Google launches the final beta of Android 11 – TechCrunch

With the launch of Android 11 getting closer, Google today launched the third and final beta of its mobile operating system ahead of its general availability. Google had previously delayed the beta program by about a month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Image Credits: Google

Since Android 11 had already reached platform stability with Beta 2, most of the changes here are fixes and optimizations. As a Google spokesperson noted, “this beta is focused on helping developers put the finishing touches on their apps as they prepare for Android 11, including the official API 30 SDK and build tools for Android Studio.”

The one exception is some updates to the Exposure Notification System contact-tracing API, which users can now use without turning on device location settings. Exposure Notification is an exception here, as all other Android apps need to have location settings on (and user permission to access it) to perform the kind of Bluetooth scanning Google is using for this API.

Otherwise, there are no surprises here, given that this has already been a pretty lengthy preview cycle. Mostly, Google really wants developers to make sure their apps are ready for the new version, which includes quite a few changes.

If you are brave enough, you can get the latest beta over the air as part of the Android Beta program. It’s available for Pixel 2, 3, 3a, 4 and (soon) 4a users.

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iOS and Android users: You’re getting these new Google Docs, Sheets, Slides features

Google has announced a slew of new features coming to G Suite apps on iOS and Android in the next weeks and months.

The updates for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides mobile apps include a new and easier way to edit Microsoft Office files within a Google app without converting them. 

Google brought its Microsoft Office editing feature to its G Suite apps for the web last year, allowing users to edit, comment, and collaborate on Microsoft Office files using Google’s apps.

Google will roll out Office editing to our Docs, Sheets, and Slides on Android in the coming weeks and for iOS later this year.

AI-powered Smart Compose in Docs, which helps users write better sentences, is also making the leap from the web to Docs on mobile. It will roll out to G Suite customers over the next few weeks on Android and iOS. 

G Suite on Android recently gained dark-theme support and this should come to the apps iOS in the next few months, according to Google.  

To reduce distractions caused by clicking a link in a document and opening a new web page, in the next few weeks Google will bring link previews to Docs on Android.

The feature is already available on iOS and the web. Instead of opening a new app or web page, link previews presents a card with information about the content and a visual thumbnail.  

An upcoming update to Slides presentations aims to cater to the rise of virtual meetings in the pandemic. Google has created a vertically scrollable stream of slides that users can pinch-to-zoom, helping to review slides faster whether when editing or presenting content. It’s coming to Android over the next few weeks and is due for iOS in coming months. 

Google is also tweaking the comments and action items in Docs, Sheets, and Slides on mobile to improve collaboration. There’ll be a larger area for comments on screen that should make it easier for users to scroll through and respond. This is already available on Android and will reach iOS in the next few months. 

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Google updates G Suite for mobile with dark mode support, Smart Compose for Docs and more – TechCrunch

Google today announced a major update to its mobile G Suite productivity apps.

Among these updates are the addition of a dark theme for Docs, Sheets and Slides, as well as the addition of Google’s Smart Compose technology to Docs on mobile and the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents without having to covert them. Other updates include a new vertically scrollable slide-viewing experience in Slides, link previews and a new user interface for comments and action items. You can now also respond to comments on your documents directly from Gmail.

For the most part, these new features are now available on Android (or will be in the next few weeks) and then coming to iOS later, though Smart Compose is immediately available for both, while link previews are actually making their debut on iOS, with Android coming later.

Most of these additions simply bring existing desktop features to mobile, which has generally been the way Google has been rolling out new G Suite tools.

The new dark theme will surely get some attention, given that it has been a long time coming and that users now essentially expect this in their mobile apps. Google argues that it won’t just be easier on your eyes but that it can also “keep your battery alive longer” (though only phones with an OLED display will really see a difference there).

Image Credits: Google

You’re likely familiar with Smart Compose at this time, which is already available in Gmail and Docs on the web. Like everywhere else, it’ll try to finish your sentence for you, though given that typing is still more of a hassle on mobile, it’s surely a welcome addition for those who regularly have to write or edit documents on the go.

Even if your business is fully betting on G Suite, chances are somebody will still send you an Office document. On the web, G Suite could already handle these documents without any conversion. This same technology is now coming to mobile as well. It’s a handy feature, though I’m mostly surprised this wasn’t available on mobile before.

