Control Your Google Search History

Google is the Big Brother of the online world with unlimited access to your search history. It collects mountains of data from you, a lot from your search activity. However, the search giant also offers ways you can limit the amount of data on you – although they are not always easy to find.

That’s all changing as Google has simplified the process of both seeing and deleting your search activity.

How to control your search history

Rather than going to your Google account, you will be able to see your history every time you search for something. When you search for something using Chrome, you’ll be able to manage your entire search history without leaving the browser.

According to PCWorld.com, this is how it works on phones:

  1. Log into your Google account in Chrome.
  2. After initiating a search, tap the hamburger menu to the left of the Google logo
  3. Select Your data in Search
  4. Scroll down to Your recent activity
  5. Tap All Search activity

In desktop Chrome, you have to click the new “Control your data in Google Search” link under the Google Search, and I’m Feeling Lucky buttons on Google’s home page. Or, you can go to Settings > Your data in Search option from a search results page.

As a result, you will bring up your full search activity page for your account. From there, you will be able to see all your recent activity, delete individual results or full days of history using the three dot menus beside each search term.

On the first Your data in Search page, Google has added buttons that let you either delete your search activity for the past hour or nuke your entire search history if you want to start all over.

You’ll also find quick toggles for Web & App Activity, and Voice & Audio Activity, so you can quickly turn off access, as well as Ad personalisation settings.

This change has started

Google has begun rolling out this change in Chrome and other desktop and mobile browsers and will be pushing the transition to the Google app on iOS and Android soon. Google also promises to expand the feature to Maps in 2019, as well as “many other Google products.”

 

How To Limit The Data Your Android Phone is Sending Google

Your Android phone (even when idle) is sending data to Google – lots of data. A recent study shows that an Android phone “communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period” with the Chrome browser merely active in the background.

That’s a whopping ten times more data than iPhones give up.

Is there anything you can do about this?

The answer is yes. Here’s a summary of the tips provided by pcworld.comin a recent blog post.

You have a surprising amount of control over your Google account, so long as you know where to find all the switches.

Google Privacy Checkup

You can adjust the privacy settings across all your Android devices just by visiting the Settings app.

Here you’ll either find a Google tab or an Accounts tab with a Google option inside. Click on Google Account or your email address, and you’ll be taken to your full account page.

At the top of the page, you’ll see a box called Review your privacy settings, which leads to thePrivacy Checkup guide. Tap Get started for an overview of your current settings. By default, everything will be turned on, but several layers can be switched off.

  1. Web & App Activity

This saves your searches, places, and other Google activity to your Google account. It includes browser and Google app searches as well as location data in Maps and Assistant queries.

You can turn it off by tapping the Turned on button and flip the toggle from blue to grey on the next page. Then tap Pausewhen prompted.

One downside with this is that the things you’re searching for might take longer to find because you’ll be searching without getting results explicitly tailored for your tastes.

The other downside affects Maps. You won’t be able to set Home and Work addresses. However, if you have Location History turned on, Maps will still remember your Home and Work destinations under the Driving tab. Another side effect hits Google Home. When you ask to control a smart device such as a light bulb, Assistant will tell you that it doesn’t know how to do that yet.

  1. Location History

Location History is a timeline of the places you’ve been. It uses your phone’s GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile networks to create a map of where you go with your phone.

You can turn it off by tapping the Turned on button to the right of “Location History” and then Manage settings on the next screen. There you’ll see a list of every device you own that’s sharing its location. You can choose to turn it off for specific devices or nuke the whole thing using the toggle at the top.

Turning off Location History means the results will be more generic, and your location won’t be saved in Maps.

  1. Device Information

This is specifically related to the phone or PC you’re using. In addition to your searches, Google can also access and save your contacts, calendars, media, and app information to your Google account. Google uses this data to recognise specific things on your device, such as contacts and appointments, to help you make calls and send messages more quickly.

To turn it off, tap theTurned on button and flip the toggle on the next page. Then tap Pausewhen prompted.

  1. Voice & Audio Activity

Mainly for Google Assistant, it allows Google to record your voice when you tap the microphone button or summon Google Assistant to “help you get better results using your voice, “recognise the “Hey Google” wake word, and train Voice Match.

You can turn it off by tapping the Manage Voice & Audio Activity button and then Change Setting. Then flip the toggle to off.

Of course, that then means you won’t be able to summon Google Assistant using “Hey Google,” and Google won’t be able to make adjustments to how its voice recognition understands your speech pattern and cadence. You’ll still be able to use the microphone button to dictate text, however.

