Google Backup & Sync Update Returns HEIF Image Viewing to Google Photos

Google Backup and Sync

Google Backup & Sync, the desktop app that allows you to sync your Google Drive to your PC or Mac, has a nice update rolling out that brings a lot of fixes, particularly for MacOS users.  The updated version of Backup & Sync is build 3.41.9267.0638 for those keeping score at home and it is the same build for both MacOS and Windows.  The update was released last week so chances are you have been updated to this new build already.

The big news in this update is the fixing of a bug on HEIF and HEIC image files. High Efficiency Image Format, or HEIF, is pretty new and is something iOS 11.x devices use for the most part for image file formats.  When they first started hitting Google Photos and Google Drive, you could view them as you could with any other supported image format.  However a bug introduced at the beginning of the year made HEIF images not visible in Google Photos.  You could view them in Google Drive, but not Photos.  This update to Google Backup & Sync appears to have fixed the issues.

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Hangouts Chat Generally Available to G Suite Subscribers

Hangouts Chat

Nearly a year after it was announced and almost all of that time in early adopter programs, Google’s Hangouts Chat is now generally available as a core service to G Suite customers.  It provides deep integration with the entire G Suite of apps for easy collaboration and sharing of files along with group and direct messaging capabilities.  There are also some 25 bots available starting today to further integrate with other solutions your organization may have in their portfolio.

The most direct comparison of Hangouts Chat in the market today is Slack and in many ways, the two messaging & collaboration solutions are equal.  But for G Suite customers, the advantage of Chat is that everything stays inter-domain which provides another layer of security.

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Windows 10 Makes Market Share Gains But Trails Windows 7

My Windows 10 Desktop

For the Android faithful who get frustrated by the use of older versions of the platform, take heart.  The problem is also shared by Microsoft Windows.

StatCounter has released their monthly report on Windows version usage globally and while Windows 10 has made gains, it still trails the now 8 year old Windows 7.  Windows 7 commanded 43.99% of all Windows-based internet traffic in September while Windows 10 jumped up to 39.3%.  That is up from 37.87% in August 2017.

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Minor Chrome for Android Released

Google Chrome for Android

For those who use Chrome for Android, you can expect a minor update to hit your various devices this week.  Build 59.0.3071.117 was released yesterday for Android and follows up on a similar update released for the desktop version of the browser late last week. This update for Android fixes a few crash issues, a performance issue, and an issue which prevented some users from downloading images.

The update is rolling out in the Google Play Store now and everyone should see the OTA update for it this week or next.  It will be particularly important to get this update if you have run into some of the specific issues outlined in the release notes.

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Android Overtakes Windows as The Most Popular OS in Internet Usage

Android Nougat

After dominating the world for the past three decades-plus, Windows is no longer the most widely used Operating System in terms of Internet usage.  That honor now goes to Android according to the team at StatCounter.  In their latest report, Android passed Windows by .02% to take over the top spot.  The report measures the Operating Systems in use globally to access the Internet and this is the first time that Windows has been beaten – by anyone.

The report reflects what many have seen for a long time:  The world is going mobile and with Android dominating the mobile landscape as far as install base, it isn’t shocking to see it take over the #1 slot when it comes to Internet usage.  It also reflects a fundamental shift in how we get to the information we need in our day-to-day lives.  Mobile search has continued to climb as the most common way people access information so this report fits that trend too.

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Google Aiming To Be A “Great” Windows Platform

Google Cloud Platform Icon

Today at Google Cloud Next, the company made it clear:  They want to be the platform for your Windows applications.  In the keynote message, Google’s Brian Stevens announced that they were releasing a wide set of tools to help enterprises migrate their Windows-based servers and other solutions to Google Cloud Platform.  The company already has SQL Server Enterprise and Windows Server Core in Google Compute Engine but they certainly upped the ante today.  Now on GCP, you have SQL Server Enterprise plus a beta of .NET for both Google App Engine and Google Container Engine.  Further, things like Active Directory and other Windows-based server solutions can now be migrated to GCP.

The move is aimed at making GCP a solid base by which you can run your Windows-based solutions without having to actually have a physical server sitting on your premise, yet keeping the Windows solutions available to your enterprise.  In other words, to use GCP, you don’t necessarily have to use Google solutions.

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Chrome for Desktop Rolling Out With Full HTML5 Support

Google Chrome for Windows

The Chrome team has started rolling out a new major build of the browser for Windows, Mac and Linux.  Chrome build 56.0.2924.76 has a long list of security fixes and enhancements but also has an impressive list of new features along with it.  In all there are 21 specific issues addressed in the release notes, 7 of which were considered high priority.  As is the usual case, Google hasn’t released all the details of what was addressed.  They will do that after a majority of users have upgraded to the new build.

In this build, full HTML5 is supported which means the end of Adobe Flash plug-in for everyone.  You should get a prompt when you first open up the browser about Flash and the idea here is to make it a better browsing experience for everyone.  And safer.

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Chrome for Windows Gets a PGO Speed Boost

The Chromium team has rolled out an update to Chrome for Windows that should bring a big speed boost to the browser.  In build 53 for 32-bit and 54 for 64-bit, Chrome now takes advantage of Profile Guided Optimization, or PGO (pronounced Pogo) compiling to give big speed improvements.  In their blog post about the update, the team reports that new tabs open 14.8% faster while Page Loads speed up by 5.9%.  Not familiar with PGO?  It is a compiler optimization technique that is designed to optimize performance.  Specifically, Chrome looks at what functions are being used and optimizes those functions to gain the speed improvements.  Essentially what it does is move rarely used functions out of memory and frequently used ones into memory.

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