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Google Chromecast: Bringing the Internet to Your TV (0)

Google attempts to steal the thunder from Apple TV once again with the Google Chromecast, a dongle-like device that brings content being played on a mobile device or computer into your television set. The $35 Chromecast is plugged into the television's HDMI port and streams content not directly from a local device, but from the cloud when you activate mirroring on a compatible service such as YouTube or Netflix. Your mobile device, meanwhile, also acts as a WiFi-connected remote control as you bring your favorite TV shows, movies, or viral videos to the bigger display. The Google Chromecast measures two inches in length and runs a watered-down version of Chrome OS. It turns itself on when you plug the device into the TV's HDMI port or on a USB power cable. You can connect the Chromecast to your local WiFi network and it seeks similarly connected mobile devices it can work with. Apps that work with Chromecast, such as YouTube, display a "Cast" button once the mobile device senses the dongle. Tap "Cast" to push content into the TV via the cloud and even control various aspects such as volume, play, and pause among others. The Chromecast is currently available in the US only, with no word from Google whether the device will be offered in other markets. Apart from the device itself, it comes shipped with an HDMI extension, a USB power cable, and a separate power adapter. Early buyers also get free three-month subscription on Netflix. It is now available on Google Play and Amazon, while Best Buy will sell Google Chromecast on its shelves beginning July 28. This is not the first time Google tries to bring online media content into the living room. The company launched Google TV in 2010, a software that runs on television sets and TV-connected accessories. Despite support from the likes of Sony and Logitech, sales of Google TV did not take off. Source: Google Chrome blog Read More

Google Chairman Confirms Moto X Launch Date (0)

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has confirmed that Motorola's latest flagship smartphone, the Moto X, will be unveiled to the public for the first time on August 1st. The Moto X launch event would be the first time Google introduces its newest hardware after the company's acquisition of Motorola. The unveiling is said to be done differently from the usual product launches we see from other companies. The Moto X launch event will provide an oppportunity for the press to experience the new smartphone not on the stage, but through several small groups. In an earlier interview this year, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside revealed some details about the Moto X, like how the Moto X would be aware of its surroundings and would operate in a different manner depending on its environment. For example, the smartphone can sense if it is in a car, wherein the device would offer different ways to interact with it. “Motorola has always been good at managing power on the device, but we're really good at managing sensors,” Woodside said during the interview. “We know when it's in your pocket, we know when it's in your hand, and it’s going to know when you want to take a picture and fire up the cameras.” The Google Moto X is also said to have an "always-on" voice command support, enabling it to respond to everything you say. The device, which will be manufactured in the United States, also allegedly sports a 1.7GHz dual-core processor and a 10-megapixel rear-facing camera. Source: Mashable Image source: Tinhte, Techradar Read More

Photos of Google Nexus 7 Successor Leaked (0)

Google has announced its press event for next week with Head of Android Sundar Pichai at the hosting helm, but it stopped short on what the company would unveil. Some say it will be the Google Nexus 7 successor, but others say, "Pics or it didn't happen." And so, one blog did just that. Android Central published photos and video of what they claim is the Google Nexus 7 successor. The images, which were slightly altered to protect the identity of their source, show a tablet with Nexus branded at the back just below the spec sticker. We cannot tell whether the so-called Google Nexus 7 successor at the photo is a prototype or the final product, as well as whether the specifications listed are accurate. But what is very obvious is that the tablet is said to be manufactured by Asus, just like the original Nexus 7. Android Central also claims that the device they have at hand has two cameras (a 5-megapixel Chicony camera at the back; a 1.2-megapixel LITEONMOBILE shooter at the front), Android 4.3, a Qualcomm APQ8064 motherboard, a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 4GB of DDR3L RAM, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB port, and a pair of stereo speakers. Judging by the photos, the tablet on display, just like the original Nexus 7, seems to be a tad chubbier than the iPad mini. Source: CNET Read More

Google Glass Security Flaw by QR Codes Spotted (0)

