Google Drive and Gmail free storage limited to 15 GB

Google accounts start with 15 GB of total storage spread across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.   Once this limit is exceeded, users have the option of upgrading to a Google One plan.

You may check the total amount of storage currently used for your Google account at google.com/settings/storage.   Google also provides instructions on how to free up additional storage.

Google releases new accessibility apps Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier

Google has announced the release of accessibility apps Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier to help users with hearing issues.

Live Transcribe transcribes live audio in real time using Google’s speech recognition technology.  This feature is installed on Pixel 3 smartphones under the Accessibility settings and will soon be available in a limited beta release to users worldwide via the Google Play Store.

Sound Amplifier amplifies microphone sounds while reducing unwanted or distracting background noises and is available now at Google Play.

Google expedites shutdown of Google+ consumer version

Google will move the shutdown date of the consumer version of its Google+ (Google Plus) social network from August 2019 to April 2019.  Google still plans to support Google+ for enterprise customers.

Update: Google+ will no longer be available for consumer (personal) accounts on April 2, 2019.  Google also provided instructions on downloading Google+ data and deleting a Google+ account.

This announcement was a follow-up to their October 2018 security notice on Google+.

Google+ social network will no longer be available for non-enterprise users

Google announced the scheduled end of the Google+ social network for non-enterprise users. Users have the next 10 months to move their data from Google+.

As part of this announcement, Google also stated that there was a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs that could have allowed data access to user data marked as private.  This bug was noted and fixed by Google in March of 2018 and there was no evidence that this data was misused.  Some of the optional user fields in this bug included name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

Google+ users who access it through G Suite will not be affected by this change.  More information is available at the Google+ FAQ page.

Google Titan Security Key offers additional device authentication

Google announced the release of its Titan Security Key, a physical device used as an additional authentication method on devices.  The Titan Security Key is built according to FIDO Alliance specifications and will be available soon at the Google Store.

Google released more technical details on how the new security key works at https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2017/08/Titan-in-depth-security-in-plaintext.html.

Update:  the Titan Security Key is now available at https://store.google.com/product/titan_security_key_kit.

Setup for Google account two factor authentication can be done at https://www.google.com/landing/2step/.

Technology companies collaborate on Data Transfer Project

Some of the world’s largest technology companies are working together on the Data Transfer Project (DTP). The purpose of this project is to build an open source common framework that can allow users to easily transfer data between any two data platforms.

Most of the major technology companies are represented, including:

More information is available at https://datatransferproject.dev and at the project’s GitHub page https://github.com/google/data-transfer-project.