Posts Tagged ‘google’
We’ve shrieked hysterically about Google’s smart thermostat – Nest – before, likening it to sci-fi horror where remote companies watch your every move, before ultimately singing ‘Daisy Daisy’ while trying to oversee your untimely death.
We might be overdoing it a bit. However, what doesn’t help, is that Nest has a camera that watches you in your home, and a team at ABI Research found that, even when the camera is “off,” it still draws around the same amount of info it does, as when it is fully powered.
Basically, you might think you’ve turned it off, but you haven’t. Kill it with fire. Or throw some undercrackers over it.
A spokesperson for Nest Labs told the BBC: “When Nest Cam is turned off from the user interface (UI), it does not fully power down, as we expect the camera to be turned on again at any point in time.” So, standby mode then. Either way though, this is an ‘always on’ camera in your house, and this is Google (or Alphabet if you prefer) we’re talking about here. A company that not only wants to watch you at home, but also wants to store your DNA through the chilling 23ANDMe wing.
The Nest spokesperson continued: “When Nest Cam is turned off, it completely stops transmitting video to the cloud, meaning it no longer observes its surroundings.” While that may do for some, there’s going to be concerns over Google storing hours of footage of you at home in their cloud. Imagine the outpouring of hate that’ll happen if their servers get hacked.
TripAdvisor and Yelp found themselves being pushed down Google’s search results, and it was an accident, honest guv. Google has that it was a bug that was responsible for this, and now, they’re trying to fix it, now that people have noticed.
Executives from Yelp and TripAdvisor complained on Twitter, that when searching for things, Google’s own reviews were given priority, even when the search included the name of their own companies. You can see their tweets about it, here.
“The issues cited were caused by a recent code push, which we’re working quickly to fix,” a Google spokeswoman told Recode.
Of course, Google have been pushing their own reviews of locations recently, offering prizes to everyone if they do theirs on Google Maps, in a bid to grab some traffic from the likes of TripAdvisor and Yelp.
This isn’t particularly good timing for Google, as they’re being investigated by the European Union over accusations of showing favouritism to their own apps and services, over others. It is good timing for Yelp though, who have been arguing with authorities, that something needs to be done about Google in this respect.
Over summer, Yelp put out a document that accused Google of manipulating searches to promote themselves. They said: “The easy and widely disseminated argument that Google’s universal search always serves users and merchants is demonstrably false. Instead, in the largest category of search (local intent-based), Google appears to be strategically deploying universal search in a way that degrades the product so as to slow and exclude challengers to its dominant search paradigm.”
Google really want people to get into their Local Guides program, so they’re sweetening the deal by offering prizes for those who write reviews and post info about local places on the Maps app. You can get entry to exclusive competitions, up to 1TB of Google Drive storage and all that type of thing.
The guides have been around a while, but Google would obviously like to see more action on it, so they can challenge Yelp!, TripAdvisor and the like. If you write reviews, add information about opening/closing times and give insider tips, you’ll get points.
Of course, the more points you acquire, the better your bonuses are. If you’re Level 1, you’ll get access to exclusive contests, while those on Level 2, you get to try new Google products and services before anyone else. If you’re up to Level 3 in points, then you get a special badge that shows inside the app, which sounds a bit lame. Level 4′ers can get their Google Drive storage upgraded from the standard free 15GB to 1TB, which would usually cost you money.
If you get over 500 points, you’ll be in an elite group of Local Guides, and you’ll be eligible to go to Google’s summit in 2016 at the Google campus in California. Presumably, you’ll not get any of your expenses paid. Yay!
Either way, Google get loads of reviews and user data and anyone who fancies themselves as a virtual tour guide gets to flex their muscles online.
Tired of actually replying to people’s emails? Are they always bothering you and making you answer them about all manner of inane pish? Well, Google want to help, as they’ve created a bit of software that will do the work for you.
Thanks to an updated version of the Inbox app, it’ll read your emails for you (Google are already doing that though, right, satire fans?) and then give you some suggested replies to choose from.
In a blog, Gmail software engineer Balint Miklos said that the feature “uses machine learning to recognize emails that need responses and to generate the natural language responses on the fly.” Ultimately, the hope to have enough good and appropriate replies, that you can reply to most emails by clicking a couple of buttons. The more you use it, the more it’ll learn your patterns.