Other things you can do

Inside the Privacy Checkup, you’ll see toggles for YouTube search and watch history, which you can also turn off. If you’re a heavy YouTube user, these switches will make it harder for you to find recently viewed videos and get personalised recommendations.

You can also limit Google’s ability to track your Chrome history by turning on incognito mode. Instead of tapping the New tab, select New incognito tab. Your Chrome bar will turn black to let you know incognito mode has been activated. Anything you search for or view won’t appear in your browser or search history.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Google Assistant And 17 Features You Should Be Using

Google Assistant is on all modern Android devices, and new features are on their way.

To make sure don’t miss out on the nifty improvements, here are 17 of the must-know ones, courtesy of PCWorld.com.

Change the Assistant voice

There’s nothing wrong with the default Assistant voice, but perhaps you’re getting a little sick of it. Google added a handful of alternatives last year and recently expanded to a total of eight different voice options. It only takes a moment to change the voice, but the menu is somewhat buried.

Start by opening the settings menu via Assistant or the Google Home app. Go to Preferences > Assistant voice, and you’ll be able to choose between the eight options. Tap on any of them, and they will begin reading off a sample. Once you’ve chosen, go back and all your Assistant devices will use the new voice.

Routines

Using Assistant to do the same few things all the time can be tedious, but Routines might be able to help. This feature allows you to connect multiple actions to a single command. There are only a few pre-determined routine commands right now, but they could still save you a lot of time.

To get started, open the Assistant settings and scroll down to Routines. In this menu, Google provides six pre-loaded commands: good morning, bedtime, I’m leaving (leaving home), I’m home, let’s go to work, and let’s go home. Say any of those, and you’ll trigger the associated Routine. Each one includes a few customization options including smart home devices, travel info, and audio playback. You can also modify the trigger phrase at the top of the Routine settings page.

Custom routines

If Google’s pre-loaded routines aren’t doing what you want, you can also create a completely custom routine from scratch. Go to Routines under the Assistant settings, but don’t tap on the “Ready-made” options. Instead, hit the plus button down at the bottom to make a custom routine.

You’ll need to enter at least one trigger phrase to start. Then, add actions either by typing in commands or using the “Popular actions” list. Being able to input text means you can have your routine do anything you could do manually in Assistant. Remember to add a custom response to your routine so you know it triggered correctly, too. You can also have Assistant play media like podcasts, music, and sleep sounds at the end of a routine.

When you’re all done, you can change the order of actions, which is handy if you’ve crammed a lot in there.

Trigger multiple actions

Assistant launched with a single-tasking approach. You told it one thing to do, and it would either do that thing or tell you it didn’t know how to help. If you had more requests for Assistant, you’d start over with a new command. Google has quietly added support for multiple actions in a single command, but it won’t work on everything.

You can give this a shot right now by stringing two commands together. For example, “Turn off the lights and give tomorrow’s forecast.” Assistant will do both without a second command. Unfortunately, you can’t use routines or shortcuts with multiple commands. In addition, this feature is only live on the Google Home version of Assistant. It won’t work on your phone.

Location-based reminders

Google was famously slow to add reminder support to Google Home, but it’s been there for a while. More recently, Google expanded reminder functionality to understand location. Your Google Home doesn’t move, of course, but your phone does.

When you add a reminder via Assistant on Home or your phone, consider adding a location. For example, “Remind me to buy milk when I go to [a grocery store].” The reminder won’t appear on Google Home because it doesn’t go anyplace with you, but your phone will ping you when it detects you’re in the right place.

Idenitfy songs

Wondering what that vaguely familiar song playing in the background is? Google Assistant is probably the fastest way to find out. On your phone, long-press the home button to launch Assistant, and you might have a contextual button that says “What’s this song?” That only appears when Assistant hears music in the background. If it doesn’t show up, you can say/type that phrase to launch the recognition.

Assistant listens for a few seconds, and then returns a match.You’ll get the song, artist, album, lyrics, and links to listen to it online.

Sync connected smart home devices

Google Assistant supports numerous smart home devices, but you might notice that devices you’ve just added to your account don’t always work right away. That’s because Assistant isn’t constantly scanning for new connections. You can give it a kickstart.

After adding a new smart home device like a camera or thermostat, open up Assistant and say, “Sync my devices.” Assistant tells you it’s syncing with your connected accounts, and a few seconds later any newly added devices will appear in your list. Make sure to add them to rooms in Assistant for full functionality.

