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Weekly Update - April 28, 2018: Gmail Redesign, Hangouts Meet, YouTube Flags

Is it anticipation for Google I/O? Preparation for the GDPR? Whatever the reason, there were some big changes for Google products this week.
  • Gmail on desktop has gotten a big makeover this week with “smart” replies, quick actions from the inbox, better integration with Calendar, Keep and the new Tasks, and more. To give it a try, sign in to Gmail, click Settings at top right, and select “Try the new Gmail’. 
  • Hovercards - the card that pops up when you move your cursor over a profile photo - also got a makeover. The new design is is visible to everyone in Gmail and Google Calendar, and G Suite users signed into Google+. It includes basic information about the person and buttons to send an email, start a Hangout conversation, or set up a Google Calendar event. Note that if you have a regular “consumer” Google account, you will still see the old hovercards on Google+.
  • Older versions of the Google+ app for Android (7.5 or earlier) and iOS (5.0 or earlier) will stop working May 20th. The fix is to update the app, or start accessing Google+ in the mobile browser on your device. Just be aware that if you are using an old version of the app to manage automatic backups of your photos, you will need to enable backups in the Google Photos app instead. 
  • Google is transitioning G Suite accounts from classic Hangouts video calls to Hangouts Meet starting May 21. New Calendar events will have a Meet video call by default, but G Suite users can still join a classic video call. On the plus side, Meet has an updated interface and can record a video of your meeting. On the minus site it’s currently only supported in the Chrome browser.
  • Chromebooks can now easily record video using the built-in camera. Start vlogging now!
  • Google’s podcast team is working to double podcast audiences globally and make audio content “a first-class citizen”. Pacific Content has an excellent series on Google’s strategy that’s a must-read for podcasters.
  • YouTube has launched a new “Report History” page that lets you see the status of the videos you have flagged. You can see whether the videos you reported were removed (or not) at https://www.youtube.com/reporthistory
  • Facebook published their internal policy enforcement guidelines, and the information is quite detailed - and a bit bewildering. (“Do not post ... [a] visible anus and/or fully nude close-ups of buttocks unless photoshopped on a public figure”). And they are finally letting users appeal when their content is removed for nudity, sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence, with a review “typically” within 24 hours.
  • The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) go into effect on May 25th, which accounts for many online services announcing updated privacy policies and terms of use. It’s still not entirely clear to me what exact responsibilities I have as an individual website owner based outside the EU. I’m hoping there will be more information available over the the next month.
Plus there are tips and updates for video creators, AdSense publishers, Google Plussers and more.

Image: Colorful Mailboxes by werner22brigette on Pixabay (Public Domain)

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Posted by Peggy K

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