Articles about Google

Watch Google's I/O keynote live here

Google IO stage

It’s that time once again when Google takes to the stage to reveal its future plans.

The annual Google I/O developer conference kicks off today, with a keynote taking place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Among other things, the search giant will be revealing more about Android O, the next version of its Android operating system. That’s not all though.

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Google Wifi: The perfect solution to patchy home Wi-Fi [Review]

Google Wifi

My home office is in the basement, and -- since that’s the place where I need the best, most consistent internet access -- so is my router. That, coupled with thick walls and floors, means Wi-Fi in certain other parts of the house tends to be patchy, unreliable, and weak.

I’ve tried several different solutions to address this, including Homeplugs and wireless repeaters, finally settling on ASUS’s RP-AC52 Dual-Band Wireless Range Extender a couple of years ago. But needing to extend my Wi-Fi reach further, I was faced with having to once again look for a solution to my conundrum, and I’ve found it thanks to Google.

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Making Android modular with Project Treble is Google's solution to its fragmentation and update problem

android-project-treble

One of the problems with buying an Android smartphone is that there is usually no way to tell just how long it will be supported and how long you'll get Android updates. Unless you have a Google-branded device, it's hit-and-miss when, or indeed if, you'll receive an upgrade to the latest and greatest version of the mobile OS.

With the impending release of Android O, however, Google is trying out a solution to the problem which has led to endless fragmentation of the Android market. Going by the name of Project Treble, the solution sees Google introducing a modular base to Android. It's described as "the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date" and it should make it quicker, easier and cheaper for device-makers to roll out updates to handsets in future.

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Google will create custom emoji from your selfies in Allo

google-allo-selfie-stickers

Users of Google Allo can now use selfies -- and a little AI jiggery-pokery -- to generate a custom set of emoji. Or, as Google puts it, users can now benefit from "Neural Network-Generated Illustrations in Allo."

Working in a similar way to the existing Bitmoji idea, Google's nameless feature will transform a simple selfie into a customizable illustration -- emoji with greater character, more personality. In fact, the system doesn't just create a single emoji, it creates a full sticker pack.

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Serious app permissions flaw will not be fixed until Android O, leaving users at risk

android-google-play-apps

The security of Android has been questioned many times, but the general thinking is that installing apps from Google Play offers a decent level of protection. But research by Check Point shows that this is not the case due to a flaw in permissions.

The permission model used by Google grants apps installed from the Play Store extensive access, and opens up the risk of malware, ransomware and other threats. Google is aware of the problem, but does not plan to address it until the release of Android O, meaning that an unknown number of apps pose a risk to millions of users.

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Microsoft fixes 'crazy bad' Windows vulnerability

Windows relief

Over the weekend, two of Google’s Project Zero security researchers announced that they had discovered a "crazy bad" Windows exploit, describing it as the "worst in recent memory."

Project Zero gives firms 90 days to fix such discoveries, but Microsoft swiftly jumped on this problem, and just two days later has come up with a fix.

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Google Project Zero security researchers discover 'crazy bad' Windows exploit

Shocked

Google’s Project Zero identifies bugs and security flaws in commonly used software, and gives firms 90 days to patch them before going public. This is an approach which doesn’t always go down well -- a case in point being when Google recently released details of a Windows bug after Microsoft failed to patch it in time.

Now two Project Zero security researchers claim to have found a new critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Windows which they describe as the "worst in recent memory" and "crazy bad".

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Google just made offline browsing a whole lot easier in Chrome for Android

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Offline web browsing is a useful feature, particularly on a smartphone, so it was little surprise when Google added website downloading to the Android version of Chrome. Today the company launches a number of improvements to make the whole process even easier.

The latest update to the app introduces a couple of new ways to download pages for offline viewing. It also provides easier access to the content you have earmarked for offline reading, encouraging more people to make use of the feature.

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Android Nougat beta ends as Google prepares for imminent launch of Android O beta

android-devices

Google is preparing to launch the Android O beta, and ahead of this the company has officially closed the Android Nougat beta program. We've already seen a developer preview of Android O, and a second release is due later this month.

