Testing on Nexus 6 shows dramatic decrease in NAND read and write performance
While initial reviews of the anticipated Google Nexus 6 device were decent, a few reviewers pointed out some confusing performance metrics. Initial examiners of the device are reporting that implementation of Android 5.0 Lollipop's Full Disk Encryption (FDE) cuts NAND random read speeds dramatically, from over 16.6MB/s with encryption off to 6.18MB/s with the feature active.
Search separation proposal set to be finalized, voted on next week
The European Parliament is looking to break Google apart into multiple sections, according to a draft motion discovered by the Financial Times. The proposal seeks to separate Google's "search engines from other commercial services," in an attempt to curb the power gained from being the most dominant search engine on the continent.
Google offers Chromebook users 1TB of cloud storage for two years
Google is giving potential Chromebook users an incentive to pick up the notebook before the end of the year. The search company is providing new Chromebook purchases worth $199 or more with 1TB of Google Drive storage for two years as a free bonus. The offer applies to purchases at retail and online stores, as well as Google Play, but must be redeemed before January 1st, 2015.
Workaround: Use Firefox or Chrome, switch Safari ID to other browser
Users are starting to chime in on Google and Apple's support forums about a sudden incompatibility with video hosting service YouTube. Some users of OS X 10.10.1 are complaining that YouTube videos with leading advertisements either fail to load, play a discordant sound with no video, or crash Safari itself. Firefox and Chrome are not affected by whatever is causing the problem.
Google Play Music All Access subscribers gain YouTube Music Key access
Google has rolled out its YouTube Music Key service to existing Google Play Music All Access subscribers. While the YouTube Music Key launch revealed its users automatically enrolled into the Google Play Music subscription, Google revealed yesterday that Music All Access users were also able to use Music Key as part of their existing subscription. The Google Play Music app has also been updated on Android, providing options to watch the music video with certain tracks.
Agreement reached November 12, set to end year-long legal battle by end of 2014
Google's legal battle with the Rockstar Consortium over claims that the search company infringes upon seven patents with the Android operating system appears to be coming to an end. According to a filing submitted to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas on November 17, both parties have agreed to settle their dispute.
Imgur, The Onion among initial partners
Google has launched a new service called Contributor, allowing people to pay to remove ads from participating websites. At the service's portal, visitors can pick which sites they want to contribute to, and whether to donate $1, $2, or $3 per month. Once a subscription is active, visiting those sites will display thank-you messages and/or pixel patterns in place of the ads.
Store access granted to developers despite lack of Google Play Store in China
Google is now accepting apps created by developers based in China on the Google Play Store. While the change now allows for developers in the country to sign up as merchants for Google's Android app marketplace, distributing the apps to users in more than 130 countries, the apps themselves will not be available in China itself, as Google Play does not currently operate there.
Five-year partnership ends decade long deal that made Google the default Firefox search
Mozilla made a major announcement today, letting the world know that its 10-year default search relationship with Google is coming to an end. However, that doesn't mean Mozilla is ending the idea of a default search provider for its free browser. In Google's place, Mozilla struck a new partnership with Yahoo to make its Bing-powered search the default in US copies of Firefox.
Trusted Places automatically unlocks smartphone at specific locations
Android devices running the latest version of the operating system will be able to unlock automatically in specific locations, via a security option slowly rolling out on Google Play Services. Available on hardware running Android Lollipop, the Trusted Places feature will keep a smartphone or tablet unlocked while within a predefined geographic area.
Release breaks all 32-bit extensions, offers faster startup and memory management
Originally announced in August, Google has now released Chrome 39 for OS X, the first version of the browser that is fully 64-bit. In addition to some 42 security fixes and new APIs, the new version now requires all extension developers update their extensions to 64-bit, as 32-bit extensions are no longer supported. The change will result in a lot of existing Chrome extensions "breaking" for most users, at least temporarily.
Google Nexus 6 pre-orders begin in United Kingdom
The Google Nexus 6 will be going on sale soon in the United Kingdom, with a number of retailers offering pre-orders for the device. Carphone Warehouse is selling the smartphone SIM-free for £499 and £549 ($780 and $860) for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively with delivery expected on December 1st. Amazon UK is stocking the 32GB model at the same price, but with a later release date of December 15th. Google Play does list the Nexus 6 for the UK, with identical pricing for both versions, but it is not allowing for pre-orders, nor states when it will be available.
