Posts Tagged ‘google’

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 Please do not publish unwanted, deceptive, repetitive, or irrelevant content on Google Play.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.

illegal downloading1 269x300 Google to crack down on illegal downloading sites. Again. Google are planning on making changes to its search engine in a bid to crack down on illegal stuff happening.

The engine will direct users away from sites where they can half-inch content, pushing them towards less dodgy sites.

Google have caved in to pressure from the entertainment industry, who have been campaigning for the search engine to do something, while they carried on rearranging deckchairs.

Google will now list these legal services in a box at the top of the search results, as well as in a box on the right-hand side of the page, but if legal sites want to appear in the slot, they will need to pay Google for placement, something music trade group BPI has a problem with.

BPI made 43.3 million requests for Google to remove search results in 2013 – the U.S equivalent group, the RIAA, made 31.6 million and Google removed 222 million results from search because of copyright issues

Google’s Content ID system, which detects copyrighted material, scans 400 years-worth of video every day, which they then offer the music labels the choice of having the content removed, or monetising by having advertising placed there.

The report said: “Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply,’ the report said.

As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services.”

It’s unlikely that this will have a massive turnaround in the entertainment industry’s favour, who are missing the days where everyone was on champagne and cocaine breakfasts, but people will find a way around it. They always do.

However, with Google directing people to Google Play, making money through advertising on YouTube adverts and other schemes to ‘combat privacy’, it looks like they might be having the breakfast of a ’70s record company executive, so not everyone is a loser in this. We never said they were unscrupulous.

Facebook and Apple offering frozen egg service

October 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Mildly creepy news now, as Apple and Facebook are offering to freeze eggs for female employees.

In an interesting approach to try and expand their appeal for more females on their workforce, Apple said it would offer the perk to US-based staff from January.

“Apple cares deeply about our employees and their families, and we are always looking at new ways our health programmes can meet their needs,” said the company.

“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cyropreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments … We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.”

It all sounds a bit Demon Seed really.

This, and other initiatives are said to be the doing of new human resources head Denise Young Smith, who is all for diversity and that. Facebook offers up to $20,000 (£13,000) for egg freezing for female employees. The company also offers adoption and surrogacy assistance.

Of course, they won’t actually be using the eggs to experiment on and try and build the first Google Child. That’s not going to happen. Oh no.

Voice search: The kids are alright about it

October 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

girls texting 300x200 Voice search: The kids are alright about itA recent study by Google, into the voice-search habits of Americans, reckons that if you still type in your search request, then you are like, really old and should book Dignitas immediately granddad.

The Mobile Voice Study found that while teenagers are all fine and everyday about using voice search daily, only 41% of adults use it.

And out of that lot, 56% of the adults feel like a nob doing so.

Google also spotted that teens are happy just to use voice search willy-nilly. Right there. In front of you. Making anyone over the age of 20 wish they were dead. They don’t care.

Shall we gander at some of the other findings? You may be quizzed on it later, so best to be prepared.

40% use voice search to get directions;
32% use voice search to initiate phone calls;
39% use voice functionality to dictate text messages;
38% use voice search while watching television;
41% wish voice search could tell them where the TV remote was located;
23% use voice search while cooking;
51% of teens and 32% of adults use voice search ‘just for fun’;
27% use voice search to check the weather;
22% of teens use voice search in the bathroom.

Scott Huffman, Google’s Vice President for Conversational Search in a press release that accompanied the blog post, said: “Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that’s becoming ever more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones,”

“We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones. We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they’re getting very creative about how (and where) they use it. The study gives us great ideas about new ways we could help people – maybe even help them find their keys and other elusive objects.”

Internet security at risk from poodles

October 15th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

poodle Internet security at risk from poodlesGoogle’s security team – imagine some detective types with torches, illuminating the dark passageways of the internet – have discovered a potential vulnerability in SSL 3.0.

Google reckon that SSL 3.0 is an insecure, obsolete protocol that has since been superseded. But even when servers support the more secure TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2, the downgrading that takes place between servers and clients can be exploited using a POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) attack.

Bodo Möller from Google’s security team points out that this move will “break some sites” and the advice is to support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV instead, at least for the time being. OR THE POODLES WILL GET YOU.

Basically an attacker can force this protocol downgrade to take place by preventing the initial connection from taking place. The encryption used in SSL 3.0 is fairly easily cracked and a relatively simple attack can then be used to intercept and decrypt secure cookies.

What that means is that hackers could steal browser cookies and potentially end up controlling your email, bank details and social network accounts.

So yes. BEWARE POODLES! Not only that – these POODLES are similar to another vulnerability called Firesheep. It seems that the internet is under threat from animals that have fluffy fur.

These problems will only affect people who haven’t updated their browsers in a while, so if you’re using Internet Explorer 6, you may find your computer filling up with wool. So update your browser now, y’idiot.

Nexus 6 expected by end of the month

October 13th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

nexus 300x182 Nexus 6 expected by end of the monthGoogle’s Nexus Android smartphone is expected by the end of October and it’ll be a phablet affair with a 5.9 inch screen made by Motorola.

It will be sold direct through the Google Play site as well as conventional phone retailers.

Dubbed ‘Nexus 6′, it follows the previous year’s Nexus 5 and hopes to push Google into the rising phablet trend with smartphones that are a cross between a phone and a tablet with screens bigger than 5.5in.

The new Nexus will be the first made by Motorola, which Google is selling to China’s Lenovo. Previous Nexus devices, which also include tablets, have been made by HTC, Asus and Samsung, as well as LG, which made the previous two generations of Google’s popular smartphone, the Nexus 4 and 5.

Phablets are becoming quite the thing of late, with a keen fanbase in Asia as well as Europe and the US. Google have nicknamed the Nexus 6 Shamu, after a killer whale from SeaWorld.

Something to remember for future pub quizzes.