Posts Tagged ‘google’

YouTube – now with child controls

February 20th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

youtube 300x300 YouTube   now with child controlsNow we know that you can hide dirty films on YouTube, Google are launching a version of their video service that is designed for kids, which basically means it’ll be full of controls (that they’ll be able to bypass within seconds of looking at it) and child-appropriate content.

It’ll be a free app called, imaginatively, ‘YouTube Kids’ and is available from the relevant sources from next week.

Google aren’t making any comments about whether or not they’ll be displaying commercials and pop-up ads to children, but you can safely assume that they will be. What would be the point in them doing it otherwise?

“The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there’s a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children,” said Pavni Diwanji, vice president for engineering at Google.

Basically, one of the motivating factors is that Google tend to make their products with adults in mind, so they’re rejigging some stuff so they’ll cater to children better. And of course, there’s huge amounts of money to be made from kids nagging their parents.

However, one sticking point that is sure to become a loud argument over the next few months, is Google mining the information of children. They’ll inevitably have to get a system in place where they get parents to verify consent. Naturally, there’s a whole host of websites and games that kids use, so it won’t be difficult for Google to figure it all out. The app itself will filter certain words out as well, but seeing as children will be able to use the normal YouTube app and type things into search engines, it doesn’t really matter too much.

One interesting thing is that parents will be able to set time limits on how long their offspring will be able to use the app for, as well as being able to switch the sound off and stop the search function being available.

Google to let you build your own phone from March

February 16th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google plus logo Google to let you build your own phone from MarchHave you ever wanted to build your own customisable mobile phone? Most of you are probably quite happy to simply buy one that is ready-made, but Google see a future in having phones that are built by you, so your phone can be filled with things that you want.

They’re going to unveil such a thing at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in Barcelona, giving the world the first proper look at their modular mobiles.

This is all part of a thing called Project Ara and Toshiba are in on it too, developing a 5 megapixel camera module for Google’s Spiral 2, which is a phone that allows you to swap modules and gives you flexibility on what hardware your phone has.

One huge advantage with these modular phones, is that, should you break the screen on it, instead of buying a whole new handset, you can just buy a new screen and replace it yourself, without being one of those people who owns a soldering kit and likes pulling phones to bits for fun.

It looks like the phones will be unveiled next month, in March and the price will range from $50 to $500, depending on what base you want to work from.

More news when we get it – until then, here’s a video to explain it all and give you, dear reader, the chance to not read these words in the article itself.

Google to redesign Glass so you don’t look daft

February 6th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google glasses 300x200 Google to redesign Glass so you dont look daftGoogle had to retreat on their Glass project because people just aren’t ready to wear what is ostensibly a mobile phone on their face or, perhaps more pertinently, they look really stupid.

Well, they haven’t given up entirely on the idea as it transpires that Google are looking at completely redesigning the wearable technology, so people don’t look like massive divs while wearing them.

Google will be completely redesigning the frames from scratch and they won’t be released to the public until they’re happy with how they look, so don’t expect any pre-production models for developers and tech fiends.

While the glasses as we know them aren’t in production any more, Google have still be working with Glass. The most notable thing they’re doing is working Tony Fadell, who set up the ‘smart home’ project of Nest. The Internet Giant has also been working with jewellery designer Ivy Ross too.

Fadell has taken control of Google Glass and said that “early Glass efforts have broken ground and allowed us to learn what’s important to consumers and enterprises alike… I’m excited to be working with Ivy to provide direction and support as she leads the team and we work together to integrate those learnings into future products.”

Working with someone who designs nice things means that Google will be aiming to create wearable technology that is functional and stylish, and thereby trying to sidestep people being called Glassholes who wear them.

So, Glass isn’t dead-in-the-water, but rather, being kept back until they look like the kind of thing people might actually want to buy. They’re going to have to work on the price too. Get both of these things right, and Google could have a smash on their hands.

Project Tango Googles Project Tango to 3D scan the whole world!Google’s Project Tango, the 3D-scanning camera, has gone from a thing that lay in their experimental labs, to something that is going to appear in your real life world.