Bulk data collection has cost industry foreign contracts, compromise user privacy
A new bill in the US Senate is being rushed through in an attempt to curtail NSA spying on Americans, and make federal agency requests for data more transparent ahead of the January takeover of the body by Republicans. The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act (S. 2685), has won the backing of the Consumer Electronics Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Internet Association and many of the major tech firms. Apple, Microsoft, Google and others, as members of the CEA, are pushing the Senate to pass the bill.
Depth-sensing Project Tango listed as unavailable to purchase
Google's Project Tango has appeared on the Google Play Store, strongly suggesting the search company is making it available to purchase shortly. The development kit is shown with a complete specifications list and a collection of promotional images, including one which displays the multi-sensor back cover for depth sensing and motion tracking.
Brin, Page boost Turing Award prize fourfold
Google has dramatically boosted the Alan M. Turing Award. The search engine giant has upped the prize money to the winner of the computing award to $1 million, putting it on par with the Nobel Peace Prize and major awards in other fields. The first million-dollar recipient will be named in early 2015. The Alan M. Turing Award recipient is determined annually, and is given to a cadidate who is "selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community." The award is widely considered the highest distinction in computer science. The awards have been handed out by the Association of Computering Machinery (ACM) since 1966.
CEO 'knows what he's doing'
Apple CEO Tim Cook has claimed second place on Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list for 2014. In awarding the position, the publication says that it's "becoming increasingly clear that Tim Cook knows what he's doing" in the wake of losing Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011. "The company's stock is at an all-time high. Booming sales of larger iPhones and renewed enthusiasm for Mac computers are making up for slowing growth in iPads. The coming Apple Watch and the already-released Apple Pay service show that Apple remains an innovator -- even under a CEO known more for operational prowess than product savvy," Fortune continues.
Google makes data-erasing full restore images available for download
Google is now offering a number of methods by which users of four selected Nexus devices can upgrade to Android 5.0 "Lollipop." The primary method, an "Over The Air (OTA) update" is rolling out in phases to users of Google's mobile devices now, and is expected to be available to all owners of the four devices in the next month. Additionally, the company has posted full-restore factory images to its website, should a user want to completely erase a device, and start from scratch (otherwise known as a "clean install").
YouTube music subscription removes advertising, adds Google Play Music All Access
YouTube has launched its often-rumored music service, just one day after a report claims it struck a major deal with independent record labels. YouTube Music Key is a subscription-based streaming service which offers advertising-free viewing of music videos on YouTube itself, as well as a few other features only paid subscribers will receive.
Agreement between Merlin, YouTube said to have taken months to complete
Google's in-development YouTube music subscription service is another step closer to reality, as a deal with independent record labels has apparently been reached. One of the last stumbling blocks for launch, a report claims YouTube's agreement with rights agency Merlin will allow the service to include tracks from thousands of independent record labels, significantly expanding the library.
Chromecast games use smartphones as controllers for on-TV gaming
The latest wave of Chromecast additions includes a number of family-friendly games, Google has revealed. In time for the holidays, the streaming HDMI dongle now has a wider selection of games available to play, using smartphones and tablets as the main interface, alongside two more channels for streaming movies and TV shows.
Document reveals issues with flammable materials, evacuation plans
Google's barge project in San Francisco was shut down over potential safety issues, recently revealed documents advise. The project, which would have become a floating showroom for Google products and services if it had been completed, was apparently put on hold after the US Coast Guard raised concerns over fire safety, eventually leading to the scrapping of the construction.
Google must over IP addresses, other information over trailer uploaded to Google Drive
While Marvel Entertainment handled the leak of the trailer for its upcoming film Avengers: Age of Ultron in rare fashion, it seems that the company didn't take the event lightly. On November 4, Marvel submitted a subpoena request to the US District Court for the Northern District of California, asking that Google turn information over on the source of the trailer's leak. The request was granted on November 5.
Alex Springer relents on Google News story fee demand in Germany
Germany's largest publisher, Alex Springer, is allowing Google to show snippets of articles in its search results and Google News. A number of major German newspapers restricted the information Google was allowed to show, in a bid to try and force Google to pay a per-story fee, but some have relented after discovering traffic to the sites went down far lower than expected.
Three new options through Google Cloud Interconnect, including direct peering
Enterprise customers looking to get a boost to their Google Cloud services are in luck, as the company recently added some connection options to better tie customers to its network. Google has announced Google Cloud Interconnect, a new service that makes it easier for businesses to take advantage of a more direct connection to Google's infrastructure in one of three ways, including direct peering, carrier interconnect and a virtual private network (VPN).
