Without sounding cliché the future is certainly paved in robots, or at least robotic design. Society has come a long way, and only continues to develop towards a golden pinnacle. Everything we utilize on a regular basis whether inside or outside the home is in some way or another technology or at least influenced by such. Even jobs that would normally be filled by people can be replaced with high end products of technology. Offspring of technology can speak, take orders, and accurately respond with ease now in our society. Science hasn’t stopped its forward push, and it’s quite acute when we take a moment to observe google sudden rise into robotics.
Recent news states google has been laying claim to robotic companies left and right and it has left many wondering the question why. Google’s seemingly recent interest in these types of technologies has been at the top of its list, and as of now they have purchased eight robotics companies spanning over a couple of months. So far Google has procured Schaft Inc, Industrial Perception, Redwood Robotics, Meka Robotics, Holomini, Bot & Dolly, Boston Dynamics, and DeepMind Technologies. When we take a moment to look while these aren’t necessarily a great number of companies they certainly offer quite the variety when it comes to robotics. This list covers smart AI, disaster relief robots, and surprisingly enough even a four-legged robot that can run almost 30 mph. Google has diversified its product offerings over the last decade. If it wasn’t the case before Google will now certainly need the speedy services of A1 Servomotor or at least something comparable to tend to all these robots. It’s all so interesting; however, this doesn’t help clarify our question.
While the answer is not necessarily straightforward we do know that “Google is a business that has made data and algorithms something quite successful, so it’s a logical step for a company that values innovation as highly as Google does”. Anthony Mullen, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, states this to simply be the case, and is the next step in becoming closer to consumers. Mullen goes on to claim that, “Robots, like smartphones, are a platform for products and services. Both require data and intelligence to operate well and Google is very good at data and algorithms. To ensure that they aren’t disintermediated in the ‘last mile’ to the consumer (or employee) means getting involved in the physical world with hardware.”
While this seems like a rather large leap for google it can’t be denied that their healthy interest does seem to at least interconnect with previous ventures. Android phones and the like carry a certain similarity when it comes to functionality so it wouldn’t be odd for a connection to be made and for google to expand. This of course would seem rather complex for the average customer, and is a concept that is gradually worked in. It’s not entirely known if the market is ready for such a thing as robots, however, it is certainly something unexplored worth the endeavor.
Google has patented a way of linking online ads to free or discounted taxi rides to the advertising restaurant, shop or entertainment venue.
The transport-linked ad service could encourage consumers to respond more often to location-based special offers, experts say.
Algorithms would work out the customer’s location, the best route and form of transport, Google says.
Advertisers will mine huge databases recording people’s habits, likes and preferences so that ads can be highly targeted.
Google says, in future, customers could be driven to restaurants, bars, shops and venues by driverless cars
Combining this information with location data gleaned from Wi-Fi, cellular and GPS tracking will enable businesses to tailor their ads and special offers according to where people are, the time of day and their schedules.
The addition of free or cheap travel to the location will be the icing on the cake, Google hopes.
In August, Google’s venture capital arm invested $258 million in Uber, the San Francisco-based car hire network.
In the same way that advertisers bid against each other for the rights to Google keywords online, the company sees them competing on transport costs too.
The real-time system would help advertisers work out the costs of offering the transport sweetener versus the potential profit margins, Google said.
“Getting a potential customer to a business location in order to conduct a sale may be one of the most difficult tasks for a business or advertiser,” Google says in its US patent for the “transportation-aware physical advertising conversions” system.
Google has announced that it will only charge advertisers for ads that have been seen by users.
More than half of all ads bought online are not seen by anyone, because they appear too far down the page, or for other factors.
Google says an ad is considered “viewed” only if 50% or more of it is visible for more than one second on the page.
It is the first major digital ad network to announce such a move.
Google has announced that it will only charge advertisers for ads that have been seen by users
“Even the jingliest, jolliest ad of the season can’t work its magic unless it gets seen,” wrote Google in a blog post announcing the change.
“Today, we’re taking an important step towards this goal by making it possible to buy based on viewability – in real time – across the more than two million sites in the Google Display Network…
“In other words, you can now choose to pay for only those impressions where your ad has a chance to be seen.”
