By The Associated Press - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Google is expected to use its annual software developers’ conference to showcase the latest mobile devices running on its Android software, while also unveiling other features in its evolving product lineup.
The gathering, scheduled to begin Wednesday morning in San Francisco, provides Google Inc. with an opportunity to flex its technological muscle in front of a sold-out audience of engineers and entrepreneurs who develop applications and other features that can make smartphones and tablets more appealing.
Reporters from around the world also will be on hand, giving Google a chance to generate more hoopla about its latest innovations.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 10:57 AM - 0 Comments
Enter “atari breakout” in a Google image search today and be prepared to waste…
Enter “atari breakout” in a Google image search today and be prepared to waste some time.
To celebrate the 37th anniversary of the Atari game, Google has created its own version of Atari Breakout, which was created by Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow and came out in 1976.
At the time it was released the brick-breaking game resembled its forerunner, Pong.
The Google version of Breakout is fully operational and lets players share their high scores through social media if they’re looking for bragging rights.
Of course, if you’re actually looking for images of Atari Breakout, you can just skip the game and search for images, too.
By Emily Senger - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
Announcement could come as early as this week
Google is getting set to unveil its first series of paid-content Youtube channels, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Sources tell the Financial Times that the announcement will come as early as this week and that it will apply to as many as 50 channels. Subscriptions can cost as little as $1.99 per month, says the source. Continue…
By Chris Sorensen - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 8:24 AM - 0 Comments
Stock advice? Just Google it.
Buy low, sell high, the old adage goes. The problem, of course, is that it’s impossible to know which way the market is about to move. Or is it?
In a bid to climb inside the heads of millions of investors, British researchers compared 98 search terms typed into Google between 2004 and 2011—examples include “inflation,” “portfolio” and even “cancer”— to the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The researchers used a simulation tool to buy short positions in a portfolio that tracked the index (a bet the market would decline) when the frequency of the search terms being tracked spiked, hypothesizing investor nervousness would first manifest itself as a flurry of Google searches. By contrast, when the frequency of the queries fell, the study’s authors bought the index.
It turned out that trading on mentions of “debt” was extremely good at predicting market declines, allowing the simulator to earn a 326 per cent return over the study period, compared to 16 per cent for a more conventional buy-and-hold strategy. There were, however, several less obvious predictors of an impending sell-off, including the word “restaurant.” Perhaps investors planned to treat themselves to a nice meal after recording a sizable capital gain?
By Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 1:43 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Google is trying to upstage Siri, the sometimes droll assistant that…
SAN FRANCISCO – Google is trying to upstage Siri, the sometimes droll assistant that answers questions and helps people manage their lives on Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
The duel began Monday with the release of a free iPhone and iPad app that features Google Now, a technology that performs many of the same functions as Siri.
It’s the first time that Google Now has been available on smartphones and tablet computers that aren’t running on the latest version of Google’s Android software. The technology, which debuted nine months ago, is being included in an upgrade to Google’s search application for iOS, the Apple Inc. software that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It’s up to each user to decide whether to activate Google Now within the redesigned Google Search app, which is available through Apple’s app store.
Google Now’s invasion of Siri’s turf marks Google Inc.’s latest attempt to lure iPhone and iPad users away from a service that Apple built into its own devices.
By The Associated Press - Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 5:09 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Some illuminating books already have been written about Google’s catalytic role in a technological upheaval that is redefining the way people work, play, learn, shop and communicate.
Until now, though, there hasn’t been a book providing an unfiltered look from inside Google’s brain trust.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who spent a decade as the company’s CEO, shares his visions of digitally driven change and of a radically different future in “The New Digital Age,” a book that goes on sale Tuesday.
It’s a technology treatise that Schmidt wrote with another ruminator, Jared Cohen, a former State Department adviser who now runs Google Ideas, the Internet company’s version of a think-tank.
By The Associated Press - Monday, April 15, 2013 at 5:34 AM - 0 Comments
BRUSSELS – A spokesman for the European Union’s antitrust body says Google has submitted…
BRUSSELS – A spokesman for the European Union’s antitrust body says Google has submitted proposals to address concerns that it is dominating the online search and advertising markets.
The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, is investigating whether Google Inc. unfairly favours its own services in its Internet search results.
Google’s search engine — the world’s most influential gateway to online information and commerce — enjoys a near-monopoly in Europe.
