Posts Tagged ‘google’
Google and Facebook are constantly trolling each other, and with Zuckerberg trying to give the developing world the internet (so they can keep tabs on absolutely everyone, ever), Google want to give the world free internet too (so they can keep tabs on absolutely everyone, ever).
The internet behemoth is rolling out free wifi in New York as part of a trial, which Google hopes will end up spanning the entire planet. They’ve set up a branch of their company to deal with this called ‘Sidewalk Labs’, are they’re hoping that they can create a signal that everyone can use, so you don’t have to rely on ropey connections in shops.
In New York, they’ve hit on a decent idea – they’re turning a load (10,000 in fact) of old phone booths into ‘wifi pylons’, which of course, will be ad-supported.
As well as that, the converted booths will provide a point where you can charge up your mobile phone (you have to assume it’ll have adapters that only work for Android phones, as Google inevitably won’t want to help out Apple at all). The old phone boxes will also have a touch screen so you can get info about the city and transport, and you’ll be able to make free domestic calls too.
These spots will be appearing in Autumn, and if they are deemed a success, Google will start rolling them out in other places.
When Google aren’t basically tapping your laptop like spies, they’re doing other, less worrying things. They are of course launching a music streaming service just to annoy Apple, and they’ve also come up with a thing which could spare your blushes if you’ve just sent a disastrous email.
Gmail has launched an “undo send” option, which is perfect if you’ve just absent mindedly put thirty kisses on the end of a message to your boss, or you’ve accidentally sent a photo of your bare arse to the wrong person.
After years of experimenting with the feature, everyone will now be able to choose an option of cancellation of up to 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds. Perfect for those idiots who don’t know the difference between ‘reply’ and ‘reply all’.
If you go into your Settings, you’ll see the new feature there, which is disabled by default. If this sounds like your bag, then go switch it on right now.
Once you do that, with every email sent, you’ll get the thin yellow notification bar at the top of your screen, and it is there you’ll be able to cancel your error laden message’s delivery.
Sadly, this tool only works on desktop, so won’t be any use to you if you send all your messages via the mobile or tablet app.
Google art taking shots at Apple by launching a free version of its music streaming service Play Music. Of course, Google Play Music as a subscription service is already a thing, but the internet behemoth has decided to take on Apple’s music service (and of course, Spotify’s).
This free version is going to be made up of curated playlists, which have been designed for different times of the day, which sounds a bit rubbish. Initially, this service is only available in the States and will have adverts like Spotify’s freemium service.
With Apple set to launch their music service on 30th June, they’re no doubt going to be annoyed by this.
In a blog post, Google product manager Elias Roman said: “Even if you’re not already a Google Play Music subscriber, we’ve got you covered. Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version in the US, giving you a new way to find just the right music – and giving artists another way to earn revenue.”
“The new free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the US. It’s available on the web today, and is rolling out this week to Android and iOS.”
However, this won’t cover up the fact that a load of people are losing their baps about Google spying on everyone. Open-source developers noticed that Chromium (that’s the open-source version of Chrome) had been installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.
Now, this code has been put in, so that people can talk to their computers via OK Google thingummy, which is all well and good, but the kicker here, is that the listening technology was activated without anyone’s permission. That, obviously, isn’t cricket.
“Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room”, said Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder. “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by… an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions”.
Google say that this isn’t activated “unless you opt in to hotwording”, but developers aren’t having that. Developer Ofer Zelig says: “While I was working I thought ‘I’m noticing that an LED goes on and off, on the corner of my eyesight [webcam]‘. And after a few times when it just seemed weird, I sat to watch for it and saw it happening. Every few seconds or so”.
So there you go – you can have free music, but Google might end up listening to you caterwauling along to it as well.
Not content with watching you in your home and trying to take over the whole of the internet, Google are now looking at Tesco’s customer loyalty wing, and weighing up a joint takeover bid with one of the biggest buyout firms in the UK.
It has been reported that Google is in talks with Permira, and are thinking about buying Dunnhumby, the people behind Tesco’s ClubCard.
Of course, there’s a lot of data on human beings that Google can hoover-up, if this proves to be a successful takeover. There’s nothing Google like more, than crunching the numbers from the data analysis of human beings. That said, they’re not the only ones sniffing around Dunnhumby.
Alas, the other companies involved aren’t as famous as Google, so we’re not writing about them.
There’s been a lot of interest around Dunjumby, which was originally valued somewhere in the region of £2bn, but it looks like it is actually worth half that amount, as previously reported.
Either way, Tesco have a lot of losses to contend with, with the widely reported £6.4bn annual loss for last year. Google – they’re trying to take over the entire world, aren’t they?
