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Posts Tagged: google

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THe password was created for computer-sharing in the 60s, since then it has been an effective way to protect data and provide different features, security clearance,and accessibility for multiple users using one computer, device or database. All this is about to change with the increasing number of devices introducing biometrics as a way of gaining access to devices.

Earlier this week Samsung introduced a fingerprint reader with the flagship mobile device Samsung Galaxy S5. Before that Apple introduced a fingerprint reader on their iPhone 5S and called it Touch ID. Recently more companies have hinted totally removing the password in place of a finger print authentication process. Some of these companies include: Paypal, Google, and Samsung. These are some of the worlds most powerful companies in terms of technology. If these companies made the move to fingerprint identification surely the rest of the tech-world would follow with no hesitation. 

Paypal is planning on allowing you to use your fingerprint to access your bank account, make payments, as well as send money to people. This would be a welcome development with the recent cyber attacks going on. Password protection has been vulnerable in recent years with hackers managing to infiltrate systems and decypher peoples password leaving them vulnerable to fraud and giving infiltrators access to sensitive data.The most recently was the ‘heartbleed’ scenario were more than half of the internet was left vulnerable to hackers who gained access to multiple user passwords using a bug in the SSL.

The future is near, and soon no one will be typing in passwords to gain access to information. They would use their fingerprints or even their Iris. 

- Kole

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Turkey’s decision to block access to popular websites has prompted many citizens to evade the ban using Google’s domain name service. Now Google reports that most Turkish internet service providers are masquerading as Google DNS, presumably to spy on users. The move comes a week after reports emerged that Turkey had begun blocking access to Google DNS. “We have received several credible reports and confirmed with our own research that Google’s Domain Name System (DNS) service has been intercepted,” Google said in a blog post.

A DNS routes the domain name you type into your browser to the IP address of that site. In the early days of Turkey’s crackdown on social media, Turkish citizens were able to restore their access to Twitter and YouTube by routing their traffic through Google’s DNS. But now Turkish ISPs have set up servers that appear to be Google’s, according to Google, putting users at risk that their traffic could be monitored.

Turkey blocked access to social media services after its prime minister, Recep Erdoğan, was implicated in a corruption scandal in which recordings that purportedly showed him telling his son to dispose of large sums of cash emerged on YouTube and elsewhere. Erdoğan denies the authenticity of the recordings, saying that they are the work of his rival, the cleric Fethullah Gulen. He has worked to stop the spread of the recordings ahead of local elections taking place today.

- Kole

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Google Chrome Becomes World’s Most Popular Web Browser

The Internet saw a big shift recently, as Google’s Chrome browser officially overtook Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to become the world’s most popular Web browser for the first time, according to the latest figures from StatCounter.

According to PCWorld.com, Chrome took the lead with 32.76% share, while IE dipped to 31.94% following years of slowly chipping away IE’s market share.

Chrome previously held an advantage over IE back in March for one day, according to stats, but this time, it’s held its nearly one percentage point lead for an entire week.

The report says that while Chrome leads the browser market worldwide, IE still holds a big lead in the U.S. with 37% with Chrome trailing at a distant second at 23%, closely followed by Mozilla Firefox at 22%.

Numbers from StatCounter are “reliable”, says PCWorld. However, data varies from one provider to the next.

One example: NetMarketShare shows Internet Explorer had 54% share this month, while Chrome has 19%, and Firefox has 20%.

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Google Latitude for Android now gives Foursquare-style points for checking-in

Google Latitude Leaderboard

It looks like Google slipped in a little surprise in its latest update to Google Maps for Android — points for Latitude checkins. The update came in on Wednesday with nary a word of the new feature, but if you check in to a venue on your Android phone right now, a leaderboard should pop up with a fancy animation to show you how many points you earned and how you’re doing against people in your circles, just like Foursquare. The updated app has fully-featured leaderboard that’ll let you sort high scores by week or all time, but for now it’ll only show up when you click the “show more” button after checking in — leading us to believe that Google may have let the feature out of the gates a bit early.

Updated Google Support pages for Latitude reveal that there will also be “status levels” (visitor, regular, VIP, and guru) that rate how often you visit a venue. It sounds like Google is going to be collaborating with businesses as well: there will be specific check-in deals and business owners will be able to customize the status level icons and names for customers at their stores. Unfortunately, none of those features are live yet. We’ll let you know if Google gives the addition an official launch, but for now be sure to update Google Maps if you want to start scoring some points. Our question is: “who will be the ‘Mayor’ of check-ins?” There can only be one.

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Google files for slide-to-unlock patent as Apple battle heats up

The search giant’s patent application provides for an unlocking method that also lets users perform at least one command, like placing a call or opening an application.