Spokesman Antoine Colombani said Monday Google has submitted in legally binding form a list of remedies to address the Commission’s concerns. Those will shortly be put to a market test to see whether they will be sufficient.
The Commission will make a final decision on the case — launched in 2010 — sometime after learning the market test’s results.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM - 0 Comments
House of Commons, Prime Minister’s office will be captured via panoramic camera
OTTAWA – Would-be MPs will soon be able to get an first-hand idea of what it’s like to sit in the House of Commons.
Google Street View is in the process of capturing images that will let people click their way through the historic halls and offices of the Parliament Buildings.
On Tuesday, Google Canada began wheeling its special panoramic camera through the House of Commons, the Senate, the parliamentary library, the hall of honour and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office.
“What we’re using is something called a Trolley,” said Aaron Brindle of Google. “It’s just shy of two metres high and is has a high-res camera on it.
“It allows our operators to basically take a few steps through these halls, stop, the camera does a 360-degree panorama and it captures images from the floor to the ceiling.”
Brindle said the images will be stitched together to allow for virtual tours.
“You’ll be able to go virtually into the chamber and see from a 360-degree panoramic what it’s like to sit in the House of Commons.”
The Trolley will also capture some of the intricate carvings and artwork that adorns many of the calls and offices.
“It’s kind of like an exclusive, behind-the-scenes public tour.”
The Speakers of both the Commons and the Senate gave special permission for the cart to record the architecture and art of the buildings. Harper and Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair opened up their offices.
“It’s exciting to provide another way for Canadians to be able to view and experience their Parliament buildings,” said Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer.
“This is truly an opportunity for Canadians to bring the House of Commons into their homes.”
Google Street View has already captured the interiors of a number of historically and culturally significant buildings such as the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the White House in Washington and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 4:13 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Internet search leader Google is taking another step beyond information retrieval…
SAN FRANCISCO – Internet search leader Google is taking another step beyond information retrieval into grocery delivery.
The new service, called Google Shopping Express, will initially provide same-day delivery of food and other products bought online by a small group of consumers in San Francisco and suburbs located south of the city.
If the pilot program goes well, Google Inc. says it will expand delivery service to other markets.
The delivery service announced Thursday is part of Google’s effort to increase people’s reliance on the Internet so it will have more opportunities to show online ads, which generate most of its revenue.
Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and a few other retailers already offer same-day delivery.
Besides local merchants, major retailers such as Target Inc. and Walgreen Co. are enlisting in Google’s delivery service.
By The Associated Press - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 5:24 AM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Google has picked 8,000 people in the U.S. who will have…
SAN FRANCISCO – Google has picked 8,000 people in the U.S. who will have a chance to wear the company’s new Internet-connected glasses, which are being described as the next breakthrough in mobile computing.
Google Inc. began notifying contest winners Tuesday.
The winners will have to pay $1,500 apiece if they want a test version of the product, called “Google Glass.” They also will have to travel to New York, Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay area to pick up the device, which isn’t expected to be available on the mass market until late this year or early next year.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:18 AM - 0 Comments
YANGON, Myanmar – Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Friday urged Myanmar’s government to…
YANGON, Myanmar – Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Friday urged Myanmar’s government to allow private businesses to develop the country’s woeful telecommunications infrastructure, emphasizing the importance of competition and free speech.
“Try to keep the government out of regulating the internet,” he said to a round of applause from a group of students at a technical university in Yangon. “The answer to bad speech is more speech. More communication. More voices,” he said. “If you are a political leader you get a much better idea of what your citizens are thinking about.”
Schmidt said the Internet can help cement political and economic opening in Myanmar, which has undergone rapid changes since reformist president Thein Sein took office in 2010 after decades of direct military rule.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 2:47 PM - 0 Comments
Service allows users to better find pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and grumpy cat
Google image searches will soon allow users to filter for GIFs, the short animated videos that are popular online.
PC Mag explains how to use the new search:
“All of your grumpy cat meme needs will now be satisfied with the addition of the “Animated” option to Google Image Search. To use it, select “Search tools” and the “Any type” dropdown menu.”
Alas, the service is being rolled out slowly over the next few days, so users may have to wait to easily find those grumpy cats and/or pictures of Jennifer Lawrence falling up the stairs at the Oscars. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 5:58 PM - 0 Comments
Low-cost, web-centric laptops were rolled out in the U.S. more than a year ago
TORONTO – Google is continuing its march into the hardware business with a brand of cheap laptops designed for using the web — and not much else.
