Items tagged with Google

We've been covering the ongoing war of words between Google and Roku over YouTube TV negotiations for the past few weeks. And unfortunately for customers caught up in the drama, it's starting to devolve into an unsavory war of words. Most recently, Roku was accused of lying about allegations that Google made anticompetitive requests regarding YouTube TV and YouTube. Google admonished Roku by saying, "To be clear, we have never, as they have alleged, made any requests to access user data or interfere with search results. This claim is baseless and false." The company also acknowledged that it did ask Roku to support the open-source AV1 codec, which would raise hardware costs for Roku streamers... Read more...
Privacy and security have become Google’s modus operandi after the company announced a Password Manager for Android, iOS, and Chrome the other day. Now, the Android arm of Google is taking steps to make Google Play a more “safe, trusted space for billions of people to enjoy the latest Android apps.” The company is therefore “pre-announcing” an upcoming safety section in Google Play to allow people to know how their data is being collected and used. Working closely with developers, Google will be giving people transparency and control over their own data soon. This will be done through simple means of communicating app safety which are easy to understand for an end-user... Read more...
We use passwords on a day-to-day basis, from checking the bank to logging onto Twitter, but they can be the weakest link in the chain of security around these use cases. If they are simple, they can be cracked; and if they are complex, they are more likely to be reused so if one is cracked or lost, all of them are. Using Two-Factor Authentication and a password manager can help with all of these problems, and Google is stepping up to the plate to help out. As Mark Risher, Director of Product Management, Identity and User Security at Google, explains, “One of the best ways to protect your account from a breached or bad password is by having a second form of verification in place.”... Read more...
In less than four weeks from now (effective June 1, 2021), Google's free unlimited photo and video backup perk is going away for non-Pixel owners, replaced by a 15GB cap (photos and videos backed up prior to that date don't count against the cap). Same goes for future Pixel phones...or perhaps not. There is evidence to suggest Google may reinstate unlimited storage for future Pixel phones, with a caveat. The image quality would be somewhat reduced. To what extent is not clear, and this may not even happen anyway. However, the folks at XDA-Developers performed a teardown of the latest version of the Google Photos app (v5.4.1) that is in the Play Store, and there are some interesting strings pointing... Read more...
2020 was a miserable time for many of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of life, mandatory lockdowns, and not knowing when life would get back to normal weighed heavily on the minds of many people. During that time, however, the necessity of working (and learning) from home meant that PC sales soared dramatically. According to Canalys' data in early January, full-year 2020 PC sales jumped 11 percent, marking the most significant leap since 2010. Today, Canalys is back again with data from Q1 2021, and it's once again looking good for the PC market. According to the research firm, this was the fourth consecutive quarter of growth for the industry, and overall, PC shipments increased 53.1... Read more...
The fight between Roku and Google is getting weirder by the day. It all started last week when the former accused the latter of anticompetitive practices with YouTube TV, including search result manipulation and the retention of user data. Google, of course, disputes those claims. Yesterday, Roku sent an email to customers alleging, "We are disappointed to share the news that Google has chosen to let the YouTube TV contract expire." However, in a YouTube TV blog post that went up just a few hours later, Google fired back, writing, "Roku terminated our deal in bad faith amidst our negotiation. Unfortunately, Roku has often engaged in this tactic with other streaming providers." In other words,... Read more...
Roku today yanked YouTube TV from its list of available channels for customers, after it says that Google decided not to renew its contract. This means that Roku users who haven't already added the YouTube TV channel to their account will no longer be able to do so. However, Roku is taking steps to protect customers that already have the YouTube TV channel installed. According to Roku, "users like yourself retain access to YouTube TV while we work to reach an agreement." Roku plans to continue blocking new channel adds and protecting existing YouTube TV customers "unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel." The company also cautions users against removing the channel... Read more...
Android app developers take note, Google is implementing new guidelines for how apps can be displayed and advertised in the Play Store. The new policies are aimed at preventing apps from misleading Android users with certain buzz words and graphics, like plastering a "Sale" banner across the app's icon in the Play Store, as well as other changes. It's a noble effort, given how big and expansive the Play Store has become. Back in 2008 when the Play Store launched, there only existed a few hundred apps and games. Google points out there are now millions of apps and games, which stretch to Android users in over 190 countries. This makes it more challenging for developers to maker their apps stand... Read more...
