Monday December 16, 2019
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Is Gmail safe? Google is Allowing Third-party App Developers to Scan Through Your Account

Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally -- more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined

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Google
Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

Despite assuring users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount”, the search giant is still reportedly allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts, the Wall Street Journal has claimed.

Google “continues to let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools,” the report said late Monday.

Google was yet to comment on the report.

Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally — more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

“Google does little to police those developers, who train their computers– and, in some cases, employees — to read their users’ emails,” the report further stated.

Gmail
Gmail. Pixabay

According to Google, it provides data only to outside developers it has vetted and to whom users have explicitly granted permission to access email.

According to the report, Google’s own employees read emails only “in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse”.

“Email data collectors use software to scan millions of messages a day, looking for clues about consumers that they can sell to marketers, hedge funds and other businesses,” the report added, saying data miners generally have access to other email services besides Gmail.

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In 2017, Google said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.

The Internet giant recently rolled out new features for Android users to make it easier for them to navigate their Gmail accounts and review security and privacy options.

As part of the new updates, Google introduced a new search functionality that enables users to find settings and other info they might be looking for in their account, like how to change the password. (IANS)

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Google Maps Captures Over 10 mn Miles of Street View Imagery

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible

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Google Maps
There's also the Street View trekker on Google Maps, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn't possible.

Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times.

The company announced on Friday that Google Earth now lets people browse more than 36 million square miles of high definition satellite images from various providers – covering more than 98 per cent of the entire population – to see the world from above.

“While these stunning photos show us parts of the world we may never get a chance to visit, they also help Google Maps accurately model a world that is changing each day,” said Thomas Escobar, Senior Product Manager, Google Maps.

The idea of Street View started as a side project more than 12 years ago as part of a goal to map the entire world.

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible.

“These cameras are athermal, meaning that theya�re designed to handle extreme temperatures without changing focus so they can function in a range of environments,” Escobar added.

Each Street View car includes its own photo processing center and lidar sensors that use laser beams to accurately measure distance.

There’s also the Street View trekker, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn’t possible.

These trekkers are carried by boats, sheep, camels, and even scout troops to gather high quality photos from multiple angles, often in some of the hardest-to-map places around the world.

Google Maps
Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times. Pixabay

In 2019 alone, Street View images from the Google Maps community have helped the company assign addresses to nearly seven million buildings in previously under-mapped places like Armenia, Bermuda, Lebanon, Myanmar, Tonga, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.

Once Google collects photos, it uses a technique called photogrammetry to align and stitch together a single set of images.

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“These images show us critically important details about an area-things like roads, lane markings, buildings and rivers, along with the precise distance between each of these objects. All of this information is gathered without ever needing to set foot in the location itself,” said Google. (IANS)