Protecting against harmful financial services products

Providing a safe and secure experience across Google’s products is our top priority. Our global product policies are designed and implemented with this goal in mind, and we're always working to improve our practices to enhance user safety. 

Personal loan apps have received attention recently, and we wanted to clarify the action we have taken on these apps on Google Play. 

We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies. The apps that were found to violate our user safety policies were immediately removed from the Store, and we have asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations. Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice. In addition, we will continue to assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this issue.   

Protecting users from deceptive financial products and services

All developers in the Play Store agree to the terms of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, which stipulates that apps must adhere to applicable rules and laws, including generally accepted practices and guidelines. In addition, the Google Play Developer Policy requires financial services apps that offer personal loans to disclose key information such as the minimum and maximum periods of repayment, the maximum Annual Percentage Rate, and a representative example of the total loan cost. To help further ensure that users are making sound choices, we only allow  personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued. 

We believe transparency of information around the features, fees, risks, and benefits of personal loans will help people make informed decisions about their financial needs, thereby reducing the risk of being exposed to deceptive financial products and services. 

In addition, we publish reports of alleged local law violations, including those submitted by government agencies in our Transparency Report

Protecting user privacy 

To protect user privacy, developers must only request permissions that are necessary to implement current features or services. They should not use permissions that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes. 

Developers must also only use data for purposes that the user has consented to, and if they later want to use the data for other purposes, they must obtain user permission for the additional uses. 

Google Play users expect a safe, secure and seamless experience, and developers come to Play for powerful tools and services that help them build and grow their businesses. Our policies help us deliver on these expectations, and we continue to work hard to ensure Google Play is a platform that supports the entire ecosystem.

Posted by Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy 


Beta Channel Update for Dekstop

 The Beta channel has been updated to 88.0.4324.87 for Windows, Mac and Linux.



A full list of changes in this build is available in the log. Interested in switching release channels?  Find out how here. If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug. The community help forum is also a great place to reach out for help or learn about common issues.



Srinivas SistaGoogle Chrome

New option to block devices with basic management from accessing your organization’s data

What’s changing 

We’re adding the ability for admins to manually block or unblock mobile apps from accessing access to their organization’s Google Workspace data on Android and iOS devices with basic mobile management. These actions can be automated using device management rules (for supported editions). 


Who’s impacted 

Admins 


Why it’s important 

Previously, admins had a limited set of actions they could perform with basic management—they could wipe an account or delete the device from inventory. However, they couldn’t block apps on those devices from accessing organizational data in the way that they could for devices with advanced mobile management. This launch makes that possible, helping to keep your organization’s data secure. 

While the blocking action is the same for devices with basic and advanced management, advanced management allows you to proactively block devices based on the Require Admin Approval setting. With basic management, you can only do this on a per-device basis. 


Getting started 

  • Admins: This feature will be available by default. To use it, navigate to a device page in the Admin console and click block device. Visit the Help Center to learn more about blocking and unblocking devices
  • End users: If a user’s device is blocked by an admin, the user will be signed out of all Google Workspace mobile apps. If they try to sign in again, they will see a message indicating that they do not have access to the app, and that they should contact their administrator for help. 
New option to block a device available for devices with basic management 

Once a device is manually blocked, admins can unblock the device 

Those trying to access Google Workspace apps on a blocked device will see a message to contact the administrator for help 


Rollout pace 

Availability 

  • Available to Google Workspace Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Essentials, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers 

Resources 

Improved mobile device management rules experience in the Admin console

Quick launch summary

We’re making improvements to how you manage rules related to mobile device management (MDM) in the Admin console. There are two key aspects of the launch: 
  1. A new location for MDM rules: You can now manage rules at Devices > Security rules. Previously, MDM rules were managed at Admin console > Rules
  2. New rule options and creation workflow: You’ll see a new flow to create MDM rules, including new conditions which can trigger rules, and new device management and notification actions to take as a result. 
Use our Help Center to learn more about managing MDM rules for your organization. Note that any previously created rules will continue to function as before. However, you’ll be able to use the new flow and options if you update the rules. 


Getting started 

Device management rules are now in the Security rules section of the Admin console 

A sample screen from the new rule creation flow 

Rollout pace 

Availability 

  • Available to Google Workspace Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, Enterprise for Education, and Cloud Identity Premium customers 
  • Not available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Education, and Nonprofits customers 

Resources 

Guest Mode: An easy privacy control for your home devices

It's our responsibility to respect your privacy, no matter what device you're using. That's why Google Assistant is built to automatically keep your information private, safe and secure. By default, we don’t save your audio recordings and you can ask Google Assistant questions like “How do you keep my information private?” or delete activity from your Google Account by saying things like “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you this week.” 

