Posts Tagged ‘google’

Firefox say cheerio Google and hello Yahoo

November 21st, 2014 No Comments 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.

Google are still at war with Java

October 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

google plus logo Google are still at war with JavaGoogle have been at war with Oracle for ages now. It has been going on so long that it is almost a battle of Biblical length. They’ve been fighting over the incredibly exciting thing of Java implementation on Android and it might get all the way to the US Supreme Court.

When it does, take stock of where you are and what you’re doing because future generations will ask: “Where were you when everyone died in the Google-Java conflict?”

The Supreme Court has listed Google’s request to have the US Court of Appeals’ decision reviewed.

If you aren’t aware of what’s been going on (seriously? You’re that jaded by warfare?), Oracle said that Google owed them “billions” because Android’s class libraries replicate the functions and code of some of Java’s copyrighted API packages.

One of the big arguments is whether or not you can copyright an API (that stands for ‘application programming interface’, just so you’re aware).

In May, the Court of Appeals said that you could indeed copyright APIs, but then handed the case over to another court so the argument of ‘fair use’ could be thrashed out.

And now, the Supreme Court is listening to Google’s argument that; “Early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming.”

If Oracle win this case, then it will mean a whole load of trouble for more companies than just Google. For more, the case has its own Wikipedia page. We can’t wait for the Hollywood blockbuster that is made of this dispute.

google plus logo Google want to take on WhatsApp with instant messengerSoftware behemoth Google is apparently planning to launch a mobile messaging app in a bid to challenge WhatsApp.

Now, we know what you’re thinking – Google already have a number of products that fulfil this criteria. However, if there’s one thing Google do well, it is to just throw out a load of products, delete old ones and ostensibly throw stuff at the wall and see if any of it sticks.

Google already have Google Hangouts and G+, but it seems they want to rip-off WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Kik with their own thing, which interestingly, won’t make it mandatory to use a Google login.

A Google spokesperson said the company did not comment on speculation. They then sulked off to their boss saying “Gaffer – they’ve rumbled our plans! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!”

Either way, looks like Google will be jumping on the instant-messaging bandwagon, but with so much competition out there already, can anyone actually see themselves using it?

EC aren’t cool with Google everywhere

September 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

google EC arent cool with Google everywhereGoogle news again now, and it seems their case about the whole anti-trust thing seems to snowballing into something bigger.

Joaquín Almunia, the EC’s competition commissioner, told the European parliament that unless Google altered its offer to settle complaints, it could face a “statement of objections”, which in English means the formal path towards a fine that could equate to 10% of the company’s global revenue, or about $6bn (£3.7bn).

Almunia told MEPs: “Microsoft was investigated for 16 years, which is four times as much as the Google investigation has taken, and there are more problems with Google than there were with Microsoft,”

Google controls more than 90% of the online search market in Europe, which is more than in the US, where it was cleared by the US federal trade commission in January 2013 of favouring its own searches to the detriment of consumers.

Almunia told MEPs his change of position was due to “new factual evidence” about the impact on rivals of the proposals.

He added that the EC competition group could also open an investigation into preferential positioning for Google in its Android operating system.

There could also be another investigation for “the possible diversion of internet traffic towards Google services which are not search services”

A spokesman for Google, said in response: “We continue to work with the European commission to resolve their concerns.”

Google+ will stop forcing you to do things

September 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

google plus logo Google+ will stop forcing you to do thingsGood news Googlers – you no longer have to have a Google+ account tied in with your activities.

Google are said to have quietly snuffed out the service, which demands you tell it everything during the sign-up process, and then chains itself to your radiator* (*every move on the internet).

Now when you create a new Google account, there’s the option of signing up for a G+ account. And now, you can instead use the new “No thanks” button, and they’ll be on their way.

It doesn’t mean the end of the network, oh no, it’s suggested that they will continue to perservere with it, and improving aspects such as Google Hangouts.

But it sort of gives the idea that Google may not be arsed at foisting it on people willy nilly, and accept that it will never be the level that Twitter and Facebook enjoy.