Google accounted for 32.84% of all digital ad spending worldwide in 2013, according to eMarketeer. That translates to more than $38 billion of the estimated $117.6 billion global digital advertising market.
Google has launched Nexus 5 – the latest incarnation of its flagship Nexus smartphone.
Made by LG, Google’s Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger.
The Nexus 5 has been developed to show off the capabilities of the new version of the Android operating system.
Called Kitkat, the software has been designed to work well on both high-end smartphones and cheaper feature phones.
The alliance with Google has helped bolster LG’s fortunes even though, according to statistics from Gartner, it is still a long way behind rivals Samsung and Apple.
In the April-to-June quarter, the consultancy indicated 3.8% of all smartphones sold were LG handsets putting the South Korean firm in third place.
Made by LG, Google’s Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger
By contrast, Apple accounted for 18.8% of all sales and Samsung 29.7%.
The specifications for the new phone were widely leaked before it was announced on the official Google blog.
The Nexus 5 shares some of the hardware from LG’s G2 handset and can record and play back HD video at the full 1080p resolution. Its camera also has a rapid burst system that captures several photographs at the same time so owners can pick the best shot.
The handset is due to go on sale on November 1st in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea.
Google said a base 16GB version of the device would cost $349 in the US, unlocked and without a contract. The 32GB version should cost $399.
With Android Kitkat, Google said it had made the software use less memory so it could be used on handsets with much lower specifications than top end smartphones.
In addition, Google has begun moving some services off Android’s core software and onto its app store. Many see this as a way for it to maintain more control over the security of the software and its associated applications.
Google is launching superpressure balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings on the ground.
About 30 of the superpressure balloons are being launched from New Zealand from where they will drift around the world on a controlled path.
Attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country.
Access will be intermittent, but in time Google hopes to build a big enough fleet to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas.
It says that balloons could one day be diverted to disaster-hit areas to aid rescue efforts in situations where ground communication equipment has been damaged.
But one expert warns that trying to simultaneously navigate thousands of the high-altitude balloons around the globe’s wind patterns will prove a difficult task to get right.
Google calls the effort Project Loon and acknowledges it is “highly experimental” at this stage.
Each balloon is 15 m (49.2 ft) in diameter – the length of a small plane – and filled with lifting gases. Electronic equipment hangs underneath including radio antennae, a flight computer, an altitude control system and solar panels to power the gear.
Google aims to fly the balloons in the stratosphere, 20 km (12 miles) or more above the ground, which is about double the altitude used by commercial aircraft and above controlled airspace.
The giant tech company says each should stay aloft for about 100 days and provide connectivity to an area stretching 40 km in diameter below as they travel in a west-to-east direction.
Google says the concept could offer a way to connect the two-thirds of the world’s population which does not have affordable net connections.
“It’s pretty hard to get the internet to lots of parts of the world,” said Richard DeVaul, chief technical architect at Google[x] – the division behind the scheme.
“Just because in principle you could take a satellite phone to sub-Saharan Africa and get a connection there, it doesn’t mean the people have a cost-effective way of getting online.
“The idea behind Loon was that it might be easier to tie the world together by using what it has in common – the skies – than the process of laying fibre and trying to put up cellphone infrastructure.”
Google launches internet-beaming balloons into near space
A group of about 50 testers based in Christchurch and Canterbury, New Zealand, have had special antennae fitted to their properties to receive the balloons’ signals.
Google now plans to partner with other organizations to fit similar equipment to other buildings in countries on a similar latitude, so that people in Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Australia can also take part in the trial.
“Google as an organization believes that the more people who use the internet, ultimately, the better the world will be,” added Richard DeVaul.
“And the more people who use the internet the more likely they are to use Google services.”
Google is not the first company to pursue such an idea. An Arizona-based firm, Space Data, already provides blimp-based radio repeaters to the US Air Force to allow it to extend communications coverage.
Another Orlando-based firm, World Surveillance Group, sells similar equipment to the US Army and other government agencies.
However, they typically remain airborne for up to a few days at a time rather than for months, and are not as wide-ranging. One expert cautioned that Google might find it harder to control its fleet than it hoped.
