Posts Tagged ‘google’

Free 2GB of storage from Google

February 10th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

GoogleDriveLogo 02062013 300x168 Free 2GB of storage from GoogleIf you’re a customer of Google, be it a Gmail user or enjoy the fruits of Google’s Drive storage, then you’re allow 2GB of free storage if you want it.

How do you get it? Well, every year, Google ask you to go a security check-up and, today, you can get the free storage just by doing it. Very handy.

Once you’ve done your security check, you’ll see that two gig of additional storage will have been automatically added to your account.

Of course, doing these checks is rather useful itself, and worth doing from time-to-time. At least when you do it now, you’ll get a reward. It shouldn’t take very long – ours took under a minute to do. You can check that the correct gadgets are accessing your profile (so it’ll tell you which phone, which tablet, which computer, or whatever, is using your Google account). This means you can nix anything dodgy, but chances are, it’ll be fine, you’ll press okay on everything and get free stuff!

If you want the free 2GB of storage, click here, and once you’ve signed-in and clicked a few buttons, you’re away! Free stuff is good.

Google’s driverless cars headed for UK

February 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google self driving car 300x182 Googles driverless cars headed for UKThe gaffers of the UK transport scene are having “active discussions” with Google about bringing and trialling their driverless cars to these shores. Seeing as thorough trials of the cars haven’t been done much outside of America, it is thought that they’ll soon be getting the once over in London.

Deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring said: “It’s going to have to work in big cities so why don’t we start trialling it now? We met them a few weeks ago to see whether they would do trials here.”

“It is still very early days but we would be keen for trials to happen in London whenever Google are ready to move them into other countries.”

The prototype cars are pretty distinctive, as you can see from the image above, and they use lasers, radars, cameras and all manner of things to make their way around the roads. They’re electric too, which of course, is a hot topic in the world of motoring.

The Government said last week that they’re going to be investing £20m in a host of driverless car projects, and obviously, seeing as they’re big pals with Google (as anyone with an interest in big companies paying tax will know), it is likely that the tech behemoth will be sending some of their cars to Britain.

Dedring continued: “One of the interesting benefits of driverless vehicles is we can construct a much smaller tunnel because you don’t have to have the same safety requirements.”

So while that’s all happening, no-win no-fee lawyers will be prepping their files for when someone gets knocked down by one of these vehicles. Kerching!

Google are going after fake download buttons

February 5th, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google are going after fake download buttonsIt happens to everyone – you hit ‘download’ on something, and you don’t get what you wanted, but rather, sent to some annoying site that is filled with crappy adverts, or worse, something that tries to load you up with malware.

Well, Google are not happy about these sites, and are tinkering with their Safe Browsing service (that you get with Chrome) so that you’re warned explicitly about content that might not be what it says it is. Notably, they’re going after buttons that promise one thing, and give you something entirely different.

Google have said: ”Consistent with the social engineering policy we announced in November, embedded content (like ads) on a web page will be considered social engineering when they either: pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity — like your own device or browser, or the website itself. [Or] try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.”

So, if a website is repeatedly flagged up by users, Chrome will start throwing up a big warning at you when you’re on it. Basically, it’ll mither you until you’re at ease with using it, or go elsewhere.

You can assume that Google will be running tests on sites that are flagged up, because if they don’t, mischief makers will be able to flag up all manner of innocent sites, and the whole internet will be covered with warnings… and that’d be terrifically annoying.

This is the latest safety feature implemented by Google for the Chrome browser, and certainly not the last. Now, if they could do something about who go on about their keep-fit routines too often, that’d be great.

Google autocomplete and the Tories

February 3rd, 2016 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

david cameron government Google autocomplete and the ToriesThere’s been a lot of conspiracy theorists yelling into their timelines this week, regarding Google’s tax arrangements with the Conservative Party, and how the Tories come up in Google’s autocomplete in searches.

If you missed the chat about this, basically, if you go to Google and tap in ‘Labour are’, or ‘Lib Dems are’, you’ll get a variety of autosuggestions, such as ‘finished’, ‘scum’, ‘a joke’, and ‘traitors’. If you tap in ‘Tories are’ or ‘Conservatives are’, you’ll get… well… nothing!

Now, some people think that Google have done the Tory government a little favour, because they didn’t bust their nuts trying to get a load of tax out of them. Basically, conspiracy theorists think that Google censored its search results to please a party who let them pay £130m in back taxes, instead of a larger amount.

Such is the fuss over this, Google have had to deny this is the case. A spokesperson for the internet giant spoke to the Guardian, saying that the company “can categorically state that tax is not remotely connected to this, nor are their ‘conspiracy theories’ founded in any way”.

