Articles about Google

Google: Android L turns data encryption on by default

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, Shutterstock

Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.

And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.

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Google to fund videos from top YouTube creators


Television and movies are so last generation. Nowadays, all the cool kids are crowded around their laptops and tablets watching online videos of cats and other nonsense. However, believe it or not, not all online content is frivolous. There's quite a bit of quality videos on YouTube, and I have a select group of content creators to which I subscribe. Who, you ask? Chris Pirillo, iJustine and Barnacules Nerdgasm to name a few.

Unfortunately, content creation is a huge job and even short videos can take a long time to create. While creators can get paid from advertisements, it probably is not enough to live on. Luckily, Google is going to step in and fund some of the content of its top creators.

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Simple Secure -- open source security organization backed by Google and Dropbox


Strong security is necessary nowadays. However, some solutions can be overwhelming to many users, so they are often not implemented or simply misunderstood. In other words, regardless of how strong a security implementation is, if users do not understand how it works or how to use it, it may be worthless.

Today, Dropbox, Google and the Open Technology Fund come together for a new organization called Simple Secure. This organization is designed to spread knowledge of open source security tools and empower people to use them properly.

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News Corp: Google is a 'platform for piracy' with 'cynical management'

Google is a 'platform for piracy' with 'cynical management' -- News Corp

News Corp, Rupert Murdoch's media behemoth, is the latest source of criticism of Google. Robert Thomson, the chief executive of the company -- responsible for the Times and the Sun in the UK as well the book publisher HarperCollins -- has written to the European Commission to complain that the search giant is "a platform for piracy". Thomson pulls no punches as he lays into Google, saying that the company was in the hands of a "cynical management" and was "willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition".

The letter, addressed to Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, is bitter in tone as Thomson complains of Google's "egregious" practices. It is Google's dominance of the search market that is seen as particularly problematic. News Corps feels that Google's power "increases with each passing day" -- a claim that many have leveled at Murdoch's corporation in the past -- and fears that this "will lead to a less informed, more vexatious level of dialog in our society". But this is far from being the only accusation that Thomson fires at Google.

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Google transforms old oil fields in to a $145m solar project


Google has announced it is investing $145 million into its latest renewable energy project.

The search engine giant is helping to finance the 82 megawatt solar power plan, which will be the company's 17th renewable energy project, alongside SunEdison.

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Google steps up its game in India with Android One

Android One Smartphones

The increasing popularity of smartphones in emerging markets coupled with Google's desire to gain control over its open-source mobile operating system have resulted in Android One. It's a new program, designed with low-end devices in mind, that will see more consumers enjoying the benefits of a close-to-stock Android experience on inexpensive handsets. It's also Google's way of making sure that billions of first-time smartphone users will be exposed to its services and become long-term customers.

"If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone", says Android and Chrome & Apps SVP Sundar Pichai. "While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population -- over five billion more -- do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web. We want to bring these experiences to more people".

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Chromebook is nothing without Android apps

Chromebook Pixel keyboard

Google geeks have speculated for nearly a year about Android and Chrome OS coming together as one operating system. Yesterday's announcement -- that some Android apps can now run on the browser-based platform -- seems to foreshadow a combined future. Make no mistake about what this really means. Chrome OS is an ecosystem with no future because there is little monetization of apps. The platform would be dead if not for the existing and smoothly integrated Google cloud ecosystem.

Android apps inject life into the Chrome OS ecosystem. Free apps can't sustain any platform because developers have no incentive to create them. Android opens a huge spigot of apps -- and some which developers can monetize, more than they do through paid services tacked onto free web apps. BTW, Microsoft should take a cue from Google, by bringing boatloads of Windows Phone apps to its PC operating system.

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Get $100,000 worth of Google Cloud Platform credit for your startup


Having a startup business is all the rage nowadays; it is as trendy as a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Actually, if you go to Starbucks, you can probably overhear chatter from hipsters about some lamebrain scheme to launch a business. Of course, the business must have a wacky name to make it cool; throw a bunch of consonants (vowels are so passé) in a hat, pull out 5 and that's the new business name.

Despite the deluge of posers thinking they will be the next Mark Zuckerberg, there are legit people with sound business ideas too. These up-and-coming startups need all the help they can get. Today, Google announces that some startups can receive $100,000 worth of Cloud Platform credit.

