Windows 10 Pro for Workstations Unveiled by Microsoft, Available This Fall

Microsoft on Thursday announced a new edition of Windows 10 Pro targeted at power users with high-end hardware. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will be available to power users as part of Fall Creators Update, which will be available this fall.

For those unaware, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is a high-end edition of Windows 10 Pro which comes with support for server grade PC hardware and has been designed to meet critical and compute intensive workloads.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations Unveiled by Microsoft, Available This FallMicrosoft says that Windows 10 Pro for Workstations has been optimised to increase performance and reliability with features like ReFS (Resilient File System) which provides cloud-grade resiliency for data on fault-tolerant storage spaces and manages very large volumes with ease, and faster file sharing with a feature called SMB Direct which supports the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability. It also promises persistent memory that provides the most demanding apps and data with the performance they require with non-volatile memory modules (NVDIMM-N) hardware. This ensures read and write of files with the “fastest speed possible, the speed of the computer’s main memory,” claims Microsoft.

“Users will now be able to run Windows 10 Pro for Workstations on devices with high performance configurations including server grade Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors, with up to 4 CPUs (which is today limited to 2 CPUs) and add massive memory up to 6TB (today limited to 2TB),” Microsoft’s Klaus Diaconu, Partner Group Program Manager, Windows and Devices Group wrote in an announcement blog post.

Microsoft rebrands Beam streaming service and adds co-streaming support

We’ve hardly had time to get acquainted with Beam, the name of Microsoft’s live game streaming service that was introduced to Windows 10 with the Creators Update, but it’s time to call it something else. That’s because Microsoft today announced a name change, along with a few new features.

Beam is now called Mixer. Matt Salsamendi, one of the co-founders of Mixer and the service’s engineering lead, said it was a “tough decision” to change the name and not one that he and Microsoft made lightly. So why do it?

“We believe so much in the power of the platform and want to grow it in every major market around the world.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t something we could do with the Beam name. We chose Mixer as our new name because it represents what we love most about the service….how it brings people together,” Salsamendi stated in a blog post announcing the name change.

He also used the name change as an opportunity to knock the competition.

“Mixer is livestreaming that is actually LIVE, compared to the 10-20 second latency you typically get on other platforms,” Salsamendi added.

Name changes like this typically don’t occur unless there is a legal reason behind it, as was the case when Microsoft renamed its SkyDrive cloud service to OneDrive. If that is the case here, Microsoft is not fessing up to it.

In any event, there is more here than just a rebranding to Mixer. In an attempt to separate Mixer from competing services such as Twitch and YouTube, Microsoft added a co-streaming service that lets four PC streamers combine their broadcasts into a shared split-screen view.

This is available now to all Mixer users. In a few weeks time, Microsoft will add the ability for Xbox One users to invite friends to co-stream right from the Guide.

Tying in with this new ability is a new beta app for mobile devices called Mixer Create. Available for Android and iOS devices, it enables self-broadcasting from mobile phones and tablets. Microsoft says it will add the ability to stream gameplay from mobile devices to the Mixer service sometime soon. Once this rolls out, mobile users will be able to co-stream with friends who are broadcasting on Windows 10 PCs, as well as Xbox One consoles and other mobile devices.

Microsoft also added Channel One, a moderated channel that is always on and shows what is happening across Mixer. Microsoft will use this channel to highlight various content, such as major game releases, livestream events, esports updates, and so forth

Samsung Apologizes For steering users far from windows 10

Well, that changed into short! Samsung has issued a public apology for remarks made via its support team of workers that requested users no longer to upgrade to home windows 10 due to incompatible drivers.

Samsung Logo Light

This tale broke out the day gone by, and reason a chunk of a stir.

