Class action given go-ahead by appeals court over privacy violating data collection
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has dismissed an attempt by Google to prevent British computer users from being able to sue it in England. The landmark hearing followed an earlier defeat for Google in the English High Court in which it was unsuccessful in preventing three British computer users from having the right to sue it for breach of privacy, after the computer giant ignored users wishes not to have tracking cookies placed on their computers.
Google using Microsoft-created API to fix scrolling issues in Chrome
Google is going to be leaning on some Internet Explorer technology to fix scrolling and touch support in its Chrome browser. At the same time, Google has launched an extension for the desktop versions of Chrome which aims to reduce the amount of data used to surf the Internet, a feature that has already made an appearance on iOS and Android versions of the browser.
Other members include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Evernote, DropBox, many others
Nearly all of the tech industry, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and LinkedIn have co-signed a letter to the US government, calling for reform of Section 215 of the Patriot Act before it expires and is likely renewed in May. The coalition is seeking an "effective end to bulk collection" of user metadata, "transparency and accountability mechanisms" for federal and industry reporting, and eased declassification of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.
YouTube Live apparently being retooled for live game streaming to compete with Twitch
Google may be planning to boost its live streaming functions in YouTube by taking on Twitch. A report claims YouTube will soon launch a game streaming service on the video site, one that is set to directly compete against the Amazon-owned service, by providing viewers access to live streams of esports and other similar content in a refreshed YouTube Live.
Bill giving tech companies tax incentives seemingly excludes Google Fiber
Google has revealed Salt Lake City, Utah will be joining the roster of seven other cities as Google Fiber locations. The announcement of the eighth Google Fiber location comes alongside news that Google is unlikely to bring its high-speed fiber Internet service to Portland, Oregon anytime soon, as a bill designed to draw the service to the city has seemingly backfired.
Graduation from Google X does not mean project closure, Google chairman advises
Google has not put to rest its Glass headset project, as the technology is "too important to scrap," executive chairman Eric Schmidt claims. The graduation of the Glass Explorer Program from Google X Labs in January with the team reporting to Nest's Tony Fadell was performed to make Google Glass "ready for users" and to expedite its eventual general release.
Kansas City Google Fiber customers get highly localized TV advertising
Google's technology for targeted online advertising is being tested out for use with television advertising. The installation of Google Fiber in Kansas City will be trialling targeted TV advertising, providing local companies with a way to advertise their business to nearby customers in existing commercial breaks alongside national advertisers.
BlackBerry Leap heads to FCC for possible US launch
The BlackBerry Leap has made its way to the FCC, with regulatory listings hinting at availability of the smartphone in the United States later than in Europe. Crackberry notes that the short-term confidentiality agreement in the filing expires on May 4, long after the European launch in April, and though it isn't definitive, it certainly suggests the smartphone will go on sale in the US either on that date or shortly after.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
New Android Lollipop security function prevents locking when smartphone is held
Android users may be able to use their smartphone for longer periods without seeing their lock screen, thanks to a new feature spotted rolling out to Smart Lock on Android Lollipop devices. On-body detection will keep a smartphone or tablet unlocked if it detects it is being carried, automatically reinstating the lock when it detects it has been placed down on a surface.
BlackBerry adds BBM Protected mode to iOS, Android apps
BlackBerry is allowing its enterprise users to have highly-secure FIPS 140-2 validated conversations with other mobile users, rather than just between BlackBerry devices. BBM Protected, a mode for the BlackBerry messaging app that encrypts the conversation between two parties, is now available on the iOS and Android versions of the client. BBM Protected requires the use of the paid service BES from BlackBerry in order to set up the secure communications, though the secondary party only needs the free client to receive secure chat requests.
Luxury market singled out by trio, first units expected end 2015
Tag Heuer, Google and Intel have announced a partnership to launch a Swiss smartwatch, powered by Intel technology and Android Wear. The trio of companies working on the new Android Wear device call the effort "a new era of collaboration between Swiss watchmakers and Silicon Valley, bringing together each company's respective expertise in luxury watchmaking, software and hardware."
Android apps on Google Play inspected by team of experts before being sold
Google is making one major change to its Android app store, and has revealed it already made another significant alteration. Apps in Google Play will now be covered by a new global content rating system, advising buyers of the kind of content they can expect within the app, and new apps are being subjected to an improved app review process, which will involve a team of human experts inspecting apps before they go on sale.