As for the rest of the new features, the one worth calling out is the ability to respond to comments directly from Gmail. Last year, Google rolled out dynamic email on the web. I’m not sure I’ve really seen too many of these dynamic emails — which use AMP to bring dynamic content to your inbox — in the wild, but Google is now using this feature for Docs. “Instead of receiving individual email notifications when you’re mentioned in a comment in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, you’ll now see an up-to-date comment thread in Gmail, and you’ll be able to reply or resolve the comment, directly within the message,” the company explains.

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Twitter says Android security bug gave access to direct messages – TechCrunch

Twitter says a security bug may have exposed the private direct messages of its Android app users, but said that there was no evidence that the vulnerability was ever exploited.

The bug could have allowed a malicious Android app running on the same device to siphon off a user’s direct messages stored in the Twitter app by bypassing Android’s built-in data permissions. But, Twitter said that the bug, patched in October 2018, only worked on Android 8 (Oreo) and Android 9 (Pie), and has since been fixed.

A Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch that the bug was reported by a security researcher “a few weeks ago” through HackerOne, which Twitter uses for its bug bounty program.

“Since then, we have been working to keep accounts secure,” said the spokesperson. “Now that the issue has been fixed, we’re letting people know.” Twitter said it waited to let its users know in order to prevent someone from learning about the issue and taking advantage of it before it was fixed.

The notice sent to affected Twitter users. Image Credits: TechCrunch

Twitter said the vast majority of users had updated their Twitter for Android app and were no longer vulnerable. But the company said about 4% of users are still running an old and vulnerable version of its app, and users will be notified to update the app as soon as possible.

Many users began noticing in-app pop-ups notifying them of the issue.

News of the security issue comes just weeks after the company was hit by a hacker, who gained access to an internal “admin” tool, which along with two other accomplices hijacked high-profile Twitter accounts to spread a cryptocurrency scam that promised to “double your money.” The hack and subsequent scam netted over $100,000 in scammed funds.

The Justice Department charged three people — including one minor — allegedly responsible for the incident.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live look to compete with AirPods Pro on price and features

After an
accidental leak last month

, Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy Buds Live. The company announced the new wireless earbuds at its latest Unpacked event, where the company also revealed the new
Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra

, Galaxy Tab S7 and
Galaxy Watch 3

The completely wireless earbuds go on sale Aug. 6, and are priced at $169.99. 

Don’t let the sub-$200 price fool you. The Buds Live are packed with the same features as the more expensive Apple AirPods Pro. 

With Buds Live, you can expect 8 hours of battery life, with another 29 hours thanks to the charging case. 

They also feature active noise cancellation, which you can toggle on/off with a long press on the earbud. There’s also an air vent in the Buds Live design that allows airflow, which Samsung claims produces a better sound and makes them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. 

galaxy-buds-live-lifestyle-image-6.jpg

Image: Samsung

The bean-like shape is odd, no doubt, but it’s a nice break from the earbud with a stem look that’s become commonplace for this category. 

The Buds Live will come in three colors, matching the mystic color theme of the Note lineup: Mystic bronze, black and white. 

They’ll work with iOS and Android devices, with Samsung limiting some of the features to only Galaxy phones, like a dedicated gaming mode. As for the fit, you’ll have a choice between three changeable tips to help find the better fit for your ear. They’re sweat and water-resistant, so you shouldn’t have any issues wearing them while you workout (assuming you get a tight fit). 

Other features Samsung also mentioned include three microphones plus an accelerometer for ANC and phone calls, and Bixby integration.

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Google-Fitbit deal to be scrutinized in Europe over data competition concerns – TechCrunch

In a set-back for Google’s plan to acquire health wearable company Fitbit, the European Commission has announced it’s opening an investigation to dig into a range of competition concerns being attached to the proposal from multiple quarters.

This means the deal is on ice for a period of time that could last until early December.

The Commission said it has 90 working days to take a decision on the acquisition — so until December 9, 2020.

Commenting on opening an “in-depth investigation” in a statement, Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager — who heads up both competition policy and digital strategy for the bloc — said: “The use of wearable devices by European consumers is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This will go hand in hand with an exponential growth of data generated through these devices. This data provides key insights about the life and the health situation of the users of these devices.Our investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition.”