Yesterday, Roku stirred the hornet's nest when it aired the dirty laundry between it and Google over YouTube TV. YouTube TV is Google's streaming TV service, and it is available on various streaming platforms, including Google TV, Fire TV, and Roku. At the time, Roku alleged that Google engaged in anticompetitive behavior in its current negotiations over the inclusion of YouTube TV on its platform. "Google is attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anticompetitive, and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users," said Roku. "We simply cannot agree to terms that would manipulate consumer search results, inflate the cost of our... Read more...
When we talk about YouTube TV, it's often because Google once again raised prices on subscribers, making the service more unpalatable to the general populous. But a new price hike isn't why Google is gaining attention today; instead, it's because of policies that smart TV platform leader Roku claims are predatory and monopolistic. Roku sent an email to current YouTube TV subscribers using its platforms over the weekend, describing how negotiations with Google have broken down. According to Roku, it "cannot accept Google's unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users." Roku sheds a little bit of light in the email on the impasse by saying that it won't agree to Google's "anti-competitive... Read more...
Digital assistants are designed to make our lives easier and fit naturally into our lives. Whether it's the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri, voice commands are just a keyword away. However, some voice prompts like "Hey Google, stop the alarm" may be getting easier if some secret sauce codenamed "Guacamole" becomes official.  Google accidentally uncovered its Guacamole options in a recent beta of the Google app running on certain Android 11 devices like Google's Pixel 5. The description of the options says "Quickly get things done with Guacamole." Google's developers aren't talking about pita chips and blended avocado, which is a delicious snack. Rather, the Guacamole options... Read more...
Google Fi this week launched a new unlimited plan to join its existing wireless plans offerings for customers. Simple Unlimited is now the MVNO's cheapest unlimited plan, coming in at just $60 per month for a single line. However, Simple Unlimited makes a few sacrifices compared to Google Fi's existing unlimited plan offering. Google's original unlimited plan -- now called Unlimited Plus -- costs $70/month and gives you access to high-speed hotspot data for other Wi-Fi devices, 100GB of cloud storage with Google One, and international calling, texting, and data outside of North America. Simple Unlimited gets rid of all those extras in return for a $10/month discount. That seems like a lot to... Read more...
Last year, Google introduced two 5G-capable smartphones to hit the mid-range and "upper" mid-range markets. The Pixel 4a 5G launched at $499, while the Pixel 5 debuted at $699. Google already confirmed that the Pixel 5a 5G is coming later this year, but it might not bring a significant hardware upgrade compared to its predecessor. According to some code sleuthing performed by 9to5Google, references to the Pixel 5a 5G appear in the newly released Android 12 Developer Preview 3. The smartphone is referenced by its codename, Barbet, and is paired with the model number sm7520. For those unfamiliar with Qualcomm's internal model numbers, sm7520 refers to the Snapdragon 765G SoC, which was very popular... Read more...
We are in the thick of a pandemic, and, for the most part, people have transitioned online for work, school, and leisure. The main company in the teleconference space right now is Zoom, but it appears Google is trying to sneak up from behind and go for the takedown. Today, Google announced new ways for Google Meet to be more competitive overall. Refreshed Design To Make Meetings Easier Later this month, Google will roll out a new and improved design to Google Meet with the hope of making it easier to view content and video feeds. Users will be able to move and pin different feeds in whatever orientation they need to feel most productive. Moreover, users will be able to hide their camera feed... Read more...
Sometimes you have to step back and not take life so serious, as challenging as that might be with everything going on these days. In an effort to help, Google is providing a "bit of escapism" by injecting pop culture characters into its search service, brought to virtual life on your smartphone or tablet through the wonders of augmented reality. It's a silly little thing, but we all need a little bit of silliness from time to time, don't we? To that end, Google is focusing on a handful of characters from classic Japanese anime, games, and TV shows. Characters that are viewable in AR include Evangelion, Hello Kitty, Gomora, Gundam, Pac-Man (shown above), and Ultraman. "Now, you can have these... Read more...
