Google and Samsung look all set to battle it out for India’s burgeoning smartphone market after three Indian phone producers signed up to the Android One initiative that targets growth at the low end of the emerging market.
Micromax Infomatics, Karbonn Mobile and Spice Group have become the first manufacturers to sign up to Google’s new initiative that wants to drive an improvement in quality that will spark demand for low-end Android handsets.
Google is to pay out at least $19 million to Android users whose children were tricked into making expensive in-app purchases on smartphones and tablets. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating mobile purchases for the last three years, and Apple agreed at the beginning of the year to a settlement. Amazon was also investigated and plans to appeal against the charges. In agreeing to repay the money, Google has effectively admitted that apps available in Google Play may be deceptive.
The brunt of the FTC case centers around the idea that it was not made clear to parents that their children would be able to make purchases within apps without authorization. Many of these in-app purchases are to be found in games where players are encouraged into parting with money in return for extra lives, game power-ups, or to unlock new levels. The FTC complained that since 2011 Google had indulged in unfair practices that left parents with bills of hundreds of dollars.
Google has begun displaying old versions of its search page to users of out-of-date web browsers.
Over the previous weekend, many people reported seeing the 2013 version of the Google homepage when using an older version of certain browsers.
Google has updated its Chrome Beta channel with the release of Google Chrome 38.0 Beta. The new release, also available as Google Chrome 38.0 Beta (64-bit) for Windows and Linux, has two major highlights.
The first is an improved -- and more visible -- way of managing and switching between multiple Chrome user profiles, while the other sees 64-bit support extended to the OS X platform.
I'm not going to retread old ground too much here, but there's no getting away from the fact that Microsoft has something of an image problem when it comes to smartphones. But this could be set to change. The word on the grapevine is that Microsoft -- possibly in conjunction with the likes of Yahoo and Amazon -- is interested in joining forces with, or even, buying Cyanogen Inc, purveyor of some of the finest Android ROMs known to humanity. It's a branch of Android favoured by handset owners who live and breathe tweaking, who want an OS custom made to fit them like a well-tailored suit.
Little is known about what form any future arrangement might take, or how far talks have got so far. But we do know that Cyanogen Inc has met with Satya Nadella -- as reported by The Information. It would be interesting to see where this could go. There are two possible avenues that immediately spring to mind. The first -- and probably the least likely -- is that Microsoft might consider creating custom Windows Phone ROMs. This seems somewhat improbable, but there's another option: Microsoft could be looking to muscle in on Google's Android territory. This is not as far-fetched as it might first sound.
Continuing its propensity for terminating projects, Google has decided to kill of its Authorship program. The markup was introduced to provide online writers with a way to link their work to their Google+ profile and have their profile picture displayed in search results. But in its three year lifespan, Authorship did not really manage to take off, and Google Webmaster Tools' John Mueller announced that "we've also observed that this information isn't as useful to our users as we'd hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results".
Head to one of the Google Authorship support pages and you're greeted by the message: "Authorship markup is no longer supported in web search". This is an interesting move, especially considering how keen Google has been to push people into using Google+. Authorship not only enables writers to more visibly stamp their mark online, but also to gain a following. In practice it was found that Authorship did little to help drive traffic and "wasn't always easy to implement".
Drones tend to be associated with surveillance and crowd control, but Google is the latest firm to express an interest in using the unmanned machines as a delivery service. Facebook has previously talked about using drones to "deliver the internet to everyone", and Amazon has also toyed with the idea, but now the search giant wants a piece of the action. The company's development team, Google X, has been beavering away on a delivery system powered by drones, and details of how it works have now been released.
Unlike other drones that tend to take a quad-copter design, Google's take on the idea sees a merging of a plane with a helicopter. Fitted out with a single wing and four propellers which move into different positions when flying, the drones have a housing unit for packages in the center of the wing. The Atlantic has a great deal of background about the project and it looks as though rather than being used to ship things that shoppers have bought, it is more likely to be used to help in disaster areas where aid is needed.
VMware, Google and Nvidia are all teaming up in a scheme which will allow high-end graphics intensive applications to be used on a lowly Chromebook.
