Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘google’ Category

Hey Google, Get Me a Red Hat Tattoo!

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There’s so much tech news breaking this week I can’t keep up. 

I need some kind of artificial intelligence thingamajiggy to keep up with it all.

There are people working on that, but in the meantime, allow me to put my human filter on (while I still have some relevance) and convey what I perceive to be the most relevant news of the day/week.

First, on the IBM Red Hat front, the U.S. Department of Justice approved IBM’s $34B acquisition of Red Hat…While “IBM and Red Hat continue to work with competition authorities in other jurisdictions, and IBM continues to expect the transition to close in the second half of 2019.” 

FYI, the Red Hat Summit kicked into full gear today in Boston, and you can follow on Twitter at #RHSummit  And don’t forget to get your Red Hat tattoo while you wait for Ginni’s keynote to start this PM.

Google’s I/O developer conference also kicked off today and there’s more news coming out of Mountain View than you can shake an Alexa Echo at, but some headlines that caught my attention:

  • New Google Pixel 3a, comes in with “excellent camera” and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but a slower processor and no wireless changing. Starting at $399, you can’t have everything.
  • Android Q will now have a dark mode (welcome to the club, says iOS), better gestures, Live Captions, Focus Mode, and mas
  • Google Assistant’s shifting into a higher gear, with the Google Borg claiming it’s now 10X faster and has more app-specific functionality. Read that privacy policy, though. It will also have a driving mode, which hopefully will put millions of eyes back on the road where they belong. We’ll see if Siri has a response to Google A’s new smarts at WWDC shortly.
  • Google Lens is coming to Google Search, which means AR could soon help feet on the street more easily find local joints. Pokemon Go, it could be game on!

Of all these, Google Lens could be the most transformational in terms of real world implications, but I suspect I’ll get the most use out of Google Assistant’s improvements my own self. 

Finally, if you’re a full on cybersecurity enthusiast, The New York Times has a must read piece on how Chinese intelligence agencies acquired NSA hacking tools and repurposed them to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia.

Talk about the laws of unintended consequences. Uh, could the last one out please lock down the Faraday Cage so we can put an ix-nay the Chinese acking-hay?

Written by turbotodd

May 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Bull Run

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The 2019 bull run continues.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 211.22 points higher at 25,928.68 today, and CNBC reports that the S&P 500 has notched its best start to a year since 1998. 

What happened to that inverted bond yield???

Perhaps that’s all just more goodness for the soon-to-be rampant unicorns, including Lyft, whose IPO float today send the stock trading up 8.7 percent to $78.29, with more than 70 million shares trading on its first day as a public company. 

That lifted Lyft’s market valuation to $22.2 billion.

Other unicorns likely to be unleashed into the wild soon? Uber, Slack, Pinterest, among others.

Just remember, Lyft is currently #2 in the ride-hailing pecking order and lost $900 million in 2018.

While we’re on the subject of moolah, let’s talk about TechCrunch’s story about consumer spending on apps.

Sarah Perez’s headline suggests that spending will reach $156 billion across iOS and Google Play by 2023. Yes, you read that right.

That research estimate came from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, and suggests that both stores will more than double their revenues over the next five years. That’s +16.8 percent CAGR, if you’re counting along.

Getting further down into the numbers, that’s an estimated $96 billion for Apple and $60 billion for Google, with Apple taking nearly 62 percent of all revenue generated by the two platforms.

To put that in perspective, the global film industry was worth an estimated $136 billion as of 2018.

Time to hone those developer skills, because the bull run appears to continue across the board.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Game On

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Happy Hump Day.

As Steve Ballmer once said on a Microsoft event stage, “Developers, developers, developers.”

He was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely when he said it, but the sentiment remained the same.

And still relevant.

By way of example, earlier today Bloomberg reported that Apple is working on a new initiative entitled “Marzipan” which is intended to make it easier for developers to build apps, games, etc. for all its main devices “in one fell swoop.” 