Google has responded to the EU brake on its ambitions with a blog post in which its devices & services chief seeks to defend the deal, arguing it will spur innovation and lead to increased competition.

“This deal is about devices, not data,” Google VP Rick Osterloh further claims.

The tech giant announced its desire to slip into Fitbit’s data-sets back in November, when it announced a plan to shell out $2.1BN in an all-cash deal to pick up the wearable maker.

Fast forward a few months and CEO Sundar Pichai is being taken to task by lawmakers on home turf for stuff like ‘helping destroy anonymity on the Internet‘. Last year’s already rowdy antitrust drum beat around big tech has become a full on rock festival so the mood music around tech acquisitions might finally be shifting.

Since news of Google’s plan to grab Fitbit dropped concerns about the deal have been raised all over Europe — with consumer groups, privacy regulators and competition and tech policy wonks all sounding the alarm at the prospect of letting the adtech giant gobble a device maker and help itself to a bunch of sensitive consumer health data in the process.

Digital privacy rights group, Privacy International — one of the not-for-profits that’s been urging regulators not to rubberstamp the deal — argues the acquisition would not only squeeze competition in the nascent digital health market, and also for wearables, but also reduce “what little pressure there currently is on Google to compete in relation to privacy options available to consumers (both existing and future Fitbit users), leading to even less competition on privacy standards and thereby enabling the further degradation of consumers’ privacy protections”, as it puts it.

So much noise is being made that Google has already played the ‘we promise not to…’ card that’s a favorite of data-mining tech giants. (Typically followed, a few years later, with a ‘we got ya sucker’ joker — as they go ahead and do the thing they totally said they wouldn’t.)

To wit: From the get-go Fitbit has claimed users’ “health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads”. Just like WhatsApp said nothing would change when Facebook bought them. (Er.)

Last month Reuters revisited the concession, in an “exclusive” report that cited “people familiar with the matter” who apparently told it the deal could be waved through if Google pledged not to use Fitbit data for ads.

It’s not clear where the leak underpinning its news report came from but Reuters also ran with a quote from a Google spokeswoman — who further claimed: “Throughout this process we have been clear about our commitment not to use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads and our responsibility to provide people with choice and control with their data.”

In the event, Google’s headline-grabbing promises to behave itself with Fitbit data have not prevented EU regulators from wading in for a closer look at competition concerns — which is exactly as it should be.

In truth, given the level of concern now being raised about tech giants’ market power and adtech giant Google specifically grabbing a treasure trove of consumer health data, a comprehensive probe is the very least regulators should be doing.

If digital policy history has shown anything over the past decade+ (and where data is concerned) it’s that the devil is always in the fine print detail. Moreover the fast pace of digital markets can mean a competitive threat may only be a micro pivot away from materializing. Theories of harm clearly need updating to take account of data-mining technosocial platform giants. And the Commission knows that — which is why it’s consulting on giving itself more powers to tackling tipping in digital markets. But it also needs to flex and exercise the powers it currently has. Such as opening a proper investigation — rather than gaily waving tech giant deals through.

Antitrust may now be flavor of the month where tech giants are concerned — with US lawmakers all but declaring war on digital ‘robber barons’ at last month’s big subcommittee showdown in Congress. But it’s also worth noting that EU competition regulators — for all their heavily publicized talk of properly regulating the digital sphere — have yet to block a single digital tech merger.

It remains to be seen whether that record will change come December.

“The Commission is concerned that the proposed transaction would further entrench Google’s market position in the online advertising markets by increasing the already vast amount of data that Google could use for personalisation of the ads it serves and displays,” it writes in a press release today.

Following a preliminary assessment process of the deal, EU regulators said they have concerns about [emphasis theirs]:

  • “the impact of the transaction on the supply of online search and display advertising services (the sale of advertising space on, respectively, the result page of an internet search engine or other internet pages)”
  • and on “the supply of ‘ad tech’ services (analytics and digital tools used to facilitate the programmatic sale and purchase of digital advertising)”

“By acquiring Fitbit, Google would acquire (i) the database maintained by Fitbit about its users’ health and fitness; and (ii) the technology to develop a database similar to Fitbit’s one,” the Commission further notes.