Terms of the deal unknown, but covers 'a broad range of products and technologies'
South Korean electronics manufacturer LG and advertising giant Google announced in a joint press release that an agreement was been reached between the two businesses for patent licensing. The agreement will span a decade, encapsulating current and future patents from both companies. No terms were announced for the agreement, but it doesn't appear to be limited to specific technologies.
Microsoft, Google fill out top three
Apple has grabbed first place in an annual Forbes ranking of the world's most valuable brands. The company's brand value rose 19 percent year-over-year, to $124.2 billion. "The Apple brand is worth twice as much as any other brand on the planet, by our count. The company sold 39.3 million iPhones in its latest quarter, and could sell as many as 60 million during the last three months of 2014 with the holiday selling season. Apple also moved 12.3 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs last quarter," Forbes writes.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
Material Design, IMAP and Exchange support included in Gmail APK
Version 5.0 of Gmail has become available to download as an APK, ahead of its expected release on Google Play. The latest iteration of the email service's app introduces many aspects uncovered earlier this month, with a visual refresh to Material Design and support for external email service both making an appearance in the app.
Feature coming in 'the coming weeks,' features similar to Nearby, Bump
A new method of communications between Android and iOS devices might be available soon, as a sources indicate that the two device types could share photos, files, messages, directions and other content through Google's Copresence service. The service appeared in the latest version of the Google Play Services Android application package (APK), allowing some clues to be collected on how a service could tie the two operating systems together.
Law passed in Spain requires fee payment for stories included on Google News
Google is being compelled to pay news publishers in Spain for showing their stories on Google News, after the Spanish government changed intellectual property laws in the country. Starting from January 1st of next year, Google and other companies can be charged by news organizations for aggregating news stories, and for showing news stories in search results.
Google's new bookmarking service for Chrome launches
Google has publicly launched its bookmarking service for its Chrome browser, named the Chrome Bookmark Manager. Formerly named Google Stars while in development, the new extension incorporates Google Search with a new user interface. When signed in to Chrome with syncing enabled, users can bookmark a webpage with its one-click save function; this now saves an image and note to make bookmarks more efficient.
Robotics head leaves after nine years with Google, company confirms departure
The co-founder of Google's Android, Andy Rubin, is leaving Google after more than nine years the company. Rubin was brought aboard in 2005 when the search giant acquired the company that is now responsible for the most widely-used mobile operating system in the world. The move comes after Rubin stepped down from the Android group in 2013, to lead the company's robotics division under Google X.
Purchase valued at $12.5 billion, with Google retaining most of the patents
Lenovo has completed the acquisition of Motorola Mobile from Google. The deal, according to Lenovo, makes the combined company the "world's third-largest maker of smartphones." Motorola is a now wholly-owned subsidiary of Lenovo, but will remain headquartered in Chicago. Lenovo is expecting profitability to return between four and six quarters from now.
Conference for modular smartphone will reveal initial launch details
The second set of developer conferences for the Project Ara modular smartphone will be taking place in January, Google has declared. Called DevCon2, Google's ATAP team hopes to use the time to show off developers the latest iteration of the Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK), as well as early plans for a market pilot, due to take place in 2015.
Google Fit collects data from smartphone sensors, fitness apps
Google has released its fitness app, Google Fit. The Android competitor to Apple's HealthKit which was launched at Google I/O in June, Google Fit acts as a central health platform for fitness apps and wearable devices, gathering all related together to give the user a supposed clearer picture about their health and activities.
Advertising-free subscriptions for YouTube may surface in the future
YouTube's music subscription service "Music Key" is still in development, CEO Susan Wojcicki has confirmed, though it may not be the only subscription option the service will provide its users. A monthly payment to remove pre-roll and other forms of advertising from YouTube is being considered, but other subscription schemes are apparently being considered.
Microsoft cuts price of Xbox One bundles by $50 for holidays
Microsoft is cutting the price of its Xbox One game console for the holidays. Starting from November 2nd, a $50 discount will be applied on console bundles, bringing the standard version down to $349, or $449 including the Kinect, while the limited edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare bundle with a 1TB hard drive and customized console and controller will cost $449 when it launches from November 3rd. It is unclear if similar discounts will be applied in other markets, but the $50-off promotion will end on January 3rd.
