Net income of $4.76B up year-on-year, fails to meet Wall Street expectations
Google managed to bring in gross consolidated revenues of $18.1 billion for the last quarter, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent and up from the previous quarter's $16.52 billion, according to its latest financial results. Increased traffic acquisition costs (TAC) of $3.62 billion bringing the ex-TAC revenues down to $14 billion. Net income also increased to $4.76 billion from $3.38 billion the same period last year, but the search company failed to meet analyst expectations.
Google adds Send Money option to Gmail in United Kingdom
Google is adding the Send Money option to Gmail in the United Kingdom. Originally available to US users since 2013, the option allows users to attach funds to an outbound email by selecting the £ symbol, which can also be used to request money, with funds transferred between users via Google Wallet. The feature is rolling out to all Gmail users in the UK over the age of 18 in the coming weeks.
Draft law in France would force Google, Facebook to act on hosted terror content
French lawmakers want to hold tech companies accountable for online hate speech. A proposed law, which will apparently be presented next month, will make Google, Facebook, and any company that offers online services to the public "accomplices" to hate-speech crimes, in an attempt to coerce them to monitor their services more closely, and force the removal of terror-related content.
Gigabit Internet service construction to commence in new cities in coming months
Just as expected, Google has revealed the next locations it will be launching Google Fiber, following its existing installations in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin. Confirming earlier reports, the high-speed Internet service will be rolling out in Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte in North Carolina.
Acquisition of AuthenTec by Apple prompted removal of planned Nexus 6 function
The Google Nexus 6 was going to have a fingerprint sensor, but Apple forced a change in the phone's design, the ex-CEO of Motorola claims. The Android smartphone was initially going to have a fingerprint reader on the back, where a Motorola-branded dimple now resides, but Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec is said to have put a stop to those plans completely.
Third exploit may have already been patched
OS X 10.10.2, still in beta, fixes a pair of zero-day exploits uncovered by Google's Project Zero, reports say. The Project Zero team has newly-published data relating to three OS X vulnerabilities, in accordance with a 90-day disclosure policy; Apple was informed of them in October. One is believed to have already been fixed in OS X Yosemite as of January 8, but in theory the remaining two could be used to attack v10.10.1 users.
Companies could potentially pull older music to avoid paying
A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recordings were only added in 1972, meaning that while owners of pre-1972 compositions have been paid for public performances, people holding equally-aged recording rights typically haven't.
Rumors surface of possible deals again, this time with Sprint and T-Mobile
Earlier today, web newsite The Information released statements from several unnamed sources that Google may begin offering wireless services as early as this year by reselling bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile. The rumor isn't anything new -- in fact the site posted a similar story last year, indicating Google would be reselling bandwidth from Sprint and Verizon. In spite of the annual speculation, the Wall Street Journal is also reporting on the subject, with additional information from the FCC.
New investors get just under 10 percent ownership stake
Today SpaceX released a succinct announcement that $1 billion had been raised in the latest financing round from two new investors -- search and advertising giant Google, and investment bank Fidelity, which now have a combined ownership share of "just under 10 percent" in SpaceX. Up until now, the company had been relying on investments from traditional venture-capital funders, but Google has its own agenda for helping the startup.
Requests spectrum above 24GHz range to be allocated for networking purposes
Google has asked for the Federal Communications Commission FCC to open up spectrum for Internet services from balloons and drones. The search giant sent a letter to the Commission, suggesting that a new spectrum band above the 24GHz range could be "useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Browser layout updated for Material Design, new iPhones
Google has updated the iOS version of Chrome with several major improvements. The most important may be overdue support for the higher resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In parallel, though, the look of the browser has been revised to match Google's Material Design philosophy, which includes touches like "flatter" surfaces and more animation.
Google principle target of move to 'level playing field' for content producers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, EU Commissioner of Digital Economy & Society Gunther Oettinger discussed the possibility of taxing internet companies like Google for displaying material to which they don't own the copyright. Despite two failed attempts in Germany and Spain, content producers believe search and news aggregators like Google profit off the content without licensing.
Google Calendar coming to iOS with Material Design language
Google appears to be preparing to bring its Google Calendar app for iOS as a standalone app in the near future, featuring the Material Design language makeover the Android version got in November. Leaked screenshots (below) show that the app will emphasize shortcuts to Gmail, Maps and Photos, and offer side-by-side monthly and day overviews. In addition to integrated notification settings, the app also offers integrations with other Google services.
