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Posts Tagged ‘ Google ’

Google’s Chrome browser has always been open source on Android and PC, but never available on iOS. This is because Apple demands that browsers use its own WebKit platform instead of their own rendering engines, so Google can’t just use its typical code base for iOS Chrome. However, that’s all changing today, as Google has just added the iOS Chrome code into Chromium.

Not only should this speed up the development of Chrome for iOS, Google also points out that as all of the company’s usual Chromium tests now apply to the iOS code, it’ll also be easier to implement cross-platform features, which means more frequent updates that will help the iOS browser more closely match its Android counterpart.

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Google has announced a big update to Google Play Music. The update brings machine learning to the table in an effort to figure out what music you like based on what you are doing. The machine learning algorithm takes into account your location, activity, weather and playlists to personalize the music for where you are and what you are doing. The new updates roll out this week on Android, iOS, and the web.

 

The rollout will be global with 62 countries eventually getting the new music features. The update also brings improved music recommendations with contextual tools available that power other Google products. These features are opt-in and those that sign up will get personalized music for where you are and why you are listening. That means if you are relaxing at home, you will get an optimized playlist and if you are at work you will get a playlist customized for that location.

 

The update also makes it easier to get motivational music for your workout at the gym. Play Music has a new home screen that puts your favorite music at the top of the screen. Google says the more the new machine learning algorithms get to know you, the better the music selections will be. The updated app also keeps a playlist for offline listening ready to go. The tunes you listened to recently are packed into an offline playlist ready to go when you lose signal.

 

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Google says that it wants the perfect music to find you with this update. The exact time frame for the rollout of the new features is unknown. The rollout is starting this week, but Google isn’t clear on if the rollout is going on with all 62 countries at the same time.

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Google wants to be in your home, “to be there when you always need it to be” as Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO puts it. At least thats the plan for Google’s new Wi-Fi connected speaker/virtual assistant/smarthome controller, Google Home.

Google Home is a small Wi-Fi connected speaker with a built-in voice-activated assistant that will let you control connected home devices. At launch it will be compatible with any device from Nest, SmartThings, Philips or IFTTT.

You’ll also be able to use it control other Google devices such as a Chromecast. For example, with a Chromecast connected to your TV, you can say, “OK, Google. watch Stranger Things on my TV” and it will launch Netflix and start streaming the show. You can ask it to play YouTube videos too.

Since it has a built-in speaker, Google is also promoting the Home’s music playing abilities. It will stream music from YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tunein and iHeart Radio. The device is powered by Google’s OK Google algorithms, so its smart enough to find music even if you don’t know the actual name of the song. On stage, Google demonstrated this by asking Home to play “that Shakira song from Zootopia.”

If you connect Google Home to your Google Account, it will also access your calender and schedule and inform you about any important events before you leave in the morning, as well as the weather conditions, and traffic status.

 

 

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Google’s Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser, and for good reason. Chrome is mostly quick, and it features lots of extensions and add-ons that users can download to customize their browser and web browsing experience.

However, Chrome also has a nasty reputation for being a resource hog. This problem is particularly acute on Macs, where Chrome consumes significantly more memory and power as compared to Safari.

Fortunately, Google claims that the upcoming version of Chrome (Chrome 55) will have much better performance. According to reports, Chrome 55 will have a much more memory efficient Javascript engine that will reduce heap memory usage by 50 percent and zone memory usage by 40 percent.

In addition, the team is working on optimizing Chrome on entry-level devices that have less h than 1GB of RAM.

Chrome 55 is expected to be released in early December, but users who want to try it out now can download it through Google’s beta program.

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Google, in its Google Apps Update Blog, announced a new third option to their two-step verification system. The option, which will see a gradual rollout, aims to bolster log-in security with a solution that is surprisingly simple.

Available for both Android and iOS, the new two-step verification gives users an option to verify their log-in activity by either using a Security Key, a verification code sent to their smart device or through a simple prompt.

The pop-up prompt displays a dialogue with your name, profile image, and current location (city), and device you are trying to log-in from. Underneath it is a simple “No, deny sign-in” or “Yes, allow sign-in” to approve the sign-in request.

Google, in their blog post, notes that Android users will need updated version of Google Play Services to use Google prompt while iOS users will need the Google Search app to use Google prompt.

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It looks like Google is willing to go to great lengths to keep their search engine at the top of the list in the mobile platform. So much so that they have agreed to share a percentage of their revenue with Apple to keep their search bar up, front, and center.

 

This is according Annette Hurst, Oracle’s attorney during a hearing in federal court. She specified that at one point in time, the revenue share was 34 percent, and in 2014, Google paid Apple US$1 billion.

 

Oracle Corp.’s filed a copyright lawsuit against the search engine giant in 2010 over claims that Google used its Java software without paying for it to develop Android. The damages Oracle seeks may exceed US$1 billion since it expanded its claims to cover newer Android versions.

 

According to Bloomberg, the transcript containing this information has vanished without a trace from electronic court records. This is no surprise as Google has requested for the transcript to be blocked saying the disclosure could severely affect its ability to negotiate similar agreements with other companies. Although the request was denied by the magistrate judge.

 

“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple. Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential,” said Google in their filing.

 

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It looks like Google is making it even harder for you to associate Google Chrome with the word ‘slow’, as the company is in the process of outfitting their latest compression algorithm, ‘Brotli’, into their already lightweight browser to help boost its webpage loading times.

 

First unveiled in late-September last year, Google says ‘Brotli’ will be approximately 20 to 26 percent more efficient at compressing webpages, compared to Chrome’s current compression algorithm, ‘Zopfli’.