On Tuesday, the Internet giant announced its Chromebook concept was finally available in Canada, more than a year after being released in the U.S. and other countries.
Chromebooks look like standard laptops but don’t come loaded with a version of Windows or a Mac operating system. They run on Google’s Chrome OS, a streamlined platform with the web browser as the main attraction.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 6:03 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – For consumers who find they really only use a computer to get…
TORONTO – For consumers who find they really only use a computer to get online and not much else, Google now has the Chromebook, a brand of Internet-only computers officially introduced in Canada on Tuesday.
Chromebooks look like standard laptops but don’t come loaded with a version of Windows or a Mac operating system. They run on Google’s Chrome OS, a streamlined platform with the web browser as the main attraction.
They’re being pushed as a low-cost device — they start at about $250 — for users who spend most of their time on a computer using the Internet, and therefore don’t need the processing power to run full-blown software applications. They can connect to the web via WiFi or mobile networks. Continue…
By The Associated Press - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Andy Rubin has stepped down as the executive in charge of…
SAN FRANCISCO – Andy Rubin has stepped down as the executive in charge of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, ending a seven-year reign that reshaped the technology industry.
The unexpected change announced Wednesday may raise new questions about the Android’s direction as Google duels with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and a long list of other companies in the increasingly important mobile computing market.
Google is replacing Rubin with Sundar Pichai, an executive in charge of the company’s Chrome Web browser and operating system for lightweight laptop computers. That move may heighten recurring speculation that the Chrome operating system eventually will supplant Android. Google executives haven’t ruled out the possibility of the two operating systems eventually merging together, although they have stressed there are no immediate plans to do so within the next couple years.
In a Wednesday blog post, Google CEO Larry Page said Rubin, 50, has reached a stage in his career where he wants to try something different after devoting so much time and energy to Android. Rubin, a longtime gadget lover who once worked at Apple, hatched Android at a startup that Google bought in 2005, when accessing the Internet from a mobile phone was still an exercise in frustration.
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 5:43 AM - 0 Comments
BANGKOK – A conservation group claims that Google has something in common with illicit…
BANGKOK – A conservation group claims that Google has something in common with illicit ivory traders in China and Thailand: It says the Internet search giant is helping fuel a dramatic surge in ivory demand in Asia that is killing African elephants at record levels.
The Environmental Investigation Agency, a conservation advocacy group, said in a statement Tuesday that there are some 10,000 ads on Google Japan’s shopping site that promote the sale of ivory.
About 80 per cent of the ads are for “hanko,” small wooden stamps widely used in Japan to affix signature seals to official documents. The rest are carvings and other small objects.
Hanko are used for everything from renting a house to opening a bank account. The stamps are legal and typically inlaid with ivory lettering.
By The Associated Press - Friday, March 1, 2013 at 9:34 AM - 0 Comments
BERLIN – A bill broadening copyright protections for material used on the Internet has…
BERLIN – A bill broadening copyright protections for material used on the Internet has been approved by Germany’s lower house of Parliament — but without provisions that worried Google and other search engines.
Parliament on Friday voted 293-243 for the bill, which aims to protect the copyright of news articles and other material on the Internet but allows the use of “single words or small text passages” without royalties.
The language appears to address search engines’ concerns that the measure would amount to a “Google tax” charging them for displaying search results with short snippets of text from articles.
Google, which had launched a campaign against the law, says it is now “watered down to avoid that danger.”
The bill still needs upper-house approval, and is expected to meet resistance.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 4:29 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s chief financial officer says the company plans to cling to…
SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s chief financial officer says the company plans to cling to its steadily growing stash of cash to pay for potential acquisitions and other investments that could boost the Internet search leader’s profits.
Patrick Pichette explained Google Inc.’s rationale for holding on to its $48 billion in cash in response to a question posed Thursday at a Morgan Stanley technology conference.
The money-management policies of publicly traded companies are getting more attention as more firms hoard huge amounts of cash instead of introducing or increasing dividends to reward stockholders.
Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, is currently under the most scrutiny because it holds $137 billion in cash.
Pichette says Google wants to have plenty of cash so it can “pounce” on acquisition opportunities. He didn’t identify potential targets.