Send daily info

Assistant is great for calling up little tidbits like the weather, stock quotes, or even jokes. You don’t even have to ask every time, though. You can have Assistant proactively send you certain bits of information as a daily update.

To configure a daily update, start by asking your question normally—ask it for the weather, a dad joke, whatever. After Assistant pulls up the content, you can follow up with “Send this to me daily.” Assistant asks what time you want the update, and you’re all set. To change or cancel a daily update, just say, “See my subscriptions.”

Have Assistant remember things for you

Your squishy human brain is fallible, but Google Assistant can remember things without fail. All you have to do is ask it. You can tell Assistant to remember things just by saying “Remember that [some piece of information].” You could tell Google to remember where you parked, what you did with the spare house key, your high score in Tetris, or anything else. As a handy bonus, Assistant also saves maps when you tell it where you parked.

Later, you can ask Google to recall the information in various ways. You can be direct, like asking Assistant “Where did I park?” You can recall factoids you’ve saved with “What did I say about [x]?” or “Remind me about [x].”

Search your Google Photos uploads

Google Photos is a fantastic backup solution for all your snapshots. Google offers unlimited storage of images and videos, provided you’re okay with a little compression, and Pixel owners get free full-quality backups. If you want to look for specific photos you’ve taken, you can do it right from Google Assistant. All you have to do is ask.

Assistant plugs into the amazing search capabilities of Google Photos, so you can ask to see almost anything. You can ask Assistant to pull up pictures of specific people, locations, and even objects. Tap the image results to scroll through them immediately, or open Google Photos via the shortcut under your pics. Just make sure you preface your request with something like “my photos”  to ensure you get images from your Google Photos library rather than images from a Google search.

Take and share screenshots

You can capture screenshots on Android phones by holding the power and volume buttons, but Assistant can do it, too. In fact, it might be faster if you intend to share the screenshot right away. Open Assistant and say, “take a screenshot” or “share a screenshot.”

It takes a moment to capture the screenshot, but you’ll get a preview as soon as it’s done. Assistant then immediately brings up the sharing interface so you can send the screen to a message or upload it someplace. The screenshots taken via Assistant aren’t saved locally, so you won’t end up with clutter from repeated screenshot captures.

Listen to podcasts

Google has built a basic podcast interface into the Google app, and the easiest way to access it is via Assistant. You might want to listen to podcasts in this fashion because Google’s solution is quick and easy. Just say, “listen to [podcast name]” to fire up the latest episode. If you were in the middle of an episode, Assistant picks up where you left off.

Your progress is not device-specific, either. You can start listening to a podcast on your phone, then tell Assistant on Google Home you want to listen to the same podcast. Rather than start, over, it starts where you last listened on your phone.

Explore menu

Google used to hide all of Assistant’s features in a series of esoteric, buried menus. Now, there’s a much more sensible way to find out what sort of cool things you can do with Assistant in the Explore menu.

To access this menu, open Assistant and tap the blue drawer icon in the upper right corner. Here, you can find all the services supported by Assistant broken down into categories like Social & Communication, Education & Reference, Games & Fun, and more. Each tile links to a full info page where you can see sample commands and (if necessary) link your account. Bottom line: Checking out the Explore menu is the easiest way to keep track of newly added apps and services.

There are also some general Assistant command suggestion at the top. You don’t even have to speak the suggestions, just tap the bubble and they’ll be dropped right into Assistant.

Typing to Assistant

Google Assistant first appeared in the Allo app, and in that iteration, you could input text to “chat” with the Google’s bot. But the more powerful baked-in phone version of Assistant began its life with only voice input. That’s fine when you’re in a situation where you can talk to your phone, but voice dictation isn’t always appropriate. Well, you can type your questions and commands, too.

To access the keyboard in Assistant, just long-press your home button as you normally would. But instead of speaking right away, tap the keyboard icon in the lower-left corner. Assistant will expand to fill the screen, and you can begin typing. Assistant will respond to all the same commands that you’d use in a voice-dictation situation, and you’ll also find contextual suggestions above the keyboard. And because these suggestions are part of Assistant, they appear no matter which keyboard app you’re using.

Editable history

Google Assistant used to be a transient experience—whatever you said to Assistant would be lost to the ether as soon as you left the Assistant UI. But now there’s a full history of your commands, and you can edit them too.