 

“The smaller compressed size allows for better space utilization and faster page loads,” said Zoltan Szabadka, Software Engineer of Google’s Compression Team.

Mobile Chrome users will be in on the fun as well, as Google says ‘Brotli’ will provide “lower data transfer fees and reduced battery use.”

 

If Chrome isn’t your default browser of choice, don’t worry, because according to The Verge, other web browsers such as Firefox will likewise be adopting Google’s ‘Brotli’ compression algorithm in the near future.

 

Google mentioned that ‘Brotli’ is currently in its “intent to ship” phase, which means that you can probably expect it to make its appearance in the next stable version of Chrome.

 

Yes, that’s not an iOS device, but the offline navigation feature works in a similar fashion on iOS devices.

If you happen to be spending this Christmas season travelling overseas without a mobile data plan, you might want to consider updating the Google Maps app on your iOS device to the latest version before you embark on your escapade, as it will allow you to download offline maps for future use.

Once downloaded, you’ll be able to search for local destinations (along with all their contact details and operating hours) and get turn-by-turn navigation without requiring an active Internet connection. And that means you won’t be needing to constantly depend on free Wi-Fi hotspots to get your bearings straight.

The good thing about these offline maps is that you won’t have to worry about them occupying too much of your iOS device’s internal storage over time, as they will automatically be deleted a month after you’ve downloaded them.

Google has already implemented offline navigation into the Android version of Google Maps last month, so there’s really no reason for you to end up losing your way in a foreign country anymore.

A new password-free system is currently being tested by a small group. The project, which was launched by Google, aims to remove what is often the weakest link of any login system, the password, while providing an alternative secure login method that is less troublesome than the current two-factor authentication.

The system is similar to Account Key launched by Yahoo, and once you boil it down, it actually isn’t all that different from the two-factor authentication. Here is how it works: When you log into your account, rather than entering your password, you select a button that sends a push notification to your phone. You then select the push notification, open the app, which asks you if you are attempting to log in. Once you approve the log-in on your phone, the account opens in your browser.

But what if your device is stolen or if your password has been phished? According to Google, your lock screen or Touch ID should be more than enough to activate your phone (You do lock your phone, don’t you?). As a pre-cautionary measure, Google also advises that you sign into your account from another device and remove account access from the device which you no longer in your possession of.

In April, Google unveiled Project Fi — a new wireless service the company claims will deliver faster speeds and better coverage with a unique, economical approach to pricing. Today, we’re going to take a look at what Google wants to do, and how they plan to pull it off.

 

What Is Project Fi?


Project Fi is Google’s effort to ensure that everyone has access to a high speed wireless network all the time. Because, even in today’s connected world, there are still times when we need information quickly but don’t have a fast enough connection to get it. Project Fi aims to make sure that never happens.

 

In addition to offering high-speed data service, Google also wants to make Fi more affordable, by billing differently than most mobile plans. Instead of paying for a monthly data plan, with outrageous fees if you exceed it, Google will charge you only for the data you actually use, at a predictable flat rate.

 

 

Don’t be mistaken, though: Project Fi is not a wireless carrier in the traditional sense. Google has made it very clear that it’s not interested in competing with established carriers. In fact, it has partnered with two of the top U.S. mobile carriers — Sprint and T-Mobile — to make Project Fi possible, and it relies on their towers for cellular connectivity.

How It Works


Project Fi is a network of networks. It makes sure you’re connected to the best possible network wherever you are. If you’re on Verizon’s network and Fi detects that Sprint has a stronger signal, you’ll be moved over to Sprint to give you the fastest available speed. Throughout a given day, you may be passed between two 4G LTE networks and various public WiFi hotspots — and, in theory, it will be totally seamless.

 

Project Fi makes heavy use of WiFi, connecting your device to “free, open networks that do not require any action to get connected.” So, as you step into the range of a public WiFi network, you’ll be automatically connected — and when the signal begins to weaken, you’ll be passed back over to the fastest available cellular network. And don’t worry: all data sent through open WiFi hotspots is secured through encryption.

 

Google also wants to make you device-independent. With Project Fi, your phone number “lives in the cloud.” You can call and text over WiFi, and you can talk, text, and check voicemail using your phone number on just about any device — Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, or Chromebook. In a sense, Project Fi is Google Voice’s big brother. In face, you’ll be asked to either use or throw out your Google Voice number when you sign up.

 

 

Pricing

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Project Fi takes a “fresh approach” to plans and pricing. There’s only one available plan, and it really couldn’t be much simpler. There’s no annual contract, and the charges are based on usage.

 

The first part of the plan, “Fi Basics,” costs $20 per month. This includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international text, “low-cost” international calls,Wi-Fi tethering, and coverage in more than 120 countries.

 

Beyond that, it’s $10 per gigabyte of data. That is, $10 for 1GB, $20 for 2GB, etc.

 

But wait — it gets more interesting. You only pay for the data you actually consume, and you’ll be credited for any rollover data in the next payment period. For example, if you’re on a 2GB data plan ($20/month) and only use 1GB in a particular month, you’ll get $10 back the following month.

 

 

What’s The Catch?

There’s no catch per se — but there are a couple of drawbacks for early adopters.

 

First and foremost, you have to have a Nexus 6. Google says it’s keeping Project Fi exclusive to Nexus 6 owners because the device supports a wide array of LTE networks. Users of other devices will have to wait, sadly.

 

Project Fi also only supports individual accounts at first, and there’s no support for family plans – for now, at least.

 

 

How To Sign Up

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For the time being, Project Fi is an invite-only program — but you can get on the waiting list today! If you have a Nexus 6 and want to give Google’s network of networks a try, you can request an invite here.