Items tagged with Google

Over the years, lawmakers and law enforcement worldwide have been pushing for backdoors and to eliminate end-to-end encryption in devices. According to security and cryptographic research, however, law enforcement and governments can already access locked smartphones through various tools and tricks. This is mainly due to weaknesses in Android or iOS devices, which honestly, could be a lot better. Recently, cryptographic researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzed both Android and iOS devices and paired their findings with publicly available data. Johns Hopkins cryptographer Matthew Green stated that the results of the research shocked him, and he has now “come out of the project... Read more...
Google introduced us to the Pixel 4a 5G during the fall, months later then it was originally expected to debut (likely due to COVID-19). As its name implies, the Pixel 4a 5G is one of Google's entry-level smartphones, but comes equipped with 5G connectivity that the cheaper Pixel 4a lacks. When the smartphone originally launched, it was already value priced at $499, but today it can be had even cheaper at just $459.99. That makes it among the cheapest 5G smartphones available on the market today in the United States, and even better, this is for an unlocked device that can be used across various wireless carriers. The Pixel 4a 5G is powered by Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 765G SoC, which includes... Read more...
When you purchase a smartphone these days, you [usually] don't get a device that is stuck in time. The software for smartphones evolves, and over time, new features are often added to make the device even more useful. However, it's rare that a company would remove a prominent feature that was widely advertised prior to release. Such is the case with the astrophotography mode that was first introduced in 2019 for the Pixel 4. Astrophotography mode has been a popular feature with night sky watchers, hence why it was also brought along for the recently introduced Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. With this shooting mode, you can put your smartphone on a tripod and capture some wonderful images... Read more...
The bug hunters that comprise Google's Project Zero team are getting a little fed up with companies that issue incomplete or otherwise incorrect patches for zero-day vulnerabilities they discover. Going into 2021, the team plans to reevaluate how it handles these kinds of situations, with a recent privilege escalation flaw in Windows serving as the tipping point. At issue is a zero-day flaw in Windows (CVE-2020-0986) that was actually discovered by Kaspersky this past summer. "An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists when the Windows kernel fails to properly handle objects in memory. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker... Read more...
Artificial intelligence is likely going to be a cornerstone of technology in the future. Until then, it needs to be improved, trained, and implemented well. Video games are an excellent way to train an AI due to the various paths and steps that can be taken, but it required some work to do. Now, the team at DeepMind has created an AI called MuZero, which can model and conquer games without even knowing the rules. Back in April, DeepMind created an AI called Agent57, which was set out to tackle 57 Atari 2600 games from over forty years ago. The DeepMind team explains that the Atari games were chosen because “they provide a rich suite of tasks which players must develop sophisticated behavioural... Read more...
Motorola used to be on the ball when it came to major Android OS updates, and would push them out in rapid fashion across its entire lineup of smartphones. For Motorola, it was a relatively simple process -- at least from those on the outside looking in -- as the company typically didn't make too many major modifications to the Android OS and kept things clean. Instead, Motorola usually just added handy Smart Actions and small UI flourishes to improve the user experience. However, in recent years, Motorola has abandoned its previously envious update strategy and has left many users of recent smartphones out of the loop with new Android OS updates. This week, Motorola gave the appearance that... Read more...
Suppose you want to block ads or find a deal on a product; thus a browser extension could come in handy. Just a simple download from the browser’s extension store, and you are ready to rock holiday deals without popups. The only catch is, just like any software you download, it can contain malicious code. In fact, researchers at the digital security company Avast found at least 28 third-party browser extensions that included malware. According to Avast, the 28 malicious extensions found, made for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, could “redirect user’s traffic to ads or phishing sites and to steal people’s personal data, such as birth dates, email addresses, and active... Read more...