To access your Assistant history, you need only drag up on the overlay when Assistant pops up. This will drop you into a full-screen interface that shows your recent queries. Scroll up to see everything you’ve asked and how Assistant answered.

Editing is a snap, too. Long-press on a query, and it will be highlighted along with Assistant’s reply. From there, you can either delete or edit it. Deleting will completely remove the query (and associated activity) from the history. This is just like removing something from your Google search history, so it won’t be used to inform future search and Assistant predictions.

If you choose to edit a query, the text is dropped into the text field along with an open keyboard. You can tap send to immediately repeat the command, or make some changes and send it again. Just note that none of this undoes the actions performed when the command was first issued.

Shortcuts

There are dozens of services and apps integrated with Assistant already, but some of them get preferential treatment. For example, you can tell Google to control your Hue lights directly, but lights connected through Homey require you to preface all commands with “Tell Homey.” It can get a bit tedious, but shortcuts are here to help.

To create a shortcut, go to the Assistant settings and open the settings. Scroll down and tap on the Shortcuts option. The shortcut screen has a box for what you want to say, and one below that for what you want Assistant to actually do in response.

In the top box, input whatever snappy shortcut phrase you want. It tends to work better if you use the microphone button to speak the shortcut. Assistant will sometimes put a sample command in the bottom box, but you can change that to the command you want. It has to be the full phrase you’d say to Assistant, including the “Tell [X]” part if needed. Once your shortcut is saved, it’ll work by voice and text.

Google Express shopping list

Google Assistant has always been able to add items to a shopping list, but that list used to live solely in Google Keep. As such, it was just a list. But Google recently changed the shopping list functionality to plug directly into its Google Express delivery service, which could be very useful if you’re a subscriber.

All you have to do is say, “Add [item name] to my shopping list.” It will show up in your Google Express shopping list instantly. You can access that list in the Google Express app, or simply say “Show me my shopping list.” That takes you to the online version of your list, which can be shared with any of your contacts. If you’re a Google Express subscriber, you can tap “Shop your list” to get filtered search results from supported local retailers. Add items to your cart, and you’re done.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Source: PCWorld.com

Find Out What Information Google Has On You (And How To Delete It)

Google and in the information it holds on you

 

Google, Facebook, and all the other tech goliaths are discovering that it’s not OK to gather the data of internet users.

We won’t stand for it anymore.

The problem is that our lives are inextricably linked with the online world. Whether we like it or not, every keyboard click weakens our grasp on your privacy.

Although there is no a magic way of stopping your data being harvested, we will show you how to download all the information Google holds on you as a user of its many products.

Find out what Google knows about you

Finding out what data has been collected is remarkably easy.

All you have to do is visit the search giant’s Takeout Tool.

On the left of the screen that appears is an extensive list of Google products. To the right is a slide button to choose the information you want to download.

Be warned though; the files are likely to be enormous.

How to delete the information Google has on you

By now, you’re probably horrified and want to delete all or some of the information you’ve found.

We haven’t got the space here to talk you through each product, but as an example, here’s how to delete the information help through Google Maps:

  • Sign into Google Maps. Click the menu bar and three horizontal lines, and a drop-down menu appears
  • Choose ‘history’ at the bottom and you will be presented with ‘My Activity’ page
  • On the left hand side, you choose ‘Delete activity by’
  • A page appears that gives you the option of deleting your activity for ‘all time’ or specific dates
  • The activities include Books, Google Play Store, Image Search, Maps and Search
  • On the left hand side of the ‘My Activity’ page, you also have the option to manage your data via ‘Other Google activity’

It’s pretty scary what information is stored on us these days, but you have to balance that with the convenience of life online.

Only you can decide what you’re happy with.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Google Chrome’s Automatic Updates

Google Chrome

 

As one of the most popular browsers, Google Chrome facilitates the use of the internet for millions of users worldwide.

To make sure you’re always protected by the latest security update, Google Chrome can automatically update when a new version is available.

Updates usually happen in the background when you close or reopen your browser. That’s all well and good but what about the users who don’t close their browser?

In that case, you may well see a pending update. When your browser is open, at the top right find “more” (followed by three vertical dots). If an update is available the icon will be coloured:

  • Green – the update’s been available for two days
  • Orange – the update’s been available fo four days
  • Red – the update’s been available for seven days

To update, open Chrome, click “more” in the top right and then click “Update Google Chrome” then click relaunch.

If the update option isn’t shown, you’re already using the latest version.

Set automatic updates

If Google Chrome is installed in your Applications folder, you can set up automatic browser updates.

