Overnight Phone Charges Could Be Harmful for Your Device’s Longevity

Image Source: iStock.com / beer5020

Charging our phones overnight is a lot more harmful than we thought. It could actually shorten the lifespan of your phone instead of extending it or helping it. Most phones nowadays have a system in place that stops your phone from overcharging. Many smartphones do not stay at one hundred percent for too long.

Leaving your phone charging after it has hit 100% could impact your phone negatively. Business Insider’s Antonio Villas-Boas stated, “As a lithium-ion battery ages, the chemistry within changes and becomes less efficient at storing and delivering power to your device.” As batteries age and since we use our phones daily, their batteries begin to decay due to these reasons.

Phone companies don’t see overcharging your phone as an issue. Apple talks about their lithium-ion batteries in their iPhones, but has never really mentioned overcharging effects on its devices. Google claimed that overcharging is a dated issue. Since technologies are constantly updated, overcharging should not be an issue since their phone’s battery stops charging when it hits 100%.

Phone makers claim that phone’s battery should not be at 100% when you plan on not using them and store them away. If you plan on not using your phone for a while, it is recommended to store your phone away at 30% to 50% because that is when it ages the slowest. Samsung and Apple both stated to keep your phone around 50% for such purposes.

If you’ve been noticing your phone’s battery life deteriorating much quicker than its aging, it’s a good idea to set aside those overnight charges. Accumulated damage from such charges may cause shorter battery life span on a phone you plan to keep for a while. However, it does not matter how careful you are with your phone charger, it will deteriorate overtime regardless. Many phone makers now give you the option to replace your battery for a small price.

Google has Come Out with a New Site Feature that Makes Traveling Easier

Google has come out with a new landing page called “Trips”, which has all of the necessities to help you plan your next getaway. It consists of the app, Google Trips, as well as Google Flights, Google Hotels, and a few more. This makes it easier for the user to plan one trip using all of Google’s provided travel-related products starting from finding a destination to vacation packages and travel guides.

Even if you don’t use the tools Google provides, you can still sketch out your itinerary, see the weather reports, confirmation codes, and so much more for your trip on the “Trips” site. “Trips” has been spread out within Google’s products (i.e. Maps, Flights, Hotels, etc.). For instance, when you make reservations, the reservation will pop up on Google Maps, showing your reservation confirmation on the page.

When planning your vacation using the “Trips” site, you also get access to Google Maps’ Explore tool, allowing you to track flight prices by using Google search. According to Google, this will soon apply to hotels as well.

Google stated that the “Trips” site will be available to use through Google Maps soon. “Trips” is now live, but Google has not stated how it will impact the mobile app and their TripIt competitor for showing itineraries.  

New and Exciting Updates to Google Lens That Will Help on Your Next Outing

On Tuesday, May 7th, during a Google I/O event, Google revealed that they will be updating their Lens technology. This new update to the Lens technology will use artificial intelligence, which would give you the ability to actually “see” what you see when looking through the app on your phone.

One such update that Google revealed was adapted towards people who enjoy the experience of eating at restaurants. Users will have the ability to point their phone’s camera at the bill in a restaurant, and the update will be able to determine how much to split with friends and how much to leave as a tip. This update was said to be released later this month and would help out with any difficulties that might come along with a dining experience.

Some other updates that the Lens will have are:

  • People will be able to point their phones at a text in foreign language and the Lens will be able to translate it and read it out loud in whichever language they choose.
  • Users will be able to point their phone camera at a restaurant menu and the update will let the user know which dishes are popular. In addition, if you tap on the highlighted dish, it will show pictures of that particular dish that others have tried.
  • People will have the ability to learn how to prepare a dish. If you were to point the camera at a recipe, it will show a video of how the food is prepared.

Augmented Reality Tech is Coming to Google Search

Google’s I/O developer conference had some interesting technological reveals this week, one of them including Augmented Reality technology that will be brought to Google Search.

During the conference, Google demonstrated different examples of how the new search function would operate. For instance, if a user were to search “great white shark”, an option to use your camera for a 3D model will be available for a more immersive experience. 3D objects can be viewed in your own space to give a sense of what the object would look like in detail.

Image Source: TechCrunch via Google; Image showing AR of human muscular system

Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained that the company’s “goal is to build a more helpful Google for everyone,” and to help “[get] things done.”

Brands may also be able to take advantage of the AR search experience by providing a digital view of products for consumers. The AR search result could help unsure consumers in making a decision to purchase a particular product when previewing it in better detail.

There is no word on how many 3D models will be available to users or whether other publishers can contribute to the AR search with their own models.