Basically, it started off as a concept for mobiles which would scan the world around it in three glorious dimensions, which could then be modelled and used for augmented reality and all that futuristic good stuff (or, worrying Dystopian future hell, depending on your view of technological developments).

One of the practical uses would be that Project Tango users could utilise the technology to map their home, so you could use the dimensions before buying a sofa online, or whatever. Google also pointed out that it could help blind people get around too.

They’re looking at making money out of it too, which means it will definitely be hawked around the video game industry to see if it can be integrated into games.

So, from Google’s experimental Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) wing, it has gone to a “new home within Google”, which the company announced in a G+ post. They said: “We’re excited about the continued commitment to developing the technology for our users — we wish our fellow pirates fair winds and following seas.”

Rumour has it that Google have already been talking to LG so we can get the technology at some point this year. However, Google should take caution because the world wasn’t exactly set alight by Google Glass.

Anyway, the Project Tango Development Kit will let tinkerers and engineers to muck around with the technology and start developing apps for it, which means retailers will be jumping on it to see how they can make their products come alive in some virtual space or what have you.

Google to take on Uber?

February 3rd, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Google Maps Google to take on Uber?A lot of people hate Uber, but there’s no denying that they’re everywhere at the moment, doing rather well for themselves despite all the bad press.

Despite the laws made against them, the biggest threat to their business could be Google.

A while ago, Google Ventures – the internet giant’s venture capital wing – invested huge sums in Uber (in advance of $250m) and it looked like they were keeping an eye on it, and thinking about an eventual takeover. David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate development, joined the Uber board of directors and is still there.

However, rumours abound that Google might be rivals, rather than the boss of Uber with mutterings that they’re preparing their own taxi app service. It has been reported that Uber have been told of this and that there’s even been screenshots of Google’s rumoured taxi hailing app.

If Google are successful in making cars that drive themselves, then they could also end up with a fleet of autonomous taxis, which is very futuristic.

That all said, Google are currently denying all this, after firing off a tweet which said: “We think you’ll find Uber and Lyft work quite well. We use them all the time.”

That’s not going to stop these rumours though.

While Uber’s app is synced up with Google Maps software, Google will be aware that there’s huge amounts of money to be made from a service like this. Uber came from nowhere and is now one of the world’s biggest startups, valued at $40 billion and operating in over 54 countries. Some people don’t trust the Uber brand yet, but with Google branding, they just might.

No more random reviews on Google Play?

December 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google play No more random reviews on Google Play?You’ve been on Google Play weighing-up an app to download, and you decide to check the reviews. One random user says ‘OMG this is th most amazin thing EVA’, while another says ‘Perfect – this app improves my mobile experience no end!’

You then spend your time wondering whether the reviewer is thick or works for the app, thereby becoming hugely untrustworthy.

Of course, these user reviews aren’t wholly helpful and Google appear to be concerned about it all too, saying that developers are now prohibited from using testimonials within their apps’ descriptions at the Google Play Store.

“Please do not include user testimonials in your app description. They tend to be dubious and are frequently utilized to include references to popular search terms and competitor apps in violation of the policies outlined here. Let your users speak for themselves via Play’s comment review system,” reads an update to Google’s developer guidelines.

So, while that means there’ll still be odd reviews, at least developers won’t be able to use them in testimonials. Google wants to put a stop on developers artificially inflating their apps’ standings in Google Play search listings because, well, manipulating search results is Google’s job, right?

“To help ensure the best experience for Android users, Google Play policies prohibit the publication of spam. Please do not publish unwanted, deceptive, repetitive, or irrelevant content on Google Play. Not only will it lower your app’s rating and cause negative reviews, it can result in your app being suspended or your developer account being terminated,” add Google.

Google to start publishing song lyrics

December 24th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

2Unlimited 300x261 Google to start publishing song lyricsEver found yourself struggling with the lyrics of ‘No Limits’ by 2 Unlimited? Are you that person who sings “sparing his life from his warm sausage tea” in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody?

