Tag: Google

Google’s annual report shows more web traffic is encrypted

For several years now, Google has been exerting pressure to increase the usage of HTTPS across the internet. By defaulting to secure connections on both ends, users can be protected from anyone who may intercept or even manipulate data as it flows back and forth -- quite useful in a world where you can't even trust WiFi. For its own products, Google says HTTPS use is up to 89 percent overall, up from just 50 percent at the beginning of 2014. The number of top 100 websites defaulting to HTTPS has nearly doubled since last year (way to catch up), growing from 37 to 71.

Percentage of pages loaded over HTTPS in Chrome by platform

Now that Google is flagging websites that request data without securing the connection first, developers have even more reason to make the switch. In its Chrome browser, Google says 73 percent of pages in the US are now delivered with encryption. One thing holding back the numbers are older mobile devices that don't support encryption due to their hardware, but you can get the full interactive chart breakdowns on Google's report website.

Source: Google Blog, Google Transparency Report


Google’s annual report shows more web traffic is encrypted

For several years now, Google has been exerting pressure to increase the usage of HTTPS across the internet. By defaulting to secure connections on both ends, users can be protected from anyone who may intercept or even manipulate data as it flows back and forth -- quite useful in a world where you can't even trust WiFi. For its own products, Google says HTTPS use is up to 89 percent overall, up from just 50 percent at the beginning of 2014. The number of top 100 websites defaulting to HTTPS has nearly doubled since last year (way to catch up), growing from 37 to 71.

Percentage of pages loaded over HTTPS in Chrome by platform

Now that Google is flagging websites that request data without securing the connection first, developers have even more reason to make the switch. In its Chrome browser, Google says 73 percent of pages in the US are now delivered with encryption. One thing holding back the numbers are older mobile devices that don't support encryption due to their hardware, but you can get the full interactive chart breakdowns on Google's report website.

Source: Google Blog, Google Transparency Report


Project Loon’s LTE balloons are floating over Puerto Rico

About a month after Hurricane Maria's devastating landfall on Puerto Rico, and a couple of weeks after the FCC gave clearance, Project Loon is bringing wireless internet to people on the island. Part of (Google parent company) Alphabet's X innovation lab, the project uses balloons circling the Earth at high altitude to provide wireless connections. Now, it's partnered with AT&T to light up "limited" internet connectivity with support for text messaging, basic web access and email.

Developing...

Source: X Company (Medium)


YouTube Red’s next show is a Tinder dating comedy

YouTube Red, the company's premium service, has a built up a stable of original programming, but for the most part they don't resemble traditional TV shows. Now, YouTube is trying a different tactic. The company has greenlighted Swipe Right, a comedy series starring Carly Craig (American Housewife), Deadline reports. It'll focus on one woman's mission to date her 252 Tinder matches -- and of course, for full hilarity, she'll get some help from her married sister and widowed mother (who's also dating online). It sounds like a typical comedy setup for the Tinder age, but it's also the sort of multi-generational comedy YouTube Red needs to appeal to more people.

Swipe Right, which is co-created by Craig and Daniel Reisinger, will premiere on YouTube Red next year. Robin Schiff (Romy & Michele's High School Reunion) will serve as the showrunner. Given that there are already several Swipe Right projects listed on IMDB, I also wouldn't be surprised if the show ends up getting rebadged before its premiere.

Source: Deadline


Tech companies unite to fight for Dreamers

In September, President Trump announced that he would phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protections to undocumented immigrants who came to the US at a young age. This week, Reuters reported that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and other large tech companies plan to lobby Congress to pass legislation that will continue to protect these so-called Dreamers. The total number of companies involved is around two dozen, though that could change before the coalition launches.

After the president announced his decision, tech company executives expressed their disappointment in numerous ways, including on Twitter and via email. Hundreds of CEOs signed an open letter from pro-immigration group FWD.us (co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg) urging the president to continue the program.

It's likely that some action will happen on the DACA front as the holidays approach. In December, Congress will hopefully pass a spending bill (or face a US government shutdown). Reuters reports that Democrats may use this opportunity to pass legislation to protect Dreamers, trading their votes to avert a shutdown in exchange for promised protections.

Via: Business Insider

Source: Reuters


Google compensates Pixel 2 buyers who overpaid at pop-up stores

If you rushed out to buy a Pixel 2 at one of Google's pop-up stores on October 19th, you probably got a rude surprise: the Verizon reseller handling your purchase, Victra, was charging customers an extra $30 on top of the normal price. Unless you knew enough to haggle it back down, you paid a premium to walk out of the shop with a phone in hand. However, Google isn't having any of it. The company informed The Verge that it's reimbursing the difference for customers who overpaid for the device, and it'll contact you if you haven't already heard back. "This is an error, which is now fixed," a spokesperson said.