By Colin Campbell - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Internship may be the first Hollywood buddy movie in which a major company is given a starring role, and not as the villain.
The movie is about two laid-off salesmen (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) who snag famously hard-to-get internships at Google. Hilarity ensues at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., as they compete in “some sort of mental Hunger Games” against America’s best and brightest for a job.
Google played a role in the making of the film and recently helped promote it on its social networking service, Google+.
Due out in June, it’s a marketing coup for the firm at a time when it’s trying to push its brand beyond its search-engine roots.
This month, it was reported that Google plans to open its own U.S. retail stores. And last week, it released details about Google Glass, its web-enabled eyeglasses that will compete in the wearable-technology market with rival Apple’s anticipated iWatch. Investors appear happy with the new direction: last week, Google’s stock passed the $800 mark for the first time.
By Jesse Brown - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM - 0 Comments
Today Google turned the heat up on a long simmering project. Google Glass, the possibly game-changing, definitely dorky wearable computer, is looking just about ready for prime-time. Google has begun engaging developers, who have been sworn to secrecy, in hack-a-thons to pump out Glass apps.
Here is today’s promo video, shot entirely through Google Glass glasses:
Yes, it’s another Apple-esque inspirational tear-jerking montage. But what does it actually tell us about the device and its uses?
- Glass seems like it’ll enable a decent first go at augmented reality: the much-hyped but little-realized technology that layers digital information on top of what our eyeballs perceive. Assuming that Google is showing off its best stuff here, it looks like augmented reality will mostly consist of GPS navigation apps, to start.
- Real-time video streaming is pushed hard in the video. This is both nothing new and very cool. On the one hand, we can already stream videos from our phones to remote viewers. But putting this function into a pair of glasses lets us literally show others the world through our eyes. Whether it’s used to vicariously experience fencing, skydiving, or a party for grandma held in another country, this seems like a very special app. Head trip alert: while you’re beaming what you see to a remote viewer’s eyeballs, they’re webcamming their reactions into the top corner of your Google Glass display. You’re not watching them watching you, you’re watching them watching as you. Trippy!
- Existing voice-commanded Google/Android apps seem ported over. “Google Goggles” has been a Labs app for years now. With varying results, it did things like take a picture you just shot of a menu in Japanese and instantly translate it. On Glass, this gets a bit more exciting, especially when combined with instant voice translation. I’d like to see a field test before setting off abroad with it, though.
Critics are already asking what the big deal is with Google Glass. What can it do that smartphones can’t? I don’t share this cynicism. If Google Glass does nothing but put a smartphones’ functionality into our sightlines, it will be an ergonomic triumph. I’d like to think that if good design can do nothing else, it can liberate us from staring at our palms every two minutes.
Google has yet to set a release date for Glass, but if you tell them why you’re super special and really, really deserve to get one first, they just might let you and 7,999 other lucky souls buy one soon for $1,500. Applications are being taken here.
Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Caught trying to mimic the latest hot product, the most powerful tech firms can’t seem to dream up anything genuinely new
It’s a sure sign a company is in desperate straits when journalists go searching for answers from a former pitchman. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Ben Curtis, the actor who played the “Dell dude” in computer-maker Dell Inc.’s 2000-era commercials (in which he would inform strangers “Dude, you’re getting a Dell”), suggested his troubled former employer could get a sorely needed boost if his character were resurrected. “Since that campaign ended, Dell has lost their personality,” Curtis said, adding that he, too, now uses an Apple Inc.-made laptop.
Dell’s problems won’t be so easily fixed. In a bid to speed up a badly needed transition from hardware manufacturer to provider of high-margin software and services, founder and CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners are proposing a massive $24.4-billion leveraged buyout of Round Rock, a Texas-based company that once held the title of the world’s largest maker of personal computers. It’s just another reminder of how fast the technology industry moves. One day a company is the most powerful in Silicon Valley, with a soaring stock price; the next it’s contemplating moving away from the very business that made it a household name. (In Dell’s case, its outstanding shares, once worth nearly $60, are being purchased by its founder and Silver Lake for $13.65 apiece.)
Although desktop and laptops remain ubiquitous in homes, offices and schools, sales of PCs have slumped in recent years as consumers increasingly use smartphones and tablets. Worldwide PC shipments totalled 90 million units during the last three months of 2012, according to Gartner Research, a 4.9 per cent decline from the same period a year earlier. In Canada, the fall was even steeper—down nearly 14 per cent. “We’re approaching a saturation point in the market,” says Tim Brunt, an analyst at consulting firm IDC Canada. “There are multiple PCs in every household. Everybody’s got one, so now it’s just about buying replacements.”