Nexus 9 struggles to deliver a knockout blow against iPad Air 2
Ever since the day that I scored a world exclusive for Electronista by spotting the original Samsung Galaxy Tab in the wild ahead of its release, I have taken a keen interest in watching Android tablets continue to take on the iPad and fail. Google's success with Android has been largely dominated by smartphones, with no single Android tablet competitor getting anywhere near the sales numbers of Apple's iPad. With the continued rise of "phablets," which effectively do double duty as a smartphone and a tablet, it seems that the chance for Android tablets to truly challenge the success of the iPad may have passed. Despite this, Google is persisting with Android tablets of its own, with the Nexus 9 its latest hope. Does the Nexus 9 stand a chance against the undisputed champion of tablets, the Apple iPad Air 2?
Google Maps for Android updated with route-sharing option
Google has made some changes to Google Maps for Android, with some new features mirroring similar additions in the iOS update. Version 9.3 for Android introduces filtering restaurants by cuisine, as well as permanently dismissing the location settings pop-up. More importantly, Android Police notes the app has a Share Directions option, allowing the user to send an email to a contact containing instructions for following a specific route.
Likely a third will go to legal fees; plaintiffs may see $4,000 each
More specifics have been revealed in the second proposed settlement offer from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe in a lawsuit stemming from the companies' informal "no poaching" agreement. The new proposal has the four companies willing to pay a combined $415 million, up from the previous settlement's $324.5 million, to end the anti-trust lawsuit. US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh will need to approve the proposal before it can be finalized.
Google Classroom launches apps for iOS and Android
Google has released iOS and Android apps to accompany its Google Classroom web platform. Initially launched last summer, Google Classroom allows teachers to create and collect assignments paperlessly, available to anyone with Google Apps for Education. The new native Classroom app for iOS and Android broadens the capacity for teachers and students to connect with each other, and features photo sharing, sharing content from other apps and offline caching.
Sales of Google Glass Explorer Edition to end January 19
Google is putting its Glass Explorer Program to an end, the search company has declared. The head-mounted wearable device is said to be "graduating" from the experimental Google X labs, with sales of the Glass Explorer Edition headset ending early next week, though the company claims the technology is far from ending completely; it said the Glass program will gain its own official Google team.
Spiral 2 Project Ara prototype has Marbell, Nvidia processor options
Project Ara, Google's attempt to create a modular smartphone, will be initially released in Puerto Rico this year, the company has revealed. News of the project's initial launch details come at the same time as the search company revealed its second prototype device, an upgraded collection of modules and endoskeleton which it calls Spiral 2.
Google Translate update to improve conversations joined by video option
An update that adds new features to Google Translate for Android and iOS has started to roll out. The previously-outlined update introduces two main features to the service, namely real-time translations of verbal conversations and the ability to see translations of signs and other text overlaid on top of a live video feed from the smartphone's rear camera.
New compensation amount likely to be higher than previous offer
A new settlement offer has been tendered in what's come to be known as the "anti-poaching" lawsuit against four of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies. Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe were among those originally involved in a "gentlemen's agreement" that the companies would not actively try to recruit or poach employees from each other -- however once the conspiracy came to light, employees complained that the agreement limited opportunities and suppressed wages.
Google-supplied domain registration service includes Blogger integration
Google has expanded its beta domain registration service to the entire United States. Launched for private testing in the summer, Google Domains is the search engine's own domain registrar that allows users to purchase and manage their own domain names, something that appears to be a natural fit when combined with its other services, such as Google Apps for Business and Blogger.
Slightly fiddly but very impressive remote control for your Mac
Imagine squeezing your retina iMac screen down onto an iPhone 5. You can do it. It might look a bit silly, and initially you might wonder why you'd bother, but it has long been possible to see and remotely control your Macs and PCs on even your iPhone. Now that Google has released Chrome Remote Desktop for iOS, you can do it for free. You'll do it, too: try this once, and you will forever keep finding other reasons why it's incredibly useful.
Security analysts warn of security problems for 60 percent of current users
There comes a time in any piece of software or hardware's life when the company that produced it decides that it's no longer worth providing updates or support for it. That time has apparently come for the version of WebView used by Android Jelly Bean and earlier, which is still installed in roughly 60 percent of Android devices: Google has made the surprising announcement that it will no longer update the default browser technology, opening older devices up to vastly increased security issues.
Google reveals Windows flaw despite Microsoft request to wait
Microsoft is asking for the online security community to better coordinate on the disclosure of vulnerabilities in code, after a publication of a flaw in Windows 8.1 by Google. The search company released details about the vulnerability in the operating system yesterday as part of Project Zero, two days before Microsoft was to offer up a fix in its well-known Patch Tuesday schedule.
Support for competing Google audio streaming system unlikely, Spotify advises
Spotify will not include support for Google Cast any time in the near future, the company has revealed. Rather than allow for its apps to connect to the audio streaming technology Google Cast, Spotify will instead reportedly continue to work on its own competing Spotify Connect audio system, one which allows users to stream music to a number of networked speakers and audio equipment.