It so went that some of Samsung clients experienced bugs and problems after making their upgrades to windows 10, and employer aid representatives in the united kingdom told them through private emails that they encouraged staying with the cutting-edge windows variations.

at least, until the proper drivers are to be had.

but in a announcement furnished to the authentic supply, Samsung now says that what users acquired became incorrect facts and pointed anyone to the organisation’s official website for more information:

“We apologise for any confusion because of a latest incident wherein a customer service representative mistakenly supplied wrong information approximately windows 10 upgrades for Samsung notebooks. We would love to remind our clients that they are able to visit the Samsung internet site wherein there is targeted records on the home windows 10 improve applicability for every Samsung notebook version run via home windows 7, windows 8 and home windows 8.1.”

interestingly, the hardware massive continues to be no longer mainly recommending the improve to home windows 10, asking customers to as a substitute test on-line whether or not their model is like minded with the today’s model of the running machine or no longer.

alternatively, Samsung isn’t alone in having those motive force troubles.

several carriers have had problems with drivers in particular for home windows 10, inclusive of VAIO and Sony, the former of which went thru a comparable ordeal asking customers no longer to upgrade to the new OS.

genuinely, this is something in an effort to take some time to get proper, as dealing with drivers is one of the hardest matters for hardware corporations.

Microsoft’s selfie-obsessed Lumia 735 debuts on Verizon for under $200

Microsoft lumia 735

People have moved on from snapping pictures of weddings and graduations. Now, they put themselves in the picture. And Microsoft’s Lumia 735, available today on Verizon for under $200, was designed for exactly that.

Microsoft has designed the Lumia 735 explicitly with selfies in mind: there’s a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and even the 6.7MP rear camera can be aligned on your face with the built-in Lumia Selfie app. It’s also worth noting that the phone ships with the Lumia Denim firmware, which helps the phone fire off quick shots.

Verizon will charge $192 for the Lumia 735, or $8 per month (for 24 months) on Verizon Edge, when it ships next month; you can preorder it now. Verizon has also tossed in a year’s subscription to Office 365 Personal, which adds another $70 worth of value to the whole affair. When Microsoft announced the Lumia 735 last fall, the company expected you’d pay about $288 for the Lumia 735; the price has dropped significantly since then.

Think of the Lumia 735 as the little brother of the Lumia 830, with the Lumia 830 carving out a niche as the “affordable flagship” of the Lumia line. The Lumia 735 is nothing fancy; in fact, besides the emphasis on selfies, little stands out.

In general, there’s a good mix of low- to midrange components inside the Lumia 735. It ships with a 4.7-inch, 1280×720 OLED screen with sunlight readability enhancements and a high brightness mode; 1GB of memory; 8GB of internal storage; and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core chip running at 1.2GHz. A removable 2,200mAh battery is also included. The phone weighs 134.3 grams and measures 134.7 mm x 68.5 mm x 8.9 mm. Since the phone runs on Verizon, however, it also supports the carrier’s XLTE network.

While the phone can be charged with a wired charger, Microsoft also has provided a line of wireless charging docks in orange, green, white, red, and cyan, that can be purchased for an additional $25.

Why this matters: For all of our myopic focus on flagships, readers keep telling us that price matters—a lot. With the Lumia 735, Microsoft has pared down the feature set to what most phone users tend to do: take selfies, browse the Web on a high-speed network, and run a few apps.

Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL, the Windows Phone phablet for the masses, comes to U.S.

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Microsoft has said that we won’t be seeing any flagship Windows phones until after the Windows 10 mobile launch later this year, but anyone who’s dying to get their hands on a big hunk of Windows Phone goodness at a fair price should head over to AT&T and check out the Lumia 640XL, which is making its U.S. debut in just a few days.

First announced in March during Mobile World Congress, this 5.7-inch LTE phablet is the big brother to the Lumia 640, which we recently reviewed.

The XL phablet features a 720p ClearBlack display, 1GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of onboard storage, and a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB of additional storage. The device is also rocking a 13 megapixel camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, and comes with the Lumia Camera app. AT&T says it has up to 25 hours of talk time from the handset’s 3,000mAh battery.

For software, the 640 XL comes with Windows Phone 8.1 (Denim), and Microsoft Office with a year’s subscription to Office 365. The phone will set you back about $250 through payments on Next, AT&T’s early upgrade program.

In January, Microsoft said the majority of Windows 8.1 phones would make the cut for a Windows 10 upgrade. Given how close to the Windows 10 roll out this phone is being released, the 640 XL will likely get the new operating system.