“The practicalities of controlling lighter-than-air machines are well known because of the vagaries of the weather,” said Prof. Alan Woodward, visiting professor at the University of Surrey’s department of computing.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort to make these things wander in an autonomous way and I think it may take them a little longer to get right than they might believe.”
What are superpressure balloons?
Superpressure balloons are made out of tightly sealed plastic capable of containing highly pressurised lighter-than-air gases.
The aim is to keep the volume of the balloon relatively stable even if there are changes in temperature.
This allows them to stay aloft longer and be better at maintaining a specific altitude than balloons which stretch and contract.
In particular it avoids the problem of balloons descending at night when their gases cool.
The concept was first developed for the US Air Force in the 1950s using a stretched polyester film called Mylar.
The effort resulted in the Ghost (global horizontal sounding technique) programme which launched superpressure balloons from Christchurch, New Zealand to gather wind and temperature data over remote regions of the planet.
Over the following decade 88 balloons were launched, the longest staying aloft for 744 days.
More recently, NASA has experimented with the technology and suggested superpressure balloons could one day be deployed into Mars’s atmosphere.
Google has been ordered by a German federal court to clean up the auto-complete results its search engine suggests.
The court said Google must ensure terms generated by auto-complete are not offensive or defamatory.
The court case was started by an unnamed German businessman who found that Google.de linked him with “scientology” and “fraud”.
Google must now remove defamatory word combinations when told about them, said the court.
A person’s privacy would be violated if the associations conjured up by auto-complete were untrue, the federal court said in a statement about the ruling.
However, it added, this did not mean that Google had to sanitize its entire index.
Bettina Wulff, wife of former German president Christian Wulff, sued Google because auto-complete suggested words linking her to escort services
“The operator is, as a basic principle, only responsible when it gets notice of the unlawful violation of personal rights,” it said.
The ruling on auto-complete overturns two earlier decisions by lower German courts.
In the past, Google has defended itself by arguing that it has no control over the combinations of words that auto-complete suggests. Instead, it said, these were automatically generated by the frequency with which other people were looking for such keywords.
A Google spokesman said he was “disappointed and surprised” by the court’s decision, in an interview with Bloomberg. He said it was “incomprehensible” that Google was going to be held liable for the searches carried out by users.
The ruling could also have a bearing on another case involving auto-complete. Bettina Wulff, wife of former German president Christian Wulff, sued Google because auto-complete suggested words linking her to escort services.
Bettina Wulff denies ever working as a prostitute and has fought several legal cases over the accusation. The case against Google is due to be heard soon in a Hamburg court.
Google has revealed for the first time what view users will get through its “Project Glass” wearable computer.
1. Google Glass responds to voice commands
Google Glass will perform many of the same tasks as smartphones, except the spectacles respond to voice commands instead of fingers touching a display screen.
2. Run on Google’s Android
The glasses include a tiny display screen attached to a rim above the right eye and run on Google’s Android operating system for mobile devices.
3. Take picture or record videos while on the move
Because no hands are required to operate them, Google Glass will make it easier for people to take pictures or record video wherever they might be or whatever they might be doing.
4. Online searches can be easily conducted
Online searches also can be more easily conducted by just telling Google Glass to look up a specific piece of information. Google’s Android system already has a voice search function on smartphones and tablet computers.
Google Glass will perform many of the same tasks as smartphones, except the spectacles respond to voice commands instead of fingers touching a display screen
5. Google Glass can synch to the Internet
The eyewear features built-in camera, microphone and speaker technology and can synch to the Internet using wireless connections.
6. Video through the eyes of wearers can be streamed live
As with the sky divers, cyclists, and wall-walkers who took part in the Google developers conference stunt, video through the eyes of wearers can be streamed live on Google’s social network.
7. Google Glass will come in 5 colors
Google said all of the footage was captured through Project Glass, which will come in five colors – black, gray, blue, red or white and have removable shades.
8. Google Glass for mass market will cost less than $1,500
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the mass-market version of Google Glass will cost less than $1,500, but more than a smartphone.
9. Google first began developing glasses in 2010
Sergey Brin has been overseeing the work on Google Glass, which the company first began developing in 2010 as part of a secretive company division now known as Google X.
