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PC News and Reviews

Google+ Is Finally Shutting Down

October 9, 2018 — by ThinkComputers.org0

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Google has just announced that it will shut down its social network Google+. This is in the wake of a security vulnerability that affected 500,000 users. This vulnerability was found during a security investigation into the Google APIs, while the company was looking for APIs that were too broad, or that didn’t deliver on their promises. Google also stated that Google+ “has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

In addition to shutting down Google+ consumer accounts, they also plan to make changes to their privacy policy, including new changes to its API to limit developers access to user’s data on Gmail and Android devices.

Source:Google Tags:Google

Gaming News

Google's Project Stream Is Impressive So Far

October 8, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, played in a Google Chrome tab

There’s something a little funky about playing a game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in your internet browser. It almost feels obscene, like you’re getting away with something that shouldn’t be legal. Google’s Project Stream might have some obstacles on the way to global dominance, but it’s still pretty damn impressive.

Project Stream, which allows users to play top-tier video games through a tab in the Google Chrome browser, went into early testing this weekend with Ubisoft’s fantastic Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. I tried it out on my 2013 Macbook Air, first on my home internet (~25 megabits per second) and then here at Kotaku HQ (~70 mbps). First I tried playing it with my keyboard and touchpad—not a good idea—and then I plugged in a DualShock 4, which went swimmingly.

Short version is, this is incredible technology. Both tests were mostly stable for me, with very few latency issues. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on Project Stream doesn’t seem to get anywhere close to 60 frames per second, and there are no graphical settings to play around with, but what I’ve seen so far is way more smooth than I expected, considering I was playing in a damn internet browser.

As I screwed around on the island of Kefalonia, fighting bandits and solving side quests, I did notice a little controller input lag. It was enough to feel tangible, and I had to account for it while playing, but it didn’t take long for me to get adjusted.

On my office internet—which is fast but occasionally gets clogged by all the bloggers—I also got a couple of lag spikes, which slowed down the game’s framerate and eventually led me to this message:

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For the most part, though, Google’s Project Stream has been impressive so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Google can do—and how the company’s Yeti teams can solve the bandwidth problem for those people who aren’t lucky enough to have 25 megabits per second or higher internet speeds. Playing a game as beautiful as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey without a console or high-end PC is like glimpsing into the platform-agnostic future that many of us have been dreaming about for a long time.

Gaming News

Google Announces Project Stream, Which Lets You Stream Games In Chrome

October 1, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

Google’s long-rumored Yeti streaming service is now official, as the company today announced Project Stream, a service that will allow users to stream games to the Google Chrome internet browser. The first game supported will be Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which launches on Friday.

“We’ve been working on Project Stream, a technical test to solve some of the biggest challenges of streaming,” Google said in a blog post today. “For this test, we’re going to push the limits with one of the most demanding applications for streaming—a blockbuster video game.”

Anyone who’s accepted into the beta test will be able to play Odyssey in their browsers on a laptop or desktop starting Friday, Google said. They’re looking for people with internet speeds of 25 megabits per second or higher.

As we reported earlier this year, this is the first part of a broader Google initiative to enter gaming in a big way. As I wrote in June:

So what is this streaming platform, exactly? Like Nvidia’s GeForce Now, the Google service would offload the work of rendering graphics to beefy computers elsewhere, allowing even the cheapest PCs to play high-end games. The biggest advantage of streaming, as opposed to physical discs or downloads, is that it removes hardware barriers for games. Games like Call of Duty can reach a significantly bigger audience if players don’t need an expensive graphics card or console to play them. As one person familiar with Yeti described it: Imagine playing The Witcher 3 within a tab on Google Chrome.

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Question is, what about input lag? Latency? Will this work as delivered or will it be destined to go the way of OnLive? We’ll be able to see for ourselves starting Friday.

Gaming News

How to Play Google's Text Adventure Easter Egg in Chrome

September 21, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Screenshot: David Murphy

Who doesn’t love a good round of Zork? While you are unlikely to be eaten by a Google Grue, you can play a text adventure in the company’s Chrome browser. It’s a clever little Easter egg that’s actually kind of fun, if you have some time to kill. Better still, the game isn’t just some marketing BS for Google products; it actually gets a little tricky, and you might find yourself turning to others for help—and then explaining to them, as we’re about to explain to you—how to find the game in the first place.

The process is actually pretty simple, as far as Easter eggs go. First, open up Chrome and head on over to good ol’ Google dot com and search for the phrase “text adventure.” That, or you can just type “text adventure” into your Omnibox and hit Enter/Return on your keyboard. Your pick. Or just use this link if you’re feeling especially lazy.

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However you get there, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the search results page for “text adventure” before the next step. Once you’re ready, click on View > Developer > JavaScript Console. The console is probably going to look a little ugly, but you should see this line: “Would you like to play a game? (yes/no)“ 

Ignore all that scary text and those alarming colors. Just type “Yes.”Screenshot: David Murphy

Obviously, your answer is “yes.” And once you type that in, you’ll be off and running in Google’s little Chrome-based text adventure game. OK, so maybe there’s a small marketing aspect to it, after all, since Google appears to want you to find, “your friends red o, yellow o, blue g, green l, and the always quirky red e?” I wonder what the significance of that is. 

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Once you’ve beaten (or given up on) Google’s adventure, be sure to check out this wiki for all the other fun stuff you can find around the company’s products and services. Also, a hat-tip to Reddit user attempt_number_1 for finding this text adventure easter egg. Well done!

