Creepy! Your Phone is Telling Google What You are Doing in Real Life
Your phone can reveal all of your physical activities to Google and the apps you use.
Google is reportedly getting all the information regarding what you do offline. According to The Independent, your smartphone sends data on your physical activities to the tech giant. The report says that sensors inside your mobile helps Google monitor and understand your real word actions based on the movement of your device.
This basically means that the company will know when you stand up or sit down or sleep based on the times you lift up or put down your smartphone. A Reddit discussion reveals the process based on an Android permission called “Activity Recognition”. This report was posted by DuckDuckGo, which suggested that the permission helps developers to understand your movements.
literally google will know, if you’re standing up, or if you’ve just lifted your phone off a desk, or if you’ve started walking.
Interestingly, the permission is asked by mobile apps like SoundHound and Shazam, and the reason is not clear. This Activity Recognition permission feature is not entirely a new concept, however, the discussion on Reddit shows that most users are unaware of this.
In fact, Google in the description itself, says: “The Activity Recognition API is built on top of the sensors available in a device.” However, the report says that due to slight variations it is difficult to process all the sensors. So, the API detects activities in short bursts of sensor data and later uses AI to process them.
The Google Activity Recognition feature is able to tell the programmers when a user is walking, driving, or riding based on ‘relative gravity changes’. Also, the feature is so good that even if you are walking inside a train, Google will know. The API also gives a feedback based out of 100 on the accuracy of its findings. The higher the number, the surer the developers are on your activity.
Once you have granted the permission to an app, Google sends the collected data to them. Google says: “A common use case is that an application wants to monitor activities in the background and perform an action when a specific activity is detected.”
Google wants to give examples like a fitness app may start automatically when you start running. However, the concept is a bit spooky in itself. Also, the company has put the permission in ‘others’ category which means you may not be aware of it, and even if you are, you cannot disable it.
In order to check which apps have got the permission for the Activity Recognition feature, you need to revisit all of them from the Settings Menu in the mobile. It can be a time taking process, but if you are concerned about your privacy it is worth it.
11 hidden Google Chrome features you didn’t know existed
There are a lot of Easter Eggs hidden in Chrome, and more and more are discovered each year. One of our favourites is the dinosaur game. The next time you fail to connect to the internet on Chrome, tap the spacebar. It’s also worth Googling “barrel roll”, “zerg rush”, “super mario bros” (and clicking the question mark graphic), “festivus”, “recursion”, “askew” and “atari breakout” (and then clicking Images).
If you tend to browse with a lot of tabs open at once, you can clear up the clutter by pinning the ones you’re least likely to close. Right-click them and select Pin Tab. They’ll automatically shrink and slide left.
You can save some battery life by sacrificing performance. In Settings, scroll down to the System section and uncheck the box reading Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed. We wouldn’t recommend having this feature enabled all the time, but it could come in handy if you’re nowhere near a charger.
There are loads of Chrome Extensions available, but one of the most useful is Google’s Data Saver. It compresses the pages you visit to reduce data usage and speed up loading times.
Make multiple profiles
If you use multiple Google accounts, for work and for personal use, for instance, you can keep your bookmarks and browsing history for each account separate by creating individual profiles. Go to Settings, Manage People and Add Person. This is also handy for when you lend your computer to a friend, and you don’t want them to have access to your internet history.
Many users would prefer it if Chrome downloaded files straight to the desktop, but by default it sends them to your Downloads folder. You can change this by going to Settings, opening the Show Advanced Settings menu, clicking Downloads and choosing your preferred destination.
To see cookies and permissions for every site you visit, click the View Site Information symbol on the left-hand edge of the omnibar. It will also let you quickly control things like Popup and Location settings.
You can quickly find out which pages are using up the most memory and slowing down your browsing experience by opening the burger menu, going down to More Tools and opening the Chrome Task Manager.
When you’re online and need to do a quick sum, you don’t have to hunt down your computer calculator or whip out your phone. Just type it into the Chrome omnibar and hit Enter.
If there’s a certain set of pages you always open when you turn your computer on, you can get Chrome to open them automatically when you launch the browser. In Settings, click Set Pages in the On Startup section, and choose the ones you want.
11/11Search Gmail from omnibar
You can search your gmail inbox directly from the omnibar by going to Settings, Manage Search Engines, scrolling to the bottom and pasting https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#apps/%s into the box on the right-hand side.