“The data collected via wrist-worn wearable devices appears, at this stage of the Commission’s review of the transaction, to be an important advantage in the online advertising markets. By increasing the data advantage of Google in the personalisation of the ads it serves via its search engine and displays on other internet pages, it would be more difficult for rivals to match Google’s online advertising services. Thus, the transaction would raise barriers to entry and expansion for Google’s competitors for these services, to the ultimate detriment of advertisers and publishers that would face higher prices and have less choice.”

The Commission views Google as dominant in the supply of online search advertising services in almost all EEA (European Economic Area) countries; as well as holding “a strong market position” in the supply of online advertising display services in a large number of EEA countries (especially off-social network display ads), and “a strong market position” in the supply of adtech services in the EEA.

All of which will inform its considerations as it looks at whether Google will gain an unfair competitive advantage by assimilating Fitbit data. (Vestager has also issued a number of antitrust enforcements against the tech giant in recent years, against Android, AdSense and Google Shopping.)

The regulator has also said it will further look at:

  • the “effects of the combination of Fitbit’s and Google’s databases and capabilities in the digital healthcare sector, which is still at a nascent stage in Europe”
  • “whether Google would have the ability and incentive to degrade the interoperability of rivals’ wearables with Google’s Android operating system for smartphones once it owns Fitbit”

The tech giant has already offered EU regulators one specific concession in the hopes of getting the Fitbit buy green lit — with the Commission noting that it submitted commitments aimed at addressing concerns last month.

Google suggested creating a data silo to hold data collected via Fitbit’s wearable devices — and where it said it would be kept separate from any other dataset within Google (including claiming it would be restricted for ad purposes). However the Commission expresses scepticism about Google’s offer, writing that it “considers that the data silo commitment proposed by Google is insufficient to clearly dismiss the serious doubts identified at this stage as to the effects of the transaction”.

“Among others, this is because the data silo remedy did not cover all the data that Google would access as a result of the transaction and would be valuable for advertising purposes,” it added.

Google makes reference to this data silo in its blog post, claiming: “We’ve been clear from the beginning that we will not use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads. We recently offered to make a legally binding commitment to the European Commission regarding our use of Fitbit data. As we do with all our products, we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data. And we’ll continue to support wide connectivity and interoperability across our and other companies’ products.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the European Commission on an approach that addresses consumers’ expectations of their wearable devices. We’re confident that by working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together our experience in AI, software and hardware, we can build compelling devices for people around the world,” it adds.

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Troubleshoot and fix your iPhone iOS 13.6 battery problems

Does it feel like your iPhone’s battery life isn’t as good as it was since installing iOS 13.6? Is it not making it to the end of the day without having to recharge? Or do you feel like your battery has been getting progressively worse in recent months?

Fear not. It’s unlikely that your battery has gone bad overnight and you need to replace it (or your iPhone), and it’s much more likely to be down to the update.

Here’s what you can do to diagnose and fix the problem.

Must read: iPhone iOS 13.6 battery draining fast for no obvious reason? Try this fix

CHECK YOUR IPHONE’S BATTERY

Is the problem down to your battery? If your iPhone is more than a couple of years old, it could be and might be a good time to carry out a quick battery check. 

Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. If this screen shows Maximum Capacity over 80 percent and Peak Performance Capability is showing “Your battery is currently supporting normal peak performance” then you are OK.

Anything else then you may have isolated your battery issue and you may be looking at replacing the battery.

CHECK FOR UPDATES

Bottom line, if you’ve not downloaded and installed the latest updates, it’s time to do so! 

Head over to Settings > General > Software Update and download the latest iOS 13 update.

RUN APP UPDATES

The problem might not be an iOS issue but more a problem with an app, especially when new versions of iOS have been released. That means it’s a good idea to make sure all your apps are updated before you go spending a lot of time trying to diagnose what’s going on.

Fire up the App Store app and click your profile icon in the corner then scroll down to Available Updates to look for updates (I like to pull down this screen to refresh it so I see all the latest updates).

IS YOUR IPHONE CHARGING PROPERLY?

