Target brings Apple Watch to its stores, general sales by October 25
The Apple Watch is making an appearance at Target, as the retailer prepares to sell the smartwatch to its customers. The store advises a select number of its stores will be receiving supplies of the Apple Watch this week, with all stores stocking the device by October 25 in time for holiday sales, and Target's online store will start selling the Apple Watch from October 18. Not all models will be available in-store, though the website will include an "expanded assortment" of the devices.
October 29 end date of sales for media streamers that don't support Prime
Amazon resellers are reportedly receiving an email from Amazon, telling them that video streaming devices that don't support Amazon Prime Video won't be sold on the commerce giant's marketplace. If the reports are accurate, the Apple TV line, as well as Google's Chromecast, will be barred from sale after October 29.
Companies clean up mess that began with Motorola Mobility, will work together
In a surprise move, Google and Microsoft have agreed to settle and dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between the two companies dating back to 2010, and say they have "agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers." The action will terminate some 20 active lawsuits filed in both the United States and Germany, though financial terms between the the parties was not disclosed. The action includes cases originally brought against or by Motorola Mobility.
New Nexus smartphones have Nexus Imprint fingerprint readers
Google showed off three Android-powered mobile devices at today's event, alongside the new Chromecast dongles. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are smartphones produced by Huawei which Google will be shipping in the near future, while the Pixel C is Google's first Android tablet it has built end-to-end, with the search company applying what it learned from its Chromebook Pixel notebooks to the tablet format.
Refreshed Chromecast, Chromecast Audio on sale today for $35
Google has used today's media event to launch two new Chromecast devices, to go alongside the original. The second-generation Chromecast upgrades the connectivity and physical design of the first version, while the Chromecast Audio allows users to stream music over Wi-Fi to their existing home audio setup, letting it play audio through the speakers instead of through a television or a mobile device's speaker system.
Google proposes installing free Wi-Fi hotspots in Indian railway stations
Google has revealed plans to increase the number of people going online in India, by providing high-speed Wi-Fi in railway stations. Working with Indian Railways and communications company RailTel, the scheme proposes the installation of the free hotspots in 100 of the busiest stations by the end of 2016, serving over 10 million passengers per day. The ultimate goal of connecting 400 of the stations across the country is accompanied by another to make it self-sustainable, enabling it to fund expansion into other areas.
Google Keep ships on iOS over two years after Android release
Google Keep, the search engine's note-taking app, has finally arrived in the App Store, two and a half years after it launched on Android and in the browser. Available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 8.0 or later, the free app allows users to save notes and lists on cards, with individual notes able to be searched, assigned colors, and have time or location-based reminders assigned to them. Notes synchronize with Google's servers, so they can be accessed from multiple devices, and can even be shared with other users for collaborative purposes.
Google must apply Right to be Forgotten to all search results or face sanctions
The French government's data protection agency has rejected Google's appeal against a request to apply the "Right to be Forgotten" to all search results, not just European results. The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) is now threatening to fine Google for non compliance, with the possibility of the search giant paying €300,000 ($335,000) at first, potentially increasing as time goes on to a maximum of 5 percent of global operating costs.
No room for reviews from users that have never used the app in question
Yesterday afternoon, Apple released its app on Google Play allowing users of Android devices to "easily" shift over to an iOS device. As expected, the app has been battered with one-star reviews by ever-classy Android fans, trotting out the same old tired missives about iSheep, walled gardens, and expensive hardware. Does the app work? Can't tell by the reviews -- and that's a problem, not only with Google Play, but with Apple's app stores as well. Cupertino, Mountain View, your attention please: its time for a change.
Tool helps users move data to iOS devices securely, wirelessly
In a gracious move, the Google Play store has added a new Android app from Apple -- only the second such application the iPhone maker has offered for the rival platform -- that helps users who wish to transition from Android to iOS (or use both but transfer data) to do so. Called simply "Move to iOS," even the program's description reads as a pitch for users currently on Android devices to consider switching -- with the application promising to move contacts, message histories, photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars over seamlessly.
Skip apps, go straight to Google and ITA
Don't get us wrong: we like using apps to book flights, but we also like pretending we're going to exciting places. When we're actually going, well, we do still use apps, and we even recommend ones like Kayak, but sometimes we need to dig further. For "further" read "cheaper," and for "digging" read "spending more time in the hidden corners of the Internet."
Fewer resources used in latest Chrome browser release
The latest release of the Chrome web browser has introduced a number of measures to make it faster and less resource-hungry earlier than anticipated. Version 45 of the browser for desktops now incorporates a number of features that can minimize the amount of memory the software uses for tabs and other functions, with one other feature coming out in the coming weeks which could help notebook users extend their battery life.
