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Google Not Liable for Unfavorable Vanity Search Results (0)

You may not know who Beverly Stayart is, but after reading this article, you may get to know her better... and even do a Google search. Stayart, a native of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, has noticed that her name has popped up in search results (such as Alta Vista, Yahoo!, and even AdultFriendFinder) alongside websites that sell erectile dysfunction drugs and sites hosting malware. She has since sued these companies, alleging they have violated her right to privacy by misappropriating her name, as well as selling ads and auto-suggesting search terms using her name. Stayart, who describes herself on her Tumblr page as "CFO and Director of Business Development for Stayart Law Offices," has lost on every lawsuit, including her latest case against Google. This comes after she accuses the search engine giant of misappropriation since searching for "Bev Stayart" on Google's search bar brings up auto-suggestions like "Bev Stayart Levitra." (Levitra is an erectile dysfunction drug.) On Wednesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a decision made by a district court in 2011 that dismissed Stayart's case against Google. In her appeal, Stayart argued that her rights were violated according to Wisconsin's right to privacy laws. She particularly pointed out the §995.50(2)(b) section of the law, wherein the "use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name, portait or picture of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person or, if the person is a minor, of his or her parent or guardian" is considered an invasion of privacy. The court, however, disagreed: "Stayart has not articulated a set of facts that can be plausibly lead to relief under Wisconsin's misappropriation laws." The appeals court also cited her previous case against Yahoo! in 2011 for similar reasons. At that time, the court concluded that there had to be a "substantial rather than incidental connection between the use and the defendant's commercial purpose." Source: Reuters, via Ars Technica Read More

Google Exec Denies Plans of Physical Retail Stores (1)

If you got excited about the rumors of Google possibly putting up brick-and-mortar stores, time to tone it down. Andy Rubin, Google's head of Android has confirmed to members of the press that--as far as he is concerned--the company has no need to put up physical retail stores of their own. He is in a pretty high position to know whether Google plans on bringing their hardware to a local neighborhood. The reason, however, does not have to do with the relevancy of brick-and-mortar stores at this day and age, or how consumers of today behave. Rubin merely states that he does not think the Nexus smartphones and Chromebook laptops are not quite at the stage that would warrant their own store. "(Consumers) don't have to go in the store and feel it anymore," Rubin added during the Mobile World Congress, indicating that buyers gather product information through the Internet. Source: All Things D, via Engadget Read More

Google Launches Chromebook Pixel Touch-Screen Laptop (1)

Google has unveiled its first touch-screen laptop that runs on its own Chrome operating system. The new high-end laptop, called the Chromebook Pixel, was designed and built by Google in collaboration with a hardware manufacturer in Taiwan. The search engine giant has been pushing hard on churning physical devices, especially after acquiring Motorola Mobility to develop Google's smartphones and tablets. The Chromebook Pixel boots up in just a few seconds and comes with 32GB of storage on the WiFi-only model (the LTE version has 64GB), as well as 1TB of cloud storage via Google Drive. This 12.85-inch laptop features an Intel Core i5 processor, an improved touch pad and keyboard, and what Google claims to be the "highest resolution screen that's ever been shipped on a laptop." Google's hardware have been hit-and-miss. The Nexus Q, Google's media-streaming device, was quickly pulled out of Google's online shelves after it was unveiled last year due to questions about its $299 price tag and usefulness. The Pixel is now on sale, costing $1,299 for the WiFi-only version and $1,449 for the version that comes with WiFi and LTE connectivity options. The latter version will go on sale in April, with Verizon offering special wireless plans for Pixel owners. Source: The Wall Street Journal Image source: CNET Read More

Google to Open Physical Retail Stores? (2)

Looks like Google is taking a step forward into becoming a full-fledged electronic hardware provider. PC magazine has reported one of the biggest rumors swirling last week: that Google is planning to open its own retail store. Citing a "few unknown sources," the search engine giant might be shopping for spaces around the United States to build their stand-alone shops where it would sell more Google products. The company already offers its Nexus smartphones and tablets online, but seeing the devices in the flesh before purchasing them is a different experience. The report even hints that Google might also be bringing its augmented-reality glasses onto its shelves. The move makes sense, as Apple and Microsoft already have retail stores of their own. Meanwhile, Google has been testing the retail waters with some "store-within-a-store" setups on selected Best Buy locations across the US. Whether these rumors would be true have yet to be confirmed, especially since Google's vice president of product management, Sameer Samat, said in December that the company has no intentions to "open up an official retail presence." Source: PC Magazine Read More

Google Experiments on Using Hardware for Passwords (1)