Your iPhone logs battery usage over time, and this can be a very useful diagnostic tool. Head over to Settings > Battery, and you’ll see a chart called Battery Level that looks as follows:

Battery level

Battery level

There’s a lot going on here, so let me break it down for you. Green shows when the iPhone was running normally off of its own battery power, while yellow shows when your iPhone was in Low Power Mode. The hatched green areas shows when your iPhone was on charge.

Last Charge Level shows how much charge was put into the battery during the last recharge, a good way to quickly see if the battery was fully charged or not.

You can use this to see what your battery drain is like, and whether the iPhone is actually charging when you think it is. If you’re not seeing those green hatched areas, then test your charger, and if you are using an older cable, check the Lightning connector for corrosion.

IS AN APP DRAINING YOUR BATTERY?

Underneath the Battery Level chart is another one called Activity.

Activity

Activity

This chart logs how much time apps were running on the screen (the dark blue bits of the bar) and when the screen is off (shown in light blue).

If you are seeing a lot of background activity then this could signify a problem with an app. The table below this chart breaks down battery usage by the app, and you can choose to view data buy battery usage, but by clicking on the blue Show Activity link you can get a breakdown of on-screen and background time.

App activity

App activity

App activity

App activity

While some apps legitimately need a lot of background time to function (such as the Tile app in the image above), this can also signify a problem, and could cause battery drain. A way to test this is to disable an app’s ability to run in the background by going to Settings General > Background App Refresh and turning that off for any apps that look to be heavy users.

Disable background activity

Disable background activity

NO LUCK? TRY THIS

I know, this seems like a simple fix, but you’d be surprised how often it works!

  • iPhone 8 and later: Click and release the volume up button followed by the volume down button, then press and hold down the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  • iPhone 7 and earlier: Hold the power button and volume down until the Apple logo appears on screen

THE NUCLEAR OPTION

This is the nuclear option, but it can help you ascertain if the issue is a hardware issue or software. I only recommend this as a last resort because it is very time-consuming.

To do this, go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Reset All Settings or, if you want to delete all the apps too, Reset All Content and Settings.

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Hidden iOS 13.6 feature lets you take control over updates

Do you want iOS to download and install future iOS updates automatically, or just download them in the background so you can install them when the time suits you? iOS 13.6 allows you to take control over this with a couple of taps.

As usual, finding where the settings are takes longer than making the changes.

Must read: iPhone iOS 13.6 battery draining fast for no obvious reason? Try this fix

These new settings live in a new entry in Settings > General > Software Update called Customize Automatic Updates. This replaces the previous Automatic Updates option.

Click on this and you are presented with options.

Customize Automatic Updates

Customize Automatic Updates

Here you have two options:

  • Download iOS Updates: This downloads new iOS updates over Wi-Fi and then allows you to choose a convenient time to install them.
  • Install iOS Updates: This installs downloaded updates automatically overnight, but your iPhone must be connected to Wi-Fi and charging for this to work.

If you’re not the sort of person who needs their iPhone at night, you can have both options enabled and never again need to worry about updates as they will be applied for you as you sleep. If you need a bit more granularity, then the options are there.

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Microsoft’s new Family Safety app offers parental controls across phones, PCs and Xbox – TechCrunch

Microsoft’s new screen time and parental controls app, Microsoft Family Safety, is today launching publicly on iOS and Android, following a preview of the experience which had arrived earlier this spring. The app is designed to help parents better understand children’s use of screen time, set limits and create screen time schedules, configure boundaries around web access and track family members’ location, among other things.

The app competes with other parental control technologies, including those built into iOS and Android — the latter of which is also available as a standalone app, called Family Link. Like its competitors, Microsoft Family Safety will work best for those who have already bought into the company’s own ecosystem of products and services. In Microsoft’s case, that includes Windows 10 PCs and Xbox devices, for example.

Also like many screen time apps, Family Safety displays an activity log of how screen time is being used by kids. It can track the hours spent on devices, including Windows computers, phones and Xbox, as well as across websites and apps. It can also show the terms kids are searching for online.

Image Credits: Microsoft

A weekly report is emailed to parents and kids, with the hopes of encouraging discussions around healthy use of screen time. This was already a complicated subject before the pandemic. But now, with kids attending school at home and filling summer downtime with hours in games while parents still try to work without childcare, it has grown to be even more complicated.