However you can carry on ignoring it as usual, but it may hamper you leaving app reviews and uploading videos to YouTube and that.

A Google spokesperson said: “We updated the signup experience in early September. Users can now create a public profile during signup, or later, if and when they share public content for the first time (like a restaurant review, YouTube video or Google+ post).”

5 million Gmail adresses and passwords dumped online

September 11th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

gmail logo stylized 300x300 5 million Gmail adresses and passwords dumped onlineNearly 5 million Gmail addresses and plain text passwords was posted on a forum this week, which is a massive pain in the arse for someone – probably the person who has to answer questions at Google about security breaches and the like.

Someone called ‘tvskit’ posted the archive file on a Bitcoin security forum called btcsec.com, which you can imagine, is a riotous read and will keep you entertained for literally seconds. They reckon that over 60% of the credentials in the file are valid.

“We can’t confirm that it is indeed as much as 60%, but a great amount of the leaked data is legitimate,” said Peter Kruse, the chief technology officer of CSIS Security Group. “We believe the data doesn’t originate from Google directly. Instead it’s likely it comes from various sources that have been compromised.”

What that means is, Google haven’t been hacked, but rather, accounts on other sites where people have used their Gmail addresses as the user name have been obtained.

Google said: “The security of our users is of paramount importance to us. We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that an account has been compromised, we take steps to help our users secure their accounts.”

In conclusion, here’s the usual ‘you might want to change your password on sites where you’ve used your Gmail address as a user name’ advice.

Google cough up refunds for in-app idiocy

September 5th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

google play logo1 300x190 Google cough up refunds for in app idiocyGoogle have promised to give kids their money back.

Why? They’re promising to return at least $19 million (£11.6 million) to parents whose kids had racked up in-app purchases.

The kids were able to spree because of the parent’s credit card via Android Play store.

But now, as a result, a minimum $19m will be repaid to those who didn’t actually authorise the payments.

However the FTC found that when Google started its in-app purchasing in 2011, there wasn’t a proper security safeguard to stop them from making immense purchases.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says: “As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.”

This follows Apple doing a similar pay-out of $32.5m for the same sort of app sprees.

Once the parents get their refund, they should get it in a bag of coins and whack their children over the head with it, then themselves, to teach everyone a lesson.

The good, the bad: the Google

September 4th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

google The good, the bad: the GoogleMixed fortunes for Google in the surveys, having been voted both Most Liked and Least Liked Media Brand in the annual I-MIS industry reputation survey.

According to the findings of 50 media and tech brands in the report, which is compiled by BSB Media, The Vision Network and the International Advertising Association (IAA), it found that many media brands were liked and disliked in equal measure by their industry colleagues.

Also faring similarly after Google is Facebook, although the amount of response the survey had to people not liking Facebook was greater than those who liked it.

The rest of the Top 5 sees LinkedIn, YouTube and BBC World News.

Their survey said that advertisers had strong attitudes towards Google, whereas agencies had the strongest views about Facebook.

Seeing as the report focused mostly on the internet, it showed that in one-to-one working relationships between media owners and clients, 74% of advertisers thought that face-to-face meetings were the most important way of communicating, with email at 54% and telephone calls 53%.

youtube 300x300 Googles musical YouTube service! Its here!Google’s long rumoured music service is upon us!

YouTube Music Key will feature over 20 million tunes and videos curated especially for the service.

It will offer a 30-day trial for free, and then a monthly subscription giving access to what they’re bugling as “high-quality tracks – complete albums, organised into artist discographies”, specifically for YouTube with both video and audio-only streaming and offline listening.

It’s likely that the service will link in with Google’s current Play Music All Access thing, which also costs £9.99 a month.

According to reports, the YouTube service will offer concert footage, covers and remixes in addition to the official discographies of artists.

Google will offer an enhanced version of YouTube’s existing recommendation engine based on user choice, making suggestions of what to listen to as users watch videos on YouTube.

The service is expected to be offered once they’ve cleared up all the business of licensing and rowing with smaller labels.

That will no doubt be exciting… but won’t stop people enjoying the fruits of the torrent tree.