Over 50 updates for Classrooms, Meet and other online educational tools by Google

Initially when Google launched Google Classrooms, at that time it wasn’t introduced to create a Learning Management System – LMS. But, during this world Pandemic COVID-19, the educational system changed completely. Google found out that a lot of educators have adopted to use Google Classrooms as the main medium to conduct their daily classroom lectures. 

As compared to last year when only 40 million people were using Google Classrooms, now as for today, almost 150 million people are using this tool, including teachers, students and school admins. 

Today, Google introduced several updates for its online education tools, these updates and development have been accelerated during the world pandemic. As Google Classrooms have been widely used by educators now, so Google has promised to come up with 50 new updates, keeping in mind the needs of students, educators and school admins. 

Focusing on the needs of educators, Google is developing updates to cater all those who are using Classroom as the main hub for learning and management. During this year, “add-ons” of Classroom will allow teachers to select edtech tools and content. 

With this feature teachers can assign contents directly to students, without requiring extra log-ins. Further, School admins can also install these add-ons for other teachers in their domains. 

Moreover, later this year, admins will be able to populate classes in advance with Student Information System (SIS) roster by syncing. Further, for select SIS customers, students’ grades from Classroom can be exported directly to the SIS. 

Additional feature of logging will be more developed, including Classroom audit logs to see all the details of the students like student removals or who archived a class. Classroom activity logs can also be monitored more accurately and easily in order to check adoption and engagement.  

Other tools that are rolling out now and will be further introduced during the year will tackle the realities of working from home especially in this pandemic. We all know we face internet connection issues as they are not reliable, for students with low-income or those areas which do not offer best services. 

Hence, Google is rolling out an updated Classroom Android app, with which students will be able to start their work offline. They will be able to review assignments, open Drive attachments and write in Google Docs without an internet connection.  Isn’t it great? 

The daily work will be synced with only one click of a button and when a connection is again available your documents will be there already. 

New tools will allow students to upload file along with pictures in one folder and will also allow them to crop and rotate images and adjust lighting according to their pictures. 

Google Classroom will also have rich text formatting — like bold, italics, underline and adding bullets across web, iOS and Android. 

In order to maintain originality of reports a tool is being introduced named “Originality Reports”, this will detect the plagiarism of documents and soon these will be available in 15 different languages. 

And Google’s own free, introductory computer science curriculum, CS First, is immediately available in Classroom. 

Beyond Classroom itself, Google Meet is also being updated with the needs of educators in mind. 

Pandemic has taught us many ways to use internet and technology in useful ways, even students tend to waste less time on computers, while playing games or watching videos – can we say the credit goes to online classes? 

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Facebook starts rolling out Messenger on Oculus headsets

Great news to those who were finding ways to keep up with the family group chat while playing Beat Saber. Well, Guess what? This day has finally come. 

According to Oculus Quest developer’s latest update, VR company that is owned by Facebook announced that Facebook in this week Messenger will start rolling out to Quest headsets. Now you’ll be able to chat by simply typing in VR, using voice-to-text, or by inserting generic auto-filled statements into the conversation. 

A plus point of this update is that Messenger on Quest doesn’t segregate users based on device.  Multiple VR Users that want to communicate with each other can create an Oculus party from within Messenger to group up in any multiplayer game they feel like playing together. 

The whole chatting mechanism can is now much easier. Users can type their message in virtual reality and can also send pre-written messages. Company’s developers also have a new way to distribute VR apps and games. 

According to the Oculus sources, chatting with Messenger friends through your headset won’t affect your Oculus privacy settings. You’ll still be able to use Oculus Chats to message friends with your own Oculus username.  

Software update v25, which is starting to roll out also introduces a feature called App Lab. It is going to enable developers to distribute their apps and games outside of the Oculus Store. Facebook also suggests that his feature will allow users to have high quality within the store and will also provide secure environment to the developers. 

Even though these apps may not be in the Oculus Store, you will still be able to search them if you know the exact name and it will pop up in the App Lab section of the results.  

However, integrating Messenger with Oculus Quest headsets is yet another excuse to spend as much time in VR as possible. But it is something that we certainly understand especially during these trying times.  

Don’t forget to take breaks every now and then. That Messenger chat with your friend can wait. 

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VideoLAN is marking its 20th year of existence this month

Yes, it’s true that a risky decision created the world’s most popular streaming video encoder. 

One of the most popular, successful, and widely used open-source software project I.e., VideoLAN is marking its 20th year of existence this month. 

We all have been using this open-source software to stream our favorite videos and movies since we were in our teens – 90’s people can relate!  

It is best known for the popular x264 streaming video encoding app and library, and the well-known VLC media player – well who hasn’t used that? 

The non-profit organization has released a massive range of free and open software over the past many years. The volunteer organization makes sure that the Movie Creator video editing software, DVBlast MPEG-2/TS demux and streaming app, and several libraries for developers working on audiovisual programs are available. 