Who would have thought a simple slide-to-unlock gesture would be so important?

Google last week saw a patent it filed for back in 2010 published that describes a manner in which users interact with a smartphone—or PC—to unlock the device and perform at least one command. According to the patent filing, the commands can be anything from placing a phone call to opening an application.

The publication is a key step in Google acquiring the patent, since it establishes full prior art for any other patent applications that might pop up worldwide.

Unlike typical unlocking mechanisms, which bring users back to the last screen they had opened before locking the device, Google’s technology immediately brings users to their desired activity. Since Apple already owns a slide-to-unlock patent, it appears that the added functionality might be Google’s way of securing this patent.

Google’s Android partners are under attack from Apple, which recently hurled lawsuits at Samsung over its alleged violation of the slide-to-unlock patent in its line of mobile devices.

Just yesterday, Apple won a key ruling in a German court that said Motorola Mobility is violating Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent in several of its mobile devices. The court offered Apple the chance to enforce a permanent ban on Motorola’s devices, but the iPhone maker would need to put up a bond to secure any revenue losses Motorola would incur in the event the ruling is overturned by a higher court.

"Today’s ruling in the patent litigation brought by Apple in Munich, Germany, concerns a software feature related to phone unlocking in select Motorola devices sold in Germany," a Motorola spokesperson told CNET yesterday in response. "Motorola has implemented a new design for the feature. Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales."

Google is in the process of closing its $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility acquisition. So, Apple’s continuing battle with Motorola impacts Google far more than it previously has. And now that Google might soon have its own patent, it might respond with a shot over Apple’s bow. After all, isn’t that how all these patent lawsuits have played out?

"We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with," A Google spokesperson told CNET in an e-mailed statement. "Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications."



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iPhone Offers Better Resale Value Than Android or BlackBerry

You typically look at the resale value of items like cars, property etc. before you buy them. You can now check the resale value even for smartphones.

Priceonomics - the firm that tracks the resale value of items like cars, bikes, gadgets etc has published a report that provides resale value of smartphones.

If you’ve bought an iPhone then you have taken the right decision as Priceonomics reports that pricing data strongly indicates that iPhone is a better value than other smartphones.

Priceonomics explains how they went about coming to that conclusion:

We measure depreciation by comparing a phone’s current used price to its new price (without a contract) the day it was released. We examined all iPhone models and the 70 most popular Androids and 30 most popular BlackBerry models. We split phones into five different cohorts (newly released, 1, 2, 3, and 4 year-old phones). We then calculated which phones had the best resale by cohort, as well as which platforms in aggregate tended to retain their value the most.

The highest quality phones should have the best resale values over time and crappier phones should depreciate the fastest. The evidence is clear - the winner is the iPhone. 

Priceonomics found that iPhone retains 53% of its value after using it for 18 months compared to 42% for Android and 41% for BlackBerry. They also found that iPhone retains more of its original value than Android and BlackBerry phones.

It is even more impressive when you see how much value the iPhone holds in the first 6 months.

They have some buying tip for iPhone users:

Skip those extra GBs on your iPhone. An additional 8GB of hard drive costs you an extra $100 upfront but only adds $10 to the resale value of your phone. The secondary market doesn’t value extra hard drive space on an iPhone, so get the one with the smallest amount of disk space.  

It’s cheaper to break your contract than buying phones without a contract. Even with a $350 early termination fee, it’s usually $100 cheaper to get a subsidized phone and break the contract than buying a no-contract unsubsidized phone. Carriers want you to sign a contract so they create an incentive to do so. 

Priceonomics concludes:

There is a beautiful and liquid secondary market for phones, and in that market, the iPhone reigns supreme. We built Priceonomics to create data so that consumers could make better decisions. Our data suggests that buying an iPhone is a better economic decision than an Android or BlackBerry. If you buy an iPhone, down the line you will have a piece of hardware that still has economic value.  

Priceonomics believes that though you can always read reviews about an item, resale value is the best objective indicator of product quality.

Still planning to buy or switch to an Android?

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Source: priceonomics.com

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Charlie Kindel: ‘Google has already lost control of Android and has zero chance of regaining [it]’

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Microsoft’s former point man for Windows Phone developer relations, Charlie Kindel, is back at it after an earlier post on the platform’s prospects — but this time he’s taking on Android, arguing that it’s an unstoppable beast that is no longer under the control of the company that created it. Whether you agree or disagree with the suggestion that Android has become hopelessly fragmented, Kindel makes some interesting arguments, concluding that the platform will flourish — just not in the way Google wanted or anticipated. It’s well worth a quick read.

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Source: theverge.com

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Google, LG to team up on ‘Google TV Nexus’ edition for next release?