The impact on you at home: Anyone who’s been dying to get this phone could already pick up the international version from importers on Amazon. But for those who prefer to wait for the official version from a U.S. carrier, your time is now. Well, almost. AT&T plans to release the phone on Friday, June 26. It isn’t taking pre-orders and is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the 640 XL.

Microsoft’s augmented reality Halo is breathtaking, but HoloLens still needs work



On Monday, I started to think I might be wrong about HoloLens. It was in the midst ofMicrosoft’s E3 press conference—we were treated to an extensive live demo of the device which even a jaded cynic like myself admitted was pretty impressive. There we were, watching a man literally stare at a blank table. Except, of course, HoloLens revealed an entire holographic Minecraft world sitting in front of him. You could see it too, if only you were wearing HoloLens!

It looked fantastic. Much better than CastAR and some of the other similar devices I’ve used.

Looks can be deceiving, though.

minecraft hololens
Sadly, using HoloLens doesn’t really feel like this.

Hollow Lens

I don’t mean to imply Microsoft’s E3 demo was intentionally misleading. I mean, maybe it was, but that’s not really a major concern of mine. I’m not here to blow a whistle or anything.

But on Wednesday I finally got to try out HoloLens myself, courtesy of a Microsoft demo it’s calling the “Halo 5: Guardians Experience.” Suffice it to say my HoloLens experience was quite a bit different from what we saw onstage.

First of all, let me say that the set Microsoft built for this demo was pretty spectacular all on its own. The whole demo took place in a series of rooms designed to look like part of a UNSC ship, and for good reason: The demo is set up as a “briefing,” with a virtual commander laying out intelligence on an upcoming battle (which was, in fact, a standardHalo multiplayer match after the HoloLens portion wrapped up).

Basically we went into the first room, told the technician our IPD (interpupillary distance), put on the headset, and then…reality became augmented.


There were a few pieces to the demo. First was a navigation aspect, with the headset putting an “Objective Marker” into the world for you to walk towards. Second was a brief taste of the technology itself, which had us staring through a window and into a miniature UNSC hangar bay—when, in reality, we were staring at a blank wall. I swear, augmented reality will make lunatics of us all.

The lengthiest part of the demo was the briefing itself. Here, we gathered around a blank table—sensing a pattern here?—and basically received our orders. The table came alive with various “holograms,” showing us the map’s terrain, enemy emplacements, et cetera.

Further reading: 33 must-see PC games revealed at E3 2015

And I will say this: It was really cool. The objects had a certain Tron vibe to them, a made-from-light quality, but still seemed real enough to reach out and touch. I can certainly envision augmented reality taking off in a big way once the tech is good enough.

Trouble in AR paradise

But the tech is not good enough. Therein lies the crux of the problem. HoloLens—like Google Glass, like the Virtual Boy, like the donut burger—is an early iteration of a technology that isn’t quite ready. The result is a device that’s a little bit impressive and a lot janky.

My chief complaint? The field of view is terrible. Your eyes have a natural field of view of about 180 degrees. Starbreeze’s new StarVR headset boasts 210 degrees. Oculus and Valve’s virtual reality headsets compromised on 110 degrees.

I don’t know what the field of view is on HoloLens, but if the Oculus Rift/HTC Vive have a “looking at the world through ski goggles” feel on occasion, then HoloLens is like looking at a cell phone screen someone held up five feet in front of your face. Or like peering at the world through the slit of a welding mask.

The field of view is so small—both vertically and horizontally—that Microsoft’s own demo didn’t fit the constraints. I constantly had to tilt my head up and down, left and right to try and take in the full scope of the “holograms” in the Halo 5 experience. And these weren’t massive, life-size objects. They were eight-inch-tall scale models (if I had to estimate based on the size of the table and the perceived “distance” from my eyes).


It’s doubly distracting because due to the way HoloLens is designed, you can see the rest of your surroundings around the outside of the holographic image. If whatever you’re looking at stretches past the edge of HoloLens’s tiny projection, it just cuts off—a very screen-like feeling.

The end result? One demo and you understand why Microsoft has attached neither price nor release date to this “miraculous” tech. Believe me, if this thing actually behaved the way it looked during that E3 press conference, Microsoft would sell it. Even if it performed a reasonable approximation, Microsoft would probably sell it—look at the original Kinect stage demos versus the reality of Kinect V1.

