Posts Tagged ‘google’

Google accused of building digital superstate

April 18th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google caterpillar logo 300x146 Google accused of building digital superstate Mathias Dopfner, the head honcho at Europe’s largest newspaper publisher Axel Springer, has gone after Google saying that they’ve abused their monopoly in the digital world, discriminating against rival search engines and building up a digital ‘superstate’.

Big talk.

Dopfner sent a letter to Google’s Eric Shmidt, saying that Google’s motto should be ‘pay us or be finished’.

Not only that, Dopfner said that he was scared of Google, because his company relies too much on Google. Of course, calling them names probably won’t help.

He stated that Google knows everything about their customers, thanks to private messages in Gmail being scanned, read and analysed by the company.

Of course, there’s Android handsets as well.

Most people realised a while back that Google weren’t exactly a nice company – at odds with their ‘don’t be evil’ ethos – but it is interesting to see a media mogul go on the attack in this way, even if the outcome is absolutely nothing changing.

Rupert Murdoch, another man with a media empire, called Google ‘parasitic’, but backed down from slagging them off because he suspected his papers weren’t as prominent in the search listings (although that might be something to do with paywalls and having rubbish publications).

Chrome Chrome to allow you to control your desktop from your phoneAndroid users can now access their desktop computers remotely with a new app from those folks at Google.

The new Chrome Remote Desktop app has sprung out of a previous version that allowed access to a remote computer from a laptop or desktop.

“Have you ever been out and about, and urgently needed to access a file that’s sitting on your home computer? Since 2011, Chrome Remote Desktop has let you remotely access your machine from another laptop or computer in a free, easy and secure way. And now, with the release of the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android, we’re making it possible for you to do the same thing from your Android device,” says product manager Husain Bengali.

Bengali said the app works with machines running Windows and Apple’s OS X.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll have to pair it with your computer so you can access what you need. Then, you can ”simply launch the Android app on your phone or tablet, tap on the computer’s name and start using your remote machine as if you were sitting right in front of it.”

You never need to be without that hilarious meme you love, ever again.

burglar Google and Apple want anti theft smartphone kill switchA whole host of mobile-makers, including Apple, Google, Samsung and HTC, have entered an agreement to add a global anti-theft kill-switch in their devices from July 2015.

A report says that “devices going on sale after July 2015 will have the ability to remotely wipe data and be rendered inoperable, if the user chooses, to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner’s permission.”

The publication adds that, should a handset be recovered, then data can be restored.

Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung (and some others) have all volunteered themselves to “facilitate these measures.”

While Apple have been working on something similar to this kill switch, they’ve got other problems concerning anti-trust accusations where the prices of e-books got hiked up.

California state Senator Mark Leno has criticised an element of this development. He said: “The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft. Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”

The news that phone shops are selling stolen handsets from yesterday, shows that this is a big business and criminals will no doubt find a way around it in good time. However, if this acts as any kind of deterrent, it can only be a good thing.

google plus logo Google: Contact lens cameras and still looking at your emailsGoogle, as we all know, aren’t too fussed about your privacy. When they’re not teaming up with governments, they’re scanning your correspondence so they can target adverts at you.

Personal privacy groups have long been unhappy with the internet giant and even Microsoft got in on the action, shouting “Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” when they were trying to convince everyone to use Outlook.

One court case against Google’s sniffing around our emails, District Judge Lucy H. Koh said that Google’s terms of service and privacy polices did not explicitly notify the plaintiffs “that Google would intercept users’ emails for the purposes of creating user profiles or providing targeted advertising.”

After that was said, Google spontaneously decided to update their terms of service, which came into play as of Monday, adding the provision that “Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”

Not only that, but it looks like they’ve got some more wearable tech in the pipeline which could well creep out the kind of people who think the sky is falling on their heads.

Basically, those worried about Google Glass taking photos without consent will love the news that Google now has a pending patent for a contact lens embedded with a camera. That’s Google Glass which you wouldn’t be able to see if someone was wearing it. That’s human beings, essentially walking around with a camera stuck on their eyeball. It’ll be ace of paparazzi photographers.

Google say that the development would be used or diabetics and blind people, which is a nice idea; but if Glass takes off, you can’t see a scenario where Google wouldn’t want to try and make a shedload of money from it with a general sale.

Google to offer more through Chromecast

April 9th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

chromecast 300x199 Google to offer more through ChromecastGoogle’s Chromecast is a pretty great piece of kit, allowing you to stream from your phone, tablet or computer, straight to your TV set. BT Sports users who only have the app, will now be able to watch live sports on their tellies, or stream full length films from YouTube.

