Gmail App’s Dark Theme Is Finally Rolling Out


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Google has been on a tear lately, updating all its mobile apps with the new Material Theming design style. In practice, that means a lot of blindingly bright apps. There is, unexpectedly, a method to Google’s madness. Moving to the new Material Theme is necessary to implement dark app themes. Gmail, one of the most popular Google apps, finally has a dark theme on Android, but not all phones have it right away. 

Gmail has been blinding smartphone users longer than most apps. As a largely text-based experience, there’s always been ample white space all through the inbox and emails themselves. Google made Gmail even brighter when it rolled out the big redesign a while back. The red accent colors were replaced with, you guessed it, more white. 

Dark themes have been a running joke among Android enthusiasts because of the way Google keeps teasing it. The last few Android betas have included a dark theme that didn’t make it to the final version. Finally, Android 10 (previously known only as Android Q) finally has a real dark theme. The Gmail rollout is only the latest example of Google apps picking up a dark theme that plugs into Android 10. 

The first version of Gmail that has a dark UI mode is 2019.08.18.267044774, but even having that version doesn’t guarantee you’ll have the dark theme. There’s also a server-side component that rolls out at Google’s behest. So far, a small number of users have the feature, but everyone should be able to flip to dark mode soon enough. 

Gmail’s Dark Theme, image via 9to5Google

Gmail’s dark theme uses a very dark gray rather than completely black, which can actually make reading white text straining. The inbox and most emails should use this same color scheme. One notable exception would be emails that include HTML. Those will probably still render with other colors, probably white. 

If you’re on Android 10 (almost no one is), you’ll be able to automatically flip to the dark theme when you enable the system-level toggle. In addition to that option, the Gmail app includes a manual light and dark toggle. So, even if you’re on an older version of Android, you can manually change Gmail to the dark them by digging into the settings. This is a step in the right direction, but plenty of Google apps still lack a dark theme. Even the newly white-themed Play Store is still lacking dark mode. 

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Gmail can now tell your coworkers you’re on vacation BEFORE they email you – gpgmail


 

Emailing a coworker without realizing they’re on vacation is a bummer for everyone involved. The second you get that “out of office” auto-reply, you suddenly remember the twenty minute conversation you had about their upcoming trip to Hawaii and feel like a goober. Meanwhile, they come back to a thousand “Hey, can you help with this? OH NEVERMIND SORRY ENJOY YOUR TRIP!” email threads.

Google is trying to make this happen a little less often with a feature it’ll soon roll out for its G Suite (read: paid Gmail/Docs/Hangouts/Calendar/etc. plans for businesses) users. If you’ve marked yourself as out of office on your calendar, your coworkers will get a heads up before they email you.

The heads up comes in the form of a little yellow banner that hovers right above the send button, alerting the sender that you’re currently out of the office, and when you’re set to return.

A similar message will pop up if they try to message you in Hangouts, too.

It all ties into the out-of-office functionality that the company introduced into Google Calendar last year, which automatically declines all meeting requests for the window in which you’ll be gone.

You probably don’t want every rando/spammer who tries to email you to know your travel plans, so Google says that the Gmail/Hangouts heads up functionality will only work with Gsuite users that have already been granted access to your calendar otherwise. So it’s information they already had, now they just don’t have to go looking for it.

If you don’t like the concept or the banner screws with your workflow for some reason, each user can disable it — go into the “Access permissions” section of your Google Calendar settings, and turn off ‘Show calendar info in other Google apps’.

Google says the feature should roll out to all G Suite users by September 16th.


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Google to pay security researchers who find Android apps and Chrome extensions misusing user data – gpgmail


Google said it will pay security researchers who find “verifiably and unambiguous evidence” of data abuse using its platforms.

It’s part of the company’s efforts to catch those who misuse user data collected through Android apps or Chrome extensions — and to avoid its own version of a scandal like Cambridge Analytica, which saw millions of Facebook profiles scraped and used to identify undecided voters during the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Google said anyone who identifies “situations where user data is being used or sold unexpectedly, or repurposed in an illegitimate way without user consent” is eligible for its expanded data abuse bug bounty.

“If data abuse is identified related to an app or Chrome extension, that app or extension will accordingly be removed from Google Play or Google Chrome Web Store,” read a blog post. “In the case of an app developer abusing access to Gmail restricted scopes, their API access will be removed.” The company said abuse of its developer APIs would also fall under the scope of the bug bounty.

Google said it isn’t providing a reward table yet but a single report of data misuse could net $50,000 in bounties.

News of the expanded bounty comes in the wake of the DataSpii scandal, which saw browser extensions scrape and share data from millions of users. These Chrome extensions uploaded web addresses and webpage titles of every site a user visited, exposing sensitive data like tax returns, patient data, and travel itineraries.

Google was forced to step in and suspend the offending Chrome extensions.

Instagram recently expanded its own bug bounty to include misused user data following a spate of data incidents,


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Yubico launches its dual USB-C and Lightning two-factor security key – gpgmail


Almost two months after it was first announced, Yubico has launched the YubiKey 5Ci, a security key with dual support for both iPhones, Macs and other USB-C compatible devices.

Yubico’s latest Yubikey is the latest iteration of its security key built to support a newer range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and MacBooks in a single device. Announced in June, the company said the security keys would cater for cross-platform users — particularly Apple device owners.

These security keys may be small enough to sit on a keyring, but they contain the keys to your online line. Your Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook account all support these plug-in devices as a second-factor of authentication after your username and password — a far stronger mechanism than the simple code sent to your phone.

Security keys offer almost unbeatable security and can protect against a variety of threats, including nation-state attackers.

Jerrod Chong, Yubico’s chief solutions officer, said the new key would fill a “critical gap in the mobile authentication ecosystem,” particularly given how users are increasingly spending their time across a multitude of mobile devices.

The new key works with a range of apps, including password managers like 1Password and LastPass, and web browsers like Brave, which support security key authentication.


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