“Autocomplete predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms.” However, the company “do remove offensive or inappropriate content from autocomplete predictions.”

So maybe, Tories are just better at getting offensive stuff removed from the autosuggested terms than the Lib Dems and Labour?

There are some online though, which aren’t exactly nice to the Conservative Party. If you tap in ‘the Conservative party is’, you get offered ‘your enemy’. There’s also these, which were results today.

tories google 500x177 Google autocomplete and the Tories

Anyway, whatever is going on here, there is actually a page where you can report offensive autocomplete results, if that’s how you like spending your time. If you want to look at that, click here.

Alphabet topples Apple

February 2nd, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

alphabet 300x149 Alphabet topples AppleWho is the most valuable company in the world? Well, if you’re able to deduce things from headlines, you will have guessed that Alphabet Inc are now top of the pile, knocking Apple from the top spot.

If you’re all ‘Alphabwho?’, then remember, that’s what Google changed their name to.

Why should some arbitrary list be of any importance? Well, there is something to be said about being top of this list. Once upon a time, IBM were top, who were then surpassed by Microsoft, who were in turn toppled by Apple, who have now been replaced by Alphabet.

Looking at that list, you can see how certain companies just start to fall out of favour, and given that Google and Apple were once best buds, before falling out over the development of the Android platform, this could be seen as something of a power shift.

Of course, this meant that Alphabet shares shot up this week, and in total is worth $568 billion, while Apple are worth $535 billion.

There’s been numerous analysts and reports, saying that Apple’s appeal is softening of late, and that they’re not shifting the amount of phones they once did. One problem market for Apple is China, where they’re just not that interested in new iPhones and the like.

Google/Alphabet meanwhile, have been doing a roaring trade since the restructuring of the company, while Apple seem to have spent half their time in court with Samsung and other.

Alphabet are hoping that Google’s search engine carries on being as popular, as well as YouTube videos, and not to mention the imminent self-driving cars, the mysterious X research division which does all the secret, weird stuff, and the smart-home thingy, Nest. They’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, and people seem to be responding to that.

The scrap between Apple and Alphabet is on!

Google to produce a 3D phone

January 8th, 2016 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google to produce a 3D phoneWhen Amazon released their 3D phone, everyone was briefly excited, before realising it is wasn’t very good. Undeterred, Google and Lenovo are tag-teaming to make their own 3D handset, which they say is the first mobile to use three-dimensional mapping, which was developed for Google’s ‘Project Tango’.

This was announced at CES 2016, where loads of geeks have got together to look at the future of technology. The new 3D phone is a part of a new generation of smart devices that can be used for indoor mapping, augmented reality and a whole load more.

Apparently, this phone (which hasn’t been shown off physically yet) will be on the large side (with a 6″ display) and will cost over £300. It will be called the Tango phone, and sadly, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Adidas ball they used at the World Cups in the ’80s.

“This was not designed as a niche device,” said Lenovo vice president Jeff Meredith. “We want this to be accessible to a large audience.” Project Tango leader Johnny Lee, joined in by saying that the technology “transforms the smartphone into a magical window on the world.”

A magical window!

The technology will allow you to have a more detailed map, as well as help you to take precise measurements of a room should you be shopping for some furniture or something. It’ll also use depth sensing and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, if that tickles your pickle.

The phone is still in testing, but it’ll “definitely” launch in mid-2016.

Google ban AVG Chrome extension

December 31st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google ban AVG Chrome extensionGoogle have gone and banned AVG from automatically installing their Web TuneUp Chrome extension. Why? Well, it completely borked the online security of nine million people, thanks to weaknesses found in an audit.

Tavis Ormandy, a researcher at Google, had been giving the antivirus software the once over, found that it was filled with vulnerabilities, which is exactly the opposite of what you want out of something that’s supposed to make your devices safer.

The Web TuneUp is installed with AVG’s antivirus package, and basically tries to stop you Chrome users from going on sites that host malware. At the time of writing, over 9 million people were using it.

Ormandy said that the extension leaked “browsing history and other personal data to the internet,” and that means that nasty websites could exploit the frailties to get into other sites a user is logged into. This is great news for hackers, and terrible news for everyone else.

“Apologies for my harsh tone, but I’m really not thrilled about this trash being installed for Chrome users,” Ormandy told AVG in his report. ”The extension is so badly broken that I’m not sure whether I should be reporting it to you as a vulnerability, or asking the extension abuse team to investigate if it’s a PuP [potentially unwanted program aka malware].”