The homepage, which you see on your screen when not in use, is a selection of typical vistas designed to exude calm through nature, is pretty and all, but not particularly useful (apart from having a clock on it).

However, that looks like it is about to change.

Google are looking at giving you a little more on the wallpaper and over at TechCrunch, they’ve stumbled across various findings after some people went rummaging around in the source code. What was found was some javascript references, which will also add a weather forecast on your homescreen.

There’s weather related icons, as well as the current temperature in a given region, but mainly, it’ll tell you what it’s like outside – either coat weather, t-shirt weather and so on.

On top of that, there’s also code which looks like Chromecast will eventually give users the opportunity to have custom wallpapers, instead of the various streams and horizons which Google love so much.

While these aren’t hugely exciting, you hope that this at least vaguely points to the idea that Google are willing to do much more with Chromecast. You could use your TV screen for reminders, checking messages and whatnot. Basically, you could make your television set a second dashboard, which is exciting if you like that sort of thing.

Welcome to Googlebox

April 7th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Google are riding high on the success of their Chromecast dongle, which has sold millions and become the best-selling technology product on Amazon since its launch in the US last summer.

500px android logosvg 300x300 Welcome to Googlebox

So now they’re going to do what Amazon and Apple did and launch Android TV. And although it’s yet to be publicly announced, they’ve rather Partridge-ly described it as an ‘entertainment interface’, rather than a platform. They’ve also said it will be ‘cinematic,’ ‘fun’, ‘fast’ and ‘fluid’ (ewww), ‘with the least amount of friction.’ (Wait a minute. We ARE still talking about TV, aren’t we?).

It looks the same as other ‘entertainment interfaces’ – a bunch of horizontal tiles you can swipe through with a remote control, which has a navigation pad which goes in four directions. You can scroll through apps, and third party TV streaming services like Netflix.

One of the big differences, though – this being Google – is the ‘search’ function. They’re hoping that they’ll do such a good job with their predictive recommendations that you won’t even need to search.

How this all chimes in with Chromecast, though, is anyone’s guess. Won’t it leave their dongle dangling?

Google Glass Ray-Bans, anyone?

March 25th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

How could Google make Glass less, well, RUBBISH LOOKING? The current design of Glass makes everyone look like a robot Sarah Palin, receiving mysterious instructions from the ghost of George Bush Snr.
timmy mallett 234x300 Google Glass Ray Bans, anyone?

Well, there is a possible solution for Google – they’ve just signed a deal with eyewear company Luxottica, who make bins for Ray-Ban and Oakley.

They’ve been charged with creating an exclusive range of frames for Glass for the American market, which will apparently ‘combine high-end technology with avant-garde design offering the best in style, quality, and performance.’

It’s the first indication that Google are keen to push Glass into a more mainstream market that doesn’t just involve corporate eejits and Silicon Valley pillocks. But it’s not going to be THAT mainstream.

‘You’re not going to see Glass on your favourite Oakleys or Ray-Bans tomorrow,’ said Google. ‘But it marks a new chapter in Glass’s design.’

May I suggest that Luxottica take inspiration from a few glasses wearing British icons? I’m thinking The Pollard, The Mallett and the Great Suprendo could be added to the range…

Release date for Google’s Chromecast

March 17th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

chromecast 300x199 Release date for Googles ChromecastWe got a bit carried away when Google announced their new Chromecast gizmo, and we still are. There’s something very pleasing about a boring looking gadget that is being sold for relatively cheaply, which can connect all manner of things to your TV, so you can sit on your arse for longer and have more fun doing it.

If you missed the announcement and can’t be bothered clicking a link, Chromecast is a dongle you plug into your television set, which enables you to stream directly onto your big screen. It essentially turns your TV into a monitor for your phone, laptop or tablet.

This is particularly good if you have the BT Sports app on your tablet, and want to watch the football on your TV, rather than have a tablet on your knee.

And now, there’s a release date! An internal listing at Dixons retail stores says that Chromecast will be available in the UK on March 19th.

There’s no official word on pricing, but we suspect it’ll cost around the £30 mark.

A recent app update shows Chromecast is now available in 50 new languages, which means that it looks like Google will be rolling this out worldwide rather soon.

Seeing as Google just got spurned by WhatsApp, who decided to get in bed with Facebook instead, they’re showing off all the interesting things they’re doing like a jilted groom copping off with everyone in the eyeline of his ex.

