6/24/2011

Google at the center of antitrust probes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc found itself at the center of multiple government investigations on Thursday into whether it is using its dominance in search advertising to scotch competition.

At least three state attorneys general have started antitrust investigations into Google, a source familiar with the matter said.

The source declined to elaborate on the details of the investigations by the attorneys general of California, Ohio and New York as they were still in the early stages.

The attorneys general investigation into Google was first reported by the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the investigations.

The news of the attorneys general investigation emerged on the same day the Wall Street Journal reported that the internet search giant is about to receive the civil equivalent of a subpoena from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as part of a probe into the company’s Internet search business.

The company, which dominates U.S. and global markets for search advertising, has been accused by competitors of favoring its own services over rivals in its search results.

6/15/2011

Google Announces ‘Instant Pages’ In 32 Languages

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google’s launch of Google Instant last year was somewhat limited in its scope. At today’s Inside Search event Google Fellow Amit Singhal revealed some recent developments in Instant Search, which currently saves users between 2-5 seconds in each search. Google Instant will now be available in 32 languages and over 69 domains on desktop and mobile. Today it will be launching in all of Latin America, which means in 16 new domains.

The Instant Search feature is also now available on Google’s “Image Search,” working by changing the images as you enter search queries.

Singhal also announced “Instant Pages,” or what Singhal calls “the next big leap in Google Instant.” Instant Pages prerenders search results, allowing you to click on a search result and have it load instantly, as opposed to having to wait for four seconds.

6/10/2011

Google Maps Navigation to get offline mode?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dutch tech site All About Phones claims that Google Maps Navigation will get a true offline mode later this summer. In December the Android app received an update that cached routes and the surrounding areas, but without a data connection you still couldn’t enter a new destination. A source inside the Dutch telco industry said that Google would remove the requirement for coverage

6/3/2011

Google Says Hundreds Of Gmail Accounts Hijacked

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google has detected a campaign to gather Gmail account credentials that appears to originate from Jinan, China, and is warning users to take a few minutes to review their security settings.

Eric Grosse, engineering director for Google’s security team, said in a blog post that hundreds of users have been affected, including senor U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries such as South Korea, military personnel, and journalists.

“The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users’ emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples’ forwarding and delegation settings,” Grosse said.

By changing these settings, which are only evident through the appropriate Gmail Settings tab page, the attackers could generate copies of incoming and outgoing email that would be forwarded without the account holder’s knowledge.

5/12/2011

Facebook Busted in Clumsy Smear Attempt on Google

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The social network secretly hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about the search giant, The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons reveals—a caper that is blowing up in their face, and escalating their war.

For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him. It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”

But who was the mysterious unnamed client? While fingers pointed at Apple and Microsoft, The Daily Beast discovered that it’s a company nobody suspected—Facebook.

5/8/2011

You’ll Soon Be Able To See Inside Buildings With Google Maps

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google has unveiled Business Photos for Google Maps, a new product that allows users to check out the inside of local businesses.

During a demo on stage at the Social-Loco conference, Mayer and a co-worker showed off the ability to “enter” local businesses and see the inside of a building. Businesses can provide photos to Google, which can then be compiled into a 360-degree view of a building’s interior.

4/11/2011

Google Has Stopped Street View Photography In Germany

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In most locations, Google sends its Street View cars out on a repeated basis “to make sure the information is accurate and kept up to date,” as the Street View website explains.

But that’s not happening in Germany.

Despite the recent German court ruling that declared photography from streets legal in Germany, Google has stopped Street View photography there and says it has “no plans to launch new imagery on Street View in Germany.” A Google spokesperson says the company’s priorities have changed:

Our business priority is to use our Google cars to collect data such as street names and road signs to improve our basic maps for our users in a similar way that other mapping companies do.

Google will continue to show its existing Street View photos for the 20 German cities that are online now, but there won’t be any updates to those photos. It’s unclear if this decision is final, or if the company might change its plans in the future.

