New version promises future speed enhancements, stability
Google has released a beta of the 64-bit version of the Chrome web browser. The beta version released today is available for both Windows 7 and 8.1, and closely follows the initial release version in June for Microsoft's operating systems. So far, there have not been any major problems with the release, but some bugs noticed in the previous developer's release are still present.
App masquerading as Flash, others, can break Android sandboxing
Mobile device researchers Bluebox Security have discovered a serious flaw in Google's Android operating system that dates back to version 2.1, and is still present (albeit weakened) in the new 5.0 preview. The "Fake ID" security flaw allows a fake app to include an invalid security certificate, claiming that it is an app with sandbox-breaking privileges, in essence, giving the malicious app root access to the phone and all its contents.
Android L focuses on look, feel, performance rather than features
Google's Android L preview has been made available to developers and any other interested users who own a Nexus 5 smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. It marks the first time that Google has released an early preview of the latest version of its mobile OS, while is also the first major revamp of the Android UI since Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which was released three years ago. In that time, Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. However, despite its popularity, it has slipped somewhat on the technology front with Apple iOS making the leap to 64-bit in August last year. Android L seeks to redress this by adding an all-new 64-bit runtime (ART), coupled with other system enhancements designed to improve performance and battery life.
FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'
In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.
Google Glass developer kit adds support for external webcams
Google has added support for external cameras to Google Glass, on top of the existing built-in imaging sensor. Android Police reports the latest Glass Development Kit update enables the use of an external webcam connected via a USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable, though it warns plug-and-play does not work, and if it includes a microphone, it may disable voice commands. Glass owners looking to try it out will have to wait for a developer to create an app for it, as Google does not supply an application to view through a connected webcam.
Deal said to be worth $1 billion, matching previously rumored purchase amounts
A new report has surfaced that Google has signed a deal that would see the search giant picking up the popular game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion. The report adds builds on the previous report floating around that Twitch was being courted by Google's video arm for a possible purchase with a price tag in the same ballpark. By purchasing Twitch, Google could be positioning itself to be the number one destination for live streaming games, as well as watching associated videos.
One-year anniversary of Chromecast celebrated with extended music trial
Google is providing owners of the Chromecast streaming dongle in the United States free access to Google Play Music All Access for 90 days. An extension of an offer which has already been made available in other Chromecast countries for some time, it is being made available to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Chromecast's launch.
Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day
Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.
Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling
Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.
Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
Suit makes a third attempt at suing tech company over March 2012 policy change
Google's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit that dates back to 2012 failed today, after a California district judge ruled that the search company will have to fight the breach of contract and fraud claims. The first lawsuit was dismissed last December, with the stipulation that any further pursuit would require an amended complaint. The new complaint could have been dismissed "with prejudice" after two previous complaints were dismissed by the judge.
Samsung sees big setback
Since April, the shares of North American tablet web traffic from iPads and Kindle Fires has increased by 0.8 and 1.2 points, respectively, according to new data compiled by Chitika Insights. The figures put the iPad at 78 percent of traffic, and the Kindle Fire at 7.3 percent, the latter displacing Samsung tablets in aggregate (down to 6.3 percent). Google and Microsoft -- also generally considered prominent tablet makers -- managed shares of just 2.1 and 1.4 percent.
Twitch overhauls Android app interface, adds user profiles
Game streaming service Twitch has updated its Android app to version 3.0. The app has received a visual upgrade with an updated user interface, while the addition of user profiles provides more details about individual channels and the option to chat on channels which are not broadcasting yet. The app also allows viewers to access offline channels, an improved search, and the option to swipe between channels and users.
Google Now reminders can be created via Google Search
Google is now allowing for the creation of reminders in Google Search. Similar to the vocal method using Google Voice Search and Google Now on smartphones, Google Operating System reports users can set a reminder by typing "Add reminder" or "Create Reminder" in the search box. A reminder card with extra settings will then appear, with a "Remind me on Google Now" link finalizing the notification.