With that, Google have showcased a new phone that makes real-time, 3-D maps of environments. The phone will have “customized hardware and software”, which includes sensors which gives the device the ability to make hundreds of thousands of measurements every second, you can map a building or something. It could help those who are visually impaired, which is nice.

“We are physical beings that live in a 3-D world,” says Google says. “Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen.” Watch the video below if you find written words boring.

So there you go.

A prototype of the device, developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects unit is being doled out to 200 developers to play with and is going by the name ‘Project Tango’. If drinks and 80s footballs are anything to go by, Tango is going to be ace!

google glass Google gives out etiquette guide for Glass   dont be a GlassholeGoogle are very keen for everyone to buy their wearable Glass technology, but they also want to tell you that there’s a correct way to use it.

With that, they’ve released a list of dos and don’ts, along with their idea of social etiquette, like they’re some kind of finishing school for web-designers with Fixie bikes.

Of course, new companies aren’t happy referring to you as a ‘customer’ or ‘consumer’, so have to come up with cloying titles that force the idea of some kind of loose-knit community. For Glass, Google have come up with ’Explorers’. Explorers of ‘the urban jungle’ no doubt.

The post says: “The first Explorers were developers from Google I/O 2012 and people who told us what they would do #ifihadglass. Since then, we’ve continued to expand the Explorer Program. We’re at the start of a long journey and we’re looking to our Explorers to help us develop this new technology. Since the program started, our Explorers have gotten a lot of attention when they wear Glass out and about. Reactions range from the curious – Wow! Are those the ‘Google glasses’? How do they work? – to the suspect – Goodness gracious do those things see into my soul?!”

If you’ve managed to recover from that hilarious jape, the guide says that people are encouraged to explore your surroundings (maximising your chances of getting mugged or mocked), utilise the range of voice commands (making you look mental), ask permission before taking any photos or videos (fair enough, but that won’t be heeded by dirty buggers), use the glass screen lock (fine) and to be an active member on the Glass Explorer Community (use a lot of hashtags in things, no doubt).

As for the don’ts, Google point out that you shouldn’t invade people’s space, not staring at the screen too much or reading too intently (which they’ve called ‘Glassing-out‘) because, seeing as you’re looking at a screen no-one can see, you’ll look like a dribbling lunatic on the bus. You shouldn’t wear the device while doing extreme sports, try not to be creepy and, in Google’s own words, don’t be a “Glasshole”.

If you want to see what Google have to say about it all, have a look at their post

google plus logo Google buys SlickLogin which means sound authentication is on the wayGoogle have officially bought security startup company, SlickLogin. That means Google will presumably be looking to introduce sound-authentication passwords for stuff pretty soon.

A post on SlickLogin‘s website said:

“Today we’re announcing that the SlickLogin team is joining Google, a company that shares our core beliefs that logging in should be easy instead of frustrating, and authentication should be effective without getting in the way.”

“Google was the first company to offer 2-step verification to everyone, for free – and they’re working on some great ideas that will make the internet safer for everyone. We couldn’t be more excited to join their efforts.”

Seeing as Google have a large range of products, this could be introduced to Android phones, Chromebooks, tablets and their inevitable robot army.

So how does this all work? Well, SlickLogin’s technology uses a variety of things to kick off the authentication process. Loads of tech is combined so that it can verify that your smartphone is near your computer. Your computer sends out a unique frequency out of the speakers and your smartphone app recognises it, allowing you to log-in.

Just sounds like more things that could go wrong and end up in a more frustrating experience.

However, previous reports and tests have noted that no-one can record the audio signal and just play it back later as a way of getting at your personal stuff. They could, however, pinch your phone, and then you’re screwed. We’ll just have to wait and see what the fuss is all about.

We Want: Google Chromecast

February 14th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

chromecast 300x199 We Want: Google ChromecastHave you heard of the Google Chromecast? If not, it is a wonderful thing that needs a UK release, as soon as possible.

Basically, the device is a thing that lets you wirelessly display stuff from your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever, to your TV. Obviously, if you’ve got a Smart TV or a smart box, this is no use to you. However, if not, this little gadget is retailing for around £20 ($35 in The States) and will be a must-have.

Especially great if, for example, you only have the BT Sport app on your phone or tablet, and want to watch it on the large TV.

