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Consumer Catch-up: Snapchat redesign, Gmail filters periods, bank survey, Nest privacy concerns

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Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side have consumer stories you should know about for Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (KGO-TV)

Snapchat promises redesign

Snapchat is promising a redesign of portions of its app, after backlash from users. Two weeks ago, the company launched a new look for the app, which Snapchat said would make it easier to use.

Users disagreed, and more than 1.2 million people signed a Change.org petition demanding Snapchat go back to its former look.

Snapchat listened. In a response, the company promised that some of the new pages will adapt to each user and "get smarter over time."

Snapchat also said it will roll out tabs in the Friends and Discover pages to allow users to sort things within the app and customize their experience.

Gmail filters out periods

Don't stress over whether to include a period in your Gmail account. Google says they don't matter, and filters them out.

In a blog post on their Help page, Google explains that the Gmail account "johnsmith@gmail.com" and "john.smith@gmail.com" both come through to the same user. If someone tries to use a version of the account with a new period added, they will get an error message saying that user name is already taken.

Google says this comes in handy if someone mistypes your email address and adds or removes the period. It only works for @gmail.com accounts though, so if you use Gmail through another organization, the missing period will change your address.

Americans prefer physical banks

If you opened a bank account recently, chances are you did it in person.

A new survey from banking analytics company Novantas found that 60% of Americans would rather open a bank account in person than online.

Reuters reports the survey also found half of Americans feel that online-only banks are "less legitimate" than brick-and-mortar options. If something goes wrong with your account, people prefer to have the option of getting help in person.

Click here to read about one mobile bank that says it will pay customers more interest on their accounts.

Privacy concerns over Nest camera

Google announced today the company's voice-activated assistant is now available to owners of the Nest Cam IQ. The move may expand privacy concerns about internet-connected microphones.

The free update rolls out just two weeks after Nest moved back under Google's direct control. It previously spend almost two and a half years as a separate company owned by parent Alphabet, Inc.

Privacy watchdogs have warned about internet-connected devices potentially being used as surveillance tools. There have been instances when Google's Home speaker has been caught "listening" when it was thought to be off.

Some worry that Google may eventually use information collected from these devices to sell targeted ads. Nest maintains that it doesn't share customer's personal information with Google's ad network.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Web copy written by Miranda Dotson

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business7 On Your Sideu.s. & worldconsumerconsumer concernssnapchattechnologygooglesecuritybanksSan Francisco
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