Company no longer taking new customers, team continues automation work
Nest Labs is investing further into home automation market with an acquisition announced last week. Revolv, a company that makes a smart hub to tie together Internet of Things (IoT) devices, said that it was purchased by the Google-owned connected device company. As a result, the team is folded into Nest for future product development, and sales of the Revolv hub are ending.
Pichai now running most Google products, Page expects move to boost innovation
Google CEO Larry Page sent a memo to Google staffers yesterday, reorganizing the upper echelons of management, and stepping back somewhat from his daily duties. In the memo, Page transfers a number of divisions that previously reported directly to him over to Android chief Sundar Pichai. Pichai is currently responsible for Android, Chrome, and Google Apps. Now under his purview are research, maps, Google+, search, ad products, and company infrastructure. Page will continue to run access, energy, Nest, Calico, Google X, legal, finance, and corporate development.
Google sends second batch of invitations for Inbox
Google has started to send out more invitations to its recently-announced Inbox email app. The search company has advised on Twitter that the second round of invitations has been dispatched to some of the Gmail users who have requested access by sending an email to Google's dedicated Inbox invitation address. Though the number of invitations sent is unknown, Google does say that more are "on the way".
Android Wear update makes smartwatches more useful without smartphone connection
Google's first major update to Android Wear will be preparing the operating system for use on standalone smartwatches. The software update adds support for GPS sensors built into devices, as well as the ability to store music on a smartwatch instead of a smartphone, with audio able to be played through a paired set of Bluetooth headphones.
Inbox created by same team behind Gmail, invitation-only at first
Google has started to invite people to try out its new email service, one that has been in development for a number of years. Made by the same team behind Gmail, Inbox aims to help users manage their incoming e-mail by automatically grouping similar emails together and by picking out what it believes to be the more important incoming messages.
Major investment made in augmented reality company using eye projection system
A start-up working on augmented reality technology has managed to secure $542 million in its latest round of funding, with the collection of investors led by Google. Magic Leap, which is apparently creating its own augmented reality glasses, will also receive extra guidance from the search company, with Android and Chrome lead Sundar Pichai joining the company's board, with head of corporate development Don Harrison also joining as a board observer.
Human-curated playlists available on Google Play Music All Access in US, Canada
Google Play Music has been updated for both Android and iOS, with a new look and extra features. While it has received a Material Design-influenced makeover, similar to the leaked Gmail update, the main change users will notice is the inclusion of activity and time-related playlists, something Google has introduced courtesy of its acquisition of Songza in July.
USB drives with FIDO U2F support can be used to secure Google accounts
Google is giving users of its services an extra security option, on top of its existing procedures and protocols, with a physical token. The search company's "Security Key" is allowing for users to nominate a USB drive to allow access to the Google account when it is plugged into a computer's USB port, as an alternative to the two-step verification process.
Approval granted only one day after Google halted pre-orders on Android TV device
Last week, Google suddenly halted all pre-orders on the new Nexus Player set-top box after it was discovered that the company didn't have the proper US government approvals to sell the device. Google jumped the gun on selling the player, which is set to ship in November, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had not yet granted the required approvals for Asus to begin selling the device, which it manufactured for Google. However the suspension of sales was short-lived, as the FCC approved the device for sale on Sunday.
Updated Gmail app could support mail accounts from Yahoo, Outlook
Google will allegedly include support for some alternative email services in its refreshed Gmail app for the next version of Android. Aside from a visual upgrade, Gmail 5.0 will apparently be able to handle email from other mainstream providers, including Yahoo and Outlook, with the user able to quickly switch between the different accounts with a swipe of the screen or by selecting the relevant account from a dropdown box.
Device working its way through DC bureaucracy, return expected 'very rapidly'
Google has temporarily suspended sales of its recently-announced Nexus Player. After a few hours of preorders had been taken, the company abruptly ceased sales of the device, noting that since the device had not yet been approved by the US Federal Communications Commission, that it is not available.
Alleged internal changes could lead to Google operating systems merging into one platform
A change in management at Google suggests the search company is still planning to combine Android and Chrome OS, a report suggests. The Wall Street Journal claims Linus Upson, the head engineer of Chrome OS, has left the role and has been replaced by Hiroshi Lockheimer, the vice president of engineering for Android.
Encryption of smartphones hampers security efforts, claims FBI head
The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked for companies to back away from encrypting consumer devices by default. Echoing similar comments made last month, Director James Comey spoke to the Brookings Institute yesterday about the issue, which is claimed will make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect evidence from mobile devices.