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Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Users of Google Photos are reporting that one of the app’s most frequently-used features is currently broken. The bug comes into play when selecting multiple photos at once, but fortunately, it looks like there’s a workaround for anyone affected.

When sharing pictures it’s common to want to select multiple images to send together in one go. Thankfully, the Google Photos app makes this very easy: simply hold your finger down on the first thumbnail image and then drag your finger along the gallery until you get to the last one you want to share. This will select all of the images between the first and last, marking them with a tick.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

However, as picked up by Android Police, some users on Reddit have reported that this feature has now disappeared since updating their apps, leaving them forced to select each image individually. This is a minor inconvenience when selecting just a few pictures but quickly becomes a chore when larger numbers are involved.

Today In: Innovation

The bug seems to affect a wide range of Android smartphones from various manufacturers, but only for a certain group of users and it turns out that a seemingly unrelated Android system setting is the trigger. As luck would have it, one eagle-eyed reader of the Android Police post discovered that the problem is related to an unexpected interaction with Android’s accessibility settings.

I can confirm that enabling Android Accessibility features on the Amazon Shopping app caused the Google Photos multi-select problem to appear on my handset while disabling the feature enabled Google Photos to work as normal once again.

For now, it seems the workaround to the problem is to disable Android Accessibility on any applications which may be using it.

To do this, go into your Android settings menu and search for ‘accessibility’ then scroll down to locate the relevant options. The actual layout will vary from phone to phone, but sections to look out for are ‘Downloaded Services’ where apps such as Amazon Shopping are likely to appear, and ‘Screen Readers’ where you may find functions such as ‘Select to Speak’ or ‘Talkback’ available.

Tapping on any of these will enable you to turn off its accessibility service. Turning them all off should then cause Google Photos to work correctly once again.

Obviously, the downside to doing this is that you’ll lose any accessibility functions you may have been relying on until Google comes up with a fix.

Method two

Alternatively, you may be able to restore the multi-select function by reverting to an older version of Google Photos. You can download previous versions of the app from sites such as apkmirror.com and sideload them onto your device, although I’d recommend waiting for an official update instead.

With any luck, a forthcoming fix from Google will then enable us to revert our Accessibility settings back to the way we want them.

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that creates it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

Source: Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Google Photos was designed to make it easier for people to organize a lifetime of memories. The recently announced API now lets you harness the best of Google Photos in your own product. In this session, you’ll see how you can create experiences that eliminate the friction associated with finding, transferring, and sharing photos. Rate this session by signing-in on the I/O website here → https://goo.gl/Cuv8ta See all the sessions from Google I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/q1Tr8x Watch more Android sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/R9L42F Watch more Chrome sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/5fgXhX Watch more Firebase sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/TQEeBQ Watch more Google Cloud Platform from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/qw2mR1 Watch more TensorFlow sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/GaAnBR Subscribe to the Google Developers channel → http://goo.gl/mQyv5L #io18

 

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Google Just Gave 2 Billion Chrome Users A Reason To Switch To Firefox

Berlin, Germany - February 26: In this photo illustration the app of Google Chrome is displayed on a smartphone on February 26, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Berlin, Germany – February 26: In this photo illustration the app of Google Chrome is displayed on a smartphone on February 26, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Google is planning to restrict modern ad blocking Chrome extensions to enterprise users only, according to 9to5Google. This is despite a backlash to an announcement by Google in January proposing changes that will stop current ad blockers from working efficiently.

And the software giant is not backing down: It says the only people who can use ad blockers following the change will be Google’s enterprise users.

The proposal–dubbed Manifest V3–will see a major transformation to Chrome extensions that includes a revamp of the permissions system. It will mean modern ad blockers such as uBlock Origin—which uses Chrome’s webRequest API to block ads before they’re downloaded–won’t work. This is because Manifest V3 sees Google halt the webRequest API’s ability to block a particular request before it’s loaded.

People aren’t impressed. Many have complained about the move, which effectively takes control away from the user and creates an incentive to use other services instead.

9to5Google highlighted a single sentence buried in the text of Google’s response to the complaints, which clarified the changes: “Chrome is deprecating the blocking capabilities of the webRequest API in Manifest V3, not the entire webRequest API (though blocking will still be available to enterprise deployments).”

In other words, paid enterprise-only users will still have the ability to block unwanted content. It probably means enterprise customers can develop in-house Chrome extensions, not for ad blocking use, 9to5Google says. For everyone else, the changes announced in January will remain the same.

It’s annoying, to say the least, but the reason for these changes is obvious: Ads are at the heart of Google’s business model.

“We are starting to see Google’s conflict of interest arising,” Sean Wright, an independent security consultant told me. “Google relies on the revenue of advertising, so one can see why they would make such a move.”

What to do

There are many users who won’t use Chrome without an ad blocker, so it will see some switch to other providers such as Firefox. However, Firefox has had its own issues over recent weeks.

It’s important to note that the changes won’t stop all ad blockers from working, but exactly who is affected isn’t totally clear. Google sent me a statement by email, which reads: “Chrome supports the use and development of ad blockers. We’re actively working with the developer community to get feedback and iterate on the design of a privacy-preserving content filtering system that limits the amount of sensitive browser data shared with third parties.”

For now, Wright thinks people should use Brave instead: “Brave is built upon Chromium so all existing Chrome plugins and even themes work on it. This is perhaps why it’s seen an increase in user numbers.”

Another option is using something like Pi-Hole, says Wright. “This works on the DNS level and has blacklists of adverts as well as malicious URLs.”

I’m a freelance cyber security journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector.

Source: Google Just Gave 2 Billion Chrome Users A Reason To Switch To Firefox

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