Well, the latest news from the Nest Labs isn’t going to stop us from doing that, as they’ve announced the latest edition to their family of connected gizmos – the Nest Cam.
That’s right! If you want a robot home, you can now add a home-monitoring camera, complete with microphone, speaker, motion sensors and night-vision… one made by Google, and all their lovely privacy practices!
It’ll shoot video of your home in 1080p high-definition, with a wide-angle glass lens and three megapixel sensor, so it can capture all that scintillating footage of you sat on the sofa, scratching your can while watching dirty videos on your phone.
It’ll cost you £199 and you can upload 10-30 days worth of continuous video to the Nest Aware cloud service, which itself, will cost you around £10 or £30 a month, depending on your storage option. There’s also a new version of the Nest Protect device, which is a a fire, smoke and CO2 alarm.
Nest boss, Tony Fadell says: “At Nest, we always wanted to build more than a thermostat. Our vision was to create a thoughtful home, a home that takes care of itself and the people in it. Five years later, all the pieces are in place.”
‘A thoughtful home – a house that takes care of itself and the people in it’. This sounds like a strapline from dystopian nightmare film where we all get devoured. Don’t even pretend it doesn’t. We’ll all be killed by humdrum machines and there’s nothing we can do about it, as Nest will probably tell the Google automated cars to drive us off cliffs for being insubordinate.
Not only that, they’ve announced a new programme which hopes to ensure the security of third-party software on Android, which will poke developers until they stop using programming libraries which are known to be out-of-date in their apps.
Google’s Adrian Ludwig, the lead of Android security says: “We see mobile becoming arguably the most important way people connect to the internet. We’re seeing it providing two-factor authentication, as well, and the root of trust in the way that users interact.” But at the moment, “most security research is still focused on legacy systems. We’re trying to move that, by incentivising security researchers to focus their energy on mobile.”
This new scheme is called Android Security Rewards, and is very similar to something Google did with their web browser, which saw over a million dollars being paid out.
“As part of the scanning of apps, we don’t just look for intentionally bad behaviour anymore: we’re also looking for mistakes,” Ludwig continued. “A really obvious example of what we’re looking out for: including a version of OpenSSL that’s an old version. Starting about a year ago, we began scanning apps, and notifying developers if they have made that sort of mistake.”
“Our goal is to get to the point where there’s a common baseline. We want to put structures in place to help developers update their apps, so the quality of all apps rises.”
So, if this sounds like your bag, you need to find bugs that affect the new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices – $500 for a minor bug, upward to more complicated stuff.
There’s so many apps out there, that you can mince your brain trying to find any useful ones. Well, Google is going to try and help, by pointing at their favourite free apps, so you can get all manner of things to clog up the memory on your Android phone.
Of course, there’s been a host of clunky, cumbersome free giveaways in the past, especially when the developer was offering a paid-app, for free, for a limited period.
Well, according to Android Police: “The offer isn’t immediately apparent when you first open the Play Store. A banner advertising “New Family Fun” appears at the bottom of the screen. Clicking that will take you over to the family section, where you should see another banner advertising a free app of the week from PBS Kids. The banner doesn’t tell you specifically which app is up for grabs, which is kind of awkward. When you click to get more information, the purchase prompt pops up instead.”
There, you’ll see that the pop-up will show you which app is being given away for. You might not want what is being offered, but it is worth checking, in case you do, as it won’t cost you anything.
So go to your Play Store page now, and have a look and obviously, keep checking back in.
Google’s latest future-thing concerns something called Project Soli, which wants to do away with your phone/tablet’s touchscreen.
It uses radar to detect where your fingers are, and they call them ‘micromotions’. Basically, you waft your fingers around in the air and all manner of magic happens.
In one instance, in a video you can see below, a chap called Ivan Poupyrev manages to change the hours on a clock, by turning his fingers around an imaginary dial LIKE SOMETHING FROM A SCIENCE FICTION FILM! He does other things as well, like kicking a virtual football by flicking toward the screen.
If you can imagine Kinect technology and holograms coming together, you’re in the right ballpark.
Amazingly, Google only took 10 months of work to get all this down to a chip the size of a finger nail. That means it can be easily put into a smartphone, smartwatch, headset or whatever. There’s a lot of possibilities for this, once Google work out how to get the costs down on it, you have to assume.
Anyway, here’s that video.
You might not trust someone like Google to look after your privacy or, indeed, you might just like tinkering with stuff because it makes you feel like you’re doing something useful with your life – either way, you can now mess around with your privacy controls if you have a Google account.