HoloLens is not ready for public consumption though, and Microsoft (I assume) knows it. Technological wizardry is one thing. Selling someone a product is another. Right now, HoloLens is a sideshow accoutrement—a cool gimmick before you go play “the real game” i.e. a regular Halo multiplayer match, on a regular ol’ flatscreen TV. Virtual reality isn’t perfect—there are kinks to work out, and skepticism to overcome. But at least the basic tech specs were nailed and I can present you with a dozen different reasons you might want to own a virtual reality headset.

Augmented reality, though? If HoloLens is the best we’ve got, then we still have a long way to go.

Hands-on: Windows 10 Mobile build 10136 shows polished Cortana, new Photo app

Windows 10 Mobile Build 10136

Microsoft claims the latest version of its Cortana digital assistant within build 10136 of Windows 10 Mobile is nearly complete, and it shows. It launches quickly, provides a comprehensive view of your day, and sparkles, fresh and clean.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite as impressed with the rest of it.

Microsoft released the latest build of Windows 10 Mobile on Wednesday, after warningthat prospective testers would either have to downgrade their existing Windows 10 Mobile phones back to Windows Phone 8.1 or else upgrade a newer phone. I chose the latter, upgrading the massive Lumia 1520 phablet to the latest build.

That proved fortuitous, because build 10136 adds a one-handed mode for straphangers, covert texting, and other scenarios where you can’t hold your phone with two hands. Microsoft also delivered a lovely update to the Photos app, organizing your photos thoroughly—and, even better, adding the Lumia Camera app to phones like the Nokia Icon. There’s also a number of other random, minor UI improvements scattered throughout. But Cortana’s the star attraction for Windows Phone, and the app looks and feels terrific.

What’s not so terrific in this build: an inability to pin tiles to the home screen, multiple Search (Cortana) apps, Live Tiles that either wouldn’t work or simply stopped working, and the like. I can certainly chalk these up to preview software, but let’s hope Microsoft solves these problems soon.

First, the good news: Cortana looks great

windows 10 mobile cortana finalMARK HACHMAN
Here’s the overview of what Cortana thinks you need to know.

Google Now, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana continue to elbow each other aside as the three digital assistants compete to be the most prescient and helpful. Following Apple’s unveiling of improvements to Siri with iOS 9, it’s now Microsoft’s turn to improve Cortana, and build 10136 does just that.

Each assistant has its own style: Siri works quietly behind the scenes. Google Now briskly doles out a series of cards. Cortana provides a one-page executive summary of what she believes you ought to see, and presents it to you when you trigger what’s now called the Search app.

After a bit of introduction, Cortana gets down to work: She opened my page with the score of the Oakland A’s game in progress, reminded me I had a water bill to pay, and finished off with the latest Microsoft news. Be sure and scroll down—there was actually a long list of items that includes local weather and nearby places to eat, arranged in a card-like fashion.

Cortana didn’t find a note from Amazon announcing that a shipment was en route, as it promises to do. When I asked, “where is my package,” it snapped up a list of search results lickety-split—not the answer I was looking for, though. You can ask her stock prices and other facts, and the results were swift in my experience.

All the CortanasMARK HACHMAN
Cortana on (from left to right) Windows 8.1 Update, Windows 10 Mobile Build 10030, Windows 10 Mobile Build 10136.

What I like about this version of Cortana is that she is explicitly helpful. Cortana explained that she was providing me the in-game score, and also asked midway down the page whether I wanted to continue receiving restaurant recommendations. Google does this as well, but much more impersonally.

If this is the Cortana Microsoft ships as part of Windows 10, I think you’ll like it.

A series of Live Tile issues, solved with a reboot

You may experience some problems with Live Tiles on the home screen after installing the new build; I did.  For whatever reason, I was able to add apps as Live Tiles soon after the build was installed. But I quickly found that I couldn’t add any more apps, and that those that I had installed on the start screen either failed to show live information or inexplicably stopped working. They even rearranged themselves randomly on one occasion. That prevented apps like Cortana or my battery meter from displaying live information. Fortunately, a reboot seemed to solve the problem.