Mobile security firm Lookout has announced that it has spotted a very critical Google Glass security flaw. The firm's principal security analyst Marc Rogers has told PC Mag's SecurityWatch they have discovered a vulnerability in how Google Glass processes QR codes. Because Google's wearable computer has limited user interface, the Glass' camera can automatically process any QR code it spots. "On the face of it, it's a really exciting development," Rogers said. "But the issue is the moment Glass sees a command code it recognizes, it executes it." This Google Glass security flaw may provide an opportunity for spammers and hackers to develop a malware that can be downloaded and installed after automatically scanning a QR code. To make sure their hunch is correct, Lookout created QR codes containing malicious software and they learned that Google Glass can be forced to perform actions even without the user's knowledge. Lookout first tried a malicious QR code that would initiate a so-called "Glass-cast," wherein Google Glass would share to a paired Bluetooth device whatever appears on the Glass' screen, without the user knowing it. Although this Google Glass security flaw screams "voyeurism" all over, it does have its limitations. For one, the attacker would have to be near enough to receive the Glass-cast transmission through Bluetooth, but before that he would have to pair their Bluetooth device to the user's Google Glass and that would require physical access. However, Rogers points out that since Google Glass has no lockscreen, pairing the devices would be easy as the attacker would just tap the Glass to confirm. The more troubling vulnerability is what Lookout did with its second malicious QR code, which forced Google Glass to connect to a designated WiFi network right after scanning the code. "Without realizing it, your Glass is connected to his access point and he can see your (web) traffic," Rogers said, adding that the attacker could exploit this web vulnerability, which could cause the wearable computer to be hacked. Lookout has already reported the Google Glass security flaw to Google and a patch has been released within two weeks to fix the loopholes. Source: SecurityWatch Image source: Joe Seer, Featureflash / Read More

Favorite Brands List: Apple & Google Out; Amazon In (0)

We are halfway through 2013 and market research firm YouGove BrandIndex has released its semi-annual report on the top 10 best-perceive brands in the United States. Much to everyone's surprise, a number of popular brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Google are out on the favorite brands list. The company behind the iconic iPhone has been out of the top 10 list since the second half of 2012, while Google held on to 10th place that same time. This is despite Apple's generally satisfied customers and Google's lead in mobile and web search markets. YouTube, which is owned by Google is on the current favorite brands list at no. 8. Meanwhile, Amazon is able to snag two spots on the list: one for the online retail service at no.2, the other for its Kindle brand of e-book readers and tablets at no. 9. YouGov BrandIndex conducts consumer perception studies on a daily basis, interviewing 5,000 people across the US from Monday to Friday, resulting in over 1.2 million interviews annually. The brands were measured using the firm's so-called "Buzz" score, wherein respondents answer to this question: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" The resulting scores range from -100 to 100, wherein negative feedback subtracts the positive. For instance, a score of zero means that a particular brand received an equal amount of positive and negative perception. Automaker Ford leads the recent favorite brands list. Also on the list are the History Channel, Lowe's, Walgreens, V8, and Subway. Source: Business Insider Australia Read More

Google Working on Android Game Console and Smartwatch (0)

Just on the heels of the recent Ouya launch, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Android video game console may be in for some serious competition as Google is developing its own Android game console. As if that's not enough, the report also claims the company is working on an Android-based smartwatch as well. The publication, citing the usual "people familiar with the matter," claims that Google is actually in a rush to develop its own smartwatch ahead of Apple in case the iPhone company develops similar devices. Google declined to comment about the report. Ouya, one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, has been available online and at selected retailers since earlier this week. The cube-shaped Android game console costs $99, while users can download close to 200 independently-developed games for at least $2 each. The introduction of cheaper Android game console like Ouya among others is certainly shaking up the home console battle, especially as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have unveiled their respective next-gen consoles. Nintendo drew first blood when it launched the Wii U last November, but its sales performance is not as impressive as its predecessor, the Wii. Microsoft and Sony will launch the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively, before this year ends. Source: Wall Street Journal, via USA Today Read More

Google Glass Study Shows High Awareness, Low Willingness (0)

While the tech media have been all agog over Google Glass, it seems like the general public has its reservations about the upcoming wearable gadget. Recent studies show that while people are highly aware about Google Glass, they have reservations about wearing one. The Medill School of Journalism in Northwestern University conducted a research about the public's perception of Google Glass. In an interview with 1,210 mobile device owners with ages between 49 and 59, more than half of them said they had heard about the wearable computing device. Awareness and willingness to purchase and try on the device are high among men. Two-thirds of the respondents said they would or might be willing to utilize the wearable device in special cases such as traveling. Among those who expressed little or no interest in trying on Google Glass, the most-cited reasons include the potential for distraction and the perceived steep cost (the developer version of Glass costs $1,500 a pair, although that may not be the suggested retail price). About 25 percent of respondents who said they would not use the device cited personal privacy issues. Other respondents said they are anxious about looking goofy or silly when donning Google Glass. Meanwhile, one-third of the respondents said they would not pay a single cent for Google Glass. For those who are willing to shell out some dough, two in five participates said they would pay up to $100, while about one in five would cough up to $200. Google Glass will likely to cost more than that. In another survey among smartphone owners conducted by Bite Interactive last May, only one in 10 Americans would be willing to wear Google Glass on a regular basis. Those who do not want to wear them cite "awkward aesthetic" and "seemed irritating" among its reasons. Source: Medill School of Journalism, via Mashable Read More