With so many online services requiring passwords, it can be quite difficult to manage your secret codes especially if you prefer using a different password for each website. Google wants to put an end to it. The tech giant, represented by vice president of security Eric Grosse and engineer Mayank Upadhyay, outlined their proposal to develop a hardware that would act as a master key for all online services. The report, which was published in this month's issue of IEEE Security and Privacy magazine, said that Google's engineers have been experimenting on creating that master key. Examples in this experiment include a smart ring for your finger, a cryptic USB stick, or a token installed in smartphones. The proposal aims to prevent remote hackers from accessing online accounts by stealing usernames and passwords. Hackers would not have no other means to access other people's account, except by physically stealing the login device. But it does have its potential drawbacks, such as the need to have a backup sign-in method in case the login device becomes lost or damaged. Also, not everyone would prefer to carry their smartphones around or wear a ring just to use their computers, not to mention the devices being physically stolen by disgruntled friends, relatives, and colleagues. Google is not the only tech company interested in replacing the password. Last year's news about Apple's acquisition of fingerprint scanner firm AuthenTec lead to rumors that future iPhones would come with fingerprint sensors built into their home buttons. Source: Wired, via PC World Read More

Google+ iOS App Launched in 48 More Countries (0)

Google engineer Frank Petterson through his Google+ profile that Google's social networking app for iOS devices has been rolled into 48 countries and territories. Users of iOS devices from the following areas can now download their Google+ app for free: Albania, Anguilla, Barbados, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chad, Republic of Congo, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Macau, Malawi, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Swaziland, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos, Ukraine, British Virgin Islands, Zimbabwe. The Google+ app for both iPhone and iPad were released mid-2012, after claims that Apple had intentionally delayed the approval. The announcement comes as Google continues to work on improving its social network, including end-of-year updates. Compared to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, Google+ has experienced lesser user activity. Source: Frank Petterson on Google+, via TechCrunch Read More

Google Maps App for iOS Back with a Vengeance (2)

Thank the heavens the rumors are true! Google has released its Maps app for iOS after Apple dumped its erstwhile default navigation application in favor of its own, crappy maps app. Google Maps native app for iOS has been built from the ground up, bringing a whole new experience compared to previous usages of the app. There is the new swipe gestures to open menus, as well as displaying more details as soon as you open the app. This version of Google Maps, however, has stripped off features you have seen in other platforms. It does not provide biking directions; there is no offline mode, although routes can be cached onto the device; no indoor maps; or even Google Offers. Google has even released a brand new software development kit (SDK), so developers can look for ways of integrating Google Maps into their own apps. Google Maps for iOS is currently compatible to iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It is now available for free in Apple App Store in more than 40 countries and 29 languages. Source: Google Blog, via TechCrunch Read More

Apple, Google Team Up to Claim Kodak Patents (0)

Kodak's road to recovery is on its way. After its auction of over 1,100 digital imaging patents has been approved this summer, it seems like Apple and Google would be duking it out for the goods. But it seems the tides have shifted, as Bloomberg reports (citing claims from sources) that the two companies would instead combine their efforts with a bid worth over $500 million for the patents. All three parties remain mum for now, but this would not be surprising once it happens, especially in an industry where patents are the new spice trade. The bid, if accepted, would help Kodak recover from bankruptcy with more money to streamline its business, while staying away from filing lawsuits after lawsuits over digital photo patents. Source: Bloomberg, via Engadget Read More

Google Ex-CEO: Why Apple Hasn’t Sued Us? (0)

Eric Schmidt, former CEO and current executive chairman of Google, had a sit-down interview with Wall Street Journal on various topics within the Google's realm. The conversation picked up when reporter Jessica E. Lessin asked about the ongoing legal battles between Apple and companies that manufacture Android-powered smartphones. "It's extremely curious that Apple has chosen to sue Google's partners and not Google itself," Schmidt said. He added that this back-and-forth patent litigation will "continue for a while," but the real losers here are upstart engineers who are developing new startups and technologies. "How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product," Schmidt asked. "That's the real consequence of this." Source: Wall Street Journal, via Engadget Read More

Rumor: New Google Maps App Coming Soon to iOS (3)

Looks like Google Maps will come back in Apple devices with a bang. As iPhone owners still struggle in dealing with Apple's bungled Maps app, a report from The Wall Street Journal indicates that Google is developing a new maps app and it will soon debut on the Apple App Store. The publication also adds that this version of Google Maps is undergoing testing and a final release date remains unclear. This comes after Apple dropped Google Maps as the native navigational app for its iOS mobile operating system and replaced it with their own maps software. The response with Apple's Maps app have been mostly negative, with some news sources saying it took "multiple giant leaps backwards" compared to Google Maps. This issue has forced CEO Tim Cook to publicly apologize to his customers. "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Cook said in September. The debacle with Maps reportedly forced the resignation of Scott Forstall, who at the time was in charge of iPhone's software department. Source: The Wall Street Journal, via USA Today Read More

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