Last year, we also added a way to adjust how sensitive Google Assistant is to the phrase “Hey Google,” giving you more ways to reduce unintentional activations. And as more people discover the convenience of smart speakers and displays, we want to make sure it’s as easy to control how Google Assistant works with your data as it is to play your favorite song.


“Hey Google, tell me about Guest Mode” 

Today, we’re introducing Guest Mode, another easy way to control your privacy on smart speakers and Smart Displays, like Nest Audio and Nest Hub Max. Just say, “Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode,” and your Google Assistant interactions will not be saved to your account. While in Guest Mode, you can enjoy popular features, like asking questions, controlling smart home devices, setting timers and playing music. Your device won’t show personal results, like your calendar entries or contacts, until you turn the mode off. 

Once Guest Mode has been turned on, your device will play a special chime and you’ll see a guest icon on the display. If you’re ever unsure if you’re in Guest Mode, you can always ask your device, “Is Guest Mode on?” Guest Mode will stay on until you choose to turn it off: When you’re ready, say “Hey Google, turn off Guest Mode” to return to your full, personalized Google Assistant experience. 

Animated GIF showing

More privacy for your shared devices

Recently, I was looking up new recipes to surprise my family with a nice New Year’s Eve dinner, but didn’t want those suggestions to appear on our Smart Display and spoil my plans. By turning on Guest Mode I could ask Google for recipes suggestions knowing that research wouldn’t show up in my history, and without having to manually go through my settings or toggle other controls on and off. When I finished, I turned Guest Mode off so I could enjoy my fully personalized Assistant and use things like my custom routine, which helps me unwind by playing my favorite jazz music and prepares me for the next day by reviewing my calendar.

Guest Mode can also come in handy when you have people over and you don't want their interactions with your device to be saved to your account. You or your guests can easily turn it on and off at any time. Whatever your reason, we know there are times you may not want your own Google Assistant interactions saved — the choice is always yours. When you use your Assistant in Guest Mode to interact with other apps and services, like Google Maps, YouTube or media and smart home services, those apps may still save that activity. You can find more information here.

Google Assistant is designed to automatically safeguard your privacy and offer simple ways for you to control how it works with your data. Try Guest Mode today on Google Nest speakers and displays in English, and we’ll be bringing it to more languages and devices in the next few months. For more information, just say, “Hey Google, tell me about Guest Mode” to your Google speaker or smart display, or visit g.co/assistant/guestmode. 

Cloud Covered: What was new in Google Cloud in December

December marked the end of a tumultuous year, one that brought new challenges to work, school, and home. At Google Cloud, we helped our customers respond to the challenges and prepare for opportunities in the coming year with new tools, resources, strategies and partnerships.  

Google acquires Actifio 

Last month, we announced Google Cloud’s acquisition of Actifio, a leader in data backup and disaster recovery (DR). Their business continuity products help customers protect and manage virtual copies of data in their native formats and use these copies in areas like application development and testing. This new acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to helping enterprises prevent data loss and downtime due to external threats, human errors, network failures and other disruptions.  

Free Google Cloud trainings available

Our December blog post sharing no-cost learning opportunities to help you build in-demand cloud skills was popular with readers. These training sessions can help you further your knowledge of artificial intelligence, Kubernetes, multi-cloud technologies and data analytics. We’re announcing more free learning opportunities in the new year. In January, we’re introducing our skills challenge, which will provide you with no-cost training to earn Google Cloud skill badges in four initial tracks: Getting Started, Data Analytics, Hybrid and Multi-Cloud, and Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. To begin, sign up for your preferred skills challenge to receive 30 days free access to Google Cloud labs. 

Taking the cloud to the stars for new discoveries in astronomy 

Last month we also shared news about our pioneering collaboration in the science of astronomy with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile, and researchers at the California Institute of Technology. The Rubin Observatory will host its Interim Data Facility (IDF) on Google Cloud, processing the astronomical data it collects and making it available to the broader scientific community. Separately, Caltech’s Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) has begun to use Google Cloud’s tools, such as machine learning (ML) models to identify the objects observed in their research at a greatly accelerated rate. This past October, their new ML model identified Comet C/2020 T2, the first ever such discovery attributed to artificial intelligence. 

Introducing Google Workflows for easier tasks at work

In August we introduced Workflows, a powerful new addition to Google Cloud’s application development and management toolset. Whether your company is processing transactions, producing goods or delivering services, you need to manage the flow of work across a variety of systems. And doing so is much easier with a purpose-built product. Our December blog explored Workflows in depth, including its technical details and how it can be used in common business uses like generating invoices and processing customer transactions.