Obviously, there’s similar things in the world like this already, but Google’s offering seems a bit more complex than the rest. Complex how? Well, get this – Google engineers worked on a ‘neural network’, which is a huge network of machines that are meant to mimic the human brain. Imagine that. Google reading all your emails and then processing them through machines that copy your brain. Sci-fi writers will be doing somersaults at the news.
Google pre-empted some privacy concerns, but don’t exactly allay them: “In developing Smart Reply we adhered to the same rigorous user privacy standards we’ve always held – in other words, no humans reading your email.”
We can’t wait for someone to reply to a bosses’ email by pressing the wrong button and saying “I love you” after they’ve been told they have to sack a load of staff.
Amazon are being weird babies again, this time, they’re going to stop selling media-streaming gadgets from Apple and Google. Why? Well, they don’t want to sell things that aren’t easily compatible with their own video service. Honest.
Amazon sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers, which said that it will be stopping selling Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast, because those gadgets don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. Keep in mind that Christmas is just around the corner, and a lot of people will be wanting to buy Google and Apple products, you almost have to admire the brass balls on Amazon.
Also keep in mind that, if you’re not the sort of person who can root things, Amazon’s tablets don’t run on the proper Android OS, which means if you get a Fire HDX or whatever, you won’t be able to download Google apps like YouTube, the Google Play store and the like. You can’t get the BT Sport app either. So it looks like Amazon are fencing themselves in, and trying to only flog their own stuff, which is a risky move.
This isn’t the first time Amazon have tried this. They got in a row with the Hachette Book Group, over the sales of print and digital books. Basically, Amazon blocked pre-orders for some of Hachette’s books, and a load of authors got angry and said the whole thing was anti-competitive.
Now, with that, you could argue that not selling Google and Apple stuff could fall under anti-trust rules, which means this could get very messy for Amazon. Even if it doesn’t raise these concerns, it is unusual for a company to send a load of potential customers elsewhere, if they want premium or popular products.
Either way, if you want Apple TV or Chromecast, you won’t be finding it at Amazon – mercifully, loads of other retailers are available.
Google have been busy bees, which has resulted in the release of a bunch of new stuff – notably, two new Nexus smartphones and two new Chromecast devices.
First off – the phones. Google showed off the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, which will both run on Android’s latest OS, Marshmallow. Google reckon the phones both have improved batteries, and the 5X will have a 5.7″ ultra HD screen, and it’ll have an all-metal body, which is fancy.
The 6P meanwhile, has a 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor, which Google reckon is the best ever camera on a smartphone. It’ll also have a fingerprint scanner too.
Google have also put out the new Pixel C tablet, which is basically a larger version of the two new phones, melded together. It’ll come with a full size keyboard as well. The 5X will start at £339 while the 6P will start at £449, with pre-orders beginning on Tuesday.
In addition to these, there’s also some new Chromecasts to check out – an updated version of the existing Chromecast, and Chromecast Audio.
The new version of Chromecast will still cost £30, and will have better connectivity, thanks to an upgraded antenna system and a WiFi chip that chooses the best connection. Google have updated the app (for everyone, regardless of which dongle you’re using) so it’ll feel more like a remote, rather than doing everything through your screen.
The completely new Chromecast Audio is pretty interesting too – basically, it is a dongle where you can stream audio. It isn’t the same as Google Cast for Audio, which links up Chromecast with your speakers, but rather, it works with any phone, tablet, or laptop that is connected to your network.
It has a ‘guest mode’ too, which will let friends play music to your speakers, even if they don’t have your WiFi password. Good for those of you who like having people over to your house and all that.
Obviously, Chromecast Audio links up with Spotify and all that too. It will cost £30 as well.
Firstly, there’s the small matter of a redesign. If the leak is correct, then the new dongle will look markedly different to the O.G. model. There might be different colours you can buy of the device, should you want it to match your eyes or whatever.
This new Chromecast doesn’t look like a USB stick either, rather, it resembles a key fob or a rubbish pancake.
