Articles about Google

OnePlus has free Google Cardboard VR headsets for everyone!

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Virtual reality is making a comeback. Forget the atrocious examples we endured in the 90s, now we have the likes of Oculus Rift to delight our senses, and Microsoft is tempting us with HoloLens. Neither of these are particularly cheap, but Google came up with a cheap alternative in the form of Cardboard.

As the name suggests, this is a foldable cardboard unit which can be used to transform a variety of smartphones into a fully-fledged VR headset. While much cheaper than the likes of Oculus Rift and HoloLens, Cardboard is not free... or at least, it wasn't. Ahead of the launch of OnePlus 2, OnePlus is offering its own OnePlus CardBoard for free.

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The 2015 Nexus 5 will be built by LG

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The Nexus range of smartphones has proved a popular way to get a fairly high-end handset running stock Android at a decent price. Previous models have (largely) sold well, and there is always eager anticipation surrounding the next release. One thing people are always keen to know is just who is going to be making the handset.

According to a report by AndroidPIT, it is LG who will be responsible for the 2015 Nexus 5. A spokesperson said that the device is to be based on a yet-to-be-seen prototype rather than the LG G4. Based on previous launches, it's safe to assume that the release will coincide with the launch of the next version of Google's mobile operating system, Android M.

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Google apologizes for labeling black people 'gorillas'

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Google has issued an apology after the automatic tagging feature of its Photos apps labeled a black couple as 'gorillas'. This is not the first time an algorithm has been found to have caused racial upset. Earlier in the year Flickr came under fire after its system tagged images of concentration camps as sports venues and black people as apes.

The company was criticized on social networks after a New York software developer questioned the efficacy of Google's algorithm. Accused of racism, Google said that it was "appalled" by what had happened, branding it as "100% not OK".

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Google puts lipstick on Gmail -- adds new themes and emojis

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I am definitely a Gmail power user. Not only do I use it for much of my personal email, but business communications too. Does it bother me that the search giant scans the contents of my messages for advertising? Yes, a bit, but I realize there is no such thing as a free lunch.

What does really bother me, however, is how archaic Gmail looks nowadays. The appearance is boring and drab. To make matters worse, I know Google is capable of a beautiful redesign -- it is frustrating that the company just doesn't. Today, Gmail gets a little lipstick by way of new hi-res themes and new emojis.

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Chromecast update moves users to beta channel and breaks apps

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A recent update pushed to Chromecast devices has caused a series of problems for users. One of the most obvious issues is that users who were signed up to the regular, stable update channel found that they had been moved to the beta channel without their permission. Although the problem started to appear a few days ago, Google has been slow to issue a fix.

The update has also caused problems with a number of Chromecast apps including YouTube, Plex, and HBO GO. Not all users have been affected by the issues, and Google insists that only "a small percentage of users" have the issue which is flagged up by a beta/developer string at the bottom of the screen.

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Google will eliminate accidental mobile ad clicks

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Ads are part and parcel of being online, but they can be particularly annoying for mobile users. When playing games on a phone or tablet, it's all too easy to accidentally tap an ad you have absolutely no interest in, pulling you out of the game you were playing or the site you were reading. If you've cursed when this happened to you, Google hears you.

The company is taking steps to make the "user experience" of ads a little better. It recognizes that advertisements that get clicked accidentally don't benefit anybody. They end up irritating the clicker, and are unlikely to be of value to the company that placed the ad. With around half of ad clicks being made by mistake, Google is now taking steps to stop this from happening -- great news for users and advertisers alike.

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Anti-trolling site aims to stamp out online abuse, sexism, and homophobia

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The day after the US Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the self-explanatorily named Stop Abuse Online website has launched. While the site has been set up with the intention of combating online abuse and trolling in general, female and LGBT victims are a particular focus.

The aim of Stop Abuse Online is to offer advice to those who find themselves falling victim to abuse -- be it online harassment, stalking revenge porn, or blackmail -- complete with legal tips about how to deal with different circumstances. The site is run by seven voluntary organizations in the UK and looks to bring the same protection to the web that people expect in the real world.