In the past, major Android OS updates were notoriously difficult to produce for devices, and thus didn't often find their way to customers. That has become significantly easier following the introduction of Project Treble back in 2017. As it stands now, Pixel devices, some Samsung devices, and others are guaranteed three years of major Android updates. In the future, devices could be guaranteed four years of major Android updates, thanks to Google’s partnership with Qualcomm. According to the Project Treble team, since making it easier to implement Android updates, “Android OS has been adopted earlier by OEMs and deployed in larger numbers to our users.” What’s... Read more...
After first announcing its intentions last month, Google has made good on its promise to bring Stadia game streaming to iOS platforms (i.e. iPhone and iPad). However, because of restrictions that Apple has in placewith regards to game streaming apps in the App Store, Google's solution is more of a workaround. Apple insists that every single game available through streaming services like Stadia or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate be downloaded directly to a device (which defeats the purpose of streaming), and that each game be reviewed by its App Store steam. Considering that this is an onerous task for gamers (and Microsoft, Google, NVIDIA, etc.), Google has decided instead to offer... Read more...
It seems Qualcomm is having a devil of a time fixing a security flaw related to its Adreno GPU driver code. It was brought to Qualcomm's attention by Google's Project Zero team, which sniffs out vulnerabilities and compels companies to fast-track security fixes by going public with the details after 90 days have passed (barring a grace period, which the team sometimes grants). The general idea behind the 90-day deadline is that it provides incentive for companies not to drag their feet in fixing security flaws. This sometimes comes at the consternation of companies, especially if they request a bit of additional time and are denied for whatever reason. In that sense, there is a controversial... Read more...
We could all use more cute animals in our lives, especially during a year like 2020. Google has just released fifty new AR animals that are discoverable through Google search. The new animals range from house pets like cocker spaniels to more exotic creatures like zebras. The AR animals can be viewed on a device with Android 7 and up installed or an iPhone 6s or later device with iOS 11 and up. Unfortunately, this feature is not available on PC or Google devices like Nest Hub. Android users will need to go to google.com or open their Google app, while iPhone users should open Safari, Chrome, or the Google app. Users should then search for an animal and tap “View in 3D” if a 3D model... Read more...
Passwords and payment information can be difficult to remember off the top of your head, especially when you are trying to snipe an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU online in any of the “drops” from the likes of Newegg and BestBuy. As Google explains, you previously may not have had access to the crucial password or credit card info you needed at the moment unless you had Google Chrome sync turned on for the device. This began to change last year when it became easier to access payment methods with a Google Account. Now, in the coming weeks and months, Google will be rolling out “seamless payments and password management” to all signed-in users whether they are syncing or not.... Read more...
Over four years ago, we caught wind of Google’s Fuchsia program, which was a bit of a black-box kind of project. Slowly, we began to learn about what the project entailed and how it would enter the Internet of Things (IoT) world. The Fuchsia project is now taking another step in revealing itself today, as project contributions are being opened to the public. The Google team behind Fuchsia states that the project is “designed to prioritize security, updatability, and performance, and is currently under active development by the Fuchsia team” in the open air on the git repository. Now, rather than just having the team work on the project, Google wants people to engage with Fuchsia... Read more...
Google Pixel owners, rejoice! Some of the new features that launched exclusively with the Pixel 5 are now rolling out to older devices such as the Pixel 3. These updates will hopefully keep the aging devices fresh as a part of Google’s effort to “make the phone better and better (and better)” with “even more Pixel owners will get to experience our most recent updates.” The first new feature of the bunch rolling out to the Pixel 3 and newer devices is the “Hold For Me” feature. It can save you time if you are put on hold by a business, as it alerts you when someone takes you off hold. Think of this as a robotic “counter-hold” when you need... Read more...
CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 is nearly here, and Google is gearing up in a big way for the game's launch. As were reported back in October, Cyberpunk 2077 will be available on Google’s Stadia game streaming service on Day 1 alongside PC and console offerings. However, with Stadia, you'll be able to play the game across a wide spectrum of platforms including on your TV with a Chromecast and a wireless controller or with your mobile device. In preparation for the December 10th launch of Cyberpunk 2077, Google just announced that Stadia is expanding to 8 additional European countries starting today. Potential subscribers in these new markets -- Austria, Czechia,... Read more...