10. Google Glass to hit market in 2014
Google Glass is at the forefront of a new wave of technology known as “wearable computing’ and should hit the market in a little more than a year. The company hopes it will someday make fumbling with smartphones obsolete.
Google has changed the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine”.
The change, introduced on May 1st, means google.ps now displays “Palestine” in Arabic and English under Google’s logo.
Using the word Palestine is controversial for some. Israeli policy is that the borders of a Palestinian state are yet to be agreed.
In November, the UN gave Palestine the status of “non-member observer state”.
The decision by the General Assembly was strongly opposed by Israel and the US. Previously, Palestine only had “observer entity” status.
It followed an unsuccessful Palestinian bid to join the international body as a full member state in 2011 because of a lack of support in the UN Security Council.
Google has changed the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from Palestinian Territories to Palestine
Palestinians in general seek recognition for the state they are trying to establish and the adoption of the name Palestine.
Israel considers any formal use of the word Palestine as pre-judging the outcome of currently stalled peace talks. In much of Israel’s official terminology the West Bank is referred to as Judea and Samaria.
Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said: “We’re changing the name <<Palestinian Territories>> to <<Palestine>> across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries.
“In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organization for Standardization] and other international organizations.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed Google’s decision.
“This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian territories,” said Dr. Sabri Saidam, advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Most of the traffic that happens now happens in the virtual world and this means putting Palestine on the virtual map as well as on the geographic maps,” he added.
Dr. Sabri Saidam said that since the UN vote on November 29, the PA had written to international companies, including Google, asking them to replace their usage of “Palestinian Territories” with “Palestine”.
Google and Microsoft have both reported rising profits for the first quarter of 2013.
Google’s net profit climbed to $3.35 billion in Q1 2013, up 16% from a year ago, boosted by online advertising revenue.
Microsoft said it made $6 billion in profit during the same period, a jump of more than 17% from a year earlier.
The tech giant’s earnings, which beat market forecasts, came despite a lukewarm reception for Windows 8 and a decline in global PC sales during the period.
Meanwhile IBM reported a fall in Q1 2013 profits and revenues after the technology services company failed to complete deals in time and was hit by the depreciation of the Japanese yen.
Analysts said that Microsoft’s profits were boosted in part by changing the way it sold its products to corporate clients, as well as cost-cutting measures.
Google and Microsoft have both reported rising profits for the first quarter of 2013
“Microsoft has successfully transitioned into an enterprise software company and these results show that,” said Kim Caughey Forrest, a senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital.
“The strength of server and tools, and the actual way they sell licences to business, is making up for the missing PC sales.
“The margins are fantastic and the online services division seems to lose less money each quarter,” she added.
Meanwhile Google’s profits were driven up by growing income from online advertising, which helped boost overall revenues to nearly $14 billion for Q1 2013. That is up from $10.7 billion during the same period last year.
The results also suggested that Google may be beginning to build confidence with advertisers. The amount paid per advert is still declining, but at a slower rate than last year.
Despite the stronger-than-expected numbers, Microsoft announced that its CFO, Peter Klien, would be leaving the firm at the end of June.
Peter Klein, who has been with Microsoft for 11 years, is the latest in a series of executives to leave the company.
His departure comes just months after the Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows division, quit Microsoft.
The departures of the two senior figures have come as there have been questions over the leadership of chief executive Steve Ballmer.
These doubts have been driven in part by slowing growth, and amid concerns that Microsoft had not been able to make a significant impact in the new and fast-growing sectors such as the smartphone and tablet PC markets.
The leading smartphone and tablet PC makers, such as Samsung and Apple, rely more on operating systems such as Android and iOS, rather than Microsoft’s Windows, which has enjoyed a dominance in the traditional PC market.
The fear for Microsoft is that as more people use smartphones and tablet PCs to access the internet, it may see its market share decline.
These concerns have grown after Windows 8, which is designed to make PCs work more like tablet computers, was greeted with mixed reviews at its launch last October.
More positively, analysts said that Peter Klien’s departure from the firm suggested that an imminent departure of chief executive Steve Ballmer was unlikely.
“The CFO departure is a little bit troubling. We’ve had a lot of executives leaving Microsoft recently,” said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.