4/5/2011

Google goes shopping for patents

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google has made a $900m bid for the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom equipment maker.

The patents could help arm it against potential lawsuits aimed at its Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system.

Patents are becoming highly prized pieces of intellectual property.

Experts told the BBC they believe the final price could go well over $1bn and may be as high as $2bn.

The amount of money being put up illustrates how fierce the patent wars have become as companies like Apple, Google, Nokia and HTC become embroiled in lawsuits.

4/3/2011

Bring Back The Stop Button !!!

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

It started with Chrome browser. Google decided that the stop button is not important enough to have its own space on the browser toolbar. I guess the 16 pixel button takes too much space that Google merged it with the refresh button as a toggle button.

Now Firefox 4 also copied this poor design and eliminated the stop button.

As part of my job I sometimes need to do some web development or debug an html page. Today I has such case where I had to look at an HTML page that has an automatic refresh/redirect code in the page after few seconds. I use Firefox browser for years now and all I had to do for this kind of pages to stop the refresh is to press the stop button. However since I recently upgraded to Firefox 4 I found this task impossible because the refresh button toggle to the stop button for a split second before the page actually refreshed itself.

Chrome browser was not different, I could not stop the page from refreshing. All angry and upset I was thinking to myself, well probably IE9 (which I also recently installed) that looks like Chrome too, was no different, however I tried that too, and kudos to Microsoft, the product designer did leave the stop button on the tool bar and I was able to finally stop the page from reloading itself.

While I don’t use IE9 as my default browser I finally found a good use for it. It is no doubt that Microsoft products have best user interface designers and this is no exception.

I call to Mozilla and Google to please BRING BACK THE STOP BUTTON, I’m sure that many users will be happy to scarify a whole 10-16 pixels from the toolbar to have this button back.

3/15/2011

Google releases WebM video plug-in for IE9

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In an effort to bring its Web video technology to a browser that doesn’t support it, Google has released an IE9 plug-in to play WebM video.

The move won’t bring an end to the industry scuffle over the best way to build video into the Web, but it will mean that allies behind Google’s preferred mechanism will be able to reach beyond the three browsers that support WebM today, Google’s Chrome, Opera Software’s Opera, and Mozilla’s Firefox. Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s brand-new IE9 support the rival H.264 video codec (though IE9 requires Windows 7 or an updated version of Windows Vista).

3/9/2011

Google releases stable version of Chrome 10

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google has released version 10 of its browser. The update brings hundreds of bug fixes as well as many features that have been available on the Chrome beta and dev channels to users interested in using Chrome’s latest builds. Chrome 10 also addresses 23 security vulnerabilities in the WebKit-based browser (easily more than Google has ever fixed before): 15 rated as High, three rated as Medium, and five rated as Low.

The new Chrome version is significantly faster in some respects (a 66 percent improvement in JavaScript performance on Google’s own V8 benchmark suite) and adds features such a new settings interface with a search box that shows you the settings you’re looking for as you type, the ability to synchronize passwords across your computers and encrypt them with your own secret passphrase for extra security, as well as the options to sync bookmarks, extensions, preferences, themes, and more.

3/7/2011

Google using remote kill switch to swat Android malware apps

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google removed a number of malicious applications from the Android Market last week. The programs exploited a vulnerability in the platform that allows attackers to gain root access and apparently create a backdoor for deploying further malware. In a statement posted on the official Google Mobile blog this weekend by Android security lead Rich Cannings, the company has clarified the situation and described the steps it is taking to address the problem.

In addition to preventing further infection by removing the malicious applications from the Android Market, Google will also be using its remote kill switch to forcibly uninstall the application from infected handsets. The company is also pushing out an update to the Android Market that can reverse the exploit, thus preventing the attackers from using it to cause further damage. Google has already started to send out e-mails to affected users in order to explain the situation.

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