Last week, AVG updated the programme, however, Google are still not allowing AVG to install the extension automatically. Looks like they need to get Google’s trust back up. If you want it, you’ll have to download it manually from the Chrome store.

“We thank the Google Security Research Team for making us aware of the vulnerability with the Web TuneUp optional Chrome extension. The vulnerability has been fixed; the fixed version has been published and automatically updated to users,” an AVG spokesperson told El Reg.

Google are looking at losing passwords

December 23rd, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google are looking at losing passwordsGoogle are looking at killing off passwords as we know them, as they’re testing out a new method so that people log into Google accounts using their mobile, and without typing anything in.

Basically, once you’ve authorised your device, you’ll be able to input your account credentials on any computer, and get a notification on your phone. The device is going to have to have some type of screen lock function to work, as unlocking your mobile will be a prerequisite to approving or denying access to your account.

Now, if this sounds like a load of cobblers, Google assure everyone that you’ll still be able to log in with a regular password, if you prefer.

“We’ve invited a small group of users to help test a new way to sign-in to their Google accounts, no password required,” a Google spokesperson said. “‘Pizza,’ ‘password,’ and ’123456′ — your days are numbered.”

Of course, Yahoo! are also looking at life beyond the humble password too, as it seems tech companies want a new way of doing things. There’s concern that, as we rely more and more on the internet, it needs to be better secured, and passwords that are easy to guess are one of the bigger problems faced.

Google think this new method will be a good defence against hackers and people trying to phish your account.

This follows Google’s two-step authentication services, which means you sign in on the web using a code that has been sent to you in a text message. They also have the Authenticator app, which makes unique codes on your device, to confirm your identity. They’ve also got the Password Alert Chrome extension, which shows users when they’ve input their password into a non-Google website.

cosy coupe car 300x199 Government and Google meet up about autonomous vehiclesSome documents have been uncovered which shows that the government in the UK have been having a chat with Google about their autonomous driving program. These talks have been going on for a couple of years.

These particular documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information act, show that the Department of Transport government had five meetings with Google X, to talk about safety and the like. So far, so blindingly obvious.

Of course, trials for these driverless vehicles have already been taking place in Milton Keynes and Coventry, so politicians being interested in this field is of no surprise. “Driverless cars will bring great benefits to our society, the economy and road safety and we are investing millions into research and trials for the motoring of the future,” a spokesman for the Department for Transport said.

“The UK is in a unique position to lead the way for the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles. We are making sure our laws are in step with this fast evolving technology and are working with industry to keep the UK at the forefront of its development.”

Google X’s Sarah Hunter, after meeting the government, said that the tech behemoth is “very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK [which] places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice.”

So there you go.

Google patent watch that sucks your blood

December 7th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Google patent watch that sucks your bloodGoogle, have immense control over millions of people’s virtual world, so obviously, the next step is to actually get inside your body. They’ve got the creepy 23andme wing, where they can store your DNA, and now, they’ve just patented a watch that’ll suck your blood.

That’s right! The internet giant has filed a patent for a smartwatch which can suck on the veins of a wearer, so they can extract small blood samples for tests and analysis.

They’re not doing this just for the fun of it – Google have long been interested in health projects, with a particular eye on diabetes. The company have already talked about their special techie contact lenses, which will test your eye-goo for illnesses, and now, they’re looking at watches for people who vomit at the idea of putting anything on their eyeball.

The patent for this blood watch says that the technology in it will use a micro particle that is blown into the patient’s skin using a high pressure gas barrel, so there’ll be no need for a needle to obtain your blood. It’ll then suck it back from your wrist into a low pressured barrel. It’ll be pretty much painless, apparently.

While Google are trying to make everyone healthier and whatnot, we’re waiting for some Texas crackpot podcasters to decide that this is a surefire of computer viruses making the leap to humans. We can’t wait.

Google USPTO Needle Free Blood Smartwatch 730x430 500x294 Google patent watch that sucks your blood

Google Nest camera is ‘always on’

November 26th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

nest Google Nest camera is always onWe’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.

Google bury Yelp and TripAdvisor

November 25th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

TripAdvisor 300x256 Google bury Yelp and TripAdvisorTripAdvisor 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 to offer prizes for Maps reviews

November 16th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Google Maps Google to offer prizes for Maps reviewsGoogle 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.

Gmail – it’ll write your emails for you

November 5th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

new google logo 300x300 Gmail   itll write your emails for youTired 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 logo 300x298 Amazon to ban sale of Apple, Google video streaming thingsAmazon 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.