In other words, developers will have a new software development kit that will allow them to port their iPad apps to Macs, as opposed to having to write the underlying code twice.

Bloomberg also reports that in 2020 Apple will plan to expand the kit so that iPhone apps can be converted into Mac apps similarly.

By 2021, the idea is that developers will be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps into a “single binary,” which would in turn prevent them from having to submit their efforts to different Apple app stores.

On the gaming front, Fortune is reporting that Google is expected to announce a new game streaming service at next month’s Game Developer’s Conference. 

The gaming unit is expected to be a Netflix-like streaming service, building on the success of Project Stream. Games are run on cloud servers and streamed directly to players’ PCs, tablets, TVs, or pretty much anything with a screen. That’s fairly typical with films and programs these days, but the interactive nature of games (and the historically laggy qualities of most internet connections ) have made it impractical.

Lots of competition in them thar game streaming hills: Steam, Epic Games, Sony Playstation, etc.

But it was also a $36 billion business in 2017, according to the Entertainment Software Association, and more and more games will be moving out of retail and into the cloud.

In other words, game on.

Written by turbotodd

February 20, 2019 at 11:55 am

Posted in 2019, app store, apple, google

Tagged with , , ,

Google in the Hot Box

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai is in the hotbox today on Capitol Hill as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee.

I’ve had some of the later testimony on in the background, and there have already been lots of questions about data and data sharing, preloaded apps, privacy, DoubleClick cookies and the merging of offline data (which I found sooo 1999!).

The New York Times is following much more closely, and here are some highlights of what they’ve observed:

Republican lawmakers displayed the party’s growing distrust toward Google, raising a broad array of tough questions on the search giant’s market power, plans to relaunch service in China, and whether the site suppresses conservative content. At the core of their questions was a concern over the company’s commitment to free expression.

Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Leader, had this to say:

“All of these topics — competition, censorship, bias, and others — point to one fundamental question that demands the nation’s attention. Are America’s technology companies serving as instruments of freedom or instruments of control?”

There was also discussion around liberal-leaning biases of employees and whether or not those biases “affect[ed] filtering decisions for its search engine,” a claim many right-leaning leaders have suggested in the past.

Location information was also prevalent, and Texas Republican Ted Poe held up his own smartphone and asked Pichai if Google was tracking his whereabouts if we walked to the other side of the room.

Pichai’s response: “Not by default,” suggesting it depended on the congressman’s app settings.

The Times also observed that Google’s been taking heat both internally and externally for “Project Dragonfly,” it’s initiative to build a censored search engine that could be used in the Chinese market.

My observation: Regulation of American Internet giants is not a question of if, but when, and how much. They’ve amassed too much personal data far too quickly and treated it with reckless abandon, and now the question becomes what measures can an American regulatory regime take that has both teeth for the consumer but doesn’t stifle innovation for industry.  

It’s a tall order and a complicated ask, but they, that’s why all those lobbyists get paid the big bucks! ; )

Written by turbotodd

December 11, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Bigger, Better, Badder Pixels

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Well, uh, that was awkward. 

Just a day after Google had to come clean about its Google+ privacy debacle (and announced the imminent demise of G+ for consumers once and for all), Google announced some new members of its hardware family.

I’m an iPhone guy, but I did purchase a Google Pixelbook chromebook earlier this year that I’ve been very happy with, so at minimum I wanted to pass along the speeds and feeds from yesterday’s Google Pixel 3/XL Android smartphone announcements.

The Verge has this tight breakdown:

The Pixel 3 starts at $799 for 64GB, with the 3 XL costing $899. Add $100 to either for the 128GB storage option. That’s a $150 and $50 premium over last year’s models, respectively.. Core specs for both include a Snapdragon 845, 4GB RAM (there’s no option for more), Bluetooth 5.0, and front-facing stereo speakers. Also inside is a new Titan M security chip, which Google says provides “on-device protection for login credentials, disk encryption, app data, and the integrity of the operating system.” Preorders for both phones begin today, and buyers will get six months of free YouTube Music service. The Pixels will officially launch on October 18th.

