The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.’s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment.
In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network.
At issue is Google Fiber’s Terms of Service, which contains a broad prohibition against customers attaching “servers” to its ultrafast 1 Gbps network in Kansas City.
Google wants to ban the use of servers because it plans to offer a business class offering in the future. A potential customer, Douglas McClendon, filed a complaint against the policy in 2012 with the FCC, which eventually ordered Google to explain its reasoning by July 29.
In its response, Google defended its sweeping ban by citing the very ISPs it opposed through the years-long fight for rules that require broadband providers to treat all packets equally.
“Google Fiber’s server policy is consistent with policies of many major providers in the industry,” Google Fiber lawyer Darah Smith Franklin wrote, going on to quote AT&T, Comcast and Verizon’s anti-server policies.
Google, which prides itself on building a “better web that is better for the environment”, is hosting a fundraiser for the most notorious climate change denier in Congress, it has emerged.
The lunch, at the company’s Washington office, will benefit the Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, who has made a career of dismissing climate change as a “hoax” on the Senate floor.
Proceeds of the 11 July lunch, priced at $250 to $2,500, will also go to the national Republican Senatorial Committee.
It’s the second show of support from Google for the anti-climate cause in recent weeks.
Copycats just can’t help themselves. It’s an addiction to want to be so much like their competitor that they’ll do anything to blur the lines between their competing products. They’ll resort to ripping off their competitors whenever possible and/or just repeat the lie loud enough that they’re the inventor of something – just to give the public the distinct impression that it’s actually theirs. Recently Google has tried to mimic the MacBook Pro with Retina to blur the lines and now they’re thinking of adding presence technology to their Chromebook Pixel. The problem is that they just ripped off one of Apple’s granted patent figures to an embarrassing point that you have to see for yourself. I appreciate Google for their efforts on Google Glass and other projects – but let’s get real here. Sometimes copying is like getting a pie in your face. You just look stupid. Even Google could do better than that.
When you buy an iPhone, it works exactly as Apple intended; it’s never adulterated by “features” that the company didn’t approve. But when you buy an Android phone, even a really great one, you’re not getting the device that Google’s designers had in mind when they created the OS. You’re not even getting the device that the phone manufacturer—Samsung and HTC, in this case—had in mind. Instead you’re getting a bastardized version, a phone replete with software that has been altered by many players along the way, usually in a clumsy, money-grubbing fashion.
I noticed this immediately when I first turned on the Sprint-powered HTC One and Galaxy S4. When you run an iPhone for the first time, you’ve go through just a handful of steps to get up and running: choose a language, add a Wi-Fi network, and log in to your Apple account. The same is true of the Google editions of the One and S4—just a few prompts and you’re good to go. But not the carrier versions. I had to sit through more than half a dozen screens. I was pushed to sign in to several social-networking accounts. I had to create accounts with HTC or Samsung’s own services. Then, when I thought I was at last ready to start using my phone, another prompt came on the screen to let me know that Sprint was installing some software of its own. After another five minutes, my phone was finally ready to use—but when I browsed through the menus, there was a whole bunch of software that I didn’t need, including apps for Yahoo, Amazon, the NBA, a Sprint app for watching TV, and a White Pages app. Why these apps specifically? Not because Sprint believes that you’ll find them really helpful, but instead because it received a promotional fee. Congratulations on your new phone—now look at all the ads.
You might not consider these preloaded apps such a big deal. We’re all used to getting crapware on new PCs; this is the same story, just on phones, and it’s not such a big hassle to delete everything you don’t need. But you shouldn’t have to delete stuff just to get your phone looking like you want it. Plus, I suspect that many users probably don’t even know how to delete these apps, so they just sit there, clogging up the home screen.
The worst thing about Android phones isn’t the crapware, though. It’s the “skins”—the modifications that phone companies make to Android’s most basic features, including the dialing app, contacts, email, the calendar, the notification system, and the layout of the home screen. If you get the Play edition of these phones, you’ll see Google’s version of each of these apps, and you’ll come away impressed by Google’s tasteful, restrained, utilitarian design sense. But if, like most people, you get your phone for $199 from a carrier, you’ll find everything in it is a frightful mess.