But many Pixel and Nexus users are waiting for the Android O beta as the developer preview is not really intended for public consumption. While we're not really any closer to knowing for sure when the new beta program will begin, we're clearly nearing the time that Google will make an announcement.

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Is a Google-made Chrome ad-blocker the answer to intrusive advertising?

block_ads

In case you missed it, rumors are rife that Google will soon introduce an ad blocker in Chrome. Understandably, there's concern about the power that would give Google over the advertising industry and its competition. As a member of said competition, I am equal parts concerned and supportive of an ad blocker in Chrome.

It’s certainly an interesting story. On first thought it’s a little ironic, in that a company which makes a large proportion of its money through advertising revenue is not only giving users of its browser the ability to block ads from appearing, but turning it on by default too. If the rumor is true, the addition of an ad blocker in Chrome could limit the reach of ads to over half of the world’s internet users overnight. That’s a big change, and in many instances it’s needed.

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Google Photos gets 'Mother's Day Movies' feature

Mom_Kid_Fall

We are finally in the month of May, meaning the holiday of Mother's Day is almost here. If your mom is still living, you should take the opportunity to spend time with her on that day. If traveling to her is not possible, picking up the phone is a good option too. Whatever you can do to make her feel loved and appreciated is a positive thing.

If your mom -- or any mother in your life -- is tech-savvy and uses a computer, Google Photos has a new feature that could really make her day. Called "Mother's Day Movies," it prompts you to select multiple photos of the mom and her children from your Google Photos library. The service then creates a "movie" using the images, which you can share with her.

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Google releases DIY open source Raspberry Pi 'Voice Kit' hardware -- here's how to get it

AIYlaunch_Google-VoiceSim-assemble-17

Google has long been focused on artificial intelligence. Its Google Now and voice assistance projects have used AI to better the lives of users. The Google Home voice-based hardware unit brings its assistant to life, making traditional inputs and displays unnecessary. With just the power of your voice, you can interact with the device -- nothing else is needed.

The search giant has decided to take artificial intelligence to the maker community with a new initiative called AIY. This initiative (found here) will introduce open source AI projects to the public that makers can leverage in a simple way. Today, Google announces the first-ever AIY project. Called "Voice Kit," it is designed to work with a Raspberry Pi to create a voice-based virtual assistant. Please keep in mind that the Pi itself is not included, so you must bring your own. For this project, you can use a Pi 3 Model B, Pi 2, or Pi Zero. Want a Voice Kit? Here's how to get it. Heck, you might be getting one for free and you don't even know it.

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Google adds phishing protection to Gmail app on Android

android-gmail-phishing

Gmail users will now be protected from phishing attacks on their Android phones thanks to a new update from Google. The company is rolling out a new security feature similar to that found in the web version of Gmail, warning people when an email contains a suspicious link.

For now, the update is only rolling out to Android users, and Google has not indicated whether it will make its way to iOS in due course or not. The update comes just shortly after a phishing scam emerged in which recipients were encouraged to click on a link to open files purporting to be stored on Google Docs.

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Windows 10 S is not for you, that's why you hate it

old man

Many people don't seem to understand who Windows 10 S is for. That's why you'll read many comments and stories, including here at BetaNews, saying that Microsoft has introduced a crippled version of Windows 10 that will not appeal to anyone or that the operating system is only here to get people to pay an upgrade fee to the "proper" Windows 10. They're missing the point... by a mile.

If you look at the context in which Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, which is its #MicrosoftEDU event, you'll understand that this operating system has a specific scope. It's here so that educators and students who have complained of the complexity of using Windows and migrated to Chromebooks can fall in love with Windows again. That's it. There is no conspiracy, and there's nothing more to it.

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How to activate YouTube's new Dark Theme and more

YouTube Dark Theme

Three weeks ago, we explained how you could enable YouTube’s hidden Dark Mode. The process then only worked in Chrome and required a little tinkering.

Google has now made it possible for anyone to easily switch to the dark side, and that’s not all. There’s now a whole new Material Design look for the site which Google says will make YouTube "easier and more fun to use."

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