The internet giant has rejigged the account page, so hopefully, it makes the whole understanding what in the sam hell they’re doing with your data thing a little easier.
If you can’t be bothered reading more words and want to dive straight in, click here and it’ll take you to your account page.
So what’s the deal? Well, Google aren’t exactly offering you anything new with your security options, but what they are doing, is making things easier for you to understand. By making things simpler, you can toggle the options and have things which are more suited to what you want.
If you want a pointer, get yourself to the new Privacy Checkup and Security Check Up. That’s as good a place to start as any. The Privacy Checkup goes through the information that Google are storing and displaying across the variety of services they have. If you turn a lot of the settings off, you will lose the personalised service they offer, but that’s your call.
The Security Checkup meanwhile, goes through all the access settings for your Google account. Here, you can set up two-factor authentication (advised), and lets you see which devices and apps have access to your account (you might have an old app that you never use anymore that still has access to your account, which you can ditch if you like).
So basically, take care of your account, because it isn’t worth letting someone else do it for you.
Soon enough, when you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes or wanting to buy some movies, when you search in Google, you might have the option to buy it directly through them, rather than messing about pressing buttons to get to Amazon or eBay and wasting your valuable minutes on this planet.
That’s right – the search behemoth is apparently looking to rollout a ‘Buy’ button on its Shopping tab. Google say they won’t get any commission on this and they’re thinking about doing it to help you out. They’re selfless like that, clearly.
That, or they’re going mine all that lovely data and sell it on for a wad of money from someone.
Anyway, according to various reports and mutterings, these buttons will appear alongside paid search results in the ‘Shop on Google’ section.
Seeing as Google have Google Wallet, you’d think that they’ll store your payment details in that, so you don’t need to enter your payment details all the time. That means you might have to be signed-in with Google all the time, which again, works in their favour massively and will no doubt annoy people who don’t have a Google account.
Google are ushering in a thing called ‘M’, which looks like it’ll be bringing Android in line with Apple’s iOS user privacy. It seems that Google want to give users back the control when it comes to controlling their own data in apps.
Android is going to let users control personal data like phone numbers, names, location, and addresses, and how apps access it.
Users have been irked at the fact that, when installing apps, permission requests give users the choice to either accept all permissions or not install the app at all. This isn’t an ideal scenario for those who want to be more careful with the information they give out.
Only those with third-party customised versions of Android could control their permissions. At developer conferences at Google I/O, it looks like that is all about to change, with a lot of the talk being about user permissions, which look key to Android M. Now, the system will look to protect users from permission-request overload, and to create a culture where users refrain from blindly agreeing to permission requests without reading what they are actually agreeing to.
A nice idea, but will people really start wanting to read the small print?
Google say the they’re giving up on the following:
- iOS devices which cannot be upgraded to iOS 7 and above
- Apple TV first and second generations
- Google TV versions 3 and 4
- Numerous smart TVs and Blu-ray disc players.
Google’s full list can be found here. If you have a third-gen Apple TV, you’ll have something to do as well, as you must now install a newly YouTube app if you want to keep watching videos on the service.
It is thought that this is going to be a problem for in excess of 100m iPhones and iPads plus around 50m iPod touches and Apple TVs.
Instead of watching a cat play a synthesizer or a compilation of funny Vines that say ‘bruh’, those with affected devices will start seeing this instead:
That said, you can still use the web browser to watch YouTube videos rather than the app, and there’ll inevitably be a bunch of 3rd party apps you can look at.
However, first and second generation Apple TV doesn’t have a web browser, so you’ve had it.
The latest release of Google Chrome – version 42 – has blacked out the services thanks to the removal of support for NPAPI plugins, including Microsoft’s Silverlight, which many on-demand services use to power things.
On Now TV’s support forum, they said: “Google Chrome version 42 has now been released, and Chrome no longer supports Microsoft Silverlight. From this point, you’ll need to use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox to watch Now TV on your PC.”
Meanwhile, at the @BTCare Twitter account, they said: “If you use Chrome to watch BT Sport you may get a Silverlight error. Silverlight is no longer supported in Chrome, pls use another browser.”
Blinkbox added: “Because our HTML5 player is newer than the Silverlight player we use in other browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox on PCs and Safari on Mac, you might need a faster broadband connection than usual to have the same experience that you’re used to, whilst we work to further optimise streaming using HTML5. Because of this, for the best experience, we recommend that you use a different browser right now, particularly if your internet speed is close to our recommended minimum speed or you’ve got an older computer.”
Eventually, all video-on-demand services will have to move away from Silverlight as it is being discontinued by Microsoft.