Today, Yahoo’s General Counsel posted a carefully worded denial regarding the company’s alleged participation in the NSA PRISM program. To the casual observer, it might seem like a categorical denial. I do not believe that Yahoo’s denial is as straightforward as it seems.
If it had, even if I couldn’t talk about it, in all likelihood I would no longer be working at Google: the fact that we do stand up for individual users’ privacy and protection, for their right to have a personal life which is not ever shared with other people without their consent, even when governments come knocking at our door with guns, is one of the two most important reasons that I am at this company: the other being a chance to build systems which fundamentally change and improve the lives of billions of people by turning the abstract power of computing into something which amplifies and expands their individual, mental life.
Strong statement. And here’s Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond:
We cannot say this more clearly — the government does not have access to Google servers—not directly, or via a back door, or a so-called drop box. Nor have we received blanket orders of the kind being discussed in the media.
The early reviews of Google Fiber are in from Kansas City and one of the most attractive features of the service seems to be how it makes Netflix irresistible. The buffering annoyances that consumers take for granted vanish as Google Fiber feeds movies and shows instantly to eager Silicon Prairie dwellers. What’s more, the recently launched Google Fiber TV app offers video on demand for iPad. This direction is fascinating because of the hottest trend in US consumer behavior: broadcast television audience collapse.
TV show audiences have been falling for a long time, but recently the decline has turned into a plunge. According to Goldman Sachs, ratings in the 18-49 year demo dropped by a hideous 17% last winter, the steepest drop ever. “American Idol” is losing nearly 25% of its audience in a year. Most of the big new shows have been disasters and old staples like “Survivor” and “Dancing with Stars” are in free fall.
Everyone has long known that the broadcast dinosaurs are in trouble but it is only now becoming clear just how rapidly they are losing their grip on consumers in the United States. This coincides with rapid growth of time spent on mobile apps: American iPhone owners now waste two hours per day on apps and annualized growth of daily engagement still tops 30%. But it also opens up completely new vistas for Netflix, Amazon, Google and Apple when it comes to video distribution.
The evidence has been clear for a while that Apple (AAPL) is no longer the singular dominant force in mobile. But the alarm bells have grown shriller. Supplier results suggest “lackluster iPhone demand.” Anonymous supply chain sources say that iPad mini unit sales could drop 20 percent to 30 percent this quarter, compared with the same period last year.
Those last words are telling. The Mini was not for sale the same period last year. So 20 to 30 percent less that last year is simply impossible.
What is it about Apple that make reporters insist on creating bad news? Fucking idiots.
Twitter made their new music service official this morning with an announcement and then release on…iOS. As you can tell, and should be no surprise if you look at Vine, Twitter still doesn’t realize that Android is just as, if not more important than iOS in the mobile game these days.
No, actually it isn’t. Let me tell you again what app developers see: on iOS you see about 10 times the sales/download numbers compared to Android. Twitter knows exactly what it is doing. Unit sales are irrelevant.
Google, which relies on advertising for some 95 percent of its revenue, doesn’t want ads on its hotly anticipated Google Glass eyewear.
The blanket prohibition came in the fine print of a policy made public this evening, which says “Glassware” developers may not “serve or include any advertisements” and they “may not charge” users to download apps for the device.
So there’s no money either way for developers. Tell me again why I should bother ever developing for Glass?
April Fool’s Day gags from Google: half a dozen.
April Fool’s Day gags from Apple: zero.
I suspect one’s preference for which company they admire more breaks strongly along the lines of how one feels about the above stats.
So if you want to know when Google Keep, opened for business on 21 March 2013, will probably shut – again, assuming Google decides it’s just not working – then, the mean suggests the answer is: 18 March 2017. That’s about long enough for you to cram lots of information that you might rely on into it; and also long enough for Google to discover that, well, people aren’t using it to the extent that it hoped. Much the same as happened with Knol (lifespan: 1,377 days, from 23 July 2008 to 30 April 2012), or Wave (1,095 days, from May 2009 – 30 April 2012) or of course Reader (2,824 days, from 7 October 2005 to 1 July 2013).