Judge finalizes deal to end employee lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe
A settlement proposal by major tech companies to end a multi-year lawsuit over anti-poaching policies has been accepted on the second attempt. US District Court Judge Lucy Koh has approved the settlement, proposed in January by co-defendants Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe, with the joint settlement figure of $415 million being a significant increase from the settlement figure of $324.5 million originally proposed by the companies.
New group attempts to make video codec free from H.264 patent mess
Seven leading Internet companies today announced formation of the Alliance for Open Media -- an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest. The Alliance's founding members are Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix. The new organization is committing its collective technology to meet growing Internet demand for top-quality video, audio, imagery and streaming across devices of all kinds and for users worldwide.
Contactless payments transaction limit increased in United Kingdom
The limit for contactless payments in the United Kingdom has increased. The new limit of £30 ($46) per transaction, up from £20 ($30), applies to payments using contactless cards as well as Apple Pay, though some retailers may have to update their terminals before being able to use the new transaction cap. Trade organization the UK Cards Association now claims the limit increase is more than the average supermarket spend of £25 ($38), reports the BBC, potentially allowing the number of contactless transactions to increase.
Upcoming Android Wear smartwatches will work with iPhones
Google is expanding the reach of Android Wear from Android smartphones, by allowing some owners of its smartwatches to connect to iOS devices, confirming earlier rumors. Rolling out today, Android Wear for iOS will allow the LG Watch Urbane to pair with an iPhone 5 or newer running iOS 8.2 or later, though it appears the majority of Android Wear users won't be able to connect their older smartwatches to iOS at all.
Temporary fix provided by Google to prevent app advertising from breaking in iOS 9
Google has advised app developers of a way to weaken the security of iOS 9, in order to serve ads to users. A post on the Google Ads Developer Blog offers code to help get around App Transport Security (ATS), a feature in iOS 9 that forces apps to use HTTPS to encrypt data sent over the Internet, with the code disabling ATS so that the apps comply with third-party advertising networks and are able to run some "custom creative code" from Google's own ad servers.
Heavy streaming focus in Google gaming video service
Google has launched its attempt to take on the Amazon-owned Twitch in the gaming video market, with a section of YouTube specially created for gamers. YouTube Gaming is a subsection of the main video service that purely serves video game-related videos to its viewers, including "let's play," walkthroughs, speed runs, and other content, as well as a greater focus on streaming gameplay live from players to their followers.
Patent troll Acacia and Adaptix shot down in Judge Paul Grewal's ruling
US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal has shut down a non-practicing entity, or patent troll, seeking to relaunch suits against cellphone manufacturers Sony, Amazon, and Apple, among others, over 4G patents. Patent aggregation company Acacia and subsidiary Adaptix has been denied further suits over new products launched by the companies using the same technology, with the judge saying that it must be satisfied with existing lawsuit results and patent agreements in place.
Google re-opens Map Maker tool in 45 countries
Google is making its Map Maker tool available to more countries with an increased level of oversight, as part of a second wave of its reopening to the public. Temporarily shut down in May due to cartographical mischief by some users, the tool can now be used in 45 countries, including the United States, with participants able to submit local mapping changes that could be added to the main Google Maps listings at a later time.
Upcoming update for Chrome browser helps reduce memory, battery usage on Mac
An upcoming update to Google Chrome may allow MacBook users to use their batteries for longer, according to a report. Version 46 is said to have made a number of improvements to the Google-produced browser to solve persistent complaints about the software, including how much memory it uses and other factors that negatively affect the battery life on Mac systems, as well as the overall speed of the browser.
Smartphone-controlled router sitting at hub of smart home drive
Advancing its smarthome agenda, Google partnered with networking company TP-Link to debut the OnHub smart router. The new router, controlled by the iOS or Android Google On app, supports Bluetooth Smart, ZigBee/Thread 802.15.4, and Google's Weave, in addition to boasting wireless networking across 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies.
Alphabet umbrella company headed by Sergey, Brin, with Pichai as Google CEO
Google has announced a major restructuring of its business, starting with it being under the control of a new holding company called Alphabet. In a letter to shareholders, also posted to the Google Blog and on the new organization's website, Google founder Larry Page writes that the change is being made in order to make the company "cleaner and more accountable" as a "collection of companies" headed up by Google itself.
Right to be Forgotten risks serious chilling effect online if performed globally
Google has responded to France's request for the European "Right to be Forgotten" law to be expanded to cover all Google search pages, suggesting it to be a bad idea for Internet users as a whole. French data protection regulator CNIL's formal notice for delisting of requested links has been declared by Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer as a "troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web."
Finally you won't be forced to have one
If you have signed up for YouTube, if you've got yourself a Gmail account, or if you have sneezed within 17 miles of a Wi-Fi hotspot, you've been given Google+. We'd say "whether you wanted it or not," but did anyone actually want it? Now the service continues -- sans Google+ Photos -- but it's no longer going to be rammed in the direction of your throat. You can safely sign up for Google's more useful and popular services, and not automatically get this plastic toy in the bottom of the box.
