Summer 2021 Technology Newsletter

By: Michael Kealy

Welcome Back!

On behalf of the Technology Department welcome back for a new school year! As we try to get the school year underway I want to encourage you to use the technology ticket system with any requests or concerns you or your students may have. Please be patient as my team and I work to resolve any reported issues as September is historically our busiest month of the year. Thanks in advance for your patience as we work to continue supporting all district stakeholders in the reopening of school.

Faculty and Staff Laptop Pick Up

Faculty and staff laptop pick up will be Wednesday, 9/1 7am-8:25am and 9:15am-11:15am in the Beacon High School Library.

Virtru Email Encryption

In the spirit of NYS Ed Law 2d, and to empower faculty and staff to further protect personally identifiable information (PII), the Technology Department has deployed Virtu an email encryption tool to all faculty and staff email accounts.


Email Encryption is defined as: "encrypting, or disguising, the content of email messages in order to protect potentially sensitive information from being read by anyone other than intended recipients."


Faculty and staff should use this new tool whenever they are emailing personally identifiable information (PII) for example: student name, birthdate, mailing address, parent/guardian name, etc...


To use this new tool users can simply click the "V" radio button on the compose email screen (pictured below) and the email will be encrypted so that only the recipient can view the email.


This tool also gives faculty and staff more options by clicking the gear icon next to the "V" radio button (pictured below) to prevent mail forwarding and/or setting an expiration date for how long the recipient can access a message. Users can also add watermarks and/or persistent protection which allows the sender to revoke the email and or attachments at a future date.


If you have any questions about this new tool please submit a technology help desk ticket.

Big picture

Student Chromebook Distribution

Nearly all returning students should have their Chromebook when they return to school as they were asked to keep them over the summer. The Technology Department will be working with building principals in the upcoming weeks to issue Chromebooks to new students. This process will more than likely take about 2 weeks from the first day students return as there have been a large amount of registrants across the 6 buildings throughout the district. Thanks in advance for your patience as we work to distribute these Chromebooks as quickly as possible.

K-8 Student Email Changes

During the summer the Technology Department added a restriction to K-8 student email accounts so that K-8 students can no longer send or receive email outside of the district domain @beaconk12.org. This change was made in the interest of both student safety and network security.

Summer 2021 Updates From Google

Visual update to the Gmail search box

Quick launch summary

Google is making two updates to the search box in Gmail:

  • Updated advanced search icon: There’s an updated icon to access advanced search options, and the icon placement has changed (see images below). When you click this icon, you get a visual interface incorporating Gmail’s advanced search operators to help you find specific emails.

  • Update to the prompt text for Gmail and Chat users: If you use Gmail and Google Chat, the hint text in the search box wll now say "search all conversations". If you only use Gmail, there will be no change and the text will still say “search mail".


There is no update to any functionality with this update, it’s only a user interface update.


We’re updating the advanced search icon in Gmail

Advanced search helps you utilize Gmail’s advanced search operators


Getting started

Rollout pace

Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers.

Resources

Select multiple tabs in Google Sheets and perform basic actions on the selection

Quick launch summary

Now you can select multiple tabs in Google Sheets and perform basic actions on the selection (such as moving the tabs together, deleting, duplicating, copying, coloring, or hiding). Work in Google Sheets with confidence and make workflows faster as you perform basic actions on more than one sheet at a time.


Getting started


Rollout pace


Availability

  • Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Frontline, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Nonprofits, Cloud Identity Free, Cloud Identity Premium

Resources

Block shares from another user in Google Drive

What’s changing

As we recently announced on the Cloud Blog, we’re adding the ability to block another user in Google Drive. If blocked, the user will not be able to share any Drive items with you, and items owned by the user will not be able to be shared with you or be shown when you’re browsing Google Drive. In addition, your files will not be available to the user you’ve blocked, even if you’ve previously shared items with them.


Note that you can’t block users within your domain, and blocking a user on Drive will also block them from interacting with you on other apps and services.


Who’s impacted

End users

Why you’d use it

Google Drive enables both individuals and organizations to store, share, and collaborate from anywhere. Drive’s sharing capabilities fuel productivity and collaboration, but bad actors can abuse tools that are meant to facilitate helpful sharing. That's why we are creating a way to block other users. By using this feature, you can:

Block another user from sharing any content with you in the future. This can be a useful control if, for example, another user has a history of sending spam or abusive content.

Remove all existing files and folders shared by another user. This is an easy way to get rid of all spam or abusive content shared from a specific user at one time.

Remove another person’s access to your content, even if you’ve previously shared it with them.



User blocking will not only preserve Drive sharing’s helpfulness, but most importantly preserve the safety of Drive users.

Getting started


Blocking an individual from future sharing in Google Drive



Rollout pace

Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers. Also available to users with personal Google Accounts.

Resources

Directly open Office editing from shared links

Quick launch summary


Now, when you create links to shared Microsoft Office files stored in Drive, they will open directly in Google Docs, Sheets or Slides. Previously, Office files would open in a preview mode first — this streamlined experience allows you to begin editing and collaborating on these files faster.