The new AR features are expected to roll out by the end of this month according to a twitter post by Google.

Google Releases its Google Fit App for iOS Devices

Image Source: Google

Google wants to help its users become more health conscious through exercise. That’s why the company has introduced its Google Fit app to a wider audience, this time bringing it to iOS devices. Launched last year, Google Fit’s mission stands to help change lives for the better, helping more and more people become active, get better sleep, and improve their mental health.

The app essentially keeps track of two goals: Move Minutes and Heart Points. Move Minutes logs your daily movement through walking or other motion activities. Heart Points can be earned through more intense movement from activities such as biking, running, and hiking.

The app keeps in mind the American Heart Association and World Health Organization’s weekly recommendations on exercise which consists of 150 minutes – or 2.5 hours – of “moderately intense” physical activity or 75 minutes of “vigorous aerobic activity”.

Google Fit can be paired to function with the Apple Watch and works with Apple Health as well. The application is now available in the App Store.

Malware Increases on Google Play Due to Click-Fraud Apps

Since the previous year, there has been a 100 percent increase in the number of malware that comes from Google, specifically Google Play. Google stated that the reason behind this increase is because potentially harmful apps (PHAs) now contain click -fraud apps.

Google later stated that the rates of malware downloads are quite low and customers are better off with the safer option of continuing to download applications from Google Play. According to ZDNet via Google, “28 percent of malware outside the Play Store are backdoors, while 25 percent are trojans, 22 percent are hostile downloads, and just 13 percent are click-fraud apps.”

Google believes that if they remove click-fraud stats, it would show that the PHAs that were installed would decrease by 31%, however, there are about 55 % of PHAs that have been installed through Google Play. The click-fraud apps is an outcome of application developers using SDK, software developer kit, without realizing that it’s the cause of the fraud.

There have been about 1.6 billion PHAs installation attempts in the last year, but Google Play’s anti-malware system prevented this. There has been a 20% improvement in blocking PHAs installations. Chamois, which is the same house of malware, sometimes come preinstalled in certain Android devices. As the article on ZDNet explains, “Chamois apps are preinstalled on popular devices from different OEMs that didn’t carefully scan for malware. As a consequence, users are buying compromised systems. When users start up their new devices, the preinstalled Chamois apps (usually disguised as system apps) download and install PHAs and other apps in the background.”

6 Security Tips to Keep in Mind When Using Device Apps

Nowadays, data breaches are happening more and more frequently, and an app you’ve once entrusted to keep your data and privacy safe can put your information at risk of being stolen through malicious hackers using security exploits, or through the developers’ means of using a third-party application to harvest your data. As you download your favorite applications from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, you’ll want to keep these security tips in mind:

  1. Using a password manager can help keep your accounts secure

Password manager applications are there to assist us when there are many accounts to keep track of. Often times, users rely upon using the same passwords which puts them at risk during massive data breaches. Easy-to-guess passwords like “Password” and “123456” are still among the top worst choices for users’ accounts, and slightly changing passwords to include a symbol or number is not always the best line of defense against hackers guessing your codes.

Using a password that is created by a random string of numbers and letters is assuredly a strong way of protecting your accounts. However, remembering these passwords comes as another issue at hand.

To help store your passwords in a secure and encrypted space, users can take advantage of password manager apps.

  1. Use a VPN when you use public WiFi

A virtual private network (VPN) can help keep your data secure when on public WiFi. VPNs can secure transactions and keep users anonymous when on the internet, ultimately masking any data transmissions.

When looking for a VPN provider via an app store, make certain you read the app’s data collection policies.

  1. Be aware of what permissions you grant to applications

Users should always be wary of what information apps ask to gain access to, such as contacts lists, location, and photos. A good form of practice is to always question an app’s request for certain permissions. For instance, if a note-keeping application asks for photo access, users should question the app’s motives in harvesting photo data.

It is also important to take note of any unusual behavior after certain application downloads. If your battery life performance drops or you notice your phone acting slower than usual, the malicious app could be collecting data in the background.

  1. Do your research on specific applications you want to download

Before you decide to download an app onto your phone, another good practice is to search the application on Google and see if it was involved in any recent data breaches or scams.

If previously involved in a data breach, take note of the way a company/developer handles the occurrence. A developer should take extreme precautionary measures to make certain this does not affect its users again, while also making sure the app’s security is heightened after a breach has already happened.

  1. Keep your phone’s software updated

Often times, OS updates are released to patch any device vulnerabilities that may allow hackers to access your data via malicious application downloads. By updating your device regularly, you can reduce the risk of hackers using data exploits to their advantage.

