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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 Warning: Tens Of Millions Of Android Phones Come Preloaded With Dangerous Malware

Millions of shiny new Android smartphones are being purchased with dangerous malware factory-installed, according to Google’s own security research team. There have been multiple headlines about the millions of harmful apps being installed from the Play Store, but this is something new. And the danger to unsuspecting users, trusting that new boxed devices are safe and clean, is that some of that preinstalled malware can download other malware in the background, commit ad fraud, or even take over its host device.

Android is a thriving open-source community, which is great for innovation but not so great when threat actors seize the opportunity to hide malware in basic software loads that come on boxed devices. New phones can have as many as 400 apps factory-installed, many of which we just ignore. But it transpires that many of those apps have not been vetted. The apps themselves will work as billed, providing a useful capability or service, so we can be forgiven for not considering the risk that might lurk within.

Google’s Maddie Stone, a security researcher with the company’s Project Zero, shared her team’s findings at Black Hat on Thursday. “If malware or security issues come as preinstalled apps,” she warned, “then the damage it can do is greater, and that’s why we need so much reviewing, auditing and analysis.”

The risk impacts Android’s Open-Source Project (AOSP), a lower-cost alternative to the full-fat version. AOSP is installed on lower-cost smartphones where cheaper software alternatives help keep prices down. This means owners of Android-badged devices from the likes of Samsung and Google itself are safe from this particular risk.

For an attacker, Stone warned, the benefit of supply chain compromise is that they “only have to convince one company to include their app, rather than thousands of users.” The Google team didn’t disclose any details of the brands of phones involved, but more than 200 device manufacturers fell foul of the testing, with malware allowing the devices to be attacked remotely.

Of particular concern were two particularly virulent malware campaigns: Chamois and Triada. Chamois generates various flavors of ad fraud, installs background apps, downloads plugins and can even send premium rate text messages. Chamois alone was found to have come installed on 7.4 million devices. Triada is an older variant of malware, one that also displays ads and installs apps.

Google is working to help device manufacturers screen for such vulnerabilities, and between March 2018 and March 2019, Stone claims such screening helped reduce the instances of devices infected by Chamois from 7.4 million to “only” 700,000. “The Android ecosystem is vast,” she warned, “with a diversity of OEMs and customizations—if you are able to infiltrate the supply chain out of the box, then you already have as many infected users as how many devices they sell—that’s why it’s a scarier prospect.”

In the meantime, the usual advice applies around downloading and installing apps from the Play Store. A healthy dose of skepticism does not go amiss when the app is from an unknown source. Not much users can do if those threats come preinstalled, though, and that’s why this revelation is so dangerous. For this one we need to rely on manufacturers to do the right thing and follow Google’s advice in screening software fully to eradicate such risks.

I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers, a provider of video surveillance and analytics technologies to security and defense agencies as well as commercial organizations. I cover the sectors in which DB operates, potential conflicts are highlighted.

Source: Google Warning: Tens Of Millions Of Android Phones Come Preloaded With Dangerous Malware

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