Google is on a mission to crumble the third-party cookie infrastructure that the web is largely based on, as it relates to lucrative targeted advertising efforts, and rebuild things with an initiative called FLoC, or Federated Learning of Cohorts. Not without controversy, Google's FLoC ad-tracking has drawn an antitrust probe. In addition, WordPress has proposed treating FLoC as a security threat. Let's back up a moment, shall we? We covered what you need to know about FLoC, but to recap, it is part of an effort at Google to develop open-source "privacy-preserving technologies that make third-party cookies obsolete and enable publishers to keep growing their businesses and keep the web sustainable."... Read more...
Companies like Microsoft and others are potentially getting more time to fix zero-day vulnerabilities before Google's Project Zero team discloses them to the public, as part of a new policy change for 2021. At the same time, end users can potentially expect zero-day security patches to arrive quicker and be more thorough. How so? On the surface, giving companies additional time to stomp out bugs seems counterintuitive to users receiving more timely patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities. And perhaps it will work out that way. But on the surface, the new "90+30" trial, as Project Zero calls the policy change, looks like a win-win for all involved. Under last year's policy, Project Zero held... Read more...
Lately, there have been some rumors about what future products Google has in store, including the demise of the Pixel 5A; however, Google quickly shut those rumors down. Now, a new rumor has appeared, bringing up the Pixel Buds A, a slimmed-down version of the Pixel Buds. This comes at the same time as a hefty $50 discount on the second generation Pixel Buds, so what exactly is Google up to? Earlier this week, Google delivered an update to the Google Pixel Buds app, which provided insight into what is going on behind the scenes. According to 9to5Google, which dug into the update, there are hints within the code that points to a possible second version of buds, labeled as “type_one”... Read more...
The world was a different place in the 1980s, and we're not just talking about puffy hair styles held up with Aquanet and parachute pants. Parts of our planet were physically different. For example, the Aral Sea had not yet dried up, and the foliage in Madagascar was far more lush. You can see these changes in what is being described as the "biggest update to Google Earth since 2017," as part of a vastly enhanced timelapse feature. Of course, Google did not come into existence until the late 1990s, and Google Earth debuted in 2001. So how is Google able to pull off a timelapse of the past three and a half decades? Through the use of 24 million satellite photos spanning the past 37 years, which... Read more...
Issues within Chromium, the engine behind Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, have been popping up left and right lately. That trend is not set to end any time soon, it seems, as a new zero-day Chromium vulnerability has been found with a working proof of concept posted to GitHub. Yesterday, Twitter user Frust posted that they were “Just here to drop a chrome 0day,” along with a link to the GitHub hosting the information. The GitHub repository currently contains a proof-of-concept webpage that will exploit the flaw within Chromium. This flaw was demonstrated in a YouTube video that we posted below, showing proof-of-concept working in the latest version of Chrome. The only major catch... Read more...
Smart TV users, take note! The Google Play Movies & TV app will soon no longer be available on Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs. The app will officially be inaccessible on June 15, 2021. Google’s streaming services will also be entirely removed from NetCast and LG SimpleSmart devices by this same date. The app itself does not appear to be entirely disappearing and will still be available on Android TVs, Apple TVs, and iPhones and iPads. Google is encouraging customers to instead use the YouTube app and YouTube TV. Customers will be able to access their former purchases by logging into the YouTube app with the account that was previously used for Google Play Movies & TV... Read more...
The move from traditional cable and satellite TV packages to streaming options was supposed to give consumers more freedom and control over video plans. However, the streaming landscape has become muddied with multiple competing services and rising prices over the years. One of the biggest offenders concerning price hikes has been Google's YouTube TV. YouTube TV started at $35/month in 2016 and rose to $40/month in 2018. By 2019, Google raised the streaming TV service's price to $50/month, and last year, it rose yet again to $65/month. YouTube TV nearly doubled in price in four years, which is far more egregious than anything we've seen in the cable/satellite industry. To help ease the burden... Read more...
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