Well, Google want to help you out.

They’re going to start publishing song lyrics online and they’ve hired some special staff to transcribe and catalogue songwords, so you can look for the lyrics of your favourite songs. Of course, there’s already sites that do this, but Google aren’t fussed about that and will bump Lyricsmania down the rankings in no time at all.

It will be a little different to normal search results. If you search for phrases like “Love Action lyrics” or “Cruel To Be Kind lyrics”, the song lyrics will appear at the top of the page, rather than appearing in the normal search results. The third-party sites will appear just below them. It’ll be interesting to see what Metro Lyrics and (Rap) Genius do next.

A Google spokesperson said: “There’s a feeling you get when you turn to a song and you know that the words have two meanings. Well it’s whispered that now if you go search the tune, maybe Google will lead you to reason. Ooh, it makes you wonder.”

An infuriating nod to the most dadrock of all songs, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, there.

Billboard reckon Google have been working on this for a while, saying: “They’ve done direct licensing deals with the major publishers to enable the service, and they’re doing it internally at the moment. The data isn’t crowd-sourced; there’s a team of people working to create the database.”

Of course, Google could well be welcoming a load of legal action with this, as various music publishers and record companies have thrown out take-down notices to a variety of sites for hosting unlicensed lyrics. However, it is one thing taking on a little website, it is quite another taking on a company that acts like it owns the internet.

Still, at least you’ll be able to work out the lyrics for ‘Louie Louie’ easier.

Google to introduce one-click shopping?

December 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google Google to introduce one click shopping?You’ve inevitably seen Amazon’s one-click ordering button, and it looks like Google want in on the action too.

A report reckons that Google’s ‘Shopping’ tab will soon allow you to buy stuff without going through menus and the like.

So does that mean Google are getting into the idea of e-commerce? Not quite - Google won’t be selling the products directly, which means that the internet behemoth is likely to team up with business partnerships with other retailers.

Sounds like it is going to be slightly more faffy than Amazon’s offerings.

Talks with retailers are said to be in preliminary stages, and, if rumours are to be believed, Google like the idea of to-day shipping, again, very similar to Amazon who have Amazon Prime.

As these talks are in the very early stages of development, it could mean that Google ditch the idea after weighing up all the pros and cons. However, Google want more of your data and online behaviour patterns, so this is an attractive prospect that they’re obviously going to take seriously.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

What on earth have you been looking at online?

December 17th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers
a child on the internet 300x182 What on earth have you been looking at online?

A boy stood with the internet

Another year is nearly over and Google are looking back at what everyone’s been up to. Of course, in Spain, they won’t get one of these nostalgiafests next year, because Google has fallen out with an entire country.

So what has everyone been searching for through Google in 2014? You’d have to assume the word ‘nudes’ and ‘fappening’ have ranked highly, but then, you also have to assume that Google have only decided to show everyone the PG results of this year.

Concerning the latter, you’d be right. Instead of searches for leaked photos of the nice lady from The Hunger Games, Google say that the number one search of 2014 was Robin Williams, after his untimely death in August.

In second place, unsurprisingly, was the World Cup while in third place was the delight that is Ebola. They were followed by missing Malaysian plan Flight MH370 and then the ALS/Ice Bucket Challenge. Oddly, at number six in the chart, was the infuriating Flappy Bird.

Then, finishing off the top ten, we find Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, those folks who make up ISIS, the Frozen movie and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

When it comes to consumer electronics, the iPhone 6 topped the results, followed by Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 6, Moto G and the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Seeing as we’re on the internet, you should stop reading all these words and have a nice time watching this thoroughly overblown video, made by Google themselves.

There’s things landing on comets, science and medicine breakthroughs and some political movements… but no nudes at all.

Google to go child-friendly

December 4th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

google Google to go child friendlyGoogle are launching a range of child-friendly versions of its most popular products.