Google Glass to Reject Facial Recognition Apps (0)

Google Glass has yet to become available to the general public, but many people have been concerned about how this wearable gadget would ensure that the privacy of non-users is not violated. One possible scenario is how Google Glass would utilize facial recognition technology to snoop upon personal details of the people surrounding the user. Google has finally lifted its veil of silence regarding the usage of facial recognition technology. In a post on Google+ just recently, the company said it will not approve any app that features facial recognition functions, at least for now. The online juggernaut added that they "won't add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place." Google also stressed that this is not an entirely new policy, as seen at how Steve Lee, Google Glass' direcor of product management, has said the same sentiment two weeks ago. The difference between today and two weeks ago, however, is that Google has specifically referred to third-party apps in its Google+ post. Not allowing apps that feature facial recognition is an addition to Google's list of restrictions on apps for Google Glass. Other sources have added that Google will also reject apps from turning off the Glass' display when taking a photo, in order for people to spot whether the user is taking a photo of them, as well as apps that contain "hate speech, gambling, and explicit material." However, it may not discourage some people from hacking into the Glass, which Google has encouraged, and develop procedures and mechanisms that both the company and the people surrounding the Google Glass user would frown upon. Source: Google Glass on Google+, via The Verge Read More

HTC One Google Edition Coming June 26 (0)

Sundar Pichai, Google's Senior Vice President for Android, Chrome, and Apps, has announced that his company will be rolling out the HTC One Google Edition beginning June 26th. The upcoming mobile phone, which will run in stock Android, will be sold for $599 on the Google Play Store. The announcement comes after Google revealed the availability details of Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android, which will also be available at the Play Store beginning June 26 for $649. The HTC One Google Edition will feature a stock version of Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and updates to the OS will be sent at the same time along with Nexus devices and the Play version of Galaxy S4. The smartphone will also sport 32GB of internal storage and GSM cellular network standards, along with every other bells and whistles expected from HTC One, including the one-ultrapixel camera that works very well in extremely low-light situations. HTC One has been well-received by critics since its unveiling, and coming up with a stock Android version instead of the grid-like, Windows Phone copycat would surely be a hit among those who expect a lot from mid-range smartphones. The HTC One Google Edition will only be available in the United States during its retail debut, with no word on whether this handset will cross borders and oceans in the coming months. Source: TechCrunch Read More

US Lawmakers Question Google Glass’ Privacy Issues (0)

Eight American lawmakers have formally demanded Google to address various privacy concerns about Google Glass, the company's new wearable device. The letter, addressed to Google CEO Larry Page, is authored by Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus. The document has outlined eight questions that Google should answer on or before June 14. "We are curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American," the letter states. "Because Google Glass has not yet been released and we are uncertain of Google's plans to incorporate privacy protections into the device, there are still a number of unanswered questions." Other questions listed in the letter includes how Google would collect and store data from Google Glass; how the company would ensure the device does not unintentionally collect private data; how Google would protect the privacy of people who are not using the Glass when they are with people who are using it; and whether Google Glass would have facial recognition technology. Google Glass has yet to be available in the market, but a handful of users had a chance to wear an early version of the device provided they shell out as much as $1,500. The device, worn like a pair of eyeglasses, is connected to the Internet and allows people to perform tasks such as taking photos, record and watch video clips, send text messages, and post to social media sites. The company has already raised privacy concerns on some issues, such as unwanted recording. Google claims that when the device is recording, its light is always on and that the wearer should be staring at the subject. Meanwhile, a representative of Google has addressed the question of facial recognition in a statement. "We've consistently said that we won't add new face recognition features to our services unless we have strong privacy protections in place," says Steve Lee, director of product management for Google Glass. Lee has also addressed other concerns in the letter during Google's recent I/O Conference, saying that his company has followed all its privacy and data collection policies with Glass. He adds that social cues are also built into the device to help prevent certain privacy violations, such as users having to press a button or speak to the device to take photos or record videos. In a separate statement, Google spokesperson Chris Dale states, "We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues." Source: House of Representatives, via New York Times Read More

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