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Found 924 results

  1. Judge wants to know if you googled for someone A court issued a warrant for what can only be described as a sweeping dragnet looking for anyone who has googled for one man's name. The case is, of course, much more complicated. Back in January, a man identified himself as a customer of a bank in Minnesota. They called and asked for a wire transfer from a line of credit to another bank; $28,500 in total. The bank asked for his name, date of birth, taxpayer ID; all of which he gladly provided. Instead of the ID of the victim, the fraudster faxed a copy of what looked like an original passport, but the picture wasn't of the victim, but of someone of similar age. The image had been faxed with a spoofed phone number masquerading as the victim's phone number. In short, a very complicated and complex scheme. Police are trying to find out who this man is, but they can't. The only chance they see is by trying to figure out who may have been interested in the victim and they're trying to force Google to help. Why Google? Because when they searched for the fake photo on the Internet, it popped no results with Bing or Yahoo, but it did with Google. They're working on the hypothesis that the individual must have also used Google to search for information on the victim. Excessively broad The warrant that was issued, however, has a massive scope, seeking to find any and all users or subscribers related to searches on the victim's name for five weeks. What information do they want? Specific times and dates for the searches, names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers, email addresses, payment information, account information, IP addresses, and MAC addresses. That's massive. It was all discovered by Tony Webster, a web engineer who compared it to getting a warrant for everyone who bought a pressure cooker on Amazon a month before the Boston bombing. It would all be circumstantial data unless corroborated with more information. Google had been subpoenaed on the topic but refused to comply. Now that there's an actual judge-signed-warrant , Google plans to fight against it as it considers it to be excessively broad. Source
  2. Watch what happens when you ask a Google Home about the CIA. Things get defensive, really fast. Nope, there's certainly no CIA spying going on here with the Google Home. Absolutely not. In fact, don't even bother asking the Google Home about the CIA. But if you do, the Google Home is going to get even more defensive. A YouTube clip from Michael Hraba shows the voice assistant's jargon-filled answer to "Do you know what the CIA is?" The question comes 14 days after WikiLeaks claimed to reveal the CIA's hacking tools, alleging the government agency spied on people through installing malware on their phones, computers and smart TVs. CNET is unable to verify whether the documents are real or have been altered. Google Home's response looked to make it very clear that their technology was safe from CIA spying. "No government entity, US or otherwise, has direct access to our user's information. Respect for the privacy and security of data you store with Google underpins our approach to