRadar team members haven't had an issue. Saying that the sheer number of Downdetector reports shows that something is up.

Not only is the main Twitter feed down, but other Twitter sites are down too, like its Help site.

We just wanted to post a funny joke, and now we've discovered that Twitter isn't working. We're investigating.

Judging by reports from Downdetector and TechRadar's US team, the outage is affecting far fewer people in the US than in the UK – it seems mainly a British problem. Well, we can add that to the list after Freddos costing more, Magnums getting smaller and the whole cost of living thing.

In the UK, DownDetector reports more than 4,000 reports in the last few minutes. That's a huge number given how many we normally see – even for the major outages that affect multiple websites, we usually see one or two thousand reports.

This outage has come less than six weeks after the last Twitter outage.

That was a smaller one, as the main Twitter feed would load, but Tweets wouldn't – so you could see them, but not click on them or interact with them. 

Now, you can't see anything – it's radio silence.

Usually when there's an internet outage, people turn to Twitter to look for answers. That's… a little harder now.

We looked at Facebook, but Twitter itself hasn't posted there for several months. Last time it did, it was a screenshot of a Tweet about cats. What is this, 2007?

Facebook is a bit more community-focused though, so it's harder to see what people in the wider world are saying.

Reddit to the rescue though:

is_twitter_down_for_anyone_else_in_uk from r/Twitter

There's no official comment, but there are people from around the world commenting to say that Reddit isn't working for them.

Unfortunately, because Reddit's support and news room sites are all hosted by the media giant itself, they're not working either.

We're seeing a growing number of reports of outages from the US, but TechRadar's team based there hasn't seen anything.

It's likely that a server in Europe is at fault, which is why it's so much more of an issue for our UK readers than our US ones.

But we're waiting to find out from Twitter to see what's going on.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Reports are well over 4,000 at the moment.

For context, the baseline is 3. That's a big difference.

Oh wait – Twitter is back! (for me at least)

This suggests the end of the outage could be here – just in time for you to return to work after your lunch break. What bad luck.

DownDetector reports for Twitter problems are finally going down – it looks like the outage could really be over.

It's not a steep plummet of reports, which suggests some people are still finding problems with their desktop site or phone app, but this at least tells us that the initial problem is being solved.

We've been looking to see if Twitter itself has commented on the outage – so far we can't see anything from any of its official accounts.

Saying that, it's got about a billion of its own accounts for different regions, aspects of the site and more, so it's very possible that one of them has posted, and we just haven't found it yet.

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Microsoft reckons businesses are making a few fatal hybrid working mistakes

Microsoft has published the results of its latest Work Trend Index survey, highlighting the various challenges businesses encounter as they transition to new working models.

Based on a survey of 31,000 workers across the globe, and trillions of signals drawn down from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn, the report identifies a series of trends brought about by the shift towards hybrid working.

The broad conclusion is that the calculations have changed for workers when it comes to selecting an employer, and businesses must react accordingly with new policies that support the demand for greater flexibility and autonomy.

Times are changing

Microsoft says one of the greatest mistakes businesses are making is to attempt to revert to old methodologies as society begins to return to normality in many corners of the globe.

Specifically, the company cited the push to bring employees back to the office full-time, driven by fears shared by more than half (54%) of senior executives about the ability for workers to remain productive at home.

At least half of companies plan to mandate a full-time return to the office within the next twelve months, data collected by Microsoft suggests, but a similar proportion of workers (52%) said they would prefer a hybrid or fully remote model.

Instead of tying all employees to a specific style of working, companies should be attempting to balance the preferences of everyone, Microsoft says. It should be the responsibility of the business to make the office worth the commute.

“There's no erasing the lived experience and lasting impact of the past two years,” said Jared Spataro, CVP Modern Work at Microsoft. “Empowering managers to adapt to new employee expectations helps set businesses up for long term success.”

Another area of concern identified by Microsoft is the negative effects on work-life balance created by the shift away from the traditional nine-to-five and towards a more flexible system, and the knock-on effects on the relationship between team members.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a 28% increase in the amount of work taking place outside of typical working hours and a 14% increase over the weekend. Although Microsoft says it is encouraging to see people making use of new freedoms afforded by flexible working, the company took the opportunity to remind businesses that flexibility is not a by-word for “always-on”.

Microsoft also noted that, while the majority (58%) of hybrid workers say they have maintained bonds with their co-workers, just half of remote employees claim to have a “thriving” relationship with their direct team. To address these kinds of issues, the firm suggests companies should take a deliberate approach to ensuring remote and newly-onboarded employees are supported sufficiently and are offered ample opportunity to get to know their colleagues. 

“The shift to a hybrid workplace doesn’t start with new technology or corporate policies. It begins with culture – one that embraces a growth mindset, a willingness to reimagine nearly every aspect of the way work gets done,” concluded Jared Spataro, CVP Modern Work at Microsoft.