“This also makes a departure by Steve Ballmer less likely. It would be very unusual to have a CEO leave soon after a CFO departure.”
Also on Thursday, IBM reported first quarter earnings of $3 billion, down 1% from a year earlier, with revenues falling 5% to $23.41 billion – lower than analysts’ expectations.
IBM said its results had been hit by delays in completing deals, with about $400 million worth of contracts that were expected to be counted in the first quarter of the year now being moved into the second.
In addition, the company said that the recent weakening of the yen had affected its earnings. The depreciation of the yen means that it earns fewer dollars from sales in Japan.
“Despite a solid start and good client demand, we did not close a number of software and mainframe transactions that have moved into the second quarter,” said IBM’s chief executive, Ginni Rometty.
“The services business performed as expected with strong profit growth and significant new business in the quarter.”
IBM’s CFO Mark Loughridge said it was “hard to measure” whether the recent series of US budget cuts – the sequester – had affected the firm.
“I can tell you that our US federal business was down 13%, which was certainly a drag on the US performance,” he said.
Baidu, dubbed China’s Google, is working on its own smart glasses technology, a project similar to Google’s Glass.
A Baidu spokesman said the glasses would be able to search by using facial recognition.
Kaiser Kuo told Reuters that Baidu, China’s largest search engine, had not yet decided whether the glasses would be made commercially available.
“We experiment with every kind of technology that is related to search,” Kaiser Kuo said.
A leaked image taken at Baidu’s offices show a person wearing a headset matching the description of Baidu Eye
Like Google Glass, the Baidu glasses – reportedly known internally as Baidu Eye – consist of a small LCD screen attached to a slim headset.
A leaked image taken at Baidu’s offices show a person wearing a headset matching the description – but Baidu would not confirm if it was Baidu Eye.
Some early reports had suggested that news of the technology was in fact an April Fool’s joke – but while some reports on April 1st were embellished, there was truth behind the rumours.
Kaiser Kuo said that the technology makes the most of Baidu’s considerable expertise in facial recognition.
“What you are doing with your camera, for example, taking a picture of a celebrity and then checking on our database to see if we have a facial image match, you could do the same thing with a wearable visual device.”
Such words are likely to alarm those worried about the capabilities of this type of technology.
Campaign group “Stop the Cyborgs” has called for limits on when the headsets can be used.
Alma Whitten, who was Google’s first privacy director, is to step down after three years in the role.
The position was created by the search giant after mistakes on privacy including Google’s Street View cars collecting personal data as they captured images of street scenes.
London-based Alma Whitten is being replaced in June by California-based Google software engineer Lawrence You.
Alma Whitten, who was Google’s first privacy director, is to step down after three years in the role
Google said Alma Whitten had “done so much to improve our products and protect our users”.
In a statement given to Forbes and other news sites, Google said: “The privacy and security teams, and everyone else at Google, will continue this hard work to ensure that our users’ data is kept safe and secure.”
In 2010, Google fell foul of governments, privacy watchdogs and users when it emerged that Street View cars copied e-mails and passwords from private Wi-Fi networks.
In the same year, the launch of the Buzz social network tool caused similar problems because Google enrolled millions of people into it without their permission.
Google also made lists of contacts and other details public.
In the wake of these mistakes – which led to multi-million dollar fines – Google appointed Alma Whitten to help ensure its software engineers took account of privacy as they developed new services and updated older ones.
Lawrence You, who has been at Google for 8 years, was one of the first recruits to the privacy team Alma Whitten assembled.
When he takes over, Lawrence You will manage a privacy and security team that numbers hundreds of workers.
Google Nose is Google’s latest April Fools’ Day prank to celebrate the practical joke-based holiday in 2013.
Google Nose BETA, the company’s new fictional product, promises “to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available.”
Google Nose is Google’s latest April Fools’ Day prank to celebrate the practical joke-based holiday in 2013
A video introducing Google Nose explains that the feature allows users to “search for smells. The product intersects “photons with infrasound waves” and “temporarily aligns molecules to emulate a particular scent.” The “mobile aroma indexing program” at the heart of the product has amassed a “15 million Scentibyte database of smells from around the world.”
