At the airport, it's normal to see customer service staff equipped with phones, walkie-talkies and perhaps a tablet. Passengers travelling to and from Scotland who pass through Edinburgh airport will soon find that they are greeted by staff adorned with Google Glass. Google's wearable specs are to be trialled in the Scottish airport in a bid to provide more help and information to travelers.
Customer support representatives will be able to call up flight details and answer queries using the head-mounted Android-powered hardware.
Google is trying to grow its budding operating system platform, continually updating and enhancing features. Customers can now work in certain environments offline, for instance. But what lacked was some of the core features of rivals Windows and OS X. However, that slowly changes as well.
Photo editing, for instance, was one feature that, while not absent, certainly wasn't top of the line. Until now you had to rely on an app such as Pixlr, which many Chromebook customers use. But Google today announces that Photoshop is arriving, though not (at least yet) offline.
Your browser's misbehaving? It's a common problem, and you've probably got your own quick fixes: delete the cache, scan for malware, remove the last add-in you installed, whatever it might be.
Now Google is offering a little extra assistance with Chrome Software Removal Tool (CSRT), a Windows beta which scans for programs known to cause problems with Google Chrome and offers to remove them.
Apple and Google do not want the US Government to be able to access your private data, even when search warrants are involved. It's a bold stand they're taking, which has been applauded by privacy advocates and, quite probably, criminals as well. But, guess what? That does not sit well with the authorities. FBI Director James Comey is troubled by the idea that the all-mighty agency that he runs can be stopped dead in its tracks when trying to see your intimate photos, videos and whatnot. Imagine that.
Here's what the fuss is all about. If encryption is turned on, the encryption key, that is needed in order to access the data that is stored on an Android or iOS 8 device, is in the user's control, instead of Google's or Apple's. As such, this allows the companies to be unable to comply with search warrants. It's clever: you can't give what you don't have.
A week ago, in a letter to the European Commission, News Corps complained that Google is a 'platform for piracy' with 'cynical management'. Today, having gathered together its ammunition, Google responds with a letter of its own. Although News Corp's letter was signed by CEO Robert Thomson, Google's reply starts with the salutation "Dear Rupert" -- addressing CEO Rupert Murdoch -- and the search giant picks apart the complaints levelled at it. One of New Corp's key complaints centered around the idea that Google is riddled with pirated material, and "unlawful and unsavory content", and this is one of the first ideas that Google shoots down.
Countering accusations of being a platform for piracy, SVP Global Communications, Rachel Whetstone, points to the 222 million copyright infringing websites that were delisted last year. The existence of copyright protecting ContentID technology to help detect infringing footage on YouTube is also cited, as is efficiency in weeding out inappropriate contents such as sexual images of children.
It's important for any business to establish an online presence, and this is certainly true in emerging markets. It's something recognized by Google, and the company is teaming up with Endurance International Group to help SMBs in Africa and Southeast Asia to launch online ventures.
Google's reputation online precedes it, but Endurance might not be a name that's overly familiar. The company provides hosting, and the new partnership with Google is set to benefit businesses in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia and Malaysia.
New Gmail users will no longer have to sign up to Google's flagging social network Google+, after two and half years of mandatory social account creation. Users previously had to sign up to Google+ when signing up for Gmail, Google Docs and variety of other Google products.
Whilst the company still encourages users to sign up for Google+ it now has a "No thanks" button when offering the service during the sign up procedure for its products.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.