While vulnerabilities crop up regularly, people need to be on the lookout, and developers need to patch their programs for everyone’s benefit. When a developer neglects this responsibility, people and information are left at risk. Back in August, a vulnerability that allowed a local attack and code execution on an Android device was reported, but now it has been found that some apps still have not updated to fix the problem. Aviran Hazum and Jonathan Shimonovich, of Check Point Research, reported on the Android vulnerability, given CVE-2020-8913, that was patched by Google in April of this year. It is rated as an 8.8 out of 10 on the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS), and it impacts... Read more...
As it turns out, mapping every part of the inhabited world is an enormous undertaking, but since the launch of Google Street View in 2007, a significant dent has was made in this effort. According to Stafford Marquardt, product manager at Google Street View, people have traveled over 10 million miles to collect 170 billion images. Even though this seems like a lot of data, it still is not enough, however, as there are still unmapped parts of the world. To help with the problem, Google will be opening user contributions to Google Street View. Marquardt explains that when people find out he works for Google Street View, they ask, “How can I drive a Street View car?” Driving a Street... Read more...
Cyber Monday is here, and that means a continuation of deals and discount carried over from Black Friday, as well as brand new bargains. It also means you can snag a new smartphone and save some money in the process. Several different models are on sale at Amazon, including Google's excellent Pixel 4 XL, which is more than a third off right now. We like this handset a lot (check out our Pixel 4 XL review for full details on exactly why). For one, being a Google device, it delivers a squeaky clean pure Android experience without any custom skins or user interface tweaks. But more than just that, it offers great performance, long battery life, and fantastic camera performance. Perhaps most importantly... Read more...
If you are a fan of the Star Wars universe and the popular Mandalorian series on Disney+, boy do we have an app for you. Google and Lucasfilm worked together to bring "Mando" himself into your living room through the power of augmented reality. You can get this app on select 5G phones today and obtain new experiences weekly through October of next year. "The Mandalorian AR Experience" is a way to "Retrace the Mandalorian's steps, find the Child, and harness the Force, all featuring life-sized versions of your favorite characters." As it stands, only the events of Season 1 are brought to life, but that could change over time. Over the course of the next year, we will likely see events from future... Read more...
Official support for Windows 7 might have ended in January of this year, but software support for Microsoft's older operating system hasn't completely dried up yet. Google still fields the world's most popular web browser, Chrome, on the platform. Originally, that was due to change in July of 2021, but the search giant has shifted its plans slightly. In a blog post, Chrome Engineering Director Max Christoff says that now that Chrome's Windows 7 support will live on for at least another six months, into early 2022. Why did Google shift gears? The short answer is the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not every organization has been able to keep up with its plan to migrate existing Windows 7 clients to... Read more...
It should come as no surprise that there's been a lot of hype surrounding the release of Cyberpunk 2077. It doesn't help that the game has been delayed multiple times, which has drawn even more attention to CD Projekt Red's latest masterpiece. With that being said, if you haven't already preordered the game on any platform so far, Google is offering up a rather intriguing deal for those that are potentially looking to try out Stadia game streaming. If you preorder the game on Stadia, Google will give you a free Stadia Premiere kit. This kit includes a single Stadia controller, a Chromecast Ultra and a one-month trial to Stadia Pro (if you're a new customer). For those not in the know,... Read more...
In 2019, Google began the rollout of RCS, or rich communication services, across the United States on Android. RCS brings some cool new features to Android messaging, dragging it into the modern era. Google has finally completed the project and will start addressing some of the biggest concerns, such as security, with end-to-end encryption. RCS provide feature similar to what we've seen in year from Apple's iMessage, such as typing indicators, read receipts, and more. However, not all carriers will support these features for Android devices. If your carrier does not support the features, you will still be able to take advantage of RCS while on WiFi. After the rollout started, there were concerns... Read more...
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