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Google car cuts off rival self-driving vehicle [Updated]

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A case of autonomous road rage nearly broke out on Thursday, after two competing self-driving cars barely avoided colliding with one another on a California roadway. It's being called the first incident of its kind.

As Reuters reports, one of Google's driverless car prototypes -- a modified Lexus RX400h crossover -- was cruising along San Antonia Rd in Palo Alto, CA. By happenstance, another driverless car powered by automotive company Delphi, was driving on the same road. Google's corporate headquarters and Delphi's self-driving research facility are both located nearby in Mountain View, CA.

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BBC reveals links censored by Google's Right To Be Forgotten

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Google's Right To Be Forgotten gives people the chance to request the removal of search results linking to pages that contain information they believe to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant". Google says it rejects more requests than it complies with, but there is still concern that the company is not providing enough detail about what it is doing. There have been calls for greater transparency from the company about the censorship that is taking place.

The BBC has published a list of all of the stories from its own site that have been removed from Google search results. The corporation announced that it wanted to be clear with people about which links has been deleted and plans to update the list each month. It already extends to nearly 200 entries and the BBC explains that while the stories may no longer be shown by Google, they are still available uncensored on the BBC site.

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Google introduces Cloud Source Repositories -- new GitHub rival

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Google closed its own project hosting site, named Google Code, earlier this year, in a move that allowed GitHub and Bitbucket to become the dominant platforms. The move away from project hosting only lasted a few months, with a new place called Cloud Source Repositories now available on the Google Cloud Platform.

Part of Google’s ever growing line of services on the cloud platform, Cloud Source Repositories allows users and teams to upload, build and deploy applications for the web and mobile.

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Cloud platform Fasetto shows Google how Undo Send should be done

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A couple of days ago, Google took Gmail's Undo Send feature out of its six year beta period, and brought the option to a wider audience. Although the feature has been widely welcomed, there has also been criticism, particularly about the measly 30 second time limit users are given to change their mind and recall an email. Today Fasetto launched Messaging 2.0 which includes the ability to recall or edit messages or files that have been sent, with no time limits.

Fasetto is a cloud storage platform that offers security features that will appeal to the enterprise, as well as home users. Available for Windows, Android, iOS, OS X, and even Windows Phone, the platform has a focus on security that extends to being completely free of tracking and log files, but it also has a thing or two to teach Google.

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Google bows to pressure to remove eavesdropping extension from Chromium

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Google has removed an extension from its open source browser Chromium after people complained that it had been downloaded without permission and then listened to users through their microphones. The Chrome Hotword extension was used by Chromium to offer "OK, Google" voice activation to the browser.

Privacy advocates were concerned about the potential for eavesdropping, particularly in light of the fact that users were not warned of the presence of the extension. There was also concern that the extension is not open source, so it was not possible to see exactly what it was doing. In response to complaints, Chrome Hotword has now been made an optional component.

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Google Street view takes you to the heights of El Capitan's rock wall

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If you've ever rock climbed then chances are you know El Capitan. It is the quintessential big wall -- the icon of the sport. Every climber aspires to one day visit Yosemite and tackle the multi-pitch ascent. There are lots of 5.14 climbs around, but there is something about the allure of a big wall.

Can't make it to California? You aren't alone, there are too many locations for any climber to get to in a lifetime. However, Yosemite is the icon, the Smith Rocks of big walls. You can speed climb it or use a hanging bivouac (don't roll over in the night).

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Google asks Android developers to show sensitivity to disasters and atrocity

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Today Google revealed an updated version of its Google Play Developer Program Policies. There aren't actually all that many changes or additions, but those that are present are quite interesting. Google is clamping down on the problem of impersonation, making it clearer that it is not permissible to mislead users by imitating other apps, making false claims, or suggesting endorsements that do not exist.

One of the more intriguing changes to the document sees Google calling on developers to show sensitivity to evens such as natural disasters, war, and death. Any apps or other content that attempt to benefit by exploiting such events are explicitly banned.

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Is Google Chrome spying on you?

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It seems as Google’s software, with the ability to listen everything being said in a room, was being installed on computers without the owners’ consent, and everyone’s freaking out about it.

It was first spotted by open-source developers who noticed that Chromium (open-source basis of Chrome) began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users, The Guardian wrote in a report.

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