Articles about Google

Would a Trump administration allow Google to sell Motorola to Lenovo?

American Flag What's Next Question

I don't want to start an argument about politics. My sentiment this lovely day derives from what the incoming White House is, not what so many people here in California want it to be. I wonder: If Google bought Motorola during a Trump presidency, rather than Obama regime, would later sale to Lenovo be allowed or closing of the Texas phone-assembly factory about 18 months after opening?

The question arises from a pique of sadness as I look at the FedEx tracking information for two Motorola phones purchased directly from Lenovo. City of origin: Wuhan, China. My last Moto came from the Lone Star State, here in the USA. I pine for what might have been, remembering my excitement about Google's $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility acquisition, in August 2011. My opinion expressed then remains: "The acquisition is bold for its risks, which are no less great than the benefits". I was no fan of the later sale to Lenovo.

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How to change your Google Play store account country

google-play-mobile

There's lots of information available on how to change the country associated with a Google Play account, but nothing works for me. I have been unable to switch to the US store despite following the recommended methods to the letter. Everything is in order, but when I open the Google Play app on my Android smartphone afterwards I still see my local store. And I am not alone.

For one reason or another, lots of fellow Android users want to change their Google account country to get access to a different Play store, but only few succeed. But I have found a method that actually gets the job done, and it involves Family Library. I have tested it on two different Google accounts and Android devices and, yes, it worked like a charm. Here is what you need to know.

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Optimizing your website for Google's mobile-first index

smartphone browsing

Google have begun rolling out their new mobile-first index. This update will prioritize the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals, falling back on the desktop version when there is no mobile content. In short, this means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content (even for listings that are shown to desktop users).

If you have neglected mobile SEO in the past, it’s now more important than ever that you up your game. Here are 10 tips to future-proof your website, and make sure it succeeds in the new mobile-first index.

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IDC was so wrong about Windows Phone

Mime Surprise Shock

I laughed so hard and so often at IDC's smartphone forecast, my response took nine days to write -- okay, to even start it. The future isn't my chuckable -- that data looks reasonably believable enough -- but the past. Because 2016 was supposed to be the year that Microsoft's mobile OS rose from the ashes of Symbian to surpass iOS and to challenge Android.

In 2011, IDC forecast that Windows Phone global smartphone OS market share would top 20 percent in 2015. The analyst firm reiterated the platform's No. 2 status for 2016 in 2012 as well. Not that I ever believed the ridiculous forecasts, writing: "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2015, I'll kiss Steve Ballmer's feet" and "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2016, I'll clean Steve Ballmer's toilet". The CEO's later retirement let me lose from those obligations had I been wrong. I was confident in my analysis being truer.

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Google OnHub Soars, Apple AirPort Crashes

Google OnHub

We all make mistakes. The challenge is recognizing and correcting them quickly enough. So comes admission: I bought Apple AirPort Time Capsule to replace Google OnHub—what a bad decision.

My tale starts with a chance sighting on Kinja Deals for the 2TB Apple WiFi router on sale at Amazon for $199; one-hundred bucks off. I ordered on Nov. 16, 2016, and the device arrived two days later. At the time, I had 45Mbps AT&T Internet (which has changed since). Placed in the same location where OnHub had been, about 3 meters away from my desk in the same room as the router, throughput consistently came in at 15Mbps, occasionally a little more, as measured by Fast.com or SpeedTest.Net. By contrast, Google's router wirelessly pumped 40Mbps or more. Ah, yeah.

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Google makes Android app updates even smaller

android_app_updates

When you update apps over a cellular network you go through your data plan more quickly -- and there is nothing that you can do about that. However, Google has found a way to make sure that Android users reach their data limit later rather than sooner.

Using the File-By-File patching technique, Google says that it is able to reduce the size of update files by an average of 65 percent. And, in some cases, the reduction can even exceed 90 percent. But how much data can you actually expect to save?

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Google cozies up with Slack for tighter integration

slack-google

Faced with competition from the likes of Microsoft Teams, Slack is strengthening its partnership with Google to bring greater cloud integration to users.

The beloved communication tool is teaming up with Google Cloud to improve Google Drive support, but there's also support for bots in the form of Drive Bot. Security and sharing is also in line for improvements, and the recently-announced Team Drives from Google will also be supported.

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Google Play now offering 4K movies -- but there's a catch

4k-tv

If you have a 4K TV or monitor, you can enjoy Ultra HD content from the likes of YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon. You can get 4K Blu-rays, but you’ll need a compatible player, and they aren’t that cheap.

