Items tagged with NASDAQ: GOOG

It's not often that people feel compelled to side with Google on the topic of privacy, but the company's newest CEO, Sundar Pinchai, gives us a great reason to. As Brandon covered in great detail yesterday, Apple has been ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to provide the FBI access to an iPhone 5c that was used by the terrorists in December's San Bernardino shootings - but, there are a couple of problems with that. Apple insists that the backdoor the U.S. government wants doesn't exist, and CEO Tim Cook rages against the idea that his company should build one for any of its products. If you want to know why he feels this way, he sums it up perfectly with the following statement: People... Read more...
Users of the Chrome beta for Android are in for a bit of a treat, as the latest version has added support for "Physical Web" beacons. Don't worry if you've never heard of these, because most haven't. Google did talk about it a bit last summer, and it seems like a feature that could be incredibly useful at times. The logic behind the name of "Physical Web" is that data is distributed locally; not over the Internet. The goal is to relay information to those nearby that would prove useful. Say, for example, you're in a restaurant, and as you wait for a seat, a beacon beams the menu to your phone so that you can get a head-start on your choices. Or, you're waiting in line at the airport, and use... Read more...
It seems certain that we've all managed to wind up on a website at some point in time that had misleading elements, such as fake download buttons. While piracy is going to be the first thing that springs to many minds when this kind of sketchiness is brought up, it's hardly exclusive to that area. Some websites that host completely legitimate software still have misleading advertising, and let's face it: we've been dealing with it for way too long. Well, if Google has its way, we're not going to have to worry about such misleading advertising in the future. Back in November, the company released an update to its Chrome Web browser that helps protect users from deceptive tactics (causing you to... Read more...
This past fall, we reported on a development with Google's Project Loon, which aims to deliver Internet via balloons to underserved countries. At some point in 2016, a bunch of balloons will take flight over Indonesia, and once that happens, it could very well spearhead what could become a common sight in Internet-deprived countries. The internal group that handles Project Loon is called Google Access, and alongside Loon, this segment of Google has also been working on a different, but similar project: Project Skybender. Like Loon, Skybender involves sending objects into the sky, but unlike the cost-effective nature of Loon, Google's going all out with Skybender by relying on drones to transmit... Read more...
As we've talked about a number of times in the past, Google is very keen on taking good advantage of deep-learning to help accomplish some amazing things. Its latest venture could affect us in a very direct way: by making it easier to search for specific photos in our collection. Object identification is already a big part of Google's business; it's why the company's search engine is so eerily accurate at times. It knows the difference between "small" and "large", different types of very similar objects, colors, and so forth. With a partnership with Movidius, which is headquartered in San Mateo, California, Google will pack a special chip in some future smartphones that add acceleration to image... Read more...
We've been talking about Apple's secret automotive project for what feels like forever, and despite all that's been reported up to this point, the company has stuck to its guns and remains quiet on the matter. At this point, though, we must imagine that Apple has just about given up on trying to keep things a secret, as it seems we can't go a single day without seeing more proof of it. The latest bit of "proof" comes from Daimler's CEO Dieter Zetsche who recently paid a visit to Silicon Valley with other senior management members. In talking to German weekly Welt am Sonntag, Zetsche said that during his visit, he was surprised at the sheer amount of progress both Apple and Google have made with... Read more...
We've talked a lot about "machine-learning" over the past couple of years, and it's for one good reason: small and large companies alike are taking it very seriously. Just a couple of weeks ago, we reported that Yahoo released a huge 13.5TB trove of data to be used for machine-learning, and at the same time, we recounted a couple of other good recent examples as well, such as Microsoft teaching computers to have a sense of humor and improved emotion detection. If you're new to the machine-learning world and don't completely understand what it actually is, the simplest description is "teaching computers to learn". While human brains are incredible devices, computers can offer the unique ability... Read more...
