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Google’s Android 8.0 “streaming OS updates” will work even when phones have no space

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Google’s Android 8.0 Seamless Updates Will Download Even If Your Phone Has Insufficient Storage

Does a system update notification received on your Android device worry you because it doesn’t have storage space? No problem!

Google’s most anticipated and upcoming Android 8.0 OS will now allow you to download updates even if your phone is low on storage. Apparently, this new feature called “streaming updates” has been introduced by the tech giant in its forthcoming Android 8.0 OS, reports Ars Technica who spotted these changes in the new Android documentation for Seamless system updates. The system is borrowed from the update engine in ChromeOS and has been introduced in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

The new feature is expected to reduce the storage space requirement on phone from 1GB to 100 KiB of metadata and help smartphones owners with smaller internal storage to stay abreast with the latest Android versions.

The “seamless update” feature (also known as A/B system updates) was first introduced by Google in Android 7.0, with a dual partition system scheme – “System A” and “System B”. In this, the active slot is partition A, while partition B is the unused or inactive slot that is not used by the running OS for normal operation. All update activity takes place on partitions in the unused slot.

So, how does it work? For instance, if the user is using the partition A, then the update will be installed on the partition B so that nothing is interrupted and it’s ready for installation as soon as the process is completed.

“The goal of this feature is to make updates fault resistant by keeping the unused slot as a fallback. If there is an error during an update or immediately after an update, the system can rollback to the old slot and continue to have a working system”, Google notes.

Seamless system update feature is already available on the Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

“Users don’t always have enough space on /data to download the update package, and neither OEMs nor users want to waste space on a /cache partition; so some users go without updates because they have nowhere to store the update package,” Google notes.

“A/B updates have the option of streaming the update to address this issue: streaming writes blocks straight to the B partition as they are downloaded, without having to store them on /data. Therefore, streaming A/B updates need almost no temporary storage and need just enough for roughly 100kB of metadata.”

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Business

Google’s new G Suite security center gives admins a new perspective on their organization’s security

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Google today launched a new tool for G Suite admins that gives them a better view of the state of their organization’s security. The new G Suite Security Center, which is only available to G Suite Enterprise users, features two main components. The first is a dashboard that gives admins an overview of current security metrics across services like Gmail (think incoming phishing emails), Google Drive and Mobile Management. The second main feature is a security health checkup that provides a quick overview of current security settings and recommendations for potential improvements.

Chad Tyler, Google’s product manager for Security Center, told me that the company wanted to bring all of the important security metrics that are currently spread across multiple products into a single service. In addition, the company also wanted to give admins a single view of recommendations for helping their users stay secure, based on what Google things are the best practices for securing an organization on G Suite.

At the heart of Security Center, though, is the dashboard, that lets admins quickly see what’s happening across their organization. From the dashboard, which Tyler says will come to include more services over time, admins can easily dig deeper to see which users are affected by a spike in phishing attempts, for example. The experience there, from what I have seen, isn’t unlike working with metrics in Google Analytics, for example.

Security Center is now rolling out globally to all G Suite Enterprise admins. The overall rollout should be fairly fast, so if you are a G Suite Enterprise admin, chances are it’s already available in your account.

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Business

Google and Salesforce unveil first elements of partnership

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Last fall at Dreamforce, Google and Salesforce announced a partnership. Today, the two companies unveiled the first pieces of that agreement.

For starters, Google Analytics 360 users can now import data from the Salesforce CRM tool such as leads and opportunities, among other pieces. This could allow marketers to have a more complete view of the customer journey from first contact to sale and build a better understanding of how that fits together for a successful outcome. Of course, Salesforce has its own marketing data from Marketing Cloud and it has its own analytics products including Salesforce Wave and Einstein Analytics.

This allows companies using Google’s analytics products to mix and match data between the two systems. Customers tend to use multiple products and that’s why these kinds of partnerships develop — to make it easier to get a big picture view across product sets.

The companies are taking it one step with further with this initial piece of the partnership by also providing connectors from Salesforce data to Google BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse service, where users can combine this data with other enterprise datasets.

Finally, the companies are building a connection between Salesforce and Google’s ad pipeline to connect the best prospects with the right ad at the right time to push the sale to completion. In the company blog post announcing the partnership details, Google had this to say about the advertising link:

“Marketers can use the tools in AdWords and DoubleClick Search to optimize their bidding on search ads based on the goal of actual sales (offline conversions tracked in Salesforce) rather than just basic website leads. Or they can create an audience list in Analytics 360 of qualified leads from Sales Cloud and use AdWords or DoubleClick Bid Manager so their display ads reach people with similar characteristics.”

This is a case where combining the two types of information across sources could provide insights and abilities that wouldn’t have been possible from either source alone. It also enables each company to compete with its rivals in this space, says Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“This partnership offering gives customers another choice in the market and is targeted towards the traditional Adobe – Microsoft buyer,” he said. Adobe has been a big player in this space with its analytics, advertising and marketing tools. Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion, which gives it access to a wealth of data to share with its CRM tools.

“The goal is to bring online and offline interactions together with the power of cloud analytics so that [marketing] campaigns can be executed without the integration and manual gaps most marketers face today,” Wang explained.

This is just the first step in a much broader partnership between the two companies and they promise much deeper integration over the coming year including bringing in product specific data, lead conversion likelihood and lifetime customer value.
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Gadgets

Kate Spade gets into the smart watch game

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As it stands right now, Apple is absolutely dominating the smart watch market. But that hasn’t stopped other entrants from trying their hand, or wrist, in the space.

Most recently, Kate Spade New York has introduced a new line of smart watches in collaboration with Fossil. This is part of a larger push by Fossil Group to launch smart watches across as many brands as possible, as announced in August.

The Kate Spade models were announced today at CES, and all share the same name: the Kate Spade New York Scallop Touchscreen Smartwatch. It just rolls off the tongue, right?

All of the watches are powered by Android Wear 2.0 and have 1.2-inch, circular OLED displays as well as an ambient light sensor. Styles include a rose gold watch case with a bracelet, a rose gold watch case with a leather strap, and a yellow gold colored watch case with a black strap. That said, all three models are made of stainless steal.

The Kate Spade scallop, a distinctive feature across a number of Kate Spade products from bags to clothing to iPhone cases, is featured on the face of the watch.

But this isn’t just an aesthetic play. The new models will come with exclusive watch faces, including an NYC taxi speeding off and an eyelash blink if you have a new notification.

The watches also come with an app that asks you what color you’re wearing and automatically changes the watch face color to match your outfit. As expected with Android Wear 2.0, the new Kate Spade watches are equipped with a microphone to let you chat it up with Google Assistant.

On the other hand, these are not built for fitness junkies, with no heart-rate sensor or built-in GPS. Also missing is an NFC chip for mobile payments.

These new models start at $295, with the bracelet version going for $325, and the watches should ship in mid-February.
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