Event country, timing suggests first Android One devices due this month
Google has sent out invitations to an announcement event due to be held on September 15th in India. Though not specifically hinting at a product or service, it is believed the event will involve the launch of the first Android One smartphones, a program Google introduced in June to provide low-cost Android mobile devices to emerging markets.
Action platforming game Wipeout 2 available for iOS, Android
Activision Publishing has released its action platforming game Wipeout 2, available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire. Based on the competition TV series "Wipeout," players dodge environmental hazards and challenge to complete each level as fast as possible. Players can choose from 10 playable characters, including Zombie, Pirate and Popstar, with 150 themed obstacles and 135 new levels. Free to download, Wipeout 2 is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store.
Google promises 'number of speed and security improvements'
For Mac users, the latest beta channel release of Chrome -- Chrome 38 -- makes the switch to a 64-bit codebase, Google has announced. The primary benefit is said to be speed, since it grants access to "a superior instruction set, more registers, and a more efficient function calling convention," according to Google. The company points out that in some cases Chrome can be the only 32-bit app that's running, forcing OS X to load 32-bit system libraries that consume extra memory and launch time.
Secret Google X project revealed as drone-based delivery system
Amazon is not the only company looking to use drones for deliveries, as Google has reportedly been testing its own version for the last two years. Tested in Australia due to more "progressive" drone rules, Google's Project Wing appears to be more for creating autonomous flying machines destined for disaster relief than for detail deliveries.
Company to join Google Cloud Platform team, visual effects rendering services to continue
Google's cloud offerings are growing to include services aimed at the movie industry today, thanks to the addition of a rendering technology that utilizes the elasticity of cloud computing. The search giant posted on the Google Cloud Platform Blog announcing that it acquired Zync Render, a company that specializes in flexible tools that use the cloud to store and render visual effects for films.
Windows users get better fonts via DirectWrite
Google has released Chrome 37 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest change affects only Windows users, in the form of DirectWrite support for better font rendering. Previously, Chrome for Windows depended on the Graphics Device Interface, and Google explains that the change "required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome's font rendering engine."
Sources state that the deal is worth $1 billion, same as reported Google acquisition
[Updated with confirmation of deal between twitch and Amazon] Originally reported by The Information, Twitch has been purchased by Amazon. While Google was thought to be the forerunner that would pick up the company for $1 billion, based on earlier reports, Amazon has completed the deal, worth $970 million in cash.
Major apps identified as culprits
A number of iOS apps -- including Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and Google+ -- have a security vulnerability that could allow malicious parties to force an iPhone to auto-dial, observes Romanian developer Andrei Neculaesei. iOS supports a tel:// URI that can make a call automatically, even though developers are allowed to bypass confirmation prompts for the dialer if they want. Through a vulnerable app and the right web code, a person could potentially be tricked into dialing a toll number. A FaceTime variant could let someone capture images of a person before disconnecting.
Fills out iOS productivity suite
Google is today launching a new iOS app, Slides. Much like Microsoft PowerPoint, Slides lets people create and edit presentations. Because these files are stored in the cloud, users can start work on one device and continue on another, including via the Slides web app. Collaboration features let several people work on a presentation simultaneously; any changes to a file are saved automatically, and the app can work both on and offline. Offline changes are uploaded after reconnection.
Firm has worked with Dell, HP, Logitech on a wide variety of consumer electronics
Google has acquired design firm Gecko, in an effort to bolster its Google(x) product manufacture efforts. The firm has previously done industrial design work for OLPC, Logitech, Sling Media, Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, and contributed to the Fitbit design, pre-launch.
ESPN creates Scores app for sporting update on Pebble smartwatch
ESPN has released an app for the Pebble smartwatch, providing results for various sporting events. The Scores app includes results from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, and college basketball, and will vibrate to notify the wearer about game updates. The app is now available to download from the Pebble App Store for iOS and Android.
Company complies with only half of judge's controversial order
Following a ruling by a Brazilian judge that anonymous social apps such as Secret violate the Brazilian constitution, Apple has removed the program from the App Store in that country, citing that its own guidelines require that apps comply with local laws in the country they're sold in. In addition to Apple, the judge ordered Google and Microsoft to also remove the app or similar apps. There has not, however, been any reports of Apple or the other companies remotely deleting the app from users' devices.
