Google is a company that makes a vast amount of money from advertising. Apple makes its money by selling hardware, software, and services. So it makes sense that if one of these companies was going to take a stand against data tracking, it’d be Apple – the company has long used privacy as a selling point for its products.
But with Apple getting ready to roll out updates to iOS and iPadOS that will require apps to explicitly ask for user permission before tracking your behavior across apps and websites, Google is apparently feeling some pressure to make a similar move, because Bloomberg says the company is exploring making similar moves.
It’s not a done deal yet, and if and when Google’s new privacy features arrive they’re likely to be less comprehensive than Apple’s because not only would the company risk alienating app developers, but it could see its own revenues fall.
But Google seems convinced that it’s possible to balance privacy and advertising – the company has also announced plans to phase out support for 3rd-party cookies in the Chrome web browser over the next few years, which will either lead to less tracking or give Google more power over how you’re tracked, depending on how cynical you want to be about the move.
- Google Explores Alternative to Apple’s New Anti-Tracking Feature [Bloomberg]
Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework will soon require iOS apps to get user permission before tracking user data. Google may be planning to bring similar privacy features to Android (but likely less stringent, since Google makes money from ads).
- The Android TV homescreen is getting a Google TV-inspired facelift [Android Police]
Google is updating its Android TV user interface making it look… more like the Google TV UI that you get with devices like the latest Chromecast. There a Search, Home, Discover and Apps tabs at the top and an emphasis on recommendations.
- Updates on how to sync Google Drive content to your computer [Google Workspace Updates]
Google is merging its Google Drive business and consumer desktop sync. The business-oriented Google Drive File Stream is getting a new name: Google Drive for Desktop. And later this year Google Backup and Sync users will be able to switch to it.
- Hackers develop open source firmware for the PinePhone modem, use it to make phone calls [Linux Smartphones]
The phone was already designed to run free and open source, usually Linux-based operating systems. Now hackers have managed to replace the proprietary modem firmware with free and open source software featuring a mainline Linux kernel.
- PinePhone Community Edition [Pine64 Store]
There are a limited number of PinePhone KDE Plasma Mobile Community Edition phones still available for $150 and up. Once they’re sold out. With the Community Edition program drawing to a close, these are the last PinePhones you’ll be able to order for delivery before April, 2021.
- Sailfish OS 4.0.1 release notes [Sailfish OS]
Speaking of Linux-based smartphone operating systems, Sailfish OS “Koli” 4.0.1 has been released to early access subscribers, available for select Sony and Planet Computers devices. Changes include a browser engine upgrade, updated notification system, tabbed settings, bug fixes, and more.
- Converting an Old Laptop to Charge via USB-C Power Delivery [jakobnater/YouTube]
Many new laptops can be charged with a USB-C power adapter thanks to support for USB Power Delivery. But one hardware hacker didn’t want to buy a new laptop, so he added a custom USB-PD module to a 6-year old Dell XPS 13. This video explains how.