It looks like Google are keeping an eye on Apple TV as well, as there’s rumours of new functions for the stick. It is likely that the new model will have better, faster WiFi. It may also have ”background feed” capabilities, which sounds like it’ll be able to sync up with social media accounts, should you want to do such a thing. There’s probably going to be some Spotify app built-in too.
It is thought that the device will also have sports and news widgets, which you’ll be able to customise, so you can watch highlights and video content from providers who free videos up. There’s also talk of something called ‘Fast Play’, and we’ve no idea what that it. If we had to guess, we think it’ll be something to do we pre-loading and buffering times.
So when will we see this? Well, we suspect it’ll be unveiled at a Google event on 29th September.
Lasers are really exciting in films, but in real life, they’re not nearly as fun. They don’t go ‘pew pew’ and no-one has ever blown a spaceship up with one, as far as we know. However, things are hotting up in laser world, which is bad news for automated car enthusiasts.
Someone’s assembled a gadget, that you can make at home if you’re into that sort of thing, which can disable the systems that self-driving cars use to see where they’re going.
This is according to a security researcher called Jonathan Petit, who showed off his car-halting skills by switching on his modified, cheapo laser which creates pretend objects in front of autonomous cars, which makes them stop. Perfect if you’re thinking about getting into car-hijacking.
Petit, principle scientist at software company Security Innovation, cobbled together something that was similar to a laser pen and added a pulse generator, which you can make with a Raspberry Pi. Altogether, it set him back £40 and his gadget fooled the sensor on the cars, which are known as lidars.
“I can spoof thousands of objects and basically carry out a denial of service attack on the tracking system so it’s not able to track real objects,” Petit told IEEE Spectrum. ”I can take echoes of a fake car and put them at any location I want.”
“I don’t think any of the lidar manufacturers have thought about this or tried this,” he added.
If this all sounds like a bit of a faff, and you still want to annoy some drivers in a dangerous manner, you could just buy a laser pen and shine it directly into their eyes. Of course, if you end up getting arrested, we won’t bail you out. You’re on your own with this nonsense.
If you’re using software like AdBlock, you may have been surprised to see some adverts from Google. It looks like they’ve been punishing people who use the software, by making them sit through long commercials with no option to skip.
A number of people have griped on social networks that they’re having to sit through lengthy ads when watching YouTube videos, when they’re using Google’s Chrome browser.
Be Williams, who is the director of AdBlock, reckons that these adverts only appeared because of an “issue in Chrome” which they’re hoping Google will fix. Now, if this is just a small glitch that Google had genuinely missed, they must thinking that there’s a way they can continue you this, keep pushing revenue-generating adverts and claim innocence.
Google haven’t made a comment yet, as they’re probably a bit busy changing the typeface for something, unable to hear everyone shouting ‘erm, excuse me!’ while they wring some extra pennies out of these YouTube commercials.
Possibly. Don’t sue us.
It is all happening at Google. First, they welcomed in the Alphabet, and now, they’ve updated their logo so it looks neater and… umm… more childish.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the internet monster has updated their logo. They’ve had loads in fact. If you want proof, or are a typeface perv, then watch this video and you’ll get everything you need to know about previous logos and the new one.
This revised design isn’t wildly different, sticking to the usual mix of blue, red, yellow and green for the words, but it is a little bit hipper than the previous one, which basically means ’rounder’.
The new typeface is called ‘Product Sans’, which is a bit crap, and is a change from the previous serif typeface that they’ve been using for over 15 years.
As the video shows, a swirl of dots in the same colours as the Google logo will appear when you give it a spoken command. It is all much tidier basically, and allows Google to use a theme across multiple platforms, which is kinda useful.
Google said in a blog: “Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”
Nice of them to use a cutesy primary school typeface while they’re slowly taking over the world and logging our every move.
If anyone is jumpy about the hacked Twitch, bought by Amazon, there’s going to be a rival to it, set up by YouTube.
Of course, YouTube is owned by Google and they’re trying to take over the entire world. With that, this dedicated gaming service will be called YouTube Gaming, enabling you to live stream your button bashings. You may recall that Google tried to buy Twitch, but failed, so consider this a retaliation.