Starting today, Google is offering a new way to get your hands on the latest 4K resolution movies.

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Google goes green -- 100 percent renewable energy usage in 2017 to combat climate change

wind-solar-energy

Big companies like to be seen to be doing their bit, particularly when it comes to the environment, and tech companies are no different. Google -- being one of the biggest companies in the world -- has huge energy requirements, and it's looking to help address the problem of climate change.

The company has already done a lot to increase the energy efficiency of its data centers, but in 2017 it is going further. It says that it will be fully powered by renewable energy from next year, and that includes both data centers and offices.

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Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter join forces to fight terrorism

StopTerrorismHand

Terrorism is a daily threat to our freedoms. It is unfortunate, as we used to be able to go throughout our days without the thought of violence. Now, it dominates the news. Heck, when I am in Penn Station in NYC, I see soldiers with machine guns. Sigh.

Unfortunately, terrorists thrive on the internet too. Using social media and video platforms like YouTube, these evil-doers look to recruit new members while sharing propaganda. Today, Google announces that it is partnering with some major players -- Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter -- to fight online terrorism with a special database. The partners will look to protect user privacy in the process.

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Google has a moral obligation to hide offensive autocomplete search suggestions

Google covers girls eyes

If a query becomes popular enough on Google, it will show up as an autocomplete suggestion after you type the first words. For instance, if you write "what's my" one of the things that Google will propose is "what's my IP". That's to help you find what you are looking for more quickly. But there's a dark side to it: if left alone, it can expose you to some pretty offensive searches.

Case in point is "are Jews evil", which my colleague Mark Wilson wrote about earlier. Yes, a high enough number of users searched for those exact terms that it showed up as an autocomplete suggestion -- until Google decided to do something about it. Mark strongly believes that's wrong, but his arguments are childish. Why? Well, because if Google does nothing, your young children can also see "how to rape a woman" or "how to murder your mother" as autocomplete suggestions after writing "how to" in Google, just because some people wanted to make those queries popular. Think about it, and I mean really think about it, and let me know if that's something you would like to see happen. Could you live with it if, for instance, your easily influenced six year old stabs someone, as a result? Scary thought, isn't it?

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Using VP9 and H.264/AVC High codecs keeps Netflix video downloads smaller

netflix_on_phone

The announcement that Netflix now allows viewers to download videos for offline viewing caused understandable excitement among subscribers. Of course, the key concern -- particularly with mobile devices -- is storage space. But thanks to a tweaked codec, Netflix has your back.

If you were worried that you might not be able to fit many episodes of your favorite shows on your phone or tablet, fear not. For Android users, Netflix opted to use the super-efficient VP9 codec, but as this isn’t supported by Apple, it had to think outside the box a little and ended up plumping for a custom H.264/AVC High codec for iOS users. The space savings are impressive.

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Google's Trusted Contacts app lets you share your location with friends and family

Mobile location pin

Google is making it easy to share your location with your friends and family, introducing a new Android app, called Trusted Contacts, that lets select contacts know exactly where you are at any given time.

Google has designed Trusted Contacts so that if you do not manually accept a request within five minutes it will automatically share your location with that contact. This should come in handy when you are unable to pick up your smartphone or cannot hear it ring.

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Google is wrong, wrong, wrong to remove 'are Jews evil' from search autocomplete suggestions

google-search

Over the last few days there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the discovery that if you type "are Jews" into Google, one of the suggested searches is "are Jews evil". The same is true for the search "are women" and "are Muslims" ("bad" being the suggestion in the third instance). Or at least it was the case.

Following cries of anti-Semitism, the search giant folded like a moist tissue and remove the "offensive" suggestion. Clearly Google is able to do -- by and large -- whatever the hell it wants... but that doesn’t make it right. And the removal of the "are Jews evil" suggestion is not only wrong, but also worrying and dangerous. If you disagree you can let off steam in the comments and cast a vote in the poll, but hear me out first.

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Google's biggest apps, games, TV shows, books and songs of 2016

best-of-2016

As the year draws to a close, it's traditional to look back and pick out some highlights. This is precisely what Google has done, drawing up a list of the 'Best of 2016' from Google Play.

Covering books, TV shows, movies, streaming songs, apps and games, there are lots of big names listed in the rundown of what has been trending throughout the year around the globe. The likes of Pokémon GO make an unsurprising appearance, as do Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Justin Bieber, Deadpool, and The Girl on the Train -- but did your favorite make the list?

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