And, of course, Google has covered the mobile, too. Google’s “Android Ambient Odor Detection” allows you to collect smells on your phone.
However… your nose will have to wait, because this incredible technology only exists in a fictional universe.
The word “ungoogleable” has been removed from a list of new Swedish words after a trademark spat with Google.
The idea that something can’t be found online is strange enough to have spawned its own adjective.
The word “ungoogleable” is in the headlines after a dispute between Google and Sweden’s language watchdog.
The Language Council of Sweden wanted to include “ungoogleable” (Swedish “ogooglebar”) in its annual list of new Swedish words. But it defined the term as something that cannot be found with any search engine.
The word “ungoogleable” has been removed from a list of new Swedish words after a trademark spat with Google
The search engine giant wanted the Swedish translation to be changed to refer only to Google searches, and the Council opted to remove the word altogether to avoid a lengthy legal battle.
The spat raises the question of just what “ungoogleable” means. Or more specifically, are some things still impossible to find with a search engine? And if so, is it a deliberate strategy?
To be ungoogleable might be a blessing or a curse.
A firm that chooses to call itself 367 may be shooting itself in the foot – people searching online will probably encounter a lot of bus routes before they get to the company.
It’s a similar story for an academic with a common name trying to promote research. Being called Mark Smith, for instance, might bring up thousands of other Mark Smiths online.
But others may actively seek to be ungoogleable.
The internet, unlike humans, has an almost flawless memory. That is why it’s so useful. But it can also be embarrassing.
Ungoogleability increasingly means privacy, says Cameron Hulett, executive director of digital marketing company Undertone.
“There are firms managing people’s online reputations. Ungoogleable is the extreme form – you are not just managing it you are removing it altogether,” he says.
Then there are online networks that act like auction sites for people trading in drugs, erotica and other forbidden items.
Websites such as these use software to create anonymous networks. And with questionable sites that are accessible, a search engine might decide to withhold access to users.
But the desire to be ungoogleable goes far wider than that. Professor Ralph Schroeder, from the Oxford Internet Institute, points to democracy activists in China who may need to operate an anonymous website to escape a crackdown on their activities.
Trying to outwit Google’s search capability has been popular for a while. A Googlewhack is two words that elicit only one result. The comedian Dave Gorman wrote a book about it after noticing that a phrase on his website Francophile namesakes only delivered one result.
Nowadays most people using Google will respond to the promptings of Google Autocomplete. So stumbling upon a Googlewhack is less likely.
Paywalls are another factor. Used by academic journals and newspapers such as The Times and Financial Times they restrict what users can easily find via Google.
For some, being ungoogleable is about being unknowable. It’s about preserving one’s mystique.
Irene Serra chose the name -isq for her band deliberately to make it hard to find online.
As it contains a hyphen, it cannot deliver an easy result. The band has a website but they don’t want it to be too easy to find.
“We didn’t want to give everything away straightaway,” says Irene Serra.
“If you want to hear about us you’ll need to try just a little bit harder. And then when you do actually find us online we have lots in place.”
It also allows them to easily keep control of all the domain names.
Seb Mower, a search engine optimization consultant, says that even supposedly ungoogleable things can usually be found. Most people google in haste. But a bit of thinking can often turn up the correct result.
For instance, the band -isq will appear third in the list on Google if speechmarks are put around the search term.
Where Google really struggles, he says, is to show pictures of text.
“If you wanted all the back issues of the Times, none of that information would be indexable.”
For some, it seems, being ungoogleable is an unfortunate state of affairs.
For others, the ignorance of Google’s algorithms is bliss.
Google’s new service, Keep, allows users to keep checklists and voice notes, and annotate photos.
The digital memo market is a burgeoning one and the offering will put Google head to head with services such as Evernote.
Experts predict that Google might have entered the market a little too late.
Memory aid services are striking a chord with consumers and employees who are increasingly swamped by information.
Current market leader Evernote has 15 million active users.
Microsoft has a similar product – OneNote – and there are smaller rivals such as Springpad and Catch.
“Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine,” said Google software engineer Katherine Kuan in a blog post.
Keep is Google’s attempt to turn this ad-hoc notetaking into a more efficient digital service.