The idea is to make Google fun and safe for children, according to the company’s vice president of engineering, Pavni Diwanji

The Google looks like it will create more child-friendly versions of their services, such as YouTube and Chrome, and will be aimed at the nippers below the age of 12.

According to USA Today, there’s no specific date or timeline for the rollout, but you know: BE AWARE.

Diwanji said: “We want to be thoughtful about what we do, giving parents the right tools to oversee their kids’ use of our products”.

Google haven’t said much more than that, but have confirmed that this move is happening.

Obviously, this is good news for concerned parents who don’t want their kiddiewinks looking at sex and violence, but naturally, this all means absolutely nothing to actual children who are all so computer savvy that they’ll know how to circumnavigate anything thrown at them, and they’ll be watching beheading videos and such in no time at all.

EU sets out to prove it’s bigger than Google

November 28th, 2014 No Comments By Thewlis

google EU sets out to prove it’s bigger than GoogleIt’s not that they have a Thing against Google or anything, but the European Parliament has overwhelmingly backed a motion urging competition regulators to break up Google.

The resolution, passed by 384 votes to 174 yesterday, was not actually calling for fisticuffs, but rather was an official shout out to the European Commission, who are being asked to consider proposals to unbundle search engines from other commercial services. In simple terms, the EU parliament doesn’t mind Google being a search engine, but it’s all the added everything, including mail, social media, digital media and shopping that they have a problem with, on the basis that Google then controls the life of millions of Europeans. Of course, the resolution doesn’t name names, it just refers to search engines with bundled products; however Google owns the search services in Europe with an estimated 90 per cent market share.

German conservative lawmaker and co-sponsor of the bill Andreas Schwab  said: “Monopolies in whatever market have never been useful, neither for consumers nor for the companies,” adding that he had nothing against Google and was a regular user. Bet his search history isn’t scrutinised at all.

Part of the problem is that Google is currently subject to an EU investigation into complaints that it unfairly demoted rival services- if found guilty, Google could face fines of up to £3bn. Google declined to comment.

Lobbying group Computer & Communications Industry Association, whose members include Google, eBay Facebook, Microsoft and Samsung, said unbundling was an “extreme and unworkable” solution that made no sense in rapidly changing online markets.

“While clearly targeting Google, the parliament is in fact suggesting all search companies, or online companies with a search facility, may need to be separated. This is of great concern as we try to create a digital single market,” it said.

So can the EU break Google?  Well, as we all know, the elected politicians in the European parliament have practically zero power, and as such the resolution they passed with great aplomb is actually non-binding on the European Commission itself. However, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said she will review the case and talk to complainants before deciding on the next step. Which could be absolutely nothing, although it is worth noting that Ms Vestager’s predecessor Joaquin Almunia rejected three attempts by the company to settle the investigation into its allegedly shady dealings.

So for now it’s Google 1, EU 0 (x100).

Google nix homophobic games and trolls

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

asshunter 300x199 Google nix homophobic games and trollsGoogle have got rid of a game that required the gamer to kill gay people. Which is nice.

Ass Hunter had already been downloaded over 10,000 times and had 200 five star reviews, but was eventually pulled by Google after some people online went “Yeah, that’s a bit iffy”.

Basically you play a hunter with a shotgun – such a good look – and you must kill naked men before they approach you. Nice! If you fail to kill the naked men, they pounce upon the hunter and bum him. Enlightening.

In the description of the app, its uploaders AppDay – who sound like charmers – described Ass Hunter as a “Legendary game, where you are hunter and your mission is to kill gays as much as you can”.

When the game went up on November 5th, the description read “Popular game hunting on gays is now on Android! Play and do not be gay!” (Seriously. Someone has received money for coming up with that tagline). Making homophobia justifiable with such taglines as “Remember! When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want.” the game was also exempt from classification so anyone could download it.

Well done everyone. Genuinely, give yourselves a round of applause. Anyway, it’s gone now, but if you’re desperate there are versions of it lying around the internet.

In addition to that, Google have gone after trolls. Not particularly willingly, mind you. The internet giant lost a legal battle with a man who took them to court for extreme trolling.