Chromecast will wirelessly broadcast from pretty much any mobile device to any TV that has a HDMI port. Once you set-up, with the Chromecast app, you’re away! It works with Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, laptops or desktops and Chromebooks.

If you’re the sort to do presentations and such, this’ll be a useful tool, but for most of us, it’d be great for streaming shows and movies. Rumour has it, that the Chromecast will be released in the UK next month, which is great news.

Google are going to kill us all with robots

January 27th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google plus logo Google are going to kill us all with robotsGoogle have been busy lately, mainly ignoring everyone’s complete and utter indifference to Google+. They’ve also been spending a lot of money on smaller ventures and, in the meantime, took their eye off the ball long enough to let Gmail bork.

On Friday, anyone trying to get to their emails found that the service was down (as was Calendar and Documents… so too was Google+, but no-one noticed). Almost 42 million users were disconnected.

Google apologised through Ben Treynor, the VP of the internet giant’s engineering. He said: ”Whether the effect was brief or lasted the better part of an hour, please accept our apologies. We strive to make all of Google’s services available and fast for you, all the time, and we missed the mark today. The issue has been resolved, and we’re now focused on correcting the bug that caused the outage, as well as putting more checks and monitors in place to ensure that this kind of problem doesn’t happen again.”

Maybe they dropped the ball because they were too busy celebrating the acquisition of London robotics company – DeepMind – for a reported £242 million.

DeepMind create algorithms that allow programmes to learn from experience like it has a human brain. Maybe Google are building that robot army after all?

They’ve tracked us online, have the ability to stop us from accessing the internet, mapped out where we live and the entire world and now they’re making robots that can think… they’re going to invade aren’t they?


Chrome Is Googles Chrome secretly listening in on your through your mic?It has been reported by other people (take note, lawyers) that a weakness in Google’s Chrome browser is allowing people to use our computer’s microphone to spy on us. Google denies this outright, but they would. Developers on the other hand aren’t having it.

“Even while not using your computer – conversations, meetings and phone calls next to your computer may be recorded and compromised,” says Israeli developer Tal Ater.

Basically, if a site isn’t being honest about using your mic (as in, it switches it on, even though you haven’t given permission to), that’s when the trouble starts.

“When you click the button to start or stop the speech recognition on the site, what you won’t notice is that the site may have also opened another hidden pop-under window,” Ater wrote. “This window can wait until the main site is closed, and then start listening in without asking for permission. This can be done in a window that you never saw, never interacted with, and probably didn’t even know was there.”

Chrome remembers your settings for secure sites, so these pop-under windows won’t need continual permission from users.

Ater says he’s contacted Google, but they’ve yet to fix the situation. The Reg asked Google for a comment and they said: ”The security of our users is a top priority, and this feature [the blinking red dot on tabs] was designed with security and privacy in mind.”

If you’re at all worried about this, there’s an easy fix until Google get it sorted – go to your settings, hit click ‘show advanced settings’ then ‘content settings’, then click “Do not allow sites to access my camera and microphone” and that should do it.

Awful plastic surgery app for girls gets the chop

January 15th, 2014 6 Comments By Lucy Sweet

Apart from perhaps an app telling you how to dismember a body and bury it in some wasteland, there can be few things more heinous than the catchily named ‘Plastic Surgery and Plastic Doctor and Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie’ game.

barbie app 300x169 Awful plastic surgery app for girls gets the chop

Aimed at NINE year old girls, who are already being hothoused to think that they’re fat and worthless, the ‘fun’ app features an ‘unfortunate girl’ who is so hideous that only surgery can help her. Then, with a swipe of your finger, you can cut up her face and body and suck out all that gross fat.

But thanks to a Twitter campaign by the pressure group Everyday Sexism, Apple has agreed to lipo suck the app off iTunes and consign it to the digital dustbin. Over 4000 Twitter users railed against the app developed by a company called Corina Game, calling on Apple to withdraw it immediately. While Apple didn’t comment, the game was deleted from the App Store last night.

Over on Android, it turned out that you could also buy a similar plastic surgery app, which featured a woman called Barbara who ‘liked to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and found that she is ugly.
Today plastic surgeon is going to make operation on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara’s look. She is afraid of all of this.’

Ha ha! Fear! Knives! Mutilation! What a fun game for little girls, eh? After Everyday Sexism found out about that too, Google also quietly removed the app from Google Play, but not before it had been downloaded nearly 1 million times.

Perhaps Apple and Google need to pay a little bit more attention to some of the garbage they’re peddling in their app stores?