Advertising is unavoidable online. "Ah... but I have AdBlock Plus installed!" I hear you cry. It doesn't matter. You may not see advertising, but it still affects your online experience; this is particularly true if you are BuzzFeed reader. I'm not in the habit of criticizing others in the trade -- and I realize that I'm opening myself up for attack here -- but BuzzFeed is a site filled largely with listicles (lovely words) and churnalism (ditto), headlines sucking up to Google left, right and center.
But for all of the coffee-break-filling articles it pumps out each day, it is the articles that have been deleted that have generated more interest recently. About a week ago one BuzzFeed writer resigned after an article she wrote that was critical of Dove soap ads was pulled. BuzzFeed conducted a review, and this weekend details of the findings came out. It transpires that this is not the first time posts have been deleted because of a conflict of interest between editorial and advertising. BuzzFeed may not be a particularly influential site, but it's worrying nonetheless.
Earlier this week, Cyanogen Inc announced that it has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to bundle some apps into its future Android-based operating system. While the companies meticulously chalked out most of the specifics of their collaboration -- and how it wouldn't much affect consumers in the coming months -- many people and even some news outlets are having a hard time understanding these facts, and have started to make bold, misleading conclusions.
Wired, for instance, believes that this tie-up between the two companies will end up taking Android’s future out of Google’s hands. I think they are wrong, and much to the contrary, I believe that this alliance will only be good for Google (and Android). Here’s why.
Google is revamping the way URLs appear in search results on mobile devices. Smaller screens have a tendency to truncate lengthier URLs, and even when this doesn’t happen diminutive screen size can make addresses difficult to read.
To combat this problem, the search giant is introducing a new breadcrumb trail presentation with a view to making the information easy to absorb at a glance. But what does this change actually mean?
Believe it or not, a year has passed since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. And even though the 13 year-old operating system no longer receives security updates -- at least not officially -- it is still being used by roughly 17 percent of Windows users. For some companies it is reason enough to continue to support Windows XP today, even though its maker has long left it for dead. And Google is one of them.
Six months after Windows XP support ended, Google announced that its Chrome browser would continue to be supported on the OS with "regular updates and security patches until at least April 2015". That was done in order to give its users more time to finish migrating to a newer Windows release, one that would, hopefully, be officially supported by Microsoft for many more years to come. Obviously, that hasn't gone as expected. But instead of pulling the plug, Google is now giving Chrome users on Windows XP another reprieve.
Future Android-based builds and ROMs from Cyanogen Inc will ship with bundled Microsoft apps, as the startup has signed a deal with the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. The partnership will result in Microsoft apps and services such as Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, as well as productivity suite Office among others being prominently showcased on Cyanogen’s software.
The collaboration between the two companies doesn’t come as a surprise as many similar rumors started to crop up when a news outlet reported that Microsoft was making an investment in Cyanogen Inc. The partnership is a win-win situation for both of the companies.
Becoming reunited with your lost phone just got a whole lot easier. It doesn’t matter if you're alone and don't have access to another phone to ring your cell to see if it has slipped down the back of the sofa. To make life a little easier, Google is rolling out a feature that enables you to conduct a Google search for your phone.
Whether you have mislaid it in the house, or somewhere further afield, Google will help you to track down your beloved handset. You just need to make sure that your phone is updated with the latest version of the Google app and you're ready to go phone hunting. It's a bit like an extension of the feature found in Android Wear, so how does it work?
Google abused its position in Europe to further its own online products, says the European Commission. Following a five-year investigation, Google stands accused of abusing dominance in Europe, violating antitrust laws. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that Google gave its own shopping comparison service greater priority over rivals in search results.
The company's mobile operating system is also in the firing line. Android, it is said, has been used by Google to promote its own products and services over those of rivals.The Commission is also launching a formal investigation into Android to determine whether Google acted anti-competitively with its mobile operating system. Attention is focused on Google's bundling of its own apps after forming agreements with hardware manufacturers. Unsurprisingly, Google disagrees.
Firefox is important to me and I hope it is important to you. Even if you do not use the browser, there is value in having an open source browser available that isn't based on WebKit or a fork of it (Blink), as so many are nowadays. Variety is the spice of life, and having only one browser engine is not only sad, but dangerous; competition drives innovation.
If you are an Android user, you probably use Chrome or the stock Android browser and that is OK; both of those browsers are great. With that said, some people, such as myself, prefer Mozilla's Firefox. It is fast, buttery smooth and offers plugins. Today, Mozilla announces that Firefox for Android has been downloaded 100 million times. Whoa.
Google is on the verge of launching an ad-free option for YouTube users. An email sent out to 'YouTube Partners' (or content creators) reveals that the company has plans to unveil a paid-for version of the video service that enables viewers to avoid the irritation of ads.
For content creators, YouTube says the plans offer a new way to pull in the cash: "we'll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast growing advertising revenue". While there is yet to be an official public announcement, the news comes just days after Google came in for criticism for showing "unfair and deceptive" ads in its YouTube Kids app.
Initially, Google’s new Chromebit add-on appears hugely impressive. The HDMI dongle simply plugs into the back of your TV and provides you with a fully-fledged Chrome OS computer for less than $100.
However, when you line up Chromebit next to the search engine giant’s other products, it looks like another piece in an increasingly confused jigsaw puzzle. Google’s product line-up includes Android TV, Chromecast, the Nexus Player and now Chromebit.
Malware is something computer users -- and even mobile and tablet owners -- are now more aware of than ever. That said, many people do not give a second thought to installing a browser extension to add new features to their most frequently used application. Despite the increased awareness, malware is not something a lot of web users think of in relation to extensions; but they should.
Since the beginning of 2015 -- just over three months -- Google has already received over 100,000 complaints from Chrome users about "ad injectors" hidden in extensions. Security researchers have also discovered that a popular extension -- Webpage Screenshot -- includes code that could be used to send browsing history back to a remote server. Google is taking steps to clean up the extension store to try to prevent things like this from happening, but security still needs to be tightened up.
If you haven't responded to either of our most-recent buying polls—Apple Watch and Chromebook Pixel—it's not too late. Preorders for the timepiece start April 10. The laptop is available now, but with long-wait ship times. I purchased the higher-end Pixel, which review is underway. Whether or not one of our writers will test the smartwatch is uncertain.
Polls of this nature are meant to gauge what a specific audience, BetaNews readers, plan to do. Often what respondents would like to buy isn't what they do. For lots of reasons: Budget; spousal or partner objections; availability; competitive pricing; early product reviews; and more. Results better reflect your intentions as the sample size increases. So, please, take a few seconds to answer each poll, if you haven't already.
A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with "unfair and deceptive" ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television.
The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements.
Today Turkey blocked access to a number of websites including YouTube and Twitter. The ban came after the sites published images of a prosecutor being taken hostage at a court in Istanbul earlier in the week. Google has vowed to getting things back up and running, but it's not the same story for everyone.
While a block was also put in place on Facebook, the social network sidestepped the ban by agreeing to comply with a court ruling. This is not the first time Mark Zuckerberg's site has bowed to pressure from Turkey. At the beginning of the year, despite previous claims to stand up for free speech, Facebook bowed to pressure to block pages that insulted or offended the Prophet Mohammad. Now it looks as though history is repeating itself.
Google is looking at another dominant year in the search ad market, with estimated spending to reach $81.59 billion in 2015 according to research firm eMarketer.
Holding a solid 54.7 percent of the search ad market in 2014, Google will drop 0.2 percent of the total search ad revenue. This does not mean a decrease in revenue though, going from $38.42 billion to $44.46 billion in one year.