Google social network no longer central to Google services
Google is making more changes to the way its services work with its social network, by starting to separate Google Accounts from Google+. In yet another move that suggests Google+ is slowly losing prominence, the search company is starting to decouple its services from the site, with YouTube comments soon to be disassociated with Google+ possibly being the biggest news from the company for today.
YouTube app updated with improved vertical video support
YouTube has made a number of changes to its mobile apps, making it easier to view videos filmed vertically. The iOS and Android apps will now show vertical videos fullscreen when the device is held in portrait mode. The update also introduces the option to receive notifications when certain channels update, such as if a new video is posted, and alterations to the way it displays account information to the user. More video updates were also touted for inclusion in the future, including 3D videos.
Apple has confirmed the pull, but not the fairly apparent reason why
After months of speculation on the future of the product with Apple, the popular Nest smart thermostat -- co-developed by ex-Apple employee Tony Fadell, and now owned by Google -- has been purged from both Apple's online store, and also the retail arm of the company. In its place is now the Ecobee 3 HomeKit thermostat.
New app uses complex Google code in easy to use front end
A few weeks ago, Google announced its research into neural networks and image processing. Alongside this news, Google also open-sourced its "deepdream" code that allows anyone with the technical know-how to do the same. Developer Realmac has brought together a Mac app that allows users to make Google deepdream images, coupled with a simple user interface.
Social network losing Photos app in favor of recently-launched service
Google is preparing to shut down the photo-sharing section of Google+, in favor of pushing users to the recently-launched Google Photos service. The search giant is warning that it will begin to shut down access to Google+ Photos within the social network from August 1, with users able to transition their existing Google+ Photos over to the new Google Photos from a prompt appearing on their Google+ account page, as well as within the Google+ Photos apps.
Bluetooth LE beacons using Eddystone will work with iOS, Android devices
Google is going after Apple's iBeacon by revealing a new standard for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons. Eddystone is claimed to be an open BLE beacon format that will be platform agnostic, allowing it to work with Android, iOS, and other operating systems, with Google supplying APIs and resources for developers and hardware manufacturers to create new apps and beacons using the format, as well as to make existing beacons compatible with a firmware update.
Surely it should be better than this
When Google first brought its "guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you" to the iPhone, Android users were calling it a wondrous app and we believed it right up until now when we installed Field Trip 1.4.0 on a shiny new iPhone 6. Field Trip is meant to point out interesting things wherever you are, like a tour guide with Google's search engine behind it. Maybe we just live in a really boring area but still, we didn't expect it to make things up.
Google adds 60fps viewing mode to iOS, Android apps
Google has updated both its iOS and Android apps to allow for playback of 60fps content, reports The Next Web. Originally introduced in October for videos viewed in the browser at 1080p and 720p resolutions, and also implemented for live streams, the 60fps clips can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet, with the majority of the higher frame rate content consisting of gameplay videos.
Notifications of upcoming railroad crossings an attempt to lower yearly death count
Drivers using Google Maps for navigation will soon find they will receive more notifications regarding rail crossings. The Federal Railroad Administration is said to be working with Google to add the locations of all grade crossings in the United States to the navigation app, with the turn-by-turn instructions also set to receive extra audio and visual alerts when nearing crossings, in a bid to lower the number of accidents at crossings.
More on making Apple Calendar and Google Calendar play nice
Last week Pointers covered scratching an itch that had come up for us: the need for certain people to see our calendars despite their being on Google and our being on Apple Calendar. The short version is that you can do it but it's a bit fiddly and involved a workaround. It turns out, though, that we need a longer version because all that worked fine when these people were in our group company Google Calendar. Now the people who needs to see it the most are not: they're remote workers and what they really require is to have our calendar appear alongside their own.
Mayor's office estimates pylons will bring in $500m in advertising
Google's Sidewalk Labs, the search engine giant's first project to modernize the urban landscape has launched an effort in New York City for wide, free broadband. The company announced yesterday that it has partnered with several companies and investors to implement the LinkNYC network through a combined effort called Intersection.
Addition of voice search trigger command to Chromium causes outcry
Google has come under fire from privacy campaigners, for automatically installing an audio monitoring tool as part of Chromium, the core of Chrome. Developers discovered the browser was automatically downloading and installing code that listens to the user's voice for the voice search trigger "OK Google," something that is allowed within the main Chrome browser, but not within the open source Chromium browser.
Walk, don't run to this update
Sometimes, Apple's automatic updating of apps is handy because there are versions you know you ought to have, but you'll get around to it later, or when they add something big. Google Calendar 1.1.0 for iPhone is not a big update. It's a good one, but it's not compelling. It's also still on iPhone alone, not iPad, which is a curious omission.