It should strike no one as a surprise that digital video has become big business. Let be more accurate; it's a huge business. When Google purchased YouTube almost ten years ago, there were few people who truly understood what it'd become. Today it's one of the most popular websites on the planet, ranking 3rd globally (behind Google.com and Facebook.com). It's also no doubt responsible for a lot more bandwidth than most other sites out there, so it's of little surprise then that the company's Chief Business Officer sees a bright future. At CES, Robert Kyncl reiterated a couple of predictions he made four years ago, which he still believes will hold true. At that event in 2012, he claimed... Read more...
For some, one of the most useful updates to hit Android 5.0 'Lollipop' was the notification tweaker. With it, you can block different types of communications when you don't want to be disturbed, but still let important stuff through. Making this feature even more useful is the ability to lift the blocks automatically at a certain time, such as in the early AM when you are getting ready for your day. This "Set until next alarm" feature is undoubtedly useful, and perhaps even important, for many. So you can imagine the faces of those who need it when they load up the notification pane and see that the option no longer exists. When this news first hit the Web a few days ago, the general consensus... Read more...
Well, this isn't something we see too often. Hot on the heels of the release of Android 6.0 Marshmallow for its Moto X Pure 2015, Motorola has decided to release the smartphone's kernel sources to the wild. As you might imagine, this isn't a move that's going to affect end-users right now. Instead, access to these sources is ideal for developers looking to do a variety of different things, including adjusting the OS, optimizing it, or overhauling the ROM entirely. With sources simply handed out like this, it makes a developer's job a bit easier. In time, this release can affect end-users once developers release their work that stems from this, in whatever form it might come in. The Moto X Pure... Read more...
Google is no stranger to accusations of invading user privacy, but the latest one comes from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and relates to a highly sensitive market: education. Google would like to see its Chromebooks in the hands of as many people as possible, especially in education, so it's crafted a program that helps educators integrate the devices into the curriculum, and makes their jobs easier once devices are deployed. This includes a head administrator being able to login to an interface and adjust certain settings that will affect the entire fleet en masse. This is all fine and good. But what has everyone on edge is the fact that Google seems to be overstepping its... Read more...
If you're a current Project Fi subscriber, you may soon be in for a little bit of a surprise. According to a slew of users on Google+, Google has begun sending out a small gift to subscribers as a way to say thanks for putting faith in its carrier business. Inside the box is an instructional booklet that says, "Thanks for your support. Let's build on this.", and once you spot the pile of LEGO inside, you'll soon get the subtle joke. Inspired by Project Fi's own colors, this LEGO can be used to build a stand that lets you set your phone down sideways while it charges. According to some users, the pieces can also be used to build a cable organizer. Credit: Jason Lukaszewski If you haven't received... Read more...
It's no secret that a countless number of mobile apps indulge in a bit more of our data than we'd like, and many even handshake with external servers, causing us to wonder what on Earth they're doing. Well, as some researchers at MIT have found out, a huge number of the top 500 apps on Google's Play Store send data back and forth that has absolutely nothing to do with the functionality of the app. Cue the eerie music. The researchers like to call this kind of communication "covert", as the fact that it's happening is completely invisible to the user. While it's easy to jump to conclusions about ill intent, project lead Julia Rubin isn't sold on it quite yet. She says, "There might be a very good... Read more...
Google might be in the midst of dealing with some EU antitrust accusations regarding its shopping platform, but that hasn't slowed it down from making worthwhile upgrades to the service. Just in time for the holidays, the company has overhauled its Google Shopping search engine, and has put a major emphasis on mobile shopping, as the company has monitored some massive growth there in recent years. Because mobile shoppers tend to shop in quick bursts, Google has designed its new interface to complement that. At home, it's more comfortable looking into a big screen and browse, whereas on-the-go, there's a point when we're going to want to look up and let the sun readjust our eyes. A major perk... Read more...
YouTube is an amazing service for a huge number of reasons, but if there's one thing that's not fun about it, it's the ever-existing threat of a company taking legal action against you because of a video upload. We see this happen all of the time, and often, users don't even know what they're actually allowed to upload. Uploading a song or parody, for example, is a hit-or-miss endeavor: you may get away with it or simply have the company monetize it on its own; or, if you catch a particular company on a bad day, you may wake up to a disabled video and a hit against your account. Some might argue that anyone who uploads a video should know whether or not they're allowed to, but as we've seen in... Read more...