Daniel Hegglin, a former Morgan Stanley banker, had took action in an attempt to block links to the “vile and abusive” posts about him from appearing in its search results. He’d been accused of being a murderer, paedophile and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser by one particular troll who we could surmise ‘had some form of grudge’, with posts saying as such on over 3,600 websites. That’s literally ‘a bit too many’.

Hegglin settled the case with Google yesterday, despite Google’s lawyers suggesting that the case could have enormous implications., with the search engine basically being held up as the internet police.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, acting for Mr Hegglin, told the court that Google had taken steps to remove the material: ”Whilst I am not in a position to disclose the details, I am pleased to report that the parties have now settled the matter,” he said. “The settlement includes significant efforts on Google’s part to remove the abusive material from Google hosted websites and from its search results.”

Now Hegglin plans to bring the troll to justice, however he doesn’t know who they are. Oooh – this is slightly worrying now: ”Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws.”

A Google spokesperson said the company had “reached a mutually acceptable agreement”. Now: why can’t everyone just play nicely?

Google make Christmas shopping easier

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Google have made spending your money even simpler for you this Christmas.

The search engine has been updated to include new elements on smartphones and tablets to sell you even more stuff this Black Friday.

Extra information will be yours when you tap in something like ‘kettles’, and it will tell you where the product is available and user reviews and will pop up on a regular search. You’ll also have the option to use a 3D, 360-degree rotation tool to view some products.

Google Mobile 151x300 Google make Christmas shopping easier

Oooh.

Google reckon half of all people between 25 and 34 use their phones to shop while they’re out shopping. This new app will enable them to do so with even greater ease, and you’ll be even able to track your items and stock levels. I mean, how much more help does one want here?

Firefox say cheerio Google and hello Yahoo

November 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

firefox 300x288 Firefox say cheerio Google and hello YahooYahoo is to replace Google for Firefox’s web browser.

The move ends a decade long partnership with Google and the Mozilla Foundation, and will take place in the US in December.

Although Firefox users in Europe shouldn’t notice much of a change, Yahoo has said the deal “provides a framework for exploring future product integrations and distribution opportunities to other markets”.

Yahoo’s partnership is for five years, wherein they hope to introduce and enhanced search experience with an immersive design, which will go out to Yahoo users early next year.

“Mozilla is an inspirational industry leader who puts users first and focuses on building forward-leaning, compelling experiences,” said Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO.

“This partnership helps to expand our reach in search and also gives us an opportunity to work closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate more broadly in search, communications, and digital content.”

Google had paid £300 million a year to be Firefox’s chosen one – which accounts for 90% of the browser’s annual revenue, however things have been a bit shaded since Google launched Chrome.

Google to offer ad-free internet (it’ll cost you)

November 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

google Google to offer ad free internet (itll cost you)Adverts on the internet can be a bit annoying and ad-blockers only work for certain things. So if you’ve been craving an advert-free internet, Google might have something.

But it will cost you.

Basically, Google have unveiled a new service called ‘Contributor by Google’ and the company say: “Today’s Internet is mostly funded by advertising. But what if there were a way to directly support the people who create the sites you visit each day?”

What this means is that you’ll be asked to ‘contribute’ between $1-$3 per month which will go to the website in question (and, you have to assume, Google will take a cut too). You can pay more than the minimum offered too, which basically means, if you really, really like a website, you can throw coins in their cup. Regardless of what you offer, you’ll get the same service.

The Onion, Mashable, Imgur, Urban Dictionary and WikiHow have already signed-up for this, and Google have also said that there’s more on board too, as these are just “a few” of the confirmed partners.

So what happens to the adverts? Well, they’ll be replaced by a thank-you message or a pixellated box, which doesn’t sound like a better option, but there you go.

Google say: “When you visit a participating website, part of your contribution goes to the creators of that site. As a reminder of your support, you’ll see a thank you message – often accompanied by a pixel pattern – where you might normally see an ad.”

If you’re interested, have a look at Google’s dedicated page here.