Company yet to offer commitment, details for required changes
[Updated with Apple rebuttal] Despite both Apple and Google being asked to take measures to make the "true cost of apps" clearer before they're downloaded from an app store, Apple is providing "no firm commitment and no timing" for action, according to a statement from the European Commission. At issue are so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps, which are technically free to use, but often require in-app purchases to make real use of them. Some games, in particular, have exploited lax authorization measures around those purchases to lure children into buying dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars' worth of digital content without their parents' consent.
Initial Google Fiber discussions end over possible BSkyB issues
Google may be considering expanding its Google Fiber Internet service outside the United States, according to a report. The search company was reportedly speaking to CityFibre in the United Kingdom about a possible launch in the country, though negotiations apparently broke down over a possible conflict of interest between CityFibre and BSkyB.
Meeting between executives concerned Android Wear, Tizen use in smartwatches
Google is unhappy by Samsung's choice to use Tizen for its main smartwatch platform instead of Android Wear, according to a report. CEO Larry Page is said to have spent time earlier this month with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee in a "tense private meeting" over the smartwatch software issue, with Samsung allegedly spending more on devices running Tizen than Google's new Android offshoot.
Google Earth aerial images can be purchased, previously only viewable with API
Google opened up a new path for businesses looking for aerial photography this week, with an addition of Google Maps for Business imagery. The service now grants customers the ability to purchase aerial photos used in Google Earth from the continental United States, reducing the need for business to collect and store their own.
Company posts $3.42 billion in profit in second quarter
Search engine and advertising giant Google has announced its second quarter 2014 quarterly financial report. The company reported consolidated revenues of $15.96 billion for the quarter that ended in June, an increase of 22 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013. Net income, including discontinued operations in the second quarter of 2014, was $3.42 billion, compared to $3.23 billion in the second quarter of 2013.
In-store testing of Google Glass provided to potential users
Google is stepping up its Glass promotional efforts, by offering free demonstrations of the wearable device. The search company is sending e-mails to potential users interested in the headwear, inviting them to to try it out, supervised by a Google employee, at one of the Glass service centers in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail
Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.
Linux gets better Chrome App Launcher
Google has issued Chrome 36 updates for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. The new version is mostly a maintenance release, making stability, performance, and security fixes. It does however implement several cosmetic changes across desktop platforms, for instance improving rich notifications with a "flatter" look, and giving Incognito mode a new tab page (below) that's cleaner and easier to read. Likewise, the Chrome App Launcher for Linux has been revamped.
Bitcoin added to currency conversion options in Google search
Google has updated its currency-based searches to include results for Bitcoin. Coindesk reports reports the search company is now working with digital wallet service Coinbase to track the price of the digital currency and perform currency conversion functions, just as Google Search does for other currencies. The same conversion can also be performed by the Google Search mobile apps.
Change framed as no longer having limitations, Google offers thanks for feedback
Google announced today that it's removing the requirement for real names to be used on its Google+ platform. After years of user complaints over the policy, it appears that Google finally gave into public demands. The company doesn't state a specific reason for the change, but frames the change in a way that all limitations have been removed.
Designed to save time wasted on incompatible content
Google has implemented a change to the way mobile search results are displayed, warning users if a website uses Adobe Flash. On devices running iOS or Android, results may now show a tag saying "Uses Flash. May not work on your device." Below this are links letting users "try anyway" or learn more about the problem.
Testing hardware for Project Ara modular smartphone shipping this month
Developers looking to get hold of components for Project Ara may start to receive hardware from Google in the near future. The company has opened itself up to requests for development boards for the modular smartphone, which will help hardware producers prototype and create modules before a commercial version of the device heads to market.
Former researcher previously led Google Glass and Google Contact Lenses teams
What started with a social media message turned into confirmation that Amazon has made a high-profile hire. Babak Parviz, formerly of Google as part of their Google X division, has been hired into an unspecified role with the Internet retailer. Parviz's replacement as the Google Glass lead was announced in May as Ivy Ross.
Android L UI design appears in alleged Play Store upgrade screenshots
Google may be preparing a visual upgrade to the Play Store, if leaked screenshots are to be believed. The images, apparently taken from within the Android app, appears to show a greater emphasis on screenshots, video stills, and other graphical elements to create a large background, while the core app information and pricing details are made more apparent to the viewer via a central placement on a white background.