That’s a wrap for December, and for 2020. Stay tuned to the Google Cloud Blog for news and updates in this new year.

Our continuing support for Dreamers

For generations, talented immigrants have helped America drive technological breakthroughs and scientific advancements that have created millions of new jobs in new industries, enriching our culture and our economy.

That’s why we have long supported the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This was established in 2012 and allows “Dreamers” who came to the United States as children to request deferred action and work authorization for a renewal period of two years. Google proudly employs Dreamers who work to build the products you use every day. And we’ve defended their right to stay in the United States by joining amici briefs in court supporting DACA.

Unfortunately, DACA’s immediate future is uncertain. At the end of 2020, a U.S. District Court indicated that it could soon issue a ruling against DACA and bar new applications and ultimately renewals as well, leaving countless Dreamers in limbo during this uncertain time.

We believe it’s important that Dreamers have a chance to apply for protection under the program so that they can safeguard their status in the United States. But in the middle of a global pandemic that has led to economic hardship, especially for the many immigrants playing essential roles on the front lines, there is concern that many Dreamers cannot afford to pay the application fee

We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers. This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).

We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms. We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.

Dreamers and other talented immigrants enrich our communities, contribute to our economy, and exemplify the innovative spirit of America. We’re proud to support them.

How one engineer went from startups to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Avital Zipori, a software engineer at our Tel Aviv office. Always lured by the startup world, she first turned down an offer from Google. After filling her startup fix, she now brings the skills she learned at small companies to Google. 

What’s your role at Google?

I'm a senior software engineer and tech lead for Google Research. My team focuses on building engaging, conversational experiences. A cool new feature we recently released is aimed at teaching children more about animals. Try it yourself by saying “Animal of the Day” to Google Assistant.

How did you first get interested in technology?

I grew up in Netanya, Israel. I got my first taste of programming in high school and then again in my analyst role in the army, and couldn't get enough of it. It’s what eventually led me to study Computer Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

I'm a co-founder of Extend, an organization focused on opening the tech industry to diverse engineers, and a co-founder of Baot, Israel’s largest community of senior female software engineers.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

Actually, I never thought I would work at Google. I knew it was considered the best place to work but that it was extremely difficult to get in, so it didn't even cross my mind that it would be an option. 

I’d been working at a mid-sized startup since I was a student, and after a few years I decided it was time to look for my next challenge. I had my mind set on joining a new startup. When a Google recruiter reached out to me, I decided to interview for the practice. I figured that there was no chance I would pass, but I expected the interviews would be hard and would prepare me well for other interviews.

Avital speaking next to a podium with a Google logo and a slide with a penguin on it.

Avital gives a talk at the Google Research conference.

What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

Above all, it's the amazing people I get to work with! I also love having the power to create something out of absolutely nothing, and think of creative ways to solve challenging problems with significant impact.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

I was so certain I would not pass that I had already chosen a job at a new startup to join when I got the news that I had been accepted to Google.  

This left me with a difficult decision to make: On the one hand it sounded crazy to say no to Google, but on the other hand I was really excited about the startup. I wanted the experience of a small, new startup at some point in my career, and it seemed to make more sense to do it at that stage of my life when I didn't have other time-consuming obligations. 

I decided to join the startup and I had a great time and learned a lot. But as with most startups we eventually ran out of money. The Google recruiter kept in touch with me during this time, so I contacted him and continued the process where we left off. 

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying?

I didn't know how much freedom engineers at Google had to manage themselves and choose what they work on. 

I also didn't know how simple it was to switch teams, even if you are switching between completely different engineering specialties—like from front-end development to low-level networking). This is incredible because it allows you to keep learning new things and work on a variety of products and technologies.

Avital speaking into a microphone while sitting with other Googlers.

Avital speaking at a panel during a Google recruiting event.

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

I mostly studied using the book "Cracking the Coding Interview". Nowadays I recommend also using coding websites that test your solutions and doing mock interviews with friends.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

My advice for everyone is don’t be afraid of failure and forgive yourself if you do fail. This is generally important in life, but also specifically relevant for starting a process with Google. 

I meet people who are afraid to enter the process and I attempt to convince them that they have nothing to lose. Even if you don’t get the job, it will be a better outcome than not trying at all. So if you are afraid to start a process—please do it anyway!

Dev Channel Update for Desktop

 The Dev channel has been updated to 89.0.4384.0 for Mac, 89.0.4385.0 for Windows and Linux.

A partial list of changes is available in the log. Interested in switching release channels? Find out how. If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug. The community help forum is also a great place to reach out for help or learn about common issues.


Google Chrome 

Prudhvikumar Bommana