YouTube Gaming will become available globally soon, and will have the obligatory iOS and Android apps available for download. If it is anything like YouTube’s music offerings, the take-up may not be very prompt or overwhelming.
Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, said: “Gaming is so big now. We’re doing billions of hours of watch-time a month, with hundreds of millions of users. It’s astonishing.”
As well as walkthroughs, tips and whatnot from notable gamers, you can expect YouTube Gaming to broadcast gaming tournaments, not to mention gaming talk-shows. Wyatt added: “Maybe some YouTube creators who aren’t currently streaming anywhere else will start. You’ll start to see some of your favourite creators start to do live shows.”
It is a growth area. Twitch has more than doubled monthly viewers, now with 100 million at the end of 2014. That shows you just how much YouTube need to do to compete.
Well, Google have noticed this and are getting in on the action. Of course, they’re not going to fix the potholes themselves, but rather, try and win you over by warning you about them and where they are.
The internet behemoth is already a part of your travel, with Google Maps having all manner of features and Google giving you loads of alerts for things. You can already see if there’s a shedload of traffic en route, and get directions to where you’re going.
Now, they’re aiming to make your ride a bit smoother by telling you about imminent potholes that you’re heading toward.
Google has filed a patent which would allow them to gauge if there are potholes on your journey, using your car’s GPS navigation system and other sensors.
One of the things Google might do, is to monitor the vibrations that rattle through your car, in a bid to track and collate where all the potholes in the world are. They’d cross reference that with GPS data, and hey presto! You’ve got a living map of dodgy roads. With Maps, they’d presumably then suggest alternative routes to save your suspension from getting hammered.
Naturally, Google is making a fleet of autonomous cars that might really want to know about all this.
Hate people taking photos of their tea? Assume they’re either showing off how often they can afford to eat in restaurants or that they’re crowing about what amazing cooks they are? Well, you’re going to love this news from Google.
The tech behemoth has unveiled a new food photo tool, which they’ve built-in to the Google Maps app on Android. Basically, you can now attach images of your dinner to places within Maps. This is to improve people’s reviews or something.
So what do you do? Well, you take a photo of what you’re eating and then, Maps figures out where you are from your GPS, gives you a notification saying that they’ve detected a shot has been taken in the establishment where you’re sat and then, with a tap, you can post your visual review onto Maps.
It looks like the Tablescape app which Google were mucking around with, but shelved, has had its technology repositioned to this Maps add-on.
There you have it. Amateur foodies are given yet another outlet to blort on about things being under-seasoned, or saying the word soupçon about some crappy meal or whatever.
Just what we all needed.
A lot of Android phones are clogged up with loads of apps they don’t use and don’t want. Samsung users have reams of pointless Samsung apps and, of course, a load of mandatory Google apps too. It is very annoying.
Well, Google have decided to do something about that and have cut down on the number of apps they make you have on the Android operating system. You’ll be able to delete stuff! Forever! Without your phone mithering you to update them!
So which ones are applicable here? You’ll be able to get rid of Google Play Games, Google+, Google Play Books and Google Newsstand, which is great.
Of course, if you want these apps, you’ll still be able to get them through the Google Play store if you want.
This is a good move (about time) from Google and that means people with lower-priced handsets will be able to free up more space for music, movies, hi-res dirty pictures, or whatever it is you’d prefer to have on your phone. If all the other bloatware makers could follow suit, that’d be great.
And of course, Google have just announced Android Marshmallow too, the latest version of its OS.
We the public, as a whole, are a rotten and depraved bunch. We give off airs and graces, when really, we’re secretly thinking about murdering people and imaging what the most disgusting thing on the internet is.
So with that, anyone who gives the reins over to us is, frankly, an idiot.
And so to Google, with their lovely Google Trends billboards, which show off what the UK is really looking for on the internet. This one, spotted at Old Street Station, showed that, alongside looking at BBC Sports sites and things to do with Barcelona, the top trend is the delightful ‘Revenge Porn Sites’.
Of course, this might be something to do with TV presenter Anna Richardson, who has been looking into this area recently… but it doesn’t look like that does it?
Good old Google. Sticking ‘REVENGE PORN’ in big letters in the middle of a train station.