New Explore feature points out places and activities
Google has released an update of its Google Maps client for iOS, adding several significant features. When searching for places, for instance, results will now appear directly on a map. Users can switch between this view and a more standard list.
Google legal chief outlines removal request difficulties following EU court ruling
Google is still being swamped with requests to remove website listings in Europe, following the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling on the "right to be forgotten." Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond claims the search company has received more than 70,000 takedown requests since the ruling in May, with the requests covering 250,000 webpage listings in its search results.
Internet Explorer, other Windows apps affected; problem could be widespread
Microsoft Internet Explorer users are being affected by a series of fraudulent transport layer security (TLS) certificates. The fake certificates, issued by India's National Informatics Centre, are trusted by the Microsoft Root Store -- a core library that Internet Explorer and other Windows applications use for identity verification. India's Controller of Certifying Records claims that only four fake certificates were issued, but other sources, including Google, are claiming that there are many more.
Spotify starts accepting sign-ups for Canadian service pre-launch
Music streaming service Spotify is spreading into Canada in the near future, long after launching in a number of other major markets. While the exact date of the service's launch in the country is unknown, Engadget reports the company is accepting sign-ups for a queue to receive pre-launch invitations, suggesting that it is likely to go live for all potential users sooner rather than later.
Android Wear devices can take photos using paired smartphone camera
Google has updated its Camera app, allowing it to work in tandem with a smartwatch running Android Wear. Version 2.3 of the app, slowly rolling out on Google Play, adds the ability for Android Wear devices to remotely control the camera app's shutter function, though the update also introduces a few other new additions to the software at the same time.
Android users can stream smartphone display to Chromecast
Google is starting to roll out Chromecast screen mirroring to Android devices. Previously only available through Chrome for desktop, and demonstrated at Google I/O last month, the function lets smartphone users display what's on their screen on a nearby television via the Chromecast, with the update beginning to appear on devices via an update to the Chromecast app.
General counsel forwarded Consumer Reports article to commissioners
Apple's general counsel, Bruce Sewell, tried to get the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate in-app purchase policies at Google Play, an email obtained via the Freedom of Information Act shows. Days after Apple agreed to pay a $32.5 million settlement over its own approach to in-app purchases, Sewell forwarded a Consumer Reports story to FTC commissioners Edith Ramirez and Julie Brill. The article accused Google of being equally lax, and letting children spend their parents' money "like a drunken sailor."
Sony Xperia Z Ultra, LG G Pad 8.3, HTC One M7 removed from Google Play
The roster of Google Play Edition devices available from Google Play directly has halved in size. Thee of the six smartphones involved in the program, which offered stock Android on popular devices, have been permanently removed from sale after being listed as out of stock since last month, though neither Google nor the manufacturers involved have provided any explanation for the disappearance.
Bundled Wear apps not reading encryption file correctly, only free apps install
Earlier this week, a significant issue was discovered in Android Wear devices, keeping users from installing paid applications on the wearables. According to news from Android Police, when the apps are downloaded to the phone and then channeled to the watch, a key piece of information isn't accessed correctly. In the process, the encryption key that ties an app to a device, as part of Google Play's App Encryption, cannot be read -- leaving the apps unable to be installed.
Wild game restaurant near DC blames erroneous listing for closure
Long-time Washington DC metro area restaurant The Serbian Crown has sued Google. After experiencing a 75 percent drop in weekend customers, owner Rene Bertagna filed the suit following a discovery that the restaurant's Google Places listing had a grievous error -- it incorrectly stated that the restaurant was closed on Saturday through Monday. The suit alleges that the incorrect information given to customers from the search engine lead to a death spiral of the restaurant, with declining revenue forcing layoffs, which in-turn, drove diners away from poor service and declining food quality.