This past spring, Google released a much-needed update to its Android Wear platform, one that added both gesture and Wi-Fi support. That latter feature meant that people would be able to send and receive messages on their watch or get quick info about who's calling as long as they were connected to a Wi-Fi network. Overall, it's a quite convenient feature. Admittedly, though, few Android smartwatch wearers are going to be content with that. What if you want to go for a run? Unless your city happens to have city-wide Wi-Fi access, you're going to be left out of the loop until you get to a network. Cellular is clearly needed to help rectify that. And cellular is what we'll soon be getting.... Read more...
In the world of machine-learning, there are few companies putting as much effort into its progression than Google. We learned just a few weeks ago about one of Google's "signals" called RankBrain that helps handle our most outlandish search requests, and today, we learn of TensorFlow, an important learning library that Google wants to share with the world. In a new blog post, Google refreshes our memory about what wasn't possible just a couple of years ago. Trying to talk to your phone while on a busy sidewalk? Good luck. Translate a sign that's in a different language? Hah! In a very short amount of time, though, Google's machine- and deep-learning work has dramatically improved the situation... Read more...
Security firm Lookout has just revealed what could be one of the most hard-hitting pieces of malware to ever hit Android. It doesn't have an official name, except to be referred to as "trojanized adware", and right from the top, we can tell you that if you only stick to downloading apps through Google's Play Store, you have nothing to worry about. There are two things that make this piece of malware so severe. First, it's effectively wrapped around legitimate apps. Users can download these, such as Facebook and Snapchat, and install them normally. Nothing will look out-of-the-ordinary, and Google won't raise a fuss outside of the original warning that comes with installing out-of-store apps.... Read more...
A cable is just a cable. Or is it? While it's clear that there are some some cable solutions for those who lack a bit of sense and have fat wallets, most cheap cables are going to suffice for most purposes. That's the perk of a digital connection; unless the cable is of truly awful quality, you're going to see those bits that are shot across the stream arrive at their intended location. If a cable has a fault, though, it can cause some bizarre issues. many have likely encountered situations in the past where a USB cable refused to let a device be detected by a PC, likely due to an internal fault. Sometimes, though, it's not just a physical fault that can prove problematic, but the actual specs... Read more...
At the start of October, it was reported that Amazon would be making the rather stark move of removing competing streaming devices from its store; namely those that didn't support Prime Video to the company's liking. This largely boils down to Amazon either being unable to get Prime Video the way it wants on competing devices, and that the company doesn't want to give a cut of its profits to a third-party. Ultimately, that lead Amazon to the decision of simply pulling those devices from its online store. While some have likened this move to being anti-competitive, it's hard to grasp whether the legal system would agree. Amazon's defense is that since these devices don't support Prime Video, it... Read more...
We've been hearing about Google's ambitious "Project Loon" for a couple of years, and given the lack mention of a definitive launch, it's left some wondering if it would in fact become a reality. Well, a major update has just been posted to the project's official Google+ page, proving that sometimes, it's not wise to jump to conclusions. At some point next year, Project Loon is going to be launching a bunch of balloons that will hover over Indonesia. Indonesia is a country that comprises many islands, and so it'd be an extremely difficult thing to roll out hard cable across them all to ensure that everyone has Internet access. That's a reality that's not going to change, and it's one where balloons... Read more...
As we wind down 2015, it's not hard to see some trends arise when looking back at the months leading us up to this point. Right from the get-go, an obvious trend with the biggest companies out there has been the adoption of machine-learning techniques. While machine-learning isn't new, it's now being treated as something of huge importance, and it's definitely going to be a big part of our future. Late last year, we learned that Microsoft had adopted NVIDIA graphics cards to help it accelerate its machine-learning capabilities, and this past May, the company released a neat age-guessing tool. While that's more for fun, machine-learning can be used for more important things as well, such as delivering... Read more...
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