Speech-to-text translation, Word Lens functionality said to arrive in imminent Google Translate upda
Google is very close to adding live automatic translations to the Google Translate app, a report claims. The search giant will allegedly roll out an update to the app soon which will add the option to automatically detect and translate speech into a specific language, and will be bringing a video-based text translation tool along with it.
Former Google engineers borrow heavily from the Microsoft aesthetic
Last year, three ex-Google engineers from the Search and Maps divisions got together and formed Jide Technology. Now, Jeremy Zhou, David Ko, and Ben Luk have debuted the Remix, a combination tablet and laptop, or what the company calls an "ultra-tablet." While it runs on a modified version of Android, the look and feel is very reminiscent of the Microsoft Surface -- giving the new product's title an ironic extra layer of meaning.
Company courting insurance companies, obtaining licenses, says report
Forrester analyst Ellen Carney, suggested in a correspondence with Reuters that Google may soon start offering a service in the US to compare and purchase auto insurance policies. The move, which would mirror an already-established service it is running in the US, would be in line with the search giant's shift towards online searches that focus on specific industries or markets, the current most notable example being airline ticket purchases.
Google Hangouts updated for iOS, adds ability to see SMS and Voicemails from Google Voice account
Hangouts, Google's messaging app, has received an update for iOS devices. Hangouts allows users to send and receive messages, photos and more, and make video and voice calls with a group or one-on-one. Hangouts v2.5.0 features new sticker packs, and improved video call experience alongside miscellaneous bug fixes.
Super Slim TV measures only half an inch thick
While the main focus of Sharp's morning keynote was the new Beyond 4K Ultra HD TV, some time was also spent showing off an upcoming Super Slim 4K set. While most details are still unknown, the TV will become available towards the end of 2015 in a 70-inch model. The Super Slim model will very closely mirror the features found in the also-announced UE30 and UH30 TVs, but in a form factor that measures only half an inch thick (excluding the set mount). Beyond Sharp's own SmartCentral 4.0 platform, the Super Slim TV will also include Google's Android TV.
LG, Sony, Denon among early supporting hardware brands
Google has announced that its Cast technology will soon be able to send audio-only feeds to devices such as speakers and AV receivers. Users will be able to cast from Android and iOS apps, as well the web, presumably via Chrome for Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS. Some compatible services will include Deezer, Google Play Music, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, and TuneIn.
POP3, IMAP, STMP for Gmail slowly becoming reusable in China
Access to Gmail is finally being restored in mainland China, albeit not to all of its users. After being blocked in the country for the last four days, Google is now apparently seeing more traffic to its email service from the region, though still only through alternative methods such as IMAP, STMP, and POP3 rather than via its main browser-based interface.
Six-month period of disruption culminates in China Gmail block
China has blocked Gmail, preventing users in the country from accessing the email service, according to reports. Starting from December 26, Chinese authorities have reportedly added Gmail URLs to the "Great Firewall," in what is believed to be an attempt by the country's government to reduce Gmail and Google's prominence in the region, on top of earlier censorship efforts.
Google, Sony, Microsoft all hosting the movie for purchase or rent
Sony and others have unveiled a massive effort to make the Sony Pictures title The Interview available online. Google's YouTube Movies paid service paved the way with its announcement a bit earlier today, with Google Play, Xbox Videos, and a special Sony website all having declared that the movie would be available at 1PM ET. The picture will cost $6 to rent, and $15 to own in HD.
Will collect royalties from parties such as Cisco and Google
(Updated with correct purchase price, lawsuit settlements) A subsidiary of San Francisco-based RPX Corporation, RPX Clearinghouse, is buying patent assets held by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium, according to an announcement. Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony in 2011 in order to buy some 6,000 patents in the wake of Nortel's bankruptcy. Although roughly 2,000 of the patents have already been separately distributed, RPX has entered into a deal in which it will receive license payments from a syndicate of over 30 companies, such as Cisco and Google.
Google pushes the boundaries of smartphone size with Nexus 6
The Google Nexus 6 is the latest Android flagship smartphone from Google and, like each one before it, it is designed to showcase the latest developments on its Android platform. Indisputably and unapologetically a "phablet," the device centers on a gargantuan 5.96-inch QHD AMOLED display, and comes pre-installed with Android 5.0 "Lollipop." It truly challenges the boundaries of what users are prepared to carry around with them as an everyday all-purpose device. That, of course, makes it a very interesting proposition.
Jim Hood claims MPAA has no sway, despite taking MPAA funds
Google has launched its own legal effort to stop Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood's effort with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to pin the search engine as the cause of the world's piracy problem. Google claims in the court filing in Mississippi's district court that Hood has filed a "burdensome, retaliatory" subpoena against it, which would require a massive financial and labor effort to comply, for no real gain other than extra-judiciary punishment. Hood has responded, and is "calling a time out, so that cooler heads may prevail."