Google accepts registrations for developer conference lottery draw
Google has started to accept registrations for its Google I/O developer conference, set to take place on May 28 and 29 in San Francisco. Until 5pm PT tomorrow (8pm ET), potential Google I/O attendees can sign up on the website and placed into a lottery. Applicants selected at random will then be asked to pay $900 or $300 for a general or academic ticket.
Chrome, Android app users can view 360-degree videos, iOS Android app support incoming
Google has added support for 360-degree videos to YouTube, allowing users of the video-streaming service to select their point of view. The new addition will give video producers and viewers a new way to watch videos, as well as giving content creators and developers more content which could be used by virtual reality headsets in the future.
At last it's on iOS – though it could be better
Be grateful for -- well, if not exactly small things, then things that could be bigger than they are. Google Calendar has finally landed on iOS, and if you use this calendar online, you should be running off to download this new app right now. For everyone else, it has promise. The key, killer feature of Google Calendar for iOS is that it is Google Calendar and it is on iOS: its very presence on the platform is a great thing. Beyond that, it is a good-looking app and it's quick to set up with your Google account.
Two Chromebook Pixels models packing Core i5, i7 processors available to buy today
Google has unveiled its second attempt at a high-specification Chromebook, one that leaked last month in a video. The second-generation Chromebook Pixel looks similar to the original, complete with an aluminum chassis and a 12.85-inch 2,560x1,700 display but this time Google has upped some of the internal components, and is using USB Type-C connections for the first time.
Currys PC World hosts first Google-branded store in UK
Google has taken inspiration from the retail efforts of other tech companies, including Microsoft and Samsung, in opening its first "store within a store" under the Google brand. Called "The Google Shop," the store is located inside a branch of national retailer Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London, and will be used to showcase a selection of Android devices, Chromebooks, and the Chromecast.
Dual SIM, HD Voice support, improved device protection in latest Android update
Google has launched its update to Android Lollipop, officially introducing version 5.1 of the mobile operating system. At the same time as announcing the update, which is more a minor improvement than a completely new version, Google has started to roll out the update to devices today, with Nexus smartphones and tablets being the first in line to receive it.
App teardown highlights possible split of Photos from Google+
Google may be setting up Google Drive to be a second place to back up a user's photographs, possibly as a replacement for its current Google+ image storage. A teardown of the latest version of the Android Google Drive app allegedly includes code that could be used as part of an automatic backup system transferring images stored on a smartphone or tablet to the Google cloud storage service.
The official Gmail app gets iOS 8 update, but still needs more
Google has released an update to its universal iOS email app, Gmail 4.0, and it adds good new features that exploit iOS 8. The new features are welcome, and the app is a must-have update if you're a Gmail user.
Google VR development team said to include dozens of engineers
Google is working on making an interface for Android specifically for virtual reality headsets, a report from the Wall Street Journal claims. The search company allegedly has a team made up of "tens of engineers" and other staff working on a VR experience for the mobile operating system, which aims to make Android more useful for developers of VR apps and games.
T-Mobile invites media to event on March 18
T-Mobile has sent invitations to the media for an event in New York City on March 18. The only clue included in the invitation is "This one's a real piece of work," which could point towards something for enterprise use rather than consumers. While this event does not bear the "Uncarrier" branding T-Mobile has used for a number of its major events, Uncarrier 8.0, the most recent event in the series held in December, involved the launch of Data Stash, a rollover data plan for consumers.
Revenue from iOS makes up 10 percent of gross revenue, UBS claims
Being the default search engine option in iOS is such an important position that losing it could cost Google around 10 percent of its gross annual revenue, according to a new analysis by investment bank UBS. The advertising giant is at risk to lose upwards of $8 billion if it should lose the default search engine position, a real possibility with the deal between Google and Apple coming up for renewal. Investors are worried that Apple will refuse to renew the arrangement.
New offer exceeded judge's recommendation at last settlement refusal
Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has accepted a revised settlement offer from the two parties in the case, which would end the Silicon Valley worker poaching class-action suit. The $415 million counter-offer is $90 million more than the older deal, and exceeds what the judge asked for to approve the deal. Focusing dissent on what attorneys and a objector asked for individually, Judge Koh has set the next hearing for July 9, which should end the case once and for all.
The rebranding will focus on two popular features
Google's largely-failed social media experiment, Google+, is reportedly approaching a transformation, with a renewed focus on Photos and Hangouts. The two popular features appear to be splitting apart from the central service, marking the first step in an apparent rebranding effort that is likely aimed at revitalizing -- or quietly killing -- the stagnate social network.