  1. Download legitimate applications from a trustworthy source, such as Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store

Most applications found within Apple’s and Google’s stores “meet a standard quality of data protection and [are]…required to produce a dedicated privacy policy [to]…protect your data,” says Stephen Hart in an interview with CNET.

It is better to avoid any untrustworthy sources outside of reputable app stores, as a user runs the risk of downloading an app that may contain a virus onto their device.

New Chrome Extension from Google Can Notify You If Your Passwords Are Secure

As perfect timing for today’s Safer Internet Day, Google released a new Chrome extension that allows users to check if their passwords were exposed after the latest data breaches.

Once the extension has been added to your Chrome browser, Google notifies you with a warning if your login credentials matched any information found within an extensive database of four billion usernames and passwords from previous breaches.

Many of us are guilty with using the same passwords for our accounts, which is why breaches like that of Collection #1 remind us to use unique passwords instead. Regardless, even having many different passwords could be difficult in terms of knowing which hasn’t been compromised in such massive data breaches. However, thanks to Google’s extension, you can protect your accounts the next time you log in.

Image Source: Google

The Password Checkup extension works by encrypting the login credentials that are sent to Google. As Jon Porter from The Verge reports, “[p]asswords in the database are stored in a hashed and encrypted form, and any warning that’s generated about your details is entirely local to your machine.”

If you find out your password has been compromised, you can even use Chrome’s password generator to create a new password.

Though Chrome’s Password Checkup helps users in this time of need, this underlying concern still remains: are passwords really safe to use nowadays? WebAuthn–which uses tokens instead of passwords–may be a safer option, for example, but has yet to be implemented into more web browsers.

While you use Chrome’s new extension, make sure to utilize other resources to your advantage such as a password manager and two-factor authentication system. Furthermore, always use unique passwords when setting up your accounts.

11 Ways to Take a Break From Your Google Products

The new year is all about the resolutions you set up. If one of your New Year resolutions is to limit time using your phone, Google products like Android, Gmail, YouTube, etc. make it easier for you to take a break!

Here are 11 ways to engage in a Google-tech cleanse:

  • Using an app timer on your phone can restrict the amount of time you spend an a specific application.

 

  • The wind down feature will switch on your phone’s Do Not Disturb when it is bedtime.

 

  • The YouTube application provides a time watched profile that lets you know how much time has passed since opening the app for the day.

 

  • Setting quiet hours on your YouTube application can help silence notifications.

 

  • Google Home provides bedtime routines that can help you with your nightly routine, such as turning off the lights, and a downtime feature that will help you with taking regular breaks with a custom schedule.

 

  • If you have a Google Pixel phone, you can turn on your Do Not Disturb by turning your phone over on a table.

 

  • If you use Google Wifi, then you could schedule internet breaks, or put the WiFi on hold during certain times during the day, such as dinnertime.

 

  • If you are a Google service user, like Chrome, they provide a Mindful BreakChrome extension that helps you with taking a mental break by providing breathing exercise tips.

 

  • Gmail users have the opportunity to turn on high-priority notifications that will restrict how many emails you receive notifications for and will only notify you when you receive an important email.

 

  • If you use Google Calendar, then you can create goals by setting up a time frame on each goal.

Google’s Got You Covered for this Busy Thanksgiving Holiday

As you’re preparing to travel and visit family and friends this holiday season, Google wants to make your Thanksgiving a little less stressful. As we all know, Thanksgiving traffic is an inevitable headache, but with Google Maps’ recently published trends report on which hours are busiest for travel, shopping, and leisurely activities, you can now plan ahead.

According to Google’s blog report summary, traffic is busiest between 3-4PM the day before Thanksgiving and gets better in the morning hours of Thanksgiving day. The report also recommends leaving during the morning hours of Friday or Sunday for your travel back home, as traffic tends to get heavier during the afternoon hours after the holiday ends.

Image Source: Google

Google has also made it simple to track which locations and attractions are busiest during this week. Visit volume to bakeries and grocery stores tend to get higher around noon on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Shopping centers and movie theaters also tend to have higher volumes of people around noon on Wednesday and Black Friday.

Image Source: Google

Additionally, Google has provided plenty of resources in case your Thanksgiving doesn’t go according to plan (e.i. burning the turkey). Google Maps allows you to search for needed stops along your trip, share your ETA with loved ones, save your parking location, avoid the lines for that shopping trip, and much more!

Whether your heading to the airport or hitting the road this week for travel, Google Maps is determined to get you to where you need to be, stress and worry free.