Google’s new, integrated Gmail looks a lot like Outlook

A…simpler Google? Yes, from the company that brought you chat app after chat app, Google said Wednesday that it planned to integrate Gmail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet into a unified interface—that looks a lot like Outlook.

That should come as no surprise. Javier Soltero, who led the Acompli email app that was later acquired by Microsoft, integrated a calendar, a file picker, and even a focused inbox years before Microsoft Outlook did. Those features eventually became part of Outlook. Now Soltero, the vice president and general manager of Google’s G Suite, has tidied up Gmail as well.

Last month, Google brought Google Chat into Gmail for the web. According to a blog post Google published today, Chat will “soon” be joining Gmail on Android and iOS as well. The interface should be extremely familiar to mobile Outlook app users, though while Outlook includes a calendar, search, and email icons at the bottom of its mobile app. Google has all four of its key collaboration apps at the bottom of the new Gmail interface. (Weirdly, Google Calendar still hasn’t made an appearance.) 

google meet integration mobile Google

Gmail’s mobile app, displaying the new UI.

The idea, Google said, is to eliminate the need to formally “switch” apps, such as you have to do from Gmail, to say, Twitter. That’s less of an issue on the Web, but more important when working within various mobile apps. There, “switching” between apps means navigating the app interface. “With quick access to shared chat, important documents, and to-dos in one place, it’s easier for everyone in a group to stay on the same page,” Soltero wrote.

video chat google Google

Users will be able to “roam” between apps without ever switching out of Gmail.

That enables fluid workflows back and forth. Chat is now inside Gmail, and document collaboration is within Chat—complete with comments on how to take a project forward. That can be done within a specific room within Rooms. You can join a video call with Meet from a chat, or create a task. Gmail’s search now includes Google Chat as well.

google meet integration Google

Google also showed off what this might look like on the Web, too.

What’s next? Features like picture-in-picture video calls right in Gmail, the integration of Google Meet into our content tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and more, Google said. Google’s also placing better security “locks” into Meet and Chat, allowing the host to decide who can chat and be present in the meeting, and keep attendees banned from a Google Meet meeting from sneaking back in. 

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Elon Musk and Bill Gates ‘hacked’ in apparent Bitcoin scam

Billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are among several high-profile individuals targeted by hackers on Twitter in an apparent Bitcoin scam.

Posts that appeared on official accounts on Wednesday requested donations in the cryptocurrency.

“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” a tweet from Mr Gates’s account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”

The tweets were deleted just minutes after they first were posted.

Twitter later said it was looking into the incident and would issue a statement soon.

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Intel teases ‘something big’ is coming September 2

Intel has announced that it has “something big to share” on September 2, leading one to guess that it might be its upcoming “Tiger Lake” processor or the debut of its Xe GPU.

Unlike Apple or Microsoft, there appear to be few hints as to what it could be. The “Drop in” invitation could be used to imply that a new processor could “drop in” to an existing socket, or that a consumer-focused Xe GPU could be announced. Intel’s been teasing both since CES in January, when it formally announced the Tiger Lake CPU and the existence of its first Xe modules.

At that time, Greg Bryant, executive vice president of the Client Computing Group at Intel, implied that Tiger Lake would offer a “double-digit” performance increase over the prior generation. Lisa Pearce, vice president of Intel architecture, graphics and software, who joined Bryant onstage at Intel’s CES presentation, claimed there would be a “huge leap” in graphics performance, presumably due to the inclusion of Xe graphics cores.

Intel has been beating back the resurgence of AMD in the CPU space. The rival company’s Ryzen Mobile 4000 chips have become the early favorites in the 2020 laptop race, and the Threadripper family has captured the high-core-count market for CAD design and video editing. It’s PC gaming where the two will continue to do battle, with Intel still claiming that its high clock speeds give it the advantage in single-threaded workloads like older games. 

Intel hasn’t offered a standalone GPU since the days of the Intel i740, Intel’s first foray into the GPU market in 1998. That chip introduced the Accelerated Graphics Port and lent weight to the standalone GPU market, previously populated by smaller companies like 3Dfx, 3DLabs, and ATI. Technically, Intel’s integrated GPUs make it the leader in the volume GPU market if integrated processors are included, given Intel’s predominant share in the PC processor market.

Intel’s first Xe cards, though, have been aimed at developers. Will we see something new in September?

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A bad update breaks Outlook for many users, but there’s a fix

Microsoft is investigating a problem with Outlook that is causing the app to crash repeatedly. In a tweet, the company said it’s traced the likely problem to a recent update.

In the meantime, Microsoft is recommending that users use Outlook’s mobile client or Outlook on the Web to access their email.

Microsoft tweeted earlier today about the problem. “We’re investigating an issue affecting user access to Outlook. Additional details can be found in the admin center under EX218604,” it said

The company later went on to say that it believed a flawed update was the source of the problem. It pointed administrators to the Outlook admin center, under the headings EX218604 and OL218603.

PCWorld staffers themselves were affected by the outage, with Outlook repeatedly crashing. A reinstallation of Office failed to solve the problem. Even running Windows in safe mode didn’t solve the issue. We finally found success with a workaround that surfaced on the web. (Create a restore point within Windows, just to be safe.) 

The workaround was found by Twitter user Celeri_tech, and fleshed out a bit by Appauls:

  1. Click Start and Type CMD
  2. Right Click CMD and choose “Run As Administrator
  3. Go to C:Program FilesCommon Filesmicrosoft sharedClickToRun
  4. Type, officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.12827.20470
  5. In case you get the “Something went wrong” error message use this command instead of the one on step-4 officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.12527.20880
  6. An “Updating Microsoft Office” prompt will now open up and the last stable version will be installed.

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Mozilla’s paid, unlimited VPN service goes live

Mozilla has formally launched its VPN service, officially becoming the second browser vendor to put a VPN inside its browser—well, sort of.

Last year, Mozilla began testing the FIrefox Private Network, in its Test Pilot beta network. Today, Mozilla makes it official: the renamed Mozilla VPN is now available for Windows, for $4.99 per month. It rolls out in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand today, with plans to expand to other countries this fall.

What differentiates Mozilla’s VPN from others, the company says, is its long history as a trusted browser provider. Mozilla saysit “has a reputation for building products that help you keep your information safe,” with transparent Data Privacy Principles that the company has published online. 

“We don’t partner with third-party analytics platforms who want to build a profile of what you do online,” Mozilla added in a blog post. “And since the makers of this VPN are backed by a mission-driven company you can trust that the dollars you spend for this product will not only ensure you have a top-notch VPN, but also are making the internet better for everyone.”

Mozilla said that its VPN will protect up to five devices using device-level encryption, though just Android and Windows PCs for now. (An iOS client is in beta, and Mac and Linux clients are “coming soon,” Mozilla says.) The Mozilla VPN runs on a global network of servers powered by Mullvad using the WireGuard protocol, Mozilla says. “Mullvad puts your privacy first and does not keep logs of any kind,” Mozilla claims.

The company boasts more than 280 servers in over 30 countries, with no bandwidth restrictions. It hasn’t said how many specific countries it supports, however, or where those servers are. Nor has Mozilla said whether its VPN will block torrents.

Mozilla’s VPN will compete with numerous standalone VPNs, as well as the VPN-like protections built into the competing Opera browser. Opera offers essentially a browser proxy to several regions around the world, masking your point of origin. Opera’s VPN service is free, and unlimited. 

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