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Google updates for Authenticator, workspace toolbars and app passwords
Security & privacy

3 Google changes you need to know about

It’s getting warmer, and you’re probably itching to hit the road. With gas prices still high, who doesn’t want to save money? And while you’re at it, getting to your destination faster would be nice, wouldn’t it? Here are seven ways to save time and money with Google Maps.

Are you a Google fan? Maybe you’re not, but you’re used to using Gmail, Docs, Chrome and more at home or work. For better or worse, Google’s apps and services are among the most popular worldwide. And like any Big Tech company, Google constantly evolves to keep everyone on the hook. 

Here are some changes coming to Authenticator, Workspace and Gmail.

Google Authenticator gets cloud support

Let’s say you lose your phone, and that happens to be where your one-time authenticator codes are stored. You won’t be able to log in to any other device without them.

Thanks to a Google Authenticator update, those codes are now stored on your Google Account. Now you can still sign into any device or service using the Authenticator app. It’s about time!

You can’t take advantage of the app’s new features until you update it:

On iPhone:

  • Open the App Store and tap your profile icon.
  • Tap Update next to Google Authenticator

On Android: 

  • Open the Google Play Store app and tap your profile icon.
  • Tap Manage apps & device, then Update next to Google Authenticator.

Once you’ve updated Google Authenticator, you’ll be prompted to log in to your Google account when you open the new version of the app. 

Your codes will automatically be backed up and restored on any new device you use. So when you set up a new phone and log in to your account, your codes will be ready to go without setup.

Tap or click here for everything you need to know about authenticator apps.

Workspace gets a better toolbox

You’ll appreciate this if you’re a Google Docs, Sheets and Slides junkie (or use these apps at work).

When you want to change the page setup in Docs, merge cells in Sheets, or edit a theme in Slides, you must sift through toolbars and menus to find the action. That’s not the case anymore. 

Google’s adding a tool finder at the top of these apps that automatically offers suggestions for common actions like the ones listed above.

If that’s not enough, you can plug in what you’re looking for by name or description. Let’s say you want to delete a column in Sheets. Simply type in something like “remove column B” and click on the action when it appears in the search bar. 

Clicking into the tool finder brings up your previously used actions, too.

The update is rolling out. You’ll know you have it when you see a pill-shaped field with a magnifying glass marked Menu at the top-left of the toolbar.

It’s easier to log into third-party apps via Gmail (but still a bad idea)

Many Big Tech companies let you use your credentials with them to log into third-party apps and services. They usually explain that it will “enhance your experience” or something along those lines. 

Gmail is no exception. But if you have two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled for your Google account (which you always should), you’ll have problems connecting to apps that aren’t compatible with it. 

Google added App Passwords to get around this. Rather than using your Google account password, passcodes are generated to give a “less secure app” (Google’s words) permission to access your Google account. Yikes.

Google recommends using “Sign in with Google” to connect apps to your Google Account rather than using App Passwords. But we have better advice:

You shouldn’t use your Google account to log into any app, especially one that rejects 2FA. Use unique credentials for all your accounts instead. While you’re at it, here’s how to check which apps already have access to your account.

Keep reading

Security tip: Check what devices have access to your Google account

Gmail storage full? This could be why – and how to fix it

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