Companies ordered to make changes to refund systems
South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has ordered Apple and Google to change their app store policies, according to the Korea Herald. Apple will have to change its default no-refund policy, and send out notifications to App Store users whenever it changes contract terms; Google will have to devise a refund scheme for Google Play that can be tailored to developers' individual policies. The two companies may also have to address other "unfair provisions," though the FTC's announcement doesn't specify what those might be.
Blue warning notices appear under buffering YouTube videos, linking to a quality report
Google is taking a leaf out of Netflix's playbook, by hinting to YouTube users that their Internet service provider (ISP) is slow or poor. A new blue banner stating "Experiencing interruptions?" has started to appear underneath YouTube clips when users experience buffering or poor quality video, along with a link to the search company's YouTube Quality Report.
Google Now adds new reminder feature for logged 'to-do' tasks
A new reminder option is now available for Google Now users, providing occasional notifications for to-dos or tasks entered. Though it is unclear as to how frequent an "occasional" reminder is, the new option does not require a specific due date parameter - and so the app consistently reminds the user of a task without being easily dismissed. Google Now still offers standard reminders.
Google adds Android Wear section to Google Play
Google has started to compile a list of apps compatible with Android Wear smartwatches. The "Apps for Android Wear" collection, spotted by The Next Web, currently includes 29 apps, including Google's own Android Wear companion app, with the list consisting of a number of contributions from prominent apps and their developers, including IFTTT, Duolingo, Pinterest, and American Airlines.
Email sent to wrong address sparks privacy concerns, Google blocks access to email
A Goldman Sachs contractor sent an email containing confidential information to the wrong email account, causing the investment company to contact Google over its removal. After a Google representative told Goldman Sachs that it requires a court order to do so, the company filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of New York requesting that Google delete or retrieve the email. The company further asks for any information pertaining to its access.
Links to public interest stories pulled from Google after EU court ruling
Google's removal of listings from European search results via "right to be forgotten" requests has come under fire, with the search company seemingly not following its own rules. Major publications in the United Kingdom have found links to major news stories on their websites being hidden, including one story about the former head of investment bank Merrill Lynch being forced out of his position following massive losses.
Songza purchase by Google estimated to be worth at least $15M
Google has acquired Songza, a music app for Android and iOS which provides curated mood-based playlists. Though purchased for an unknown amount, speculated to be upwards of $15 million, the app will apparently remain active with no immediate changes instead of being shut down, though its features are highly likely to make their way into other Google music products, including Google Play Music and the rumored YouTube music service.
Android Wear, TV, Auto must use stock appearance
Android Wear, Android Auto, and Android TV will only use the stock visual style, according to a report. Google engineering director David Burke advised in an interview that third-party device producers, including LG and Samsung, would not be allowed to change the user interface at all, with Google not only controlling the overall appearance of the software, but also the underlying software.
Early Google social network shuttering, focus shifts to YouTube, Google+
Google is warning it will be shutting down its early social network, Orkut. Closing after ten years, the service will officially stop operating on September 30th of this year, with the search company planning to focus its "energy and resources" on its other social efforts, including Google+, YouTube, and blogging platform Blogger, to make them "as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them."
Feature integration with Google Drive apps prompts removal of QuickOffice
Google has confirmed it will be removing QuickOffice from both Google Play and the App Store. Set to take place in the coming weeks, QuickOffice is being taken down following Google's updates to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides that allowed the apps to work directly with Microsoft Office files without first converting them, among other new additions.
Controller images found in Android L SDK, confirmed with picture of dev kit
Those thinking that Google wouldn't be taking any real step into gaming with the Android TV set-top box may want to reconsider. A Reddit user digging through the system developer kit (SDK) for Android L, discovered a directory full of images of an Android TV controller, which also detailed all of its pieces. Photos from Google I/O of the developer kits for Android TV would affirm its existence.
Head of Android Engineering at Google refutes claims of Nexus death
Google will continue to offer Nexus devices for the foreseeable future, the head of Android Engineering has confirmed. Putting to rest rumors of the Nexus line's demise, Dave Burke advised it will not be replaced by the rumored Android Silver nor the recently-announced Android One program, with new Nexus devices to be expected when the next version of Android is officially released.