By The Associated Press - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 2:36 PM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s stock price topped $800 for the first time Tuesday amid…
SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s stock price topped $800 for the first time Tuesday amid renewed confidence in the company’s ability to reap steadily higher profits from its dominance of Internet search and prominence in the increasingly important mobile device market.
The milestone comes more than five years after Google’s shares initially hit $700. Not long after breaking that barrier in October 2007, the economy collapsed into the worst recession since World War II and Google’s stock tumbled into a prolonged malaise that eventually led to a change in leadership.
Besides enriching Google’s employees and other shareholders, the company’s resurgent stock is an implicit endorsement of co-founder Larry Page. He replaced his managerial mentor, Eric Schmidt, as CEO in April 2011. Google’s stock has risen by about 35 per cent since Page took over. By contrast, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed by 15 per cent over the same stretch. Most of Google’s gains have occurred in the past seven months.
In morning trading, Google’s stock was at $802.34, up 1.2 per cent, or $9.45.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM - 0 Comments
Google is preparing to follow on the heels of Apple and Microsoft and will…
Google is preparing to follow on the heels of Apple and Microsoft and will open its own bricks-and-mortar retail locations, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The report has few details, but quotes “people familiar with the matter” who say the retail stores would likely sell Google-branded hardware in a move that looks to mimic the success of Apple retail stores.
Before The Wall Street Journal ran its story, the idea of Google retail store was reported on the tech blog 9to5Google. “The mission of the stores is to get new Google Nexus, Chrome, and especially upcoming products into the hands of prospective customers,” writes contributor Seth Weintraub. Continue…
By Jesse Brown - Monday, February 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM - 0 Comments
Google, responding to anti-piracy pressure from a music industry trade group, is reportedly planning to cut off payments to ad partner sites deemed illegal. “Deemed” is the operative term here; Google, one hopes, already blocks funds to websites proven to be illegal–like, in a court with a judge and due process and that kind of stuff. But illegality in this case will, it seems, be a designation assigned to any website that doesn’t respond to legal threat letters from copyright holders.
Normally this is where I’d make a slippery-slope argument, about how, if this proceeds, it will lead to all kinds of intimidation and abuse. Large companies with deep pockets for baseless legal action will be able to harass small companies and individual publishers into positions in which simply defending themselves will be prohibitively expensive. They will then find themselves blacklisted, their search results demoted, their funds withheld, and they will disappear. These tactics needn’t be constrained to filesharing sites. Eventually, they might be used by political parties or even by governments to push dissenting voices off the Internet.
But luckily, I don’t need to make that speculative argument. You don’t have to use your imagination to picture the logical extremes of fund-blocking. You can just use Google. Search for “Wikileaks funding block” and you can re-live the story of how, shortly after the Pentagon spoke out against Wikileaks, the site found itself blocked from access to millions of dollars donated to the site from supporters.
It’s the slippery slope in reverse. We’ve already seen authorities attempt to kick a legal (until proven otherwise) website off the Internet by blocking its income source. It didn’t work, mind you, but still–normalizing the practice in the name of stopping piracy will only lead to more examples (and, perhaps, to the growth of BitCoin). Any site that allows for content uploads or even user comments might momentarily host copyrighted material (cough! Youtube!). But few sites can volley with big industry players in legal battle.
By setting such a low threshold for illegality, Google may make friends in the music and movie industries. But it will be at the expense of the open Internet, and against the interests of its own users.
Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown
By The Associated Press - Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7:06 AM - 0 Comments
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell more than 40 per cent of…
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell more than 40 per cent of his stock in the Internet search leader this year.
The plan disclosed Friday calls for Schmidt to sell up to 3.2 million shares. If he were to sell all that stock at Google’s current price, Schmidt would realize a $2.5 billion windfall.
Schmidt ended December with 7.6 million Google shares, or a 2.3 per cent stake in the Mountain View, Calif., company.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the only company executives who own more stock than Schmidt. Page controls an 8.7 per cent stake and Brin holds an 8.5 per cent stake.
The 57-year-old Schmidt was Google’s CEO for a decade before turning over the job to Page in April 2011.