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL both feature larger screens than last year’s models thanks to slimmed down bezels — and the controversial notch in the case of the bigger phone. The 3 XL has a 6.3-inch display (up from six inches on the 2 XL), while the regular 3 has a 5.5-inch screen (up from five inches). Overall, though, the actual phones are very similar in size and handling to their direct predecessors.

And Google’s own blog post explains how the Pixel 3 will help you keep from talking to those undesirable humans you’re trying to avoid:

…Starting out in English in the U.S., Pixel 3’s on-device AI helps you screen phone calls and avoid spam calls. Imagine you’re at dinner with family or in a meeting at work and a call from an unknown caller comes in. Just tap on “Screen call” to find out who’s calling and why, as well as other information (as prompted by you). You’ll immediately see a transcript of the caller’s responses so that you can then decide whether to pick up, respond by tapping a quick reply (e.g., “I’ll call you back later”), or mark the call as spam and dismiss. Processing the call details on-device means these experiences are fast, private to you, and use up less battery.

Second, Pixel users in the U.S. will be the first to get access to an experimental new Google Assistant feature, powered by Duplex technology, which helps you complete real-world tasks over the phone, like calling a restaurant to book a table. This feature will initially be available later this year in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area to help people book restaurant reservations and will roll out to other U.S. cities in the future.

Because why talk to even yet another human to make a restaurant reservation when your Google Assistant can do all the work?

Written by turbotodd

October 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

Posted in 2018, google, privacy, smartphone

Tagged with ,

Google Hides A Bug

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Happy Monday.

If it’s Monday, it must be a security and/or privacy breach day!

In today’s privacy cluster—— spotlight, The Wall Street Journal informs us that Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network — and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring.

According to the story, the company did so “in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.”

This from the very same company that refused to send a very senior executive to the recent tech hearings on Capitol Hill (as opposed to Facebook and Twitter, who sent their COO and CEO, respectively).

Here’s the rundown on the core of the technical glitch and failed response:

A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident. A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger “immediate regulatory interest” and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica….

….The internal memo from legal and policy staff says the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure. The profile data that was exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status; it didn’t include phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, direct messages or any other type of communication data, one of the people said.

The PII crown jewels, if you will.  

In response, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is going to announce “a sweeping set of data privacy measures that include permanently shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+.”

To which millions of tech geeks like myself around the globe publicly ponder, “Is Google+ even still a thing?!!”

So you think that Google search history of yours that you wouldn’t want your spouse or closest friends and colleagues to see is still safe?!!

Think again.

Want to send Serge and Larry and the gang a message?  Go to the following page and delete your entire Google history:

https://myactivity.google.com/delete-activity

Written by turbotodd

October 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Posted in 2018, google, privacy

Tagged with , ,

Google’s Getting AMPed

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How about that gold medal for America’s own Chloe Kim in the halfpipe snowboarding competition in Pyeonchang.  She was flyin’ like an eagle, in spire of the harsh winter winds.

Keep on truckin’, US of A.

Meanwhile, over at the Alphabet, Google has unveiled some new capabilities that seemed to be aimed squarely at Snapchat and Instagram in some friendly competition of their own.

The new capabilities, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal, let publishes create visual-oriented stories in a mobile-friendly format not dissimilar from Snapchat and Instagram. 

Starting today, publishers can try out the developer preview of AMP stories, which include swipeable slides of text, photos, graphics and videos.

The Journal writes that “AMP stories are reminiscent of the immersive, vertical stories pioneered by Snapchat,” but that AMP stores don’t yet allow advertising to be incorporated, suggesting that Google is in the process of “building support for ads but didn’t disclose a time frame.”

It’s only a matter of time.

Written by turbotodd

February 13, 2018 at 9:31 am

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