Initially, parents may have just given up on screen time altogether, grateful for anything that gave them moments of peace. But with staying at home becoming a new normal, many families are now reconsidering what amount of screen time is healthy and how much is too much.

With the new app, parents can set screen time limits that apply across devices — including Xbox. These limits can be narrowly configured to allow for access to educational apps that facilitate online learning, while limiting other types of screen time — like gaming, for instance. When kids run out of time, they can ask for more and parents can choose whether or not to grant it.

Meanwhile, the web filtering aspects of the new app take advantage of Microsoft’s newer browser, Microsoft Edge, across Windows, Xbox and Android. The app will allow parents to set search filters and block mature content. Other content controls will notify parents if the child tries to download a mature game or app from the Microsoft Store, as well.

Image Credits: Microsoft

Parents also can control purchases by granting approval to kids’ requests, so there won’t be surprise bills later.

Plus, the app’s built-in location sharing means families can skip downloading additional family locator apps, like Life360, for access to basic location-tracking features — like those that show family members on a map, and lets you save favorite locations, like “Home.”

Image Credits: Microsoft

Since its preview period, Microsoft has expanded the app’s capabilities to include a handful of new features, including one that lets you block and unblock specific apps, a location clustering feature and an expanded set of options for granting more screen time (e.g. 15 or 30 minutes, 1, 2 or 3 hours, etc.). Accessibility options were also updated and improved, including improved visual contrast for low-vision users and additional context for screen readers.

You’ll note, however, that some of Family Safety’s experiences don’t fully extend to iOS and Android, like purchase controls and web filtering. On iOS, the app can’t even track screen time usage, as Apple makes no API available for this, even after launching its own screen time service and shutting down competing apps.

That’s due to how other platforms have their own operating systems and ecosystems locked down to encourage customers to only buy and use their devices. Unfortunately, that means families that have devices from a variety of vendors — like iPhone users who also game on Xbox, or Android users whose computer is a Mac, for instance — don’t have simple tools that let them manage everything from one place.

Microsoft says it will soon roll out two new features to Family Safety following its launch. These include location alerts and driver safety (e.g. aimed at teen drivers), and will be a part of a paid Microsoft 365 Family Subscription.

The new Family Safety app is rolling out now for iOS and Android as a free download. You may not be able to immediately access the app due to its phased rollout, but should sometime this week.

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First US apps based on Google and Apple Exposure Notification System expected in ‘coming weeks’ – TechCrunch

Google Vice President of Engineering Dave Burke provided an update about the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) that Google developed in partnership with Apple as a way to help public health authorities supplement contact-tracing efforts with a connected solution that preserves privacy while alerting people of potential exposure to confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the update, Burke notes that the company expects “to see the first set of these apps roll out in the coming weeks” in the U.S., which may be a tacit response to some critics who have pointed out that we haven’t seen much in the way of actual products being built on the technology that was launched in May.

Burke writes that 20 states and territories across the U.S. are currently “exploring” apps that make use of the ENS system, and that together those represent nearly half (45%) of the overall American populace. He also shared recent updates and improvements made to both the Exposure Notification API as well as to its surrounding documentation and information that the companies have shared in order to answer questions from state health agencies, and hopefully make its use and privacy implications more transparent.

The ENS API now supports exposure notifications between countries, which Burke says is a feature added based on nations that have already launched apps based on the tech (that includes Canada, as of today, as well as some European nations). It’s also now better at using Bluetooth values specific to a wider range of devices to improve nearby device detection accuracy. He also says they’ve improved the reliability for both apps and debugging tools for those working on development, which should help public health authorities and their developer partners more easily build apps that actually use ENS.

Burke continues that there’s been feedback from developers that they’d like more detail about how ENS works under the covers, and so they’ve published public-facing guides that direct health authorities about test verification server creation, code revealing its underlying workings and information about what data is actually collected (in a de-identified manner) to allow for much more transparent debugging and verification of proper app functioning.

Google also explains why it requires that an Android device’s location setting be turned on to use Exposure Notifications — even though apps built using the API are explicitly forbidden from also collecting location data. Basically, it’s a legacy requirement that Google is removing in Android 11, which is set to be released soon. In the meantime, however, Burke says that even with location services turned off, no app that uses the ENS will actually be able to see or receive any location data.

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