“With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you,” she added.
Google Keep allows users to keep checklists and voice notes, and annotate photos
The information is stored in Google Drive. Users can also speak memos and Keep transcribes them. And there is a search facility for people to quickly find what they are looking for.
Currently Keep is available only via the web or as an app for phones and tablets running Android 4.0 or above.
But with little to differentiate it from competitors, some feel Google may struggle to make an impact.
“My gut instinct is that Google may have come too late to this. It has a track record – with cloud services and social networking – of coming too late and struggling to make an impact,” said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group.
“But, if anyone can make an impact, it will be Google,” he added.
“If there is an 800 lb gorilla like Google behind you, you are going to be worried. Evernote cannot rest on its laurels but it does have a huge user base and they are not all going to desert it overnight.”
YouTube has proudly announced it has passed one billion regular users on a monthly basis.
Announcing the milestone on its blog, the video sharing site owned by Google said a recent growth in smartphones had helped boost the numbers visiting the site every month.
YouTube’s popularity provides Google with a lucrative channel through which to sell advertising, alongside its core search business.
YouTube was launched in 2005 and bought by Google in 2006.
Google paid $1.76 billion for YouTube, which at the time had an estimated 30-40 million users worldwide.
With one billion monthly users, it poses a challenge to Facebook as the internet’s largest social network. Facebook reached a billion users in October 2012.
“Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube,” the company said in its statement.
YouTube has proudly announced it has passed one billion regular users on a monthly basis
YouTube was keen to stress the business potential of such a large audience.
“Tens of thousands of partners have created channels that have found and built businesses for passionate, engaged audiences. Advertisers have taken notice,” it said, saying that the top 100 brands listed by trade magazine Advertising Age were now running campaigns on YouTube.
YouTube was launched in California by three former PayPal employees.
The first video uploaded was by co-founder Jawed Karim and titled Me at the Zoo.
Google has been fined $7 million for collecting people’s personal data without authorization as part of its Street View service.
In a settlement with 38 US states, Google agreed to destroy emails, passwords, and web histories.
The data was harvested from home wireless networks as Street View cars photographed neighborhoods between 2008 and 2010.
Google said it was pleased to have resolved the issue.
“We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn’t, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue,” Google said in a statement.
“The project leaders never wanted this data, and didn’t use it or even look at it. We’re pleased to have worked with Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the other state attorneys general to reach this agreement.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the legal settlement.
“Consumers have a right to protect their vital personal and financial information from improper and unwanted use by corporations like Google,” he said.
“This settlement addresses privacy issues and protects the rights of people whose information was collected without their permission.”
Google has been fined $7 million for collecting people’s personal data without authorization as part of its Street View service
As well as agreeing to delete all the harvested data, Google has also been required to launch an employee training program about privacy and data use which it must continue for at least ten years.
It must also launch a public service advertising campaign to educate consumers about how to secure their information on wireless networks.
Google claims it collected Wi-Fi data because of rogue code mistakenly included in the software by a lone engineer.
The controversy led data authorities around the world to demand Google made changes.
Google has unveiled Chromebook Pixel, its first touchscreen-enabled laptop.
The Chromebook Pixel runs Google’s Chrome operating system and has been “largely built” by the web giant.
The laptop has Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors, fast 4G LTE connectivity and a high-resolution screen aimed at challenging Apple’s Retina Display.
Analysts say the move represents a fresh bid to build market share for Chromebooks against machines running Microsoft and Apple operating systems.
Unlike PCs that use installed software such as Microsoft Word, Chrome OS computers run their applications through the firm’s web browser and store their files in the cloud.
The internet giant said the device was “largely built by Google, with components that are manufactured globally”.
The laptop’s display resolution is similar to the so-called Retina Display of Apple’s MacBook range, aimed to have pixel density high enough for the human eye not to notice pixelation when looking at the screen at a typical viewing distance.
“This Chromebook has the highest pixel density [239 pixels per inch] of any laptop screen on the market today,” said the company.
“Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles.
“With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it – so we added touch for a more immersive experience.”