“Every employee will need to develop new skills to adapt to this new way of working, and with the right support and tools, hybrid working can unlock potential for a workplace that works for everyone.”

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Microsoft reckons businesses are making a few fatal hybrid working mistakes

Microsoft has published the results of its latest Work Trend Index survey, highlighting the various challenges businesses encounter as they transition to new working models.

Based on a survey of 31,000 workers across the globe, and trillions of signals drawn down from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn, the report identifies a series of trends brought about by the shift towards hybrid working.

The broad conclusion is that the calculations have changed for workers when it comes to selecting an employer, and businesses must react accordingly with new policies that support the demand for greater flexibility and autonomy.

Times are changing

Microsoft says one of the greatest mistakes businesses are making is to attempt to revert to old methodologies as society begins to return to normality in many corners of the globe.

Specifically, the company cited the push to bring employees back to the office full-time, driven by fears shared by more than half (54%) of senior executives about the ability for workers to remain productive at home.

At least half of companies plan to mandate a full-time return to the office within the next twelve months, data collected by Microsoft suggests, but a similar proportion of workers (52%) said they would prefer a hybrid or fully remote model.

Instead of tying all employees to a specific style of working, companies should be attempting to balance the preferences of everyone, Microsoft says. It should be the responsibility of the business to make the office worth the commute.

“There's no erasing the lived experience and lasting impact of the past two years,” said Jared Spataro, CVP Modern Work at Microsoft. “Empowering managers to adapt to new employee expectations helps set businesses up for long term success.”

Another area of concern identified by Microsoft is the negative effects on work-life balance created by the shift away from the traditional nine-to-five and towards a more flexible system, and the knock-on effects on the relationship between team members.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a 28% increase in the amount of work taking place outside of typical working hours and a 14% increase over the weekend. Although Microsoft says it is encouraging to see people making use of new freedoms afforded by flexible working, the company took the opportunity to remind businesses that flexibility is not a by-word for “always-on”.

Microsoft also noted that, while the majority (58%) of hybrid workers say they have maintained bonds with their co-workers, just half of remote employees claim to have a “thriving” relationship with their direct team. To address these kinds of issues, the firm suggests companies should take a deliberate approach to ensuring remote and newly-onboarded employees are supported sufficiently and are offered ample opportunity to get to know their colleagues. 

“The shift to a hybrid workplace doesn’t start with new technology or corporate policies. It begins with culture – one that embraces a growth mindset, a willingness to reimagine nearly every aspect of the way work gets done,” concluded Jared Spataro, CVP Modern Work at Microsoft.

“Every employee will need to develop new skills to adapt to this new way of working, and with the right support and tools, hybrid working can unlock potential for a workplace that works for everyone.”

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Why your usual Wordle strategy isn’t working today, according to a linguistics professor

If you’ve found today’s Wordle answer more difficult than most, you’re not alone. Puzzle #256 has proven so tough, in fact, that we’ve been live-blogging the internet’s reactions to the latest headache-inducing five-letter term. 

But why is today's answer proving trickier than others? TechRadar spoke to Dr Matthew Voice, an Assistant Professor in Applied Linguistics at the UK’s University of Warwick, to find out the science behind the struggle. 

Naturally, we’ll be divulging the solution to today’s puzzle below, so turn back now if you’re committed to weathering the latest Wordle alone. 

Ok, here goes. Today’s Wordle answer is WATCH. Yep, little old WATCH – by all accounts, a fairly simple, universally-accepted noun and verb. Don’t worry, we’re kicking ourselves too. But Professor Voice explains that there is some genuine reasoning behind why you (and we) may not have been so quick on the draw this week.

“[In your live blog] you've already talked about _ATCH as a kind of trap. This is an example of an n-gram, i.e. a group of letters of a length (n) that commonly cluster together. So this is an n-gram with a length of four letters: a quadrigram,” Professor Voice tells us. 

“Using [this] Project Gutenberg data, it's interesting to note that _ATCH isn't listed as one of the most common quadrigrams in English overall, but the [same] data considers words of all lengths, rather than just the five letters Wordle is limited to. I don't know of any corpus exclusively composed of common 5 letter words, but it might be the case that _ATCH happens to be particularly productive for that length.”

Understand your quadrigrams

“The other thing to mention,” Professor Voice adds, “would be that the quadrigram _ATCH is made up of smaller n-grams, like the bigram AT, which is extremely common in English. So we're seeing a lot of common building blocks in one word, which means that sorting individual letters might not be narrowing down people's guesses as much as it would with other words.”

So there you have it. WATCH may in fact be too simple a word, after all – so much so that your usual method of deduction doesn’t account for the myriad possible solutions. 

Here's hoping tomorrow's answer is a little more… difficult?

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