Sky updates electronic program guide, adds recommendations, smart season recording
British satellite television provider Sky has started to roll out software updates to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, updating the electronic program guide. A new "recommendation engine" will make suggestions of TV shows to watch based on previously downloaded or recorded content, reports The Next Web, with other changes including a "Smart Series Link" automatically recording new seasons of TV shows, DVD cover art, and the combination of HD and SD viewing options in On Demand.
New store has to deal with complexities of multiple carriers, hardware vendors
[/strong]Updated with Verizon statement[/strong] Verizon is allegedly in discussions with other carriers and Android device manufacturers to launch its own app store. According to sources familiar with the matter, the carrier is building up the store, similar to the shuttered V Cast, as a response to reductions in revenue-sharing arrangements with Google through the Google Play store. Verizon has since denied the claims, without providing much information about the report.
Apple, Google, Microsoft required to delete Secret from customer phones or face fines
A Brazilian judge has ordered Apple, Google, and Microsoft to remove Secret, an app used for anonymously sharing information with others, from citizen's phones. The unusual ruling requires both Apple and Google to delist Secret from the App Store and Google Play, with Microsoft ordered to do the same for the Windows Phone-equivalent Cryptic, as well as deleting it remotely from mobile devices in the country.
Screenshots of YouTube Music Key show mixes, recommendations, 20M song library
Google's long-rumored music service for YouTube will apparently cost $9.99 per month, according to a leak. Dubbed YouTube Music Key, the subscription service will provide advertising-free music playback on the desktop, mobile, and through the TV, with the ability to cache songs on devices for offline playback, similar to the existing Google Play Music All Access subscription.
Child-focused version of YouTube allegedly in development
Google is adapting its services to cater for a younger audience, as the company attempts to make a play for a new generation of user, a report claims. The search company is allegedly working on various child-friendly services which children under the age of 13 will be able to use, provided it receives permission from the child's parent or guardian beforehand.
Jetpac to be removed from app store shortly, support discontinued in September
Google recently made another acquisition, this time involving a team that uses deep learning in its apps. The team behind the Jetpac City Guides app announced last week that they would be joining Google in an unspecified capacity. Details of the deal weren't disclosed, but the San Francisco-based team would be moving on to Google, leaving their apps behind in the process.
London-based Vedanti Systems Limited allege post-it notes prove misdeeds
London firm Vedanti Systems Limited (VSL) is suing Google over the compression algorithms used in YouTube. According to the complaint, filed on August 10, Google uses the technology across a wide swath of Google offerings, with YouTube being the primary violator. VSL attorney Adam Levitt wrote in the complaint that "this case is yet another of the many occasions on which Google has unlawfully taken, rather than developed for itself or paid for, valuable technology that is core to the functioning of its many businesses and products."
Previous rulings favoring Vringo nullified, revenue percentage payout killed
A long-standing court battle between Vringo's I/P Engine and Google is grinding to a halt in the Mountain View-base ad agency's favor. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declared two patents of Vringo's invalid, nullifying a jury verdict that found the search engine giant and others liable for a total $30 million in damages plus a percentage of Google Adwords profits. The ruling is the latest in a string of verdicts calling into question the overall validity of software functionality patents over that of the code itself.
New guide panel makes TV YouTube interface closer to desktop view
Google has overhauled the design of its YouTube for TV interface, and has started to roll out the changes to its set-top box apps. The new user interface, taking on many of the characteristics of Android L's Material Design scheme, aims to simplify searching for channels and specific videos for those preferring to watch YouTube clips on a bigger screen.
Sales up 79 percent over previous year, sales expected to hit 14.4 million units by 2017
Research firm Gartner released a report today over the growth of the Chromebook market so far this year. In the report, the firm states that Chromebooks are expected to sell 5.2 million units by the conclusion of 2014. This marks a substantial growth over the previous year for the low-cost notebooks, powered by Google's cloud-based operating system.
Extra undersea cable to provide 60Tbps of Trans-Pacific bandwidth
Google has backed a project to install a Trans-Pacific cable system between major West Coast cities in the United States with two locations in Japan. The $300 million project, optimistically called the Faster cable network, will hopefully provide a speed boost for Internet connections, with construction starting now with a view to being "ready for service" by mid-2016.