Victra was willing to price match for shoppers who drew attention to the discrepancy, but that just underscores the arbitrary nature of the price hike -- it had no connection to the actual price of the phone. This wasn't meant to cover activation fees, taxes or the other usual charges, either.

The remedy is coming quickly, but the incident underscores the risks of tech giants running stores where they don't have full control. Google may have given the impression that it was the one charging extra, which would undoubtedly have left a bad taste in your mouth. As it stands: if you're ever worried about the possibility of price gouging, it's usually wise to buy either online or from a carrier's official stores.

Source: The Verge


Plex for Android Auto simplifies server-based music streaming

In-car entertainment will have to step up to accommodate our automated driving future. With an AI at the wheel, we'll be free to watch movies, play games, and conduct video calls. It's easy to imagine an all-round media player, like Plex, fitting into that scenario. For now, it's making its way into regular cars, courtesy of Android Auto. Google's in-car operating system is currently available in newer vehicles, head units, and as a mobile app. And, the next time you reach for its interface, you'll have the option to stream your Plex music library. Okay, so that's not the same as watching a 4K HDR flick, but it will have to suffice while your eyes are still needed on the road.

But, what if you already use the the Spotify app for Android Auto? Well, Plex is all about personalization. If you've somehow managed to amass a music library in the streaming era, and meticulously curated it into playlists, then this is a fine way to get it into your car. Plex supports virtually any file format (from AAC to FLAC), plus you'll have access to playlists (including "recently played," and "recently added"), and voice controls. With the latter, you can just bark 'play Humble by Kendrick Lamar on Plex' to get things started. You can even say self-explanatory things like 'next song,' 'pause' or 'resume music,' 'play some music,' or 'play rock music.'

And, there's the little extras that complete the experience, like the album artwork getting draped across the head unit and app interface. Plex for Android Auto will be available in supported vehicles and aftermarket stereos (and on the Android Auto app) over the coming days.

Source: Plex


Google will pay hackers who find flaws in top Android apps

Google is probably hoping to raise the quality of apps in the Play store by launching a new bug bounty program that's completely separate from its existing one. While its old program focuses on finding flaws in its websites and operating systems, this one will pay hackers when they find vulnerabilities in Android's top third-party apps. They have to submit their findings straight to the developers and work with them before they can turn in a report through HackerOne's bounty platform to collect their reward.

Google promises $1,000 for every issue that meets its criteria, but bounty hunters can't simply choose a spammy app (of which there are plenty on the Play Store) to cash in. For now, they can only get a grand if they can find an eligible flaw in Dropbox, Duolingo, Line, Snapchat, Tinder, Alibaba, Mail.ru and Headspace. Google plans to invite more app developers in the future, but they have to be willing to patch any vulnerabilities found... which means you can't rely on the program to fix the issues in your favorite low-quality application.

Via: Android Police

Source: HackerOne


Google Play lets you test drive Android apps before installing them

Google's Instant Apps are available in a few places for curious Android users, but they've been conspicuously absent in one place: the Play Store. Wouldn't you want to check out an app before committing to it? You can now. Google is now building Instant Apps into the store through a "Try It Now" button on app pages. Tap it and you can find out if an app is your cup of tea without the usual rigamarole of downloading it first. Only a handful of apps are explicitly labeled as Instant Apps-ready (the New York Times' crossword game is one example), but we'd expect that list to grow before long.

There are other important tweaks to the store, too. There's a revamped games area (shown above) with trailers and sections for new and "premium" paid games. Also, the redone Editor's Choice area is now up and running in 17 countries.

Google has also implemented some behind-the-scenes changes that could improve your chances of seeing your favorite subscription service on Android. In a parallel to Apple's App Store reforms, Google will reduce its cut of subscription apps from 30 percent to 15 percent if a user remains with the service for more than a year. This won't take effect until January 1st, 2018, but it could make all the difference for services that previously balked at giving away nearly a third of their revenue no matter how long you stayed aboard. And that's particularly relevant on Android -- as you don't have to offer apps through Google's store, some creators have skipped the shop altogether to ensure they get all the money. They'll still lose some income if they bring their apps to the Play Store after January 1st, but it'll be much more tolerable if you stick with their service for the long haul.

Via: TechCrunch, The Verge

Source: Android Developers Blog, Google Play


Google will ‘fix’ the Pixel 2’s hidden menu button

Looks like the Pixel 2's "secret" menu button was just leftover code, after all. Google has confirmed to CNET that this was a bug, not a feature, and that it'll be patched out in the future. If you're still enjoying that new phone smell, open up the settings menu and double tap in the lower right while you still can.

Source: CNET