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Google to rebrand music service to Youtube Music

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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It seems not a week goes by without Google renaming, cancelling or somehow changing one of its services. Google will update its music service with the hope of dethroning  Spotify and Apple Music. 

Google will leverage its most recognized media brand to give music a fighting chance. So you will soon welcome YouTube Music into this world. 

On Tuesday, May 22, we’ll be changing that by introducing YouTube Music, a new music streaming service made for music with the magic of YouTube
— Elias Roman, Product Manager - YouTube Music


Early information suggests it will marry the substantial unique music of Youtube (live performances, covers, etc.) to advanced discovery probably powered by AI. 

This new service will (eventually) replace Google Music. Taking a page out of the Youtube and Spotify playbooks, they will offer a limited ad-supported free tier. Music lovers will be able to buy a $9.99 per month subscription to YouTube Music Premium which will offer ad-free listening. 

Youtube Music will firsts roll out to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. Once again Canada is a second-class citizen. Other key markets will launch "soon" including Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

You can sign up to their availability tracker here music.youtube.com/coming-soon

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Source : Youtube blog

Google to replace Drive with Google One

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Google just announced their new Google One service. Google One will replace the existing Google Drive service and will allow users to buy additional storage that can be used across its various properties (gmail, drive, photos, etc). 

In addition to the new name, Google is throwing in some additional goodies into the existing plans

  • The $US9.99 ($CAD13.99) 1 TB storage plan will be upgraded to 2 TB for free
  • A new 200 GB tier will be implemented ($US2.99)

Existing 1 TB customers will automatically get upgraded in the coming weeks as soon as the move is implemented. 

Google One will allow you to share your storage allocation with up to 5 accounts. Each will have their own private storage using the total allocation.

Google promises to add some sort of consumer product help and provide "extras" like Google Play credits for subscribers. There aren't too many details yet so we'll have to wait and see. Sounds a lot like the TMobile Tuesday promo.

Google promises to roll out Google One to users in the USA over the coming weeks. No news on the global expansion yet.

Turn your legit link into a scary one

GeneralEdward Kiledjian1 Comment
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When Google finally shut down its Goo.gl shortening service, I wrote an article about the best alternative URL shorteners. 

Security specialists cringe at these services because they can often be used to hide attacks, but when brute forced (using a program that tries to find valid links automatically), you can usually find classified or confidential information. If you are interested in this type of research, check out this academic paper entitled "Gone in Six Characters: Short URLs Considered Harmful for Cloud Services."

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The TLDR is that shortened URLs can be scanned using automation and doing so reveals a tone of Microsoft OneDrive accounts storing private information (most unlocked). Knowing that these files are automatically downloaded (most of the time) to the user's PC through synchronization, a threat actor can weaponize them. The researchers also discovered location information such as driving instructions for specialize medical services, prisons or adult establishments. 

Make that link scary

None of these valid concerns is the reason I wrote this article though. The purpose of this article is to take legitimate links and make them scary (at least for tech-savvy recipients). 

The purpose of VeryLegit is to take good links and make them scary (without actually being dangerous of course).

When asked how the service works, the humorous authors deliver this little gem:

Due to rapid advancement in dark ritual technology, the programming community has streamlined the development and deployment of unspeakable eldritch horrors. Using robust open-source libraries like a sack of live geese, websites like this one can be developed with far more efficient sacrificial rituals than ever before. We’re still stuck on the version with really inefficient sacrifical rituals though, due to comp͆aͭatib̊i̼͕l̈̿i̮̜t̚y̅ ͊i͋s̾s̢͈͠u̶e̛̊s̼̃.
— verylegit.link

Let's try it

1 - You copy a link like my article about Google Tasks  "https://www.kiledjian.com/main/2018/4/25/google-launches-new-tasks-app-mobile-web"

2- You paste it into the magical input box

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3 - You click on Make it look dodgy

4 - You copy the scary looking link (http://ctf.verylegit.link/+javaexploit_970speedupurpc!!install-now!!java0day.docm.js.pdf) and voila.  Scare the pants of a tech-aware friend. 

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It will redirect you to your original link only adding lots of scary extensions typically used by scammers and Nigerian princes wanting to give you millions of dollars.

So welcome to Monday, time to have some fun.

Google launches New Tasks App (Mobile & Web)

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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In a blog post entitled "With new security and intelligent features, the new Gmail means business", David Thacker (Google VP Product Management, G Suite) announced, "We’re also introducing a new way to manage work on the go with Tasks."

The new refreshed Tasks system will be available on the web and have accompanying mobile apps (Android and IOS). The new updated Tasks system will allow you to create tasks & subtasks with due dates and notifications. 

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The current tasks was an anemic stand-alone product that barely worked. The new one will integrate into the G Suite and allow you to drag & drop emails from GMAIL, files from Google Drive and more. 

Now you can quickly reference, create or edit Calendar invites, capture ideas in Keep or manage to-dos in Tasks all from a side panel in your inbox.
— David Thacker

The announcement is happening in the G Suite (Enterprise blog), but this update will flow to the free consumer-friendly version as well. 

The Google help centre provides additional information about how all of this will work.

Download the new Android version here and the IOS one here

Best URL shorteners

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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URL shorteners are something you either use a lot or never. Google launched it's own URL shortening service in 2009 with unique (at the time) features like third-party API access, QR code generation, ability to use easily on mobile. 

But Google is retiring this public facing service and replacing it with Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL) accessible by developers only. 

This is not surprising since Twitter retired Deck.ly when it acquired TweetDeck.

If you have links, Google is giving you until March 30, 2019, to figure out what you are going to do (even though you will lose the ability to create new short links on April 13). 

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What are the best Goo.gl alternatives?

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1 - Bit.ly

The first alternative has to be Bit.ly which is one of the most popular URL shortening services on the internet and one of the oldest. You create an account and then generate short links as required (you can also choose a tag to group your URL). 

Bitly allows you to create custom branded short URLs, which is excellent for marketing. 

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2 - Ow.ly

Hootsuite runs a service called Ow.ly. Ow.ly offers all of the features of Bit.ly but integrates with HootSuite. So if you use Hootsuite to manage your social media presence, this could be the best option for you.

The big difference is that Bit.ly allows you to quickly shorten a link from their main webpage without having to sign-up whereas Ow.ly does not.

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3 - rebrandly.com

Many lists include Firebase from Google but I am omitting it since it is only designed for use by developers in apps (not useful for the average Joe). My last recommendation is Rebrandly.com which offers custom URL shorteners. Many large cloud companies are Rebrandly customers (such as Microsoft, Dropbox, etc).

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Before you get scared and look away, they offer a free tier that will meet the needs of most users.

Conclusion

A URL shortener is a service that you will rely on for years, and I have presented the companies (services) that look to be the most stable. Remeber that when the service disappears's your links break which could wreak havoc on your social strategy.