Google Docs version tracking makes collaboration easier

Since adopting the G Suite moniker in September, Google has been steadily beefing up Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Whereas, in the past its updates have targeted select sets of users (like one-tap citations for researchers) its latest crop of tools are all-encompassing. And, they’re all about tracking changes on collaborative docs — even from mobile devices.

Google seems to be fond of rebrands, because starting today “revision history” is dubbed “version history.” This is the place where you can track your team’s changes. The new title also brings with it the ability to assign custom names to versions of a doc, sheet, or slide. That way you can keep on top of things by maintaining a historical record of your squad’s progress. It can also be used to indicate that a doc is actually final (as in completed).

If you’re someone that likes to review documents on the go, Google has you covered. Now, you can suggest edits to a doc from an iPhone or Android handset, and an iPad. Just click the three dots menu at the bottom right of your screen, turn on the “suggest changes” toggle, and input your thoughts in the new “suggestion mode.”

Docs is also receiving a couple of quick-action prompts, including a new preview option that scrubs out comments and suggested edits to show a clean version of your draft. Or, you can skip the review stage altogether by instantly accepting or rejecting all changes. Both options can be accessed via the tools drop-down menu.

Rounding out the updates are a bunch of new templates and add-ons for businesses. And, G Suite is also integrating Google Cloud Search (which uses machine learning to find relevant info from across Google’s productivity apps) for business and enterprise customers.

Source: Google Blog

Engadget RSS Feed

Apple threatened to drop Uber’s app over iPhone tracking (updated)

Uber is no stranger to trouble, but it may have landed in some especially hot water two years ago. New York Times sources claim that Apple CEO Tim Cook held a face-to-face meeting in early 2015 to call out Uber’s Travis Kalanick (and threaten to remove his app from the App Store) after learning that Uber was not only violating iOS app privacy guidelines, but was trying to cover it up. Reportedly, the ridesharing outfit had been “fingerprinting” iPhones with permanent identities so that it could prevent drivers from cheating by creating fake accounts and accepting rides from these bogus customers. The IDs would last even after the app was deleted or the entire phone was wiped. While this helped keep drivers honest, it was clearly a privacy violation — and it was made worse by Uber’s bid to hide the tracking from App Store reviewers.

Reportedly, Kalanick told staff to “obfuscate” the Uber app’s fingerprinting code for anyone operating from Apple’s current headquarters in Cupertino. As far as the people at Infinite Loop could see, it was business as usual. However, the trick didn’t work for long. Apple workers outside of the headquarters eventually spotted the shady behavior, leading to the meeting with Kalanick. The approach isn’t that uncommon for Uber (it recently admitted that it used location-based techniques to fool regulators), but it’s particularly brazen given the risk of being dropped from the App Store and losing millions of customers.

Apple isn’t commenting on the meeting with Cook, and we’ve reached out to Uber for its take on the allegations. However, it’s safe to say that Uber would like to leave an issue like this in the past. The company is trying to turn a corner, and Kalanick himself is looking for a second-in-command to keep his boundary-pushing tendencies in check. This revelation certainly won’t help matters, though. It reinforces the notion that Uber is all too willing to break rules in the name of money, even if it’s motivated by honest concerns like fraud.

Update: Uber has responded to Engadget, and maintains that its staff “absolutely do not” track individual users after they’ve deleted the app. The company adds that fingerprinting is a “typical way” of preventing people from using stolen phones for joyrides, and otherwise thwarting “known bad actors.” You can read the full statement below. It’s good to hear that the company isn’t tracking people, but the heart of the story revolves around hardware fingerprints — those still violated Apple’s privacy guidelines, even if Uber couldn’t definitively associate phones with specific customers.

“We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”

Source: New York Times

Engadget RSS Feed