This change also updates the alternateLink and webViewLink fields for shared links in the Google Drive API.


Getting started


Rollout pace


Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers

Resources

Smart Compose now available in comments for Google Slides, Sheets, and Drawings

Quick launch summary

Last year, we announced Smart Compose in Google Docs, a feature that helps you compose high-quality content faster and more easily. Smart Compose saves you time by cutting back on repetitive writing, reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors, and suggesting relevant contextual phrases.


Now, Smart Compose is available in comments for Google Slides, Sheets, and Drawings.


Getting started

  • End users: This feature will be ON by default and can be disabled by going to Tools > Preferences and unchecking “Show Smart Compose Suggestions.” When enabled, you’ll automatically see Smart Compose suggestions. To accept a suggestion you like, press “tab” or press the right arrow key. Visit the Help Center to learn more about using Smart Compose in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings.


Rollout pace

  • This feature is available now for all users.


Availability

  • Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Frontline, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Nonprofits, Cloud Identity Free, Cloud Identity Premium


Resources

Add up to 25 co-hosts per meeting and expanded safety features for Google Meet

What’s changing

We’re expanding meeting moderation controls in Google Meet with several highly requested features. You’ll now be able to:

  • Assign up to 25 co-hosts per meeting, allowing them to access and utilize the host controls.

  • Use safety features to limit who can share their screen, send chat messages, mute all users and end meetings

  • Use the “Quick access” setting to easily control who needs to request permission to join a meeting.

Previously, these safety features were only available to Google Workspace for Education customers. These controls will now be available for all Google Meet users on the desktop and mobile. See below for more information and availability.


Who’s impacted

Admins and end users


Why it’s important

We hope these expanded controls make it easier for you to keep meetings productive, safe, and help prevent potential disruptions. Additionally, delegated co-hosts can handle responsibilities such as—muting participants, launching polls, managing Q&As—giving you more time to focus on leading discussions and guiding attendees through presentations.


Additional details

New controls for meeting hosts, which can be extended to co-hosts

In the Google Meet settings, select “Host controls” and ensure the “Host management” option is toggled ON. When enabled, hosts can now:

  • Limit who can share their screen,

  • Limit who can send chat messages,

  • Mute all with one click,

  • End the meeting for all,

  • Control who can join the meeting and how they can join with the “Quick access” setting. Note: This feature is only available to specific Workspace editions — see below for more information.


For applicable Workspace editions (see more below), Meeting hosts can share hosting privileges with other meeting participants—up to 25 per meeting—by granting them host controls in the People panel.



Quick access Control

We’ve expanded the “quick access” control for Meet to most Google Workspace Customers (see below for full availability). The quick access control will be ON by default. When quick access is enabled, meeting participants from your domain can automatically join the meeting from a mobile or desktop device, and by dialing in.


When quick access is disabled:

  • The host must join the meeting first.

  • Only invited participants can join without asking — all other attendees and those dialing in must ask to join the meeting.

  • No anonymous users can join the meeting.

  • Only the host can dial out of the meeting.


Visit the Help Center to learn more about controlling access to a video meeting using the quick access control.


In the coming weeks, we will introduce a new setting in the admin console that will control Host Management. We will provide an update here on the Workspace Updates Blog when that setting becomes available.


Updates to the “People” panel

Additionally, we’ve added the ability to search for a meeting participant. This will allow you to quickly navigate to a specific user to mute them, kick them, or assign host privileges. The updated people panel will be available on web and mobile.


If you have assigned co-hosts in your meeting, they will be indicated as such with a security shield icon.


Getting started


Rollout pace

Google Meet on web and Android


Google Meet on iOS


Use this post in our community forum for more information on rollout progression and additional FAQs.



Availability

Moderation and Safety Controls

  • Available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Education Standard, the Teaching and learning Upgrade, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers

  • Also available to users with personal Google Accounts


Quick access settings:

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers

  • Not available to Google Workspace Individual customers or users with personal Google Accounts


Ability to add co-hosts

  • Available to Google Workspace Essentials, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Business Standard, Business Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Education Plus, and Teaching and Learning Upgrade customers

  • Not available to Google Workspace Business Starter, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers


Resources


Roadmap

Helping users prevent echo in Google Meet

Quick launch summary

We’re making it easier to identify and fix when an echo is happening in Google Meet video calls. ‘Echo’ can happen when your system feeds back audio into a call. Most of the time, Meet will intelligently control the audio to remove the echo. However, sometimes it still happens, and causes others to hear an echo from your device when they speak. Until now, it has been difficult for you to know when your device is causing an echo. Now, we will notify you when we detect a notable echo from your system which may be heard by other call participants with a red dot on the more options button, along with a text notification. Clicking on the notification will go to our Help Center, where you can find recommended steps which can help prevent echo.


Users may see a notification alerting them when they’re causing an echo


If you click on the notification, there’s troubleshooting steps you can take which might help reduce the echo


Getting started


Rollout pace

Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers

Resources