Go to “About Google Chrome”  and look for the “Set Up Automatic Updates for All Users” button.

Then, close all Chrome windows and tabs on your desktop and relaunch to apply the update.

It’s that simple.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

6 Tips to Reduce Google Chrome’s Battery Usage

Google Chrome

Over 62% of the world’s PC owners use Google’s Chrome browser.

Although popular, it’s well known for sucking the life out of laptop batteries. You’ll be pleased to hear that Google is making efforts to improve this, but in the meantime, here are six tips that will get Chrome’s battery usage under control without sacrificing functionality.

1) Update Chrome

As with all OS, it’s important to keep Chrome up to date.

To check your version of Chrome is up to date, type “chrome://help/” into the address bar and hit enter.

You will then see a version number and a link to check for and install updates or a notice saying that Google Chrome is up to date.

2) Suspend those tabs

One of the best bits of the modern browser is the ability to have multiple tabs. One or two is fine, but when you end up with 20 or more open your battery pays the price.

Getting rid of tabs is a good start, but if you don’t want to change your usage, suspending tabs can be even better. To do this, you can use the Great Suspender tool. If you don’t use a tab for a few minutes, the device will unload it, removing its workload on your computer but keeping the tab there ready to go again when you need it. All you have to do is click on the tab to reload it and continue where you left off.

3) Remove unnecessary extensions

Extensions are part of what makes Chrome great, but each extension added to Chrome can increase its load on your computer, slowing it down and eating more battery life.

Type “chrome://extensions/” into the address bar and hit enter. Then all you have to do is click the box to either disable them or the bin icon to remove them entirely.

4) Stop Chrome running in the background

Even after closing Chrome, it might stick around, consuming power unnecessarily.

To stop it from happening on Windows, find the Chrome icon in your system tray on the right-hand side of the screen (usually hidden under the little arrow). Right click on it, and uncheck “Let Chrome run in the background”.

To then run all the web apps you might have installed, such as Hangouts or Signal, you’ll have to keep Chrome open. But at least when you close Chrome it will shut off.

5) Disable Google Drive offline access

Another tool Chrome uses for web apps that could be draining your battery life unnecessarily are background pages. One that is relatively heavy that you may or may not use or know you have enabled is Google Drive offline access for Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings.

To turn it off go to drive.google.com, click the settings cog in the right-hand corner and uncheck the box for Offline. You can re-enable it should you find you do need it at a later date.

6) Block Flash and make plugins click-to-play

Many of the most demanding and therefore battery-draining elements on a page require a plug-in to run, such as Adobe’s much-maligned Flash.

The easiest way to save battery with plugins is to make them request to run each time. Then you can click and run the ones you want on the page without letting any of the others run unnecessarily.

Type “chrome://settings/” into the address bar. Hit enter. Click the “Show advanced settings” link to expand the menu and click the box marked “Content Settings … ” under Privacy.

On the latest version of Chrome scroll to “Unsandboxed plug-in access” and make sure the box marked “Ask when a site wants to use a plug-in to access your computer” is checked. It’s also worth checking the box marked “Block sites from running Flash” under Flash, although you may use some sites and services that still require Flash – you can add these as exceptions.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: The Guardian

 

Google Increases the Pressure on Insecure Websites

Google increases pressure on insecure websites

 

In a perfect world, you would be able to surf the internet safe in the knowledge that you could come to no harm. The problem is it’s a far from perfect world.

There are numerous websites out there ready to trick unsuspecting users with their malware, or because they are used as instruments of phishing.

Google already has various initiatives to penalise poor website security practices, but it’s just got a lot tougher.

Not only will it undoubtedly mark websites that pose a threat to web users, but it will also highlight repeat offenders.

Google will take decisive action against those that repeatedly skip over safety rules. Once a website is marked as dangerous, the admin must update the page in question to eliminate the infractions. If the search giant has to notify the admin to inspect the warning repeatedly, their chance of having the warning removed will be rescinded for 30 days.

The option to resolve issues will also be eliminated for websites that, after requesting reappraisal, make a few changes to the code and then go back to practices that put users in danger. In these cases, the warning message will remain for a whole month.

These new measures increase the pressure on companies to make sure their corporate websites don’t pose a risk to users. After all repeat offending will result in the displaying of a message that will end up scaring future clients away.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Panda security

How to Search Effectively on Google

Google search

 

Google is everyone’s favourite search tool.

Today, you don’t look for something, you ‘Google’ it.