Google has unveiled Chromebook Pixel, its first touchscreen-enabled laptop
The first Chrome-powered laptop, built by Samsung, went on sale in June 2011. Chrome laptops that followed were made by Acer, Lenovo and HP.
But so far, Chromebooks have had difficulties challenging Windows-powered computers, said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.
“Chromebooks have struggled for relevance to date, stuck between comparably-priced but entertainment-centric tablets – many of which run Android – and more functional PCs,” he said.
“[The new computer] won’t transform its prospects but Google will hope it serves as a flagship device that has a halo effect for the broader portfolio.”
Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system launched last year, has touchscreen capabilities.
Geoff Blaber said: “Touch is now pervasive across every computing category from phones to high-end PCs.
“The challenge for the Chromebook is that computing is shifting towards tablets whilst most consumers lives are not yet fully embracing the cloud versus local storage.”
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt called China an Internet menace that backs cyber-crime for economic and political gain in a new book, The New Digital Age, due for release in April.
The New Digital Age reportedly brands China “the world’s most active and enthusiastic filterer of information”.
China is “the most sophisticated and prolific” hacker of foreign companies, according to a review obtained by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
China denies allegations of hacking.
Beijing has been accused by several governments, foreign companies and organizations of carrying out extensive cyber espionage for many years, seeking to gather information and to control China’s image.
The New Digital Age analyses how China is dangerously exploiting an Internet that now permeates politics, business, culture and other aspects of life, the WSJ says.
It quotes the book as saying: “The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage.”
This, it says, is because Washington “will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violates the American sense of fair play”.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt called China an Internet menace that backs cyber-crime for economic and political gain in a new book, The New Digital Age, due for release in April
The book argues that Western governments could do more to follow China’s lead and develop stronger relationships between the state and technology companies.
States will benefit if they use software and technology made by trusted companies, it suggests.
“Where Huawei gains market share, the influence and reach of China grow as well,” the WSJ quoted the authors as writing.
The WSJ this week said its computer systems had been hacked by specialists in China who were trying to monitor its China coverage.
It was the second reported attack on a major US news outlet in days, as the New York Times reported earlier that Chinese hackers had “persistently” penetrated its systems for the last four months.
China’s foreign ministry dismissed the New York Times’ accusations as “groundless” and “totally irresponsible”.
Google is offering $3.14159 million in cash rewards for successful hacks of its Chrome operating system at this year’s Pwnium hacking contest.
The figure is a nod to pi, an irrational number that has intrigued mathematicians for thousands of years.
Previously Google has offered reward of $1 million and $2 million to crack its systems.
The most likely outcome is that multiple hacks momentarily compromise the system with several contestants earning up to $100,000 each, or $150,000 should their hack survive a system reboot.
For a hack to count, it must be delivered via webpages on a basic-model Samsung 550 Chromebook over a Wi-Fi connection.
“We believe these larger rewards reflect the additional challenge involved with tackling the security defenses of Chrome OS, compared to traditional operating systems,” Google Chrome developer Chris Evans wrote.
Google is offering $3.14159 million in cash rewards for successful hacks of its Chrome operating system at this year’s Pwnium hacking contest
Google’s previous contests – CanSecWest 2012 and Hack in the Box – focused on compromising the Chrome browser but not the same-named OS.
Pwnium was started last year as an alternative to the Pwn2Own contest after the latter temporarily changed its rules so that successful hackers didn’t have to show their methods.
For some commercial hackers who only sell their secrets to the highest bidder the change was welcome.
For Pwnium, contests can keep their true identities a secret. A teenager only identified as Pinkie Pie – a name shared by a My Little Pony character – has won $60,000 at each Pwnium.
While Google calls Chrome OS its most secure operating system its market share is so small it hasn’t yet faced a real world field-test.
However, the Pwn2Own prize for cracking the Chrome browser is $100,000 but only $60,000 for Firefox and $65,000 for Safari. Internet Explorer running on Windows 8 wins $100,000 and IE 9 on Windows 7 nets $75,000.
Pwn2Own winners also get to keep the contest provided laptops.
Pwnium hasn’t said whether winners will be able to leave with their Chromebooks but as they only run $450 is likely the company won’t lose sleep over the losses.
Google has never once paid out the full amount offered for a Chrome browser crack.