Gaming News

Here's How to Get Fortnite on Your Android Phone

August 14, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

After months of waiting, Fortnite, the most popular game on the planet, is finally ready for its debut on Android. Unfortunately, when the news was first announced alongside the Galaxy Note 9’s launch last week, there were a couple catches.

First, Fortnite creator Epic Games said the game would not be available on the Google Play app store, and that to start, Fortnite for Android would be a limited-time exclusive for people with late-model Samsung phones.

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However, after just four days, that exclusivity is over. Epic has begun sending out invites to people with non-Samsung phones, according to multiple reports. So how do you get your hands on an invite yourself?

The first step is to go to Fortnite’s sign-up page and enter you email. Epic Games will then ask if you have played Fortnite on any other platforms such as PC, iOS, Playstation, Xbox, or the Nintendo Switch, and if so, it will then ask you provide your login credentials, or create a new account if you don’t already have one.

This is what the email with the link to download Fortnite looks like. Screenshot: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

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From there, you will be asked to select your phone or tablet from a list of compatible devices that includes the Pixel 2, Essential PH-1, the Razer Phone, numerous LG G and V-series handsets, and more.

Then comes the hard part: Once you’re done registering for the Beta, you’ll just have to sit back and wait for the official Fortnite Android beta invite to show up in your inbox. In the meantime, you should get an email with a link to download the game and instructions on how to install Fortnite on your phone.

After clicking the link, you should see a popup that looks like this to download the actual Fortnite .apk file.Screenshot: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

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While this might sound a bit sketchy, since Epic Games decided not to host Fortnite on the Google Play Store, you will need to change some permissions on your to device so you can install the game. This is a process called sideloading that enables Android devices to install apps outside of the Google Play Store.

It’ll look a little different depending on what device you have, but you’ll need to enable that toggle and another one for Chrome to proceed with the install. Screenshot: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

However, that means you won’t have Google looking out to make sure the install file is legit, so you should be extra careful to make sure you are installing the official Fortnite .apk directly from Epic.

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After you’ve finished the installation, you can change your phone’s permissions back to blocking software installs from third-parties.

Before you install Fortnite on Android, you’ll also want to make sure your device has enough available storage to stash the game. Total file size is just shy of 2GB. Screenshot: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Whew. Well that should be it—until your account is officially approved for the beta and you can start playing for real.

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For any Samsung phone owners who missed the boat, you should still be able skip most of this process and download Fornite from inside Samsung’s Game Launcher app. Then, it’ll be time to just drop in and get to battling. I’ll see you at Retail Row.

Tech News

Phishing scam targets iPhone users with a fake call to ‘Apple Care’

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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As more and more people use their mobile devices for everyday computing tasks, it makes sense that there would be more attacks. The latest phishing attempt, discovered over at Ars Technica, involves a false webpage that initiates a call on your iPhone. According to the site, when they made the call, they were connected to a fake representative who said he was “Lance Roger from Apple Care.” The person quickly hung up as the reporter tried to stall and get more detail on the scam.

Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica reports that he received an email that was formatted to look like an official iCloud security warning from Apple. The message had a link to a webpage in southern India, which then forwarded him to yet another webpage made to look like the official Apple support site. This secondary page then used JavaScript to start a dialog box on his phone to start a phone call. According to Gallagher, it will also initiate a FaceTime session on an iOS device. Gallagher has sent the details along to both Apple and Google’s security response teams. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

Tech News

Google brings Chrome to Daydream VR headsets

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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It’s been a long time in coming, but Chrome browsing in VR is finally here. Google has released a version of Chrome that supports both Daydream View and stand-alone Daydream headsets like the Lenovo Mirage Solo. It can visit any website and includes Chrome staples like incognito mode, syncing and voice search, just in a wearable-friendly format. Google is also promising Daydream-specific features like a “cinema mode” when you watch online video.

You should see the VR-ready version when you update Chrome on Android. This make the most sense if you have a dedicated headset (where there isn’t a guarantee of phone access), but it promises a much more consistent VR experience. You could resume reading a story from your desktop, or check on a web guide for an app without having to remove your headgear.

Tech News

YouTube may produce more original programming outside the US

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

YouTube is working on original programming for international markets in an effort to boost paid subscriber numbers, Reuters reports. The company plans to develop shows for customers in France, Germany, Japan and Mexico, adding to series that have already been released in South Korea and India. Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original programming, told Reuters that new productions will include music documentaries, reality series, talk shows and scripted series.

“We are targeting markets where we believe we have a tremendous upside in potential subscribers,” said Daniels. Already, the company has seen success with a Hindi talk show about cricket, which was released in India, and a reality show about South Korean pop band Big Bang. YouTube is planning to add more original programming to its India market as well.

YouTube’s expansion into international markets with local language programming follows similar moves from Netflix and Amazon. Earlier this year, Netflix said it was aiming to have around 700 original shows and movies on its streaming service this year with about 80 originals being produced outside of the US. So far, it has announced a slew of local language shows including new series produced in Mexico, Sweden and Brazil. Amazon has been pushing into other markets as well, inking a licensing deal earlier this year with Televisa for several Spanish-language series.

More information about YouTube’s international efforts will be released in the coming weeks. Some of the new content will be included in the company’s subscription service YouTube Premium, and some will be available to stream for free.