So far, while not all of Google’s aims to change the phone business with its Nexus brand program there may have been achieved, it has created some admirable devices in cooperation with HTC and Samsung — way to pass on that one Sony Ericsson — and according to Bloomberg, it may try the same with LG for TVs.

As product manager Rishi Chandra mentioned in an interview with us, the next focus for Google TV will likely center around increasing its ability to personalize the user experience and further enhance content discovery, and the usual anonymous sources indicate LG could get first crack at it later this year to show others what is possible. What’s odd about this development is that on TVs, so far the two versions of hardware that have debuted already featured software largely free of manufacturer customizations, unlike phones. At this year’s CES LG, along with Vizio, is among the first to show a custom skin for the software, along with its new remote.

However, the original aim of the Nexus was to work “even more closely with our partners to bring devices to the market that are going to help showcase very quickly the we’re working on” so if this can help cut down the long window we saw before the last Google TV update, we’re all for it.

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Facing Another PR Disaster: Google Accused Of Fraudulently Undermining A Kenyan Startup


Google, what were you thinking?, asks Kenyan startup Mocality, which operates the country’s largest online business directory. Mocality is accusing Google of knowingly engaging in fraudulent behavior to undermine their business and grow theirs, after careful monitoring of Internet traffic and a successful sting operation turned up some very interesting results. You should read Mocality’s blog post about the situation in full, but here’s the gist. Basically, Mocality built up a sizeable directory of roughly 100,000 Kenyan businesses over the years, by crowdsourcing information and helping organizations advertise themselves on the Web.

Not long after Google helped kickstart a program to get Kenyan businesses online, the startup suddenly started fielding calls from Kenyan business owners with questions about a supposed partnership / joint-venture Mocality had set up with the Internet search and advertising giant. The number of calls steadily rose, Mocality got suspicious, and the company decided to set up a traffic monitoring system, combined with a smart sting operation, to see where they were coming from. Turns out it was apparently Google doing the exact opposite of “no evil”. At the start of December we analysed our server logs to look for a common pattern for the businesses that had contacted us with these confused calls.

We found a single IP/ User-Agent combination that had accessed all these businesses. … So a person or (judging by the access rate) team of people were systematically accessing our database, during office hours, and it looked like they moved into a new office over the weekend at the start of November. But who were they, and what were they doing? … We decided to find out. We made some changes to the site: - For visitors from the 41.203.221.138 address, we changed the code to serve slightly different content 10% of the time. - Instead of the real business phone number, we served a number that fed through to our call centre team, where the incoming calls would also be recorded. Our team were briefed to act like the business owners for the calls. We switched the new code on December 21st. When we listened to the calls, we were beyond astonished.

Google Kenya employees were apparently calling up businesses they found on Mocality, trying to get them to sign up for a competing product by lying about a partnership with Mocality that was supposedly in place, and spreading misinformation about Mocality’s business model. Serious stuff. On all calls, the same script is followed – A Google Kenya employee calls a Mocality business and tries to deceive them into signing up for their competing product, by claiming that we are working together. It gets worse: Here’s a complete transcript ( with translation of the kiSwahili portions) of a another call, in which the caller goes further, claiming that Mocality engages in bait-and-switch practices to try and charge businesses upto Ksh. 20,000 ($200) for their listings.

Mocality has never and will never charge for listings. Links to the redacted calls and transcripts can be found in Mocality’s blog post. According to the startup, about 30 percent of businesses in its database had been contacted by Google Kenya employees (and even by Indian call centre employees working for Google). When we started this investigation, I thought that we’d catch a rogue call-centre employee, point out to Google that they were violating our Terms and conditions (sections 9.12 and 9.17, amongst others), someone would get a slap on the wrist, and life would continue.

I did not expect to find a human-powered, systematic, months-long, fraudulent (falsely claiming to be collaborating with us, and worse) attempt to undermine our business, being perpetrated from call centres on 2 continents. And once again, Google has quite some explaining to do. We’ve contacted the company and are anxiously awaiting their response to Mocality’s grave accusations. Update: Google says it is currently investigating the allegations and will respond ASAP.

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Siri Android Clones Are Laughable At Best

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When we first introduced the Siri clone Iris, I figured that would be the last of the outright Siri-alikes. I was wrong. Programmers are taking advantage of less experienced users and creating apps that are downright insulting to the average intelligence.

One app, called Siri for Android is a hard link to Google’s voice controls while another, called Speeritis a Korean clone that purports to connect to Apple’s servers (which is untrue).

Whether you believe these apps should exist on the Android Market or not, its clear that there are enough new users out there who will fall for some of the oldest software tricks in the book. A word of advice: if it’s called “Siri” and it runs on Android, it’s probably not real.

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