The new build also showed me two identical Search and Phone apps in my app list, leaving me to wonder which one was “wrong.”

Photos continues to look better

Microsoft’s Photos app has evolved into a universal app that will eventually straddle PCs, tablets, and phones, and it looks like it: The thumbnails are a bit smaller than you may be used to on Windows Phone 8.1, and they load slowly. They are, however, more neatly organized, especially with a new by-month view that allows you to quickly find your vacation photos from last August.

Windows Mobile 10 Build 10136 Photos
The month-by-monthn view within the new Photos app helps you find shots quickly.

If you’re running the new build on one of Microsoft’s somewhat tired flagship phones—the 930, Icon, or 1520, as well as the new Lumia 640 or Lumia 640XL—Microsoft recommends that you download the new Lumia Camera betaapp. It allows you to shoot video with Lumia Moments, then extract pictures; quickly snap pics with the camera; anddynamically adjust the flash using Rich Capture. Unfortunately, Microsoft thought I had maxed out the number of Windows phones allowed under my account and wouldn’t let me download the app. Still, I’ve tried the new camera apps elsewhere and can wholeheartedly recommend them.

One-handed use: sort of, well, meh…

I’m a big fan of phablets, and I carry a bag that typically holds the Lumia 1520, a Lumia Icon, and a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. But on any crowded Bay Area BART train, I find it difficult to fumble with my phone while holding on to a strap or handrail. Microsoft solves this problem—sort of—via long-press of the Windows home key, which moves the top of the screen closer to your stretching fingers.

This works all right in practice. Aesthetically, I dislike the black background that Microsoft shows on the top of the screen while the rest of it is pulled down. It feels like you’ve fallen off the home screen. (Show the background instead!) But it works, including the ability to pull down the top drawer of quick-action items.

A potpourri of icon changes

Microsoft also made a number of random changes to the new build’s UI. The PIN pad is transparent, for example. The quick-action shortcuts on the top of the screen differ somewhat from the last build, too—they’re flatter, and boast a different font. I noticed that when I tapped the back arrow to load a previous app, a grid of apps appeared, rather than a horizontal queue.  Microsoft also tucked a new background behind my home screen, of a swimmer cutting though the water.

Windows Mobile 10 Build 10136 action icons
The new Action icons within Wndows 10 Mobile.

Because I loaded the new build of Windows 10 onto a new phone, I wasn’t able to draw direct comparisons to the performance of the new build, one over the other. It’s quite a mixed bag, however. Cortana’s responses were extremely snappy, to the point that I wondered if frequent requests were cached on the phone. But every time I jumped back to the home screen, I saw a “loading” icon for a second or two. I don’t want to see that, ever.

My Surface Pro 3 also failed to recognize the Windows Phone when connected to it. The phone’s OneDrive app doesn’t seem to quite work, either, so it’s a bit of a pain getting photos off the device. Twitter’s app repeatedly crashed, as well.

We can chalk all that up to beta software. Still, the clock’s ticking. If the reports are correct, we have about three and a half months, max, before Windows Mobile 10 rolls out. I’m enthused by how Cortana looks. The next step is applying the same sort of rigor to the remainder of the operating system and its apps.

The Xbox-Oculus partnership won’t harm HoloLens

oculus rift consumer june 11 2015

Oculus VR revealed the final version of its Rift virtual reality headset on Thursday, but the partnership between the Facebook-owned company and Microsoft may have raised some eyebrows.

Under terms of the deal, an Xbox One controller will come with the Rift, people will be able to stream Xbox games to the headset and the device will be compatible with Windows 10.

Although Facebook and Microsoft have collaborated on various projects for several years, this partnership may seem strange. After all, Microsoft is developing its HoloLens headset for augmented reality, and it has demoed it in conjunction with its Minecraft game.

But upon closer inspection, the Rift and HoloLens provide very different virtual experiences.

hololen hardwareJON PHILLIPS
Microsoft’s HoloLens behind a glass case.

Two different things

Rift deals with virtual reality and makes users feel like they’re in the digital environment, while HoloLens deals with augmented reality and layers holograms over the real world, said J.P. Gownder, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

“The immersive gaming you can do in the Rift, you can’t do in HoloLens,” Gownder said.