How will that work? Obviously a Chromebook doesn't have the horsepower to run heavyweight programs such as, say, Photoshop or AutoCAD, but the laptop won't be running it in this case. The software will run in the cloud, on powerful machines in data centers, and be streamed to the notebook.
IFA 2014 kicks off in Berlin next week, and one of the devices that will be on display is the LG G Watch R. LG is looking to expand further into the wearable market with another Android Wear watch and the killer feature this time around is a round display.
The circular Plastic OLED face has be been designed to make use of the entire surface -- there is no bezel whatsoever. In terms of looks this could be what sells LG G Watch R, as it's a device that's likely to appeal to those pandering for a more traditional look to their wearable tech.
It's a fact that most software has bugs of some sort when it gets released. More significant are fundamental flaws in the design, yet whilst bugs generally get fixed, design flaws are often overlooked.
In an effort to address this professionals organization IEEE is bringing together leading figures from Google, HP, Twitter and Cigital to form a Center for Secure Design group with the aim of tackling serious design flaws in software.
Let's cut to the chase. No, they shouldn't. The iPhone used to be exciting and interesting. It used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives. This is not to say that the popularity of the device in itself makes it less appealing, but it certainly seems to have made Apple lazy. Innovation has gone out of the window. We've had the same design for the handset for what seems like an eternity. It looks as though there might be something of a change in style this time around, but is this really enough to make the iPhone exciting -- or even interesting -- once again?
By far the biggest problem with the iPhone is the lack of choice. While Android users (and even Windows Phone fans) have a huge number of handsets to choose from, the same cannot be said of those sucking on Apple's teat. Things did improve slightly when the 2013 iPhones were released, but you're still stuck, essentially, with two phones to choose from -- the really expensive over-hyped one, or the pale imitation wannabe version. Some choice. To be clear… I've been an iPhone owner. It's a functional phone, but Christ it's dull.
The point of any chat system is to make it easier to communicate with others. This is something that Google Hangouts has singularly failed at, for one reason. Rather than making it obvious which of your contacts are online, it has -- up until now -- displayed a chronological list of the conversations you have held with people. This is about to change. Rolling out over the next few days, is an update which will see your online contact move to the top of your chat buddy list.
This might seem like a small change, but it's one that has been requested for some time now. Google seemingly thought that the tried and true way of ordering contacts was due for a shakeup -- now we know that the experiment didn’t really pay off. There's another new feature to play with as well. Just as Chrome -- and other browsers -- make it possible to pin frequently used tabs so they are always available, now Hangouts users will be given the opportunity to pin contacts to the top of their buddy list.
Google unveils Google Slides for Android and iOS, view and edit Google Drive-hosted presentations offline
Both apps provide users with an option for downloading presentations to their devices for editing and viewing while offline. The iOS version is accompanied by updates to both Google Docs for iOS and Google Sheets for iOS that allow users to edit Word and Excel files.
In California, a bill has been passed that will require smartphone manufacturers to include a kill switch in their handsets. The bill states that "any smartphone, as defined, that is manufactured on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date, include a technological solution at the time of sale, which may consist of software, hardware, or both software and hardware, that, once initiated and successfully communicated to the smartphone, can render inoperable the essential features, as defined, of the smartphone to an unauthorized user when the smartphone is not in the possession of an authorized user". It's a lengthy description, but it means the kill switch that many people have been asking for for so long is becoming a reality in another state.
This is not the first time a kill switch bill has been passed -- Minnesota did something similar back in May. The SB 926, Leno Smartphones bill in California is rather more far-reaching and comes partly in response to the statistic that between 30 and 40 percent of robberies in major US cities are smartphone robberies. Once activated, the kill switch will prevent a phone from being registered on a wireless network, and cannot be bypassed even with a hard reset. In the event of theft, a user will also be able to remotely wipe their device to protect any private information they may have stored on it.
Google’s Drive for Work storage product is seeing 1,800 new businesses sign up every week as enterprises continue to come around to the secure storage and collaboration option that it offers.
A blog post by Scott Johnston, director of product management at Google Drive, explained that the $10 (£6) per user per month package has been popular across a number of industries since it was launched just two months ago.