Showtime heading to Hulu in early July as $9 monthly add-on
Hulu is providing its subscribers with access to Showtime, thanks to a deal between the two services. The extra viewing option will offer on-demand streams of every original Showtime original series, with access to new episodes as they premiere, all through the Hulu app. Showtime will be available in early July and will cost an extra $9 per month on top of the $8 Hulu basic service charge, making it $2 cheaper than signing up for the standalone Showtime service.
Google adds free option to music streaming service before Apple Music launch
Google is attempting to increase its user numbers for its Google Play Music service, barely a week before Apple is scheduled to launch its own streaming music service. A free version of the service is now available in the United States, one that matches Spotify by providing periodic advertising during music playback, though unlike the main Google Play Music All Access subscription, it doesn't provide a high level of customizable music playback options.
How and why to get them working together
Stop us if you've heard this one: we want to share our calendar with someone, but we don't want them to know precisely what we're doing. We need them to know we're a bit busy on Tuesday morning but, on balance, we'd rather they not be able to tell that it's our DUI court case. To be fair, they don't want to know either.
Blog from wherever you are
The single most common reason you don't blog more is that it's a pain coming up with things to say. You're on your own with that –– though see the book that's coming out of our MacNN Summer Project for a lot of help –– but the second most common reason is more fixable. This second reason is that it's a chore going back to your Mac to write a blog and if you could just do it from anywhere, you'd do it more.
YouTube Gaming to collect together all video game streams, videos in one place
Google is attempting to fight off the influence of Twitch on the gaming video market, by launching its rumored game-focused extension of YouTube. Going live this summer in the United States and the United Kingdom, YouTube Gaming will use a new app and website separate from YouTube itself, which will be used to collect together all the live and recorded gaming content in one place, instead of requiring users to search through entire YouTube video catalog.
CNIL gives Google 15 days to implement search removal requests globally
Google is facing pressure to implement its "Right to be Forgotten" measures on all sites around the world, instead of just the European versions. French data protection regulator CNIL has demanded that Google allows European users to request the removal of certain search results in all global Google search sites in the next 15 days, or face the prospect of having sanctions imposed on the company's activities.
Google adds Chromecast, AirPlay support to Slides apps
Google Slides, the search company's presentations app, has been updated to allow presentations to be shown wirelessly. Both the iOS and Android versions of the app have been given support for AirPlay and Chromecast, letting users take advantage of streaming devices such as the Google Chromecast to show their presentation on a television or alternative display, without needing to hook up a computer.
First 8K-resolution video posted to YouTube
YouTube is starting to show videos filmed in 8K-resolution, five years after it added support for 4K content. Appearing in the YouTube resolution settings as 4320p, 9to5google reports the label was added only recently, though Google claims the 8K video support has been available as long as 4K. The first 8K video, "Ghost Towns," was filmed on a Red Epic Dragon 6K instead of an 8K-capable device, with After Effects used to stitch together multiple videos to reach the resolution, instead of losing quality by scaling up the 6K content.
Google creates My Account tool to manage security, privacy settings
Google is making it easier to manage the security and privacy of a user's account, by bringing everything within the same page. The new My Account site allows users to manage their Google account's privacy settings, device activity and notifications, and other settings that apply across all Google services. Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup tools also aim to simplify the process, taking users gradually through the account settings. A second site, privacy.google.com, has been created to explain what Google does with user data, how it is secured, and other similar queries.
Embedded computer adds extra security to memory cards
Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) has come up with a way to protect a user's data more securely with hardware that works with existing smartphones and tablets. Project Vault takes the form of a microSD card, and though any device will be able to recognize it as a standard memory card, it will in fact hold a computer dedicated to protecting any data stored within it from any potential users of the device who aren't the owner of the card.
You will swap to this from Apple Photos – but think it through first
It's not as if Apple owns the rights to the word "photos," but with the new Google Photos 1.0.0 for iOS launch, there are going to be some short but confusing conversations. Are you going to store your photos in Photos or in Photos? Look into Google's offering, and you will immediately decide to move to it -- but if you look even a tiny bit further, the decision is less clear. We think Google has big and compelling advantages, but Apple has some too -- and in the end, the best result may be that both companies force each other to get better.
Apple once again top global brand, with 'brand value' at $247 billion
With a staggering "brand value" growth rate over the last decade of 1,446 percent, Apple was again awarded the "top global brand" for the fourth time in the last five years in the latest BrandZ brand value report by marketers Millward Brown. Google had captured the top spot away from Apple last year, but the iPhone maker's stellar sales performance over the past year saw its "brand value" rise 67 percent to $247 billion, compared to an overall brand value rise of 14 percent in 2015, and 126 percent over the last 10 years.