New program performing well, according to Google
Google is in the process of evaluating "Listen Now" advertisements, alongside Beats Music, Spotify, and Rhapsody. When users search for an artist, Google's ads on the right hand side promotes music from the artist, alongside options to purchase the music from participating online music services. The ads are on mobile as well as on searches performed in a desktop or notebook browser.
Deal 'falls below the range of reasonableness'
US District Judge Lucy Koh has rejected a proposed $324.5 million settlement in the lawsuit direct against Apple, Adobe, Google, and Intel over anti-poaching practices. In her ruling, Koh states that the amount offered "falls below the range of reasonableness."
EU companies polled about Google's Android policies and deals
Antitrust actions against Google in Europe seem to be growing. European Union regulators have sent out questionnaires to those possibly impacted by Google's decisions about Android policies, and are requesting "any written or unwritten" exclusivity deals that the search engine giant has made with wireless carriers, developers, and other companies.
Withings aiming for Activité smartwatch release in October
Withings is aiming to put its Activité smartwatch on sale in October, CEO Cédric Hutchings has revealed. At the same time as advising to Wareable about the updated release schedule for the wrist-based device, Hutchings highlighted the stylish and minimal design of the Activite compared to other smartwatches, claiming "We found that wearables were not that wearable." The Withings Activité will apparently cost around $500 at launch.
HTTPS use by sites will give slight improvement to Google search results in future
A website's usage of HTTPS to secure a connection with its visitors will soon play a role in search rankings, Google has announced. Websites actively adopting HTTPS by default for all traffic could rank higher in results listings to sites which do not use it, as the company continues to push other services online into adding more security to their sites.
Gmail non-Latin address support to be followed by similar Google Calendar update
Google has added support for non-Latin and accented characters in email addresses on Gmail, in an effort to improve the company's overall multi-language support. The change, which will allow users to send and receive messages to and from addresses with characters not typically used in English, will apparently also spread to Google Calendar in the future.
Final channel may have to wait months for 64-bit support
The latest build of Chrome Canary for the Mac has switched to a 64-bit codebase, reports note. Canary is Google's "experimental" version of Chrome, based on the absolute latest changes, which can make it unstable but with the benefit of early access to upcoming features. The first 64-bit build is listed as "Version 38.0.2114.2 canary (64-bit)."
Google tipped NCMEC, police over potential child pornography images
Google has aided in the arrest of a registered sex offender, caught by the scanning of files stored in his Gmail account. A tip from Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) over potential illegal content led to Houston police obtaining a search warrant, with law enforcement later finding more evidence and arresting the individual.
New version promises future speed enhancements, stability
Google has released a beta of the 64-bit version of the Chrome web browser. The beta version released today is available for both Windows 7 and 8.1, and closely follows the initial release version in June for Microsoft's operating systems. So far, there have not been any major problems with the release, but some bugs noticed in the previous developer's release are still present.
App masquerading as Flash, others, can break Android sandboxing
Mobile device researchers Bluebox Security have discovered a serious flaw in Google's Android operating system that dates back to version 2.1, and is still present (albeit weakened) in the new 5.0 preview. The "Fake ID" security flaw allows a fake app to include an invalid security certificate, claiming that it is an app with sandbox-breaking privileges, in essence, giving the malicious app root access to the phone and all its contents.
Android L focuses on look, feel, performance rather than features
Google's Android L preview has been made available to developers and any other interested users who own a Nexus 5 smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. It marks the first time that Google has released an early preview of the latest version of its mobile OS, while is also the first major revamp of the Android UI since Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which was released three years ago. In that time, Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. However, despite its popularity, it has slipped somewhat on the technology front with Apple iOS making the leap to 64-bit in August last year. Android L seeks to redress this by adding an all-new 64-bit runtime (ART), coupled with other system enhancements designed to improve performance and battery life.
FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'
In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.
Google Glass developer kit adds support for external webcams
Google has added support for external cameras to Google Glass, on top of the existing built-in imaging sensor. Android Police reports the latest Glass Development Kit update enables the use of an external webcam connected via a USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable, though it warns plug-and-play does not work, and if it includes a microphone, it may disable voice commands. Glass owners looking to try it out will have to wait for a developer to create an app for it, as Google does not supply an application to view through a connected webcam.