Pay API will be used for app integration
Google is finally ready to enter the mobile payment arena, today introducing a payment platform known as Android Pay. The platform will be available via an API framework, with support for NFC and biometric authentication, allowing developers to creatively integrate the feature into a wide range of third-party apps. Android Pay appears to offer many of the same capabilities as Google Wallet, but without relying solely on Google's own app and implementation scheme.
MVNO promises not to take on the big three carriers
Google has confirmed plans to offer its own wireless service in the US market. The company will establish itself as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using existing carrier networks, according to a plan outlined by product chief Sundar Pichai today at Mobile World Congress. The company claims it does not aim to engage in direct competition with the big three US carriers, instead focusing on small-scale operations that provide flexibility to experiment with hardware and software.
Lack of infrastructure information, planning issues makes Google wary of Fiber expansion
Cities wanting to have Google Fiber's Gigabit Internet service will need to simplify the bureaucratic process as much as possible before it will be considered, the search company has warned. Vice President of Access Services at Google Fiber Milo Medin advised to an audience earlier this week that "If you make it easy, we will come. If you make it hard, enjoy your Time Warner Cable."
Android Pay rumor comes as Softcard pulls support for Windows Phone
Google will be launching a new payments API at its Google I/O developer conference in May, a report claims, potentially giving Apple Pay some stiff competition. Android Pay will allow developers to not only add mobile payments to their apps, but to also facilitate in-store purchases via smartphone over NFC. The news comes as Softcard reveals it is starting to pull support for its apps, following the purchase of its intellectual property by the search company.
Google Play Music expands track storage to 50,000 songs
Google Play Music has received an upgrade to its music storage component, allowing customers to keep more songs on its servers for streaming to computers and mobile devices. The music locker has increased its upper limit of 20,000 tracks to 50,000, double that of the paid iTunes Match service. Despite vastly increasing its storage capacity, the digital locker is still a completely free service.
Updated Chromebook Pixel may keep physical design, screen of original
The Chromebook Pixel, Google's attempt at a premium Chrome OS notebook, may receive an unexpected upgrade. A video recorded at Team Work 2015 and put on YouTube, now made private, shows Director of Android and Chrome, Google for Work Renee Niemi speaking briefly about the device, though it appears the search company will be producing a limited number aimed at developers.
Google extends Inbox availability to Google Apps for Work users
Google is expanding the availability of its Inbox app to users of its Google Apps for Work service. The Google for Work blog advises that it is going to be sending out invitations to administrator accounts granting access to the Inbox early adopter program, allowing users to use the Inbox app to manage their work Gmail account.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile to pre-install Google Wallet on new smartphones
Google is preparing to compete more intensely against Apple Pay, by acquiring mobile payments technology from Softcard. At the same time, Google has struck a deal with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless to have Google Wallet pre-installed on sold devices, the same group of carriers who backed the Softcard payments system in the first place.
YouTube Kids app will provide child-friendly curated videos
Google will be launching a version of its YouTube app specifically for younger users tomorrow, as part of a wider initiative to offer services to children. The YouTube Kids app on Android will present children with a curated collection of age-appropriate video clips to stream to a device, with the search company using an interface that is designed to shield the potential users away from content better suited for more mature audiences.
Pebble website counts down to possible hardware announcement
Pebble has updated its website with a countdown timer to an unknown event, with the timer set to run out on Tuesday morning. Expected to be another device announcement, sources of 9to5mac claim it will be a major update featuring a color e-paper display and a thinner case design, complete with a microphone for voice recognition and a backlight. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky has previously suggested there would be some changes to the smartwatch's software, with a new "interaction model," but the CEO kept quiet when asked about hardware changes.
Reported addition of subscription comes amid unskippable advertising expansion
YouTube will soon be launching a subscription service that will allow users to turn off advertising, a report claims. Working as a separate offering to the current Music Key subscription, which removes ads from music videos and also includes access to Google Play Music All Access, the new subscription would apply to all videos on the YouTube service.
Google adds more editing options to Google Docs for Android
Google Docs for Android has been updated to provide more from its Office Compatibility Mode. The latest version allows for the cutting, copying, and pasting of text, images, tables, and charts in the mode, according to the Google Apps Updates blog, with the app also introducing the ability to insert links into Google documents. The updated app is available to download now from Google Play.
Russian search engine captures 60 percent of the business in Russia
Russian search engine Yandex has demanded that antitrust authorities investigate Google. Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has been instructed to look into Mountain View's bundling of services with mobile operating system Android, and how it impacts the market share of other companies' services in the country.