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Yahoo resisted NSA Prism requests -- US government threatened $250,000 daily fines

Yahoo resisted NSA Prism requests and US government threated $250,000 daily fines

It's transparency time once again! After Edward Snowden opened the can of NSA surveillance worms, internet users' collected attention has been focused on online privacy. We still don’t know the full extent of the monitoring that took place, but more information continues to leak out. All of the big names -- Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and the rest -- have slowly trickled out little snippets about government data requests. A new blog post from Yahoo's general counsel Ron Bell sheds further light on the resistance the company put up against requests for data.

Just like Google and Microsoft, Yahoo is keen to let it be known that it tried to stick up for the privacy rights of its customers. A new cache of documents -- stretching to War And Peace baiting 1,500 pages -- from seven years ago shows just how much of a fight Yahoo tried to put on its users' behalves. Way back in 2007, the US government started to request information about users from a number of online companies. Yahoo was one of the companies who -- initially, at least -- refused to comply, and tried to fight the government in court.

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Google Drive and Docs gain accessibility options for visually-impaired users

Google Drive and Docs gain accessibility options for visually-impaired users

With a visual impairment, using any software or service can be anything from tricky to impossible. Windows and other operating systems have long included features that make them easier for blind and partially sighted people to use, and now Google is adding similar playing-field-levelling features to Google Drives and Docs. While traditional desktop software has been quick to adopt new methods of opening up to as many people as possible, the same cannot be said of online tools -- Google is looking to change that.

Starting today, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings and Forms all feature support for Alt tags for images, as well as better text-to-voice conversions. Tweaks include support for vocalized spelling correction suggestions, as well as the ability to listen to comments that have been added to shared documents. The arrival and departure of collaborators something else that's now spoken aloud. Changes are also to be found in the many keyboard shortcuts -- additional shortcuts are now available to provide access to a wider range of tools and option than before, including the editing of charts and pivot tables.

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Android apps break out of the small screen and jump to Chromebooks

Android apps break out of the small screen and jump to Chromebooks

A lot of Google services have transitioned to gain the title of "apps", and the same is true of a large number of extensions for the Chrome browser. These online tools are essentially cross-platforms apps that work identically Now Google is taking another step to break out of the confines of making apps available to a single platform. Android apps are, quite rightly, associated with smartphones and tablets, but now a small number of these mobile apps are finding their way onto Chromebook.

The (usually) cheap and cheerful Windows laptop/Mac Book alternative (did someone say netbook?) can now start to benefit from a handful of well-known titles from Android devices. It is very early days but as of today there are four Android apps available to Chromebook owners -- Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine -- but we can expect to see this list expand over time. The quartet of crossover apps were introduced today by Ken Mixter and Josh Woodward. A short blog posts penned by the pair explains that the Chromebook support comes thanks to the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta) project.

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Nest grows its home automation integration, Dropcam now in use


Home automation and the Internet of Things have become popular topics today. Users either love it or fear it, the latter thanks to very real security problems which have been discovered. Nest is no stranger to problems, thanks to its Protect issue from not long ago, but that hasn't stopped the company from moving forward, adding further integration.

The latest move is to partner with more home automation products in an effort to make everything play nicely together. The company, known for its smart thermostat, has joined forces with Whirlpool, Jawbone and LIFX under a program it calls "Works with Nest". It has also been working with home automation makers to get better integration.

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5 million Google Account credentials reportedly leaked online [Updated]


According to the IBTimes, around five million Google Account credentials have been leaked online by hackers, with around 60 percent of the compromised accounts judged to still be active.

A user called "tvskit" made the announcement on the Bitcoin Security forum along with a link to the alleged email list. The majority of the leaked accounts seem to belong to Russian users.

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Google Street View visits Egypt, tours pyramids and more


The Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, there's a lot to see in Egypt. However, it may not be a place you wish to travel to right at this moment, though there are no official warnings against it from the State Department. Fortunately you don't need to make the trip now, thanks to Google.

Street View, the ever-growing portfolio of images from the Google Maps team, has visited the North African nation and captured the sites in great detail. Included are all of the things that drive tourists to this location -- Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, ancient burial grounds and more.

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Google Chrome is to blame for a massive increase in online ad blocking

Google Chrome is to blame for a massive increase in online ad blocking

A shocking new report looking at online advertising shows that there has been a huge increase in the number of internet users making use of ad blocking tools. The report describes ad blocking as having gone mainstream, but it also suggests that the loss of ad revenue threatens the life of many websites.

Pagefair worked with Adobe putting together the report and found that 4.9 percent of internet users make use of ad blockers, including more than a quarter (27.6 percent) of those in the US.

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