Deal said to be worth $1 billion, matching previously rumored purchase amounts
A new report has surfaced that Google has signed a deal that would see the search giant picking up the popular game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion. The report adds builds on the previous report floating around that Twitch was being courted by Google's video arm for a possible purchase with a price tag in the same ballpark. By purchasing Twitch, Google could be positioning itself to be the number one destination for live streaming games, as well as watching associated videos.
One-year anniversary of Chromecast celebrated with extended music trial
Google is providing owners of the Chromecast streaming dongle in the United States free access to Google Play Music All Access for 90 days. An extension of an offer which has already been made available in other Chromecast countries for some time, it is being made available to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Chromecast's launch.
Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day
Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.
Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling
Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.
Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
Suit makes a third attempt at suing tech company over March 2012 policy change
Google's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit that dates back to 2012 failed today, after a California district judge ruled that the search company will have to fight the breach of contract and fraud claims. The first lawsuit was dismissed last December, with the stipulation that any further pursuit would require an amended complaint. The new complaint could have been dismissed "with prejudice" after two previous complaints were dismissed by the judge.
Samsung sees big setback
Since April, the shares of North American tablet web traffic from iPads and Kindle Fires has increased by 0.8 and 1.2 points, respectively, according to new data compiled by Chitika Insights. The figures put the iPad at 78 percent of traffic, and the Kindle Fire at 7.3 percent, the latter displacing Samsung tablets in aggregate (down to 6.3 percent). Google and Microsoft -- also generally considered prominent tablet makers -- managed shares of just 2.1 and 1.4 percent.
Twitch overhauls Android app interface, adds user profiles
Game streaming service Twitch has updated its Android app to version 3.0. The app has received a visual upgrade with an updated user interface, while the addition of user profiles provides more details about individual channels and the option to chat on channels which are not broadcasting yet. The app also allows viewers to access offline channels, an improved search, and the option to swipe between channels and users.
Google Now reminders can be created via Google Search
Google is now allowing for the creation of reminders in Google Search. Similar to the vocal method using Google Voice Search and Google Now on smartphones, Google Operating System reports users can set a reminder by typing "Add reminder" or "Create Reminder" in the search box. A reminder card with extra settings will then appear, with a "Remind me on Google Now" link finalizing the notification.
Company yet to offer commitment, details for required changes
[Updated with Apple rebuttal] Despite both Apple and Google being asked to take measures to make the "true cost of apps" clearer before they're downloaded from an app store, Apple is providing "no firm commitment and no timing" for action, according to a statement from the European Commission. At issue are so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps, which are technically free to use, but often require in-app purchases to make real use of them. Some games, in particular, have exploited lax authorization measures around those purchases to lure children into buying dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars' worth of digital content without their parents' consent.
Initial Google Fiber discussions end over possible BSkyB issues
Google may be considering expanding its Google Fiber Internet service outside the United States, according to a report. The search company was reportedly speaking to CityFibre in the United Kingdom about a possible launch in the country, though negotiations apparently broke down over a possible conflict of interest between CityFibre and BSkyB.
Meeting between executives concerned Android Wear, Tizen use in smartwatches
Google is unhappy by Samsung's choice to use Tizen for its main smartwatch platform instead of Android Wear, according to a report. CEO Larry Page is said to have spent time earlier this month with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee in a "tense private meeting" over the smartwatch software issue, with Samsung allegedly spending more on devices running Tizen than Google's new Android offshoot.
Google Earth aerial images can be purchased, previously only viewable with API
Google opened up a new path for businesses looking for aerial photography this week, with an addition of Google Maps for Business imagery. The service now grants customers the ability to purchase aerial photos used in Google Earth from the continental United States, reducing the need for business to collect and store their own.
Company posts $3.42 billion in profit in second quarter
Search engine and advertising giant Google has announced its second quarter 2014 quarterly financial report. The company reported consolidated revenues of $15.96 billion for the quarter that ended in June, an increase of 22 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013. Net income, including discontinued operations in the second quarter of 2014, was $3.42 billion, compared to $3.23 billion in the second quarter of 2013.