Google drops IMAP client Sparrow for Inbox Gmail/Google Now hybrid
Once again, a popular Mac product originally developed independently and later bought by Google, has been discontinued. Like Snapseed before it, Google has decided to kill off popular email client Sparrow for both Mac and iOS in favor of its own Inbox product. The former program has been removed from both the iOS and Mac App Stores. The Mac program never received an update after Google's purchase of Sparrow in 2012, while the iOS one has languished since October of 2013.
User interface update makes Google Play Music for iOS look like Android app
Google has made a few major changes to its Google Play Music app for iOS, following a three-month update gap, turning it from an iPhone-only app into a universal app that works on the iPad. At the same time, the music app has received a graphical overhaul, with the "Material Design" influence of Android Lollipop being used in the iOS version, making it seem almost identical to what Android users see on their devices.
Initial camera components for modular smartphone have 2MP, 5MP, 13MP sensors
Project Ara, Google's quest to create a modular smartphone, has received two significant boosts. Toshiba has revealed a trio of camera modules that can be inserted into the back of the smartphone and exchanged for other modules, while smartphone manufacturer Yezz has confirmed it will be creating its own modules for the project, with its first modules set to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress.
AT&T to start selling BlackBerry Passport, Classic from February 20
BlackBerry fans in the United States will soon be able to pick up the manufacturer's latest devices on AT&T. The BlackBerry Classic and the BlackBerry Passport, redesigned specifically for the carrier, will be going on sale from February 20. The Passport, complete with rounded edges, will cost $650 off-contract, $200 with a two-year agreement, or for between $21.67 and $32.50 under AT&T Next. The Classic will cost $50 on a two-year contract, $420 off-contract, or under AT&T Next's various plans, between $14 and $21 per month.
First episode of Better Call Saul free on iTunes, Google Play
Better Call Saul, the long-awaited spin-off to Breaking Bad, is now available on iTunes and Google Play. The premiere episode of the series, which is set in the years before the protagonist becomes Walter White's lawyer, is free to acquire from both services, with extra episodes priced at $2 each or $17 for the season pass in standard definition. The high-definition version on iTunes costs $3 per episode and $26 for the entire season.
Square allegedly working on Android hardware, Google trials Plaso
Square and Google are both said to be working on new payment systems in order to take on Apple Pay and the payments market in general, according to a report. Building upon its existing knowledge of payment hardware, Square is said to be working on its own tablet, while Google is allegedly testing a new payment processing method called "Plaso."
Large proportion of dating apps on Google Play contain vulnerabilities
Users of dating services may be leaving themselves and their employers at risk, by using mobile apps, according to research performed by IBM Security. Researchers claim that a high proportion of dating apps on Android are vulnerable to attack, with 26 out of 41 apps analyzed on Google Play having medium or high severity vulnerabilities, opening the user up to attack.
Scribd adds 10,000 comics, graphic novels to 'all you can read' service
Literary service Scribd today announced that it is expanding its global subscription reading service to include unlimited access to more than 10,000 comic books from some of the world's top comic publishers. This offering includes comics from some of the industry's top publishers -- including Marvel, Archie, Boom Studios, Dynamite, IDW/Top Shelf, Valiant and Zenescope. Notably, the comics cannot be read on Amazon tablets, a fact undisclosed by Scribd. The company's "all you can read" subscriptions cost $9 per month.
Google adds medical details to Knowledge Graph
Google has updated its Knowledge Graph, used to provide extra details in search results for common subjects, with health-related information. Vetted by a team of doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy, the new cards will bring up details for common health conditions, including symptoms, treatments, commonality, if it is contagious, and other relevant points, along with illustrations for some conditions.
Samsung brings Gear VR demonstrations to Best Buy stores
The Samsung Gear VR will be on hand to show to Best Buy customers from February 8. The Samsung virtual reality headset, used in combination with the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, with SamMobile reporting it will be available in up to 100 stores as part of the Samsung Experience. A set of four demonstrations will apparently be available to try out, each for three minutes, including Samsung's Milk VR service.
Google renews Twitter deal, will index tweets in real time this summer
According to industry sources, Twitter has signed a deal giving Google full access to user tweets once more. The deal means that in the near future, user tweets will be indexed by the search engine giant faster, with the exposure helping to drive traffic for the microblogging service. Tweets could show up real-time in Google search results as soon as the early summer. A previous deal, expired in 2011, had similar aims, but was dissolved by Brin and company over disagreements over use of the data. Presumably, the slow decline of Google+ may have something to do with the deal rebirth. Terms of the deal are not known.