Dev channel for Chrome OS includes always-on voice search option
Google is bringing the always-on "Ok Google" voice command to Chromebooks. Spotted in the Dev Channel version of the operating system by Francois Beaufort, the function lets users perform a search verbally at any time, in a similar manner to some Android smartphones. It is unknown if or when the feature will reach non-developer users.
Six movie studios, including Sony, provided $500,000 per year for the MPAA's campaign against Google
In the past weeks, quite a lot has been revealed about Sony's role in ongoing anti-piracy efforts due to the leak of emails as part of the fallout of the North Korean-based GOP attack on the studio. In a post on Thursday on the Google Public Policy Blog, Kent Walker, Google SVP and general counsel, outlined even more leaks that describe a combined and carefully planned effort by Sony and five other studios that began this year to provide funding and legal support for the MPAA's efforts to court State Attorney Generals and target Google directly.
Judge concerned about 'speculative nature of the damages'
US District Judge Beth L. Freeman ruled on Thursday that she requires the plaintiffs, Gary Feitelson and Daniel McKee, in a lawsuit against Google to submit more details. The two consumers allege that Android-based smartphone prices are being negatively impacted because manufacturers must agree to pre-load apps like the Google search app by default, instead of making deals with, for instance, Bing. The judge has said she would most likely dismiss the lawsuit as it stands, but is giving the plaintiffs a chance to revise it with additional evidence.
Google adds Colbert Report set to Street View using Business View
Google has recreated the set of The Colbert Report in Street View, in honor of the show's last episode. The virtual tour of the studio, including around the main desk and interview area, was created by Business View, a service which uses a Google-certified photographer or agency to take photographs at a location before generating the explorable 360-degree images.
Leather wallet case for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus now available in gray
Mujjo has introduced its Leather Wallet Case line-up for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in gray, as part of its Desaturated Collection. The wallet case is designed to hold two to three essential cards without sacrificing a thin profile. The case is available in two styles for iPhone 6 -- one with the card slot angled upright and the other with an 80 degree angle pocket -- and the 80 degree angle pocket case is available for iPhone 6 Plus. Pricing for the Desaturated Collection begins at $40, and cases can be purchased through Mujjo.
Project gains Bluetooth LE beacon stickers, competes with iBeacon
Google's attempt to take on Apple's iBeacon platform has taken its first major step since its announcement in October, with the release of hardware compatible with the framework. Blesh, a Turkish company who already works with iBeacon hardware, is offering a bundle of Bluetooth beacons for use with the "Physical Web" project.
Google Drive for iOS adds cross-app upload functionality
Google's cloud storage platform app has been updated for iOS today, now offering the ability to upload files from other sources. As reported last week, Apple has reversed its course on a policy that disallowed an app to upload content to iCloud Drive unless a file was created within the app itself. Google Drive for iOS v3.4.0 includes bug fixes and performance improvements, and file uploading to Drive from other apps and sources (such as iCloud Drive) can be executed on devices running iOS 8. Google Drive for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later to run.
Ad giant has until February to make changes to its data-collection methods
Google doesn't properly inform users in regards to the extent of data collection and collation from all of Google's various products, a Dutch agency says about the search and advertising giant, and is threatening the company with a €15 million ($18.7 million US) fine if it doesn't change its notification to users of everything from its data collection methods to the fact that it owns YouTube by next February. The agency, known as the CBP, says Google's collation of user data is a violation of Dutch law.
Baidu agrees to use Here maps for location services outside of China
Here, Nokia's mapping service, is going to provide content for the Android and iOS Baidu Maps app, as well as desktop maps. The agreement will allow Baidu to offer its Chinese travelers access to maps for areas outside of China for the first time, with Taiwan set to be the first country covered and others set to follow. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Spanish AEDE lobbied for law that ultimately caused closure of Google News
Last week, Google announced its intentions to shutter its Google News service in Spain, citing a law coming into effect in January that would force it to pay for snippets of content. At the end of the week, the Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association (AEDE) asked the government to intervene in the closure, saying that Google's abandonment of the country would "undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses."
LTE-equipped Nexus 9 priced $120 more than Wi-Fi equivalent
A variant of the Google Nexus 9 tablet with cellular connectivity is now on sale in the United States, two months after it was first unveiled. The Nexus 9 LTE, being sold first through T-Mobile before other carriers and Google Play, is identical to the already-available 32GB Wi-Fi model, but includes the requisite cellular radios to connect to T-Mobile's network.
Data storage law prompts closure of Google engineering office in Russia
A Google engineering office located in Russia is reportedly closing, in the wake of changes to the law concerning user data. According to the Wall Street Journal, the search giant is going to be pulling out just the engineering office, with a large contingent of employees working on sales, business partnerships, user support, marketing, and communications set to remain.