For example, during its recent Build conference, Microsoft demonstrated HoloLens with Minecraft and had people play the game on a coffee table. With HoloLens, the furniture in a person’s home becomes part of the experience, he said.

Even though Microsoft has showed HoloLens can be used for playing games, the company has instead emphasized enterprise uses for the headset, he said.

For example, Microsoft has demonstrated how architects could use HoloLens to create models of buildings they’re designing or how medical students could study 3D images of the heart.

Another sign that HoloLens will be aimed at businesses primarily is that it’s a self-contained computer and thus will be likely pricier than the Rift, which needs to be hooked up to a Windows PC, he said. Microsoft hasn’t yet announced pricing for HoloLens.

Xbox One
The Oculus Rift will ship with an Xbox One controller.

“Going where the customers are”

Moreover, the partnership with Facebook will help Microsoft in the virtual reality gaming space, where it lags behind Sony, which makes the rival PlayStation game console, he said. Sony’s virtual reality headset, called Project Morpheus, comes out next year, which is also when the Rift is scheduled to ship to consumers.

Getting its technology to work with the highly anticipated Rift allows Microsoft “to go where their customers are” and shows the company isn’t interested in “playing platform wars with everything,” Gownder said.

Meanwhile, Oculus gets access to the Xbox games, giving Rift users content to choose from, and, by including an Xbox controller with the headset, makes the virtual reality experience more interactive.

Giving people a way to interact with a digital world is a key part of virtual reality and the controller bundle is a “good first step” in providing that connectivity, he said.

Although the Rift will only work with Windows PCs, at least initially, and require version 7.1 of the OS are higher, don’t expect these requirements to lead to a surge in Windows 10 sales, Gownder said.

The people most likely to buy the Rift are high-end PC users with machines that already have the required computing specs, he said.

Microsoft provides privacy dashboard ahead of Windows 10 launch

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Microsoft gave its privacy policy and service agreement a facelift Thursday, and offered users a new central clearinghouse to manage privacy settings for all the data the company keeps about them.

The newly-minted privacy dashboard (included in the Security and Privacy section of Microsoft’s account administration page) gives users links to control data stored for personalizing their experience on Bing, what apps and services use their information, whether Microsoft personalizes ads for them and whether the company can market to them via email. It’s part of a move by the company to unify and simplify most of its service agreements and privacy policies for various products under one document.

Horatio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, wrote in a blog post that the changes were aimed at creating “straightforward terms and policies that people can easily understand.” The new Microsoft Services Agreement, which goes into effect on August 1, covers most of the company’s consumer services, including Bing, Cortana, and Xbox Live.

The updates to Microsoft’s policies don’t seem to radically change anything that was previously there. The company reorganized both documents, and combined multiple services, so it’s nearly impossible to make a direct comparison, but there don’t seem to be any surprises hiding in the agreements. The biggest change appears to be the simplification of the language that the agreements use in order to make it easier to read for people who aren’t lawyers.

Like the company’s current services agreement, the new one includes a dispute resolution clause that prohibits users from bringing class action lawsuits and requires them to bring individual disputes in either small claims court or before binding arbitration. Clauses like that have become increasingly popular among tech companies, with firms like Amazon, Netflix and even Snapchat including them in their terms of service agreements.

Microsoft’s Privacy Statement also got a facelift, with some changes to allow new services in Windows 10. Like the service agreement, it will kick in on August 1 for most users, though some new services in the Windows 10 beta will operate under the updated policy before then. In the case of those services, the people who use them will be notified which policy applies.

The timing of Microsoft’s announcement was hardly coincidental: the new service agreement will take effect for most people the day after Windows 10 launches. The changes in the operating system, like the inclusion of the company’s virtual assistant Cortana, would have led Microsoft to update its policies anyway, even if the company didn’t simplify them.

Consolidating the privacy policies and simplifying the terms in service agreements isn’t really anything new in the tech sector: Google updated its privacy policy in 2012 to bring more than 70 different documents into one central agreement. More recently, the Mountain View-based company put a user’s privacy and security information into one place in their Google account