Although you probably think you’ve sussed out how to use the search engine, here are a few tips to help you find what you’re looking for faster.

It’s all about generating relevant search results – and that only happens through accurate search terms.

Google search basics

Whatever you’re looking for, always start with a simple search – e.g. “where’s the closest airport?”

Then you can start to refine your search with more descriptive words or geographical locations.

If you’re looking for a place or product in a specific location, add a place name – e.g. “Bakery Stowmarket.”

Search using your voice

Instead of typing, say “Okay Google” or choose the microphone icon to search using your voice (using the Google app).

Choose your words wisely

When you’re deciding what words to put in the search box, try to choose words that are likely to appear on the site you’re looking for. For example, instead of saying my head hurts, say headache, because that’s the word a medical site would use.

Don’t worry about the little things

When you’re typing in a search, don’t worry too much about things like spelling or capitalisation. Google’s spell checker will automatically use the most common spelling of a given word, and the same search is performed whether lower case or capital letters are used.

Find quick answers

For many searches, Google will do the work for you and show an answer to your question in the search results.

Some features, like information about sports teams, aren’t available in all regions.

  • Weather: Search weather to see the weather in your location or add a city name, like weather stowmarket, to find weather for a certain place.
  • Dictionary: Put define in front of any word to see its definition.
  • Calculations: Enter a math equation like 3*9123, or solve complex graphing equations.
  • Unit conversions: Enter any conversion, like 3 dollars in euros.
  • Sports: Search for the name of your team to see a schedule, game scores and more.
  • Quick facts: Search for the name of a celebrity, location, movie, or song to find related information.

OK, a lot of that might not be new to you, but it’s good to recap the basics to make sure you get the best possible experience when using Google (other search engines are available).

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

HP Chromebook 11 Recall

Have you ever had that sinking feeling?

You know the one – you’ve worked really hard on a project and then something unexpected goes wrong. It’s horrible, isn’t it?

Well, Google and HP have experienced that exact feeling recently.

November was not a good month for the HP Chromebook 11.

Unique amongst other Chromebooks, this particular model can be recharged through a micro-USB port, like those used for smartphones and tablets.

But disaster struck when Google received 9 reports of chargers overheating and melting during use. This resulted in Google and HP pulling the HP Chromebook 11 from the market.

Customers who bought one prior to 1st December 2013 have been advised to stop using the original charger (even if it works) and request a new one (as per Google’s FAQ), although in the meantime, any other certified micro-USB charger can be used.

Eek, I didn’t know about this, how do I get a new charger?

All you have to do is call Google’s support team for help, if necessary, and fill in a form for a free replacement charger.

It’s likely that the new charger will take up to six weeks to arrive in the UK and Google provide a pre-paid package to ship back the original. There’s no need to return the Chromebook.

If you bought one after 1st December, your charger should be safe.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Google Must Block Privacy Infringements, Say MPs

There has been a lot in the news recently about privacy infringements, and privacy rights. Nowhere, it seems, is this more important than on the internet. Its popularity has made it an instant sounding board for anyone wishing to put their opinion ‘out there’ for all to see.

But this brings problems, as outlined in a recent article by Stewart Mitchell in PC Pro.

According to Mitchell, a cross-party committee of MPs has called on Google and other web companies to block web content that breaches privacy injunctions. The committee was set up to ‘investigate whether new statutes were needed in the light of recently broken privacy injunctions and to discuss controls on the media.’ However, it concluded that better policing of existing media laws (and applying them to the internet) should prevent future breaches.

“The Committee says that major internet corporations [such as Google and other search engines] should take active steps to limit the potential for breaches of court orders through use of their products and, if they fail to do so, legislation should be introduced to force them to,” the committee found in a report.

“In addition, the Attorney General should be more willing to bring actions for civil contempt of court in respect of injunctions being breached online.”

In its defence, Google argued that it was difficult to take information down, but this was rejected by the committee:

“Google acknowledged that it was possible to develop the technology proactively to monitor websites for such material in order that the material does not appear in the results of searches,” the committee argued.

“We find their objections in principle to developing such technology totally unconvincing. Google and other search engines should take steps to ensure that their websites are not used as vehicles to breach the law and should actively develop and use such technology. We recommend that if legislation is necessary to require them to do so it should be introduced.”

The committee has also called for these regulations to be extended to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and, in time, major bloggers.

The report recommends that, when granting an injunction, the courts should direct the claimant to also serve notice on internet social media content platforms.

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Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.