Bug in iOS 9 blamed for removal of third-party software keyboards from Chrome
Google has released an update for Chrome on iOS, disabling third-party software keyboards from working with the mobile browser. The update, specific for the iOS version only and released through the App Store yesterday, removes support for third-party keyboards due to "crashes caused by a bug in iOS 9" related to the keyboards, though it is unclear when exactly support will be reintroduced to the browser in the future.
Verizon receives FCC waiver allowing Wi-Fi calling
Verizon has become the latest carrier to be provided an FCC waiver, allowing it to offer subscribers Wi-Fi calling. Following after AT&T, Verizon received its waiver after petitioning the FCC, asking for permission to use Real-Time-Text (RTT) as an alternative to the required Teletypewriter (TTY) system used to allow people with hearing impediments to make calls, a technology apparently ill-suited for IP-based telephony.
Subscribers of YouTube Red can use YouTube Music app ad-free
YouTube has launched a version of its mobile app specifically dedicated to playing music, following the end of its Android-only YouTube Music Key trial. Available for iOS and Android, the YouTube Music app allows its users to search for individual tracks and play personalized stations from the video service's extensive library, though subscribers of the YouTube Red service will be able to enjoy more features, including the ability to listen to music uninterrupted by advertising.
Offline turn-by-turn navigation, search arriving in impending Google Maps update
Google is making its offline mode in Google Maps mobile apps more useful, with the Android version getting the change now and iOS set to receive it "soon," according to the official blog. The updated offline feature promises to make life easier for its users, by allowing them to continue navigating to a location whenever the cellular signal drops, or in cases where the user wants to save on their wireless plan's data allowance, with the app seamlessly switching between offline and online modes.
Financial Innovation Now group to attempt policy change in Washington DC
Technology industry leaders Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit and PayPal today announced the formation of Financial Innovation Now. The new Washington DC lobbyist super-group is a coalition that will promote tech-company friendly policies to help foster greater innovation in financial services, as well as claiming to assist consumers in the transition to new payment services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet.
Retailer follows through with warning for competing streaming devices
Amazon has followed through with its warning from earlier this month that it would be taking down store listings for devices that do not support Amazon Prime Video, by removing devices from Apple and Google. The Apple TV and Google Chromecast no longer appear in searches on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, with the first result coming up for each of the products searched being Amazon's own Fire TV Stick instead.
BBC bringing iPlayer streaming app to fourth-generation Apple TV
The BBC has confirmed it is bringing iPlayer to the new Apple TV in the future, but not at the set-top box's launch. The popular on-demand video streaming service, which allows viewers in the United Kingdom to watch missed content from the broadcaster's collection of TV channels and radio stations, will be arriving on the fourth-generation Apple TV in the coming months according to BBC director-general Tony Hall.
Asus version of OnHub includes wave-triggered device bandwidth boost
Google has produced its second-generation OnHub router, just two months after it unveiled the first version. Switching from TP-Link to Asus, the new OnHub retains the same core functionality as its predecessor, but this time the physical design has changed, switching out the cylindrical casing for one with a slight taper, along with a new "Wave Control" function that will boost the Wi-Fi speed for a specific device, triggered by a wave of a hand above the router.
Offering also gives subscribers exclusive video content
Alphabet's streaming video service YouTube has taken the wraps off of an ad-free subscription service. The service, dubbed YouTube Red is debuting on October 28, and will charge users $10 per month if subscribed to through the YouTube website for and some exclusive subscriber only shows in addition to no advertisements. Users subscribing to the service through an iOS app must pay $13 per month, presumably to offset Apple's share of purchases through the App Store.
Changes to Cardboard SDK brings Metal rendering to iOS Unity VR apps
Google is adding more features to its Cardboard virtual reality headset and software development kit, to celebrate the search company's expansion of the Cardboard app into over 100 countries for both iOS and Android. As part of an update to the Cardboard SDK, developers will now see improvements to the way it works on iOS, courtesy of changes to how it works with Unity, a popular multi-platform game engine.
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.