This includes the libdvdcss library that can be used to read DVDs which are encrypted with Contents Scramble System digital rights management code. 

There has been a dispute on the legal status of libdvdcss and some Linux distributions do not ship with the library out of concerns it violates digital rights management laws. 

During the early years – the new millennium saw a great deal of controversy around content dissemination over the internet and piracy thereof, and legal fights over distribution rights. 

According to the organization at that time, this was a risky decision for the École Centrale Paris, and states that the VideoLAN project is incredibly grateful. 

VLC media player and other software are released under the Free Software Foundation’s GNU Public License version 2 with clients for all major desktop and mobile operating systems, and with several billions of downloads to date. 

Who doesn’t like to watch videos? Even organizations and businesses should express their business via videos and get their professional corporate video from IT Company. 

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WhatsApp is adding opt-in biometrics to both Desktop and Mobile Versions

Over the last few weeks WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app owned by Facebook is being in highlight all over the media. They have been losing users after they released their security and data privacy update. They tried to delay these changes after getting a lot of heat by the users and losing its users. 

Now, they have come up with another update that is biometric feature added on WhatsApp as a new authentication factor for all those using its desktop and mobile versions. 

WhatsApp announced that from today I.e., 28th January 2021, it will allow people to add in a fingerprint, face, or iris scan to use WhatsApp on desktop or web by linking it to your mobile app. It can be used alongside the existing QR code authentication. 

 Now, you have an option to add in a biometric authentication way to login. This new feature will only work if you have enabled biometric authentication on your device, either on Android or iPhone handsets. 

According to WhatsApp this feature works differently on both iPhone and Android devices.  On iPhone, it will work with all devices operating iOS 14 and above with Touch ID or Face ID, and on Android, it will work on any device compatible with Biometric Authentication (Face Unlock, Fingerprint Unlock or Iris Unlock).  

What comes next? 

As we all know that WhatsApp’s recent announcement regarding data-sharing with Facebook update has put a lot of people on edge about the company’s intentions. 

The recent announcement does not only highlight WhatsApp’s intentions, but also puts a question mark on Facebook’s intentions as nobody would like invasion in their private space and messaging has always been considered as users’ private space. 

However, WhatsApp is clear in outlining that it’s not able to access the biometric information that you will be storing in your device. 

And ensuring that it is using same standard biometric authentication APIs that other secure apps, like banking apps. 

This new biometric feature is being rolled out today to create a more secure way for people to link up apps across devices. In one way, it’s good news for all businesses who are conducting digital marketing via WhatsApp, now their information will be secured. 

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Google will start disabling Google Messages from working on “uncertified” Android devices!

Starting from March 31, 2021, Google will start disabling Google Messages from working on “uncertified” Android devices. 

This sudden update will not affect most of the people. However, it does arise some questions related to “uncertified” Android devices. Such as, what is an “uncertified” Android device, and how do you make sure you’re not using one? 

What is Uncertified Android Device? 

Devices which are not certified were not able to pass Google’s Android compatibility test to ensure they meet Google’s quality and security standards. 

Some of the newly launched Android devices were uncertified for the time being but are certified now as the process is complete. 

In some cases, an uncertified device could mean the manufacturer was not able to submit the device for Google’s certification, or was not able to pass the test. 

According to Google, using an uncertified Android device carries several risks. For instance, 

  • Devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not be secure. 
  • Devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not get Android system updates or app updates. 
  • Mobile applications that aren’t Play Protect certified aren’t licensed and may not be real Google apps. 
  • Apps and features on devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not work correctly. 
  • Data on devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not back up securely. 

Above mentioned security risks are the reason Google is banning Google Messages on uncertified phones.  

Without the Play Store verifications, Google can’t ensure the app’s end-to-end encryption is properly configured, which could leave your messages and personal data compromised. 

On the other hand, all uncertified android phones are not dangerous. In some cases, rooting your phone or making other system-level modifications will revoke a device’s certification. 

How to know if your device is certified or Not? 

Rarely an average person is using an uncertified Android device — but it is possible. Some uncertified devices are from well-known brands that Google no longer supports. For example, some of the Huawei devices are uncertified and cannot currently apply for certification in some regions. 

To confirm your Android phone is certified you can check via the Google Play Store settings. 

  1. Open the Google Play Store app. 
  1. Tap on the three-lined button on the top-left corner of the screen. 
  1. Select “Settings” from the sidebar. 
  1. Scroll down to the “About” section. Under “Device Certification,” it will say either “certified” or “uncertified.” 

If your phone is certified, you can continue using Google Messages without any issue. If not, then you will have to find a new messaging app or a new device (or unroot your device).  

IT Consultants can help you in all sorts of IT Solutions and can develop custom mobile applications for you, whether you own Android phones or iOS. 

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