BlackBerry just shipped a new phone that almost nobody has tried. But lots of people already have an opinion about it! Some people think it is great! Others are already making fun of it! That’s pretty typical behavior. People love to fight and fight about phone platforms; to toss around the term fanboi and other insults and invective. People love to lob polemic after polemic in the most boring argument
since Mac vs. Windowsever.
Do you like Android? You should, it’s amazing. iOS? Wow, what a great platform, no wonder it started a revolution. Windows Phone? Seriously, it’s got a remarkable and beautiful interface. BlackBerry? There are plenty of great reasons people love it. And no matter which platform you adore, it’s shockingly possible to both have a preference and respect that other people may prefer an entirely different device. I know. Totally weird. But true.
Or, you can just call anyone who expresses a contrary opinion a jerk, or a fanboi, or butthurt, some other un-clever and deeply unoriginal pejorative that ends with the suffix “tard” and ultimately makes you look dumber than the person you’re trying, vainly, to insult.
The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up.
Who’s the person you’d least expect to discover is a BlackBerry user? How about the executive chairman of the company whose software has been crucial in eroding the Canadian company’s position in the consumer market?
That’s right: Eric Schmidt uses a BlackBerry.
Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you’re like me you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn’t such a clever place to leave the note after all…it’s rarely where you need it when you need it.
To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.
From the same guys that brought you Google Reader, so good luck if you don’t mind being bitten again.
It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Google. During my time there I became fairly passionate about the company. I keynoted four Google Developer Day events, two Google Test Automation Conferences and was a prolific contributor to the Google testing blog. Recruiters often asked me to help sell high priority candidates on the company. No one had to ask me twice to promote Google and no one was more surprised than me when I could no longer do so. In fact, my last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back.
The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.
Technically I suppose Google has always been an advertising company, but for the better part of the last three years, it didn’t feel like one. Google was an ad company only in the sense that a good TV show is an ad company: having great content attracts advertisers.
In a rather surprising move, Google removed Adblock Plus and other ad blocking apps from the Google Play store due to “interference with another service or product in an unauthorized manner.”
Daniel Eran Dilger:
Almost three years after Google released its WebM video encoding technology as a “free” and open alternative to the existing H.264 backed by Apple and others, it has admitted its position was wrong and that it would pay to license the patents WebM infringes.
Looks like we’re establishing a clear pattern: Google clearly (and often willfully) infringes on someone else’s IP, can’t believe that it’ll ever have any repercussions, and claims they’re doing it to be “open” or some bullshit. It betrays a culture at Google’s highest levels of arrogance, entitlement, and dishonesty.
Microsoft is backing a bill in Massachusetts that would effectively force schools to stop using Google Apps, or any other service that uses students’ data.
“Any person who provides a cloud computing service to an educational institution operating within the State shall process data of a student enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade for the sole purpose of providing the cloud computing service to the educational institution and shall not process such data for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to advertising purposes that benefit the cloud computing service provider,” the bill states.
The proposed legislation was introduced by state representative Carlo Basile (D-East Boston), and Microsoft has said it is supporting it, using the old canard of wanting to protect children from harm. Blocking Google and other providers that use an ad-funded service model is just a side benefit, it seems.
In my experience, the behaviors and culture of an organization (large or small) that focuses on the Consumer as a customer is diametrically incompatible with the behaviors and culture of an organization that focuses on Business as a customer.
I feel strongly that this is a key reason Microsoft’s products are often good, but not excellent; the consumer ones and the business ones. This is why Google will never be able to beat Apple at Apple’s game: Google’s customer focus is split between the advertiser and consumer.
The behaviors of organization, which are really driven by the attitudes, actions, priorities of the people, define what the organization produces. The behaviors required to delight the consumer are simply at odds with the behaviors required to delight businesses. You cannot do both simultaneously in a single organization and be excellent.
If you had told me five years ago that I’d have the chance to pay $1,500 to beta test and advertise a product for you I would’ve said ‘get the heck out of town’! But here we are.
“‘The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field,’ Alan Kay once lamented. And so it should come as no surprise that the USPTO granted Google a patent Tuesday for the Automatic Deletion of Temporary Files, perhaps unaware that the search giant’s claimed invention is essentially a somewhat kludgy variation on file expiration processing, a staple of circa-1970 IBM mainframe computing and subsequent disk management software. From Google’s 2013 patent: ‘A path name for a file system directory can be “C:temp\12-1-1999\” to indicate that files contained within the file system directory will expire on Dec. 1, 1999.’ From Judith Rattenbury’s 1971 Introduction to the IBM 360 computer and OS/JCL: ‘EXPDT=70365 With this expiration date specified, the data set will not be scratched or overwritten without special operator action until the 365th day of 1970.’ Hey, things are new if you’ve never seen them before!”
With stolen passwords in hand, attackers attempt to break into accounts across the web and across many different services. We’ve seen a single attacker using stolen passwords to attempt to break into a million different Google accounts every single day, for weeks at a time. A different gang attempted sign-ins at a rate of more than 100 accounts per second. Other services are often more vulnerable to this type of attack, but when someone tries to log into your Google Account, our security system does more than just check that a password is correct.
Every time you sign in to Google, whether via your web browser once a month or an email program that checks for new mail every five minutes, our system performs a complex risk analysis to determine how likely it is that the sign-in really comes from you. In fact, there are more than 120 variables that can factor into how a decision is made.
If a sign-in is deemed suspicious or risky for some reason—maybe it’s coming from a country oceans away from your last sign-in—we ask some simple questions about your account. For example, we may ask for the phone number associated with your account, or for the answer to your security question. These questions are normally hard for a hijacker to solve, but are easy for the real owner. Using security measures like these, we’ve dramatically reduced the number of compromised accounts by 99.7 percent since the peak of these hijacking attempts in 2011.
Google is abusing its dominant place in the search market, according to Europe’s antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia.
In an interview with the Financial Times of London, Google could be forced to change the way that it provides and displays search results or face antitrust charges for “diverting traffic,” in the words of Almunia, referring to Google’s self-serving treatment to its own search services.
Despite the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s move earlier this month to let off Google with a slap on the wrist — albiet, a change to its business practices, a move that financially wouldn’t dent Google in the short term but something any company would seek to avoid — the European Commission is looking to take a somewhat different approach: take its time, and then hit the company hard.
Almunia said in the interview: “We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google] are diverting traffic,” adding: “They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think — I fear — there is an abuse of this dominant position.”
That’s pretty much as black and white as one can get, short of actually saying: “Google, bad! Here’s a whopping great big fine.”
The Google Maps on Windows Phone debacle looks like it will be resolved after all. Google now says that it is in fact planning to get rid of the redirect that’s preventing Windows Phone users from accessing the Google Maps website using Internet Explorer — “soon,” even.
So it isn’t IE incompatibility after all, right? You just got caught.
“People are freaking out about the world coming to an end—I totally get that,” said the Google C.E.O. Larry Page in a conference call with reporters. “But at Google we view the Apocalypse as a unique opportunity. This company was founded with the goal to ‘organize the world’s information’ and we see the next three days as our chance to get that done.”As for the marching orders that Page gave to Google’s team of designers: “The world is going to be destroyed and mankind will cease to exist. Make Google the last page they see, and give us one last chance to serve them tracking cookies.”
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has dismissed criticism over how little corporation tax his company pays, saying it’s just capitalism.
Schmidt is “very proud” of the corporate structure Google set up to divert profits made in European countries, such as the UK, to its firms in the low-tax havens of Ireland and The Netherlands, thus minimising its tax bill.
“We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways,” he told Bloomberg. “I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.
“It’s called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.”
“Using dubious tactics dubbed the ‘Double Irish’ and the ‘Dutch Sandwich’, Google apparently was able to pay only 3.2 per cent in tax on its overseas profits in 2011 even though most of its sales were in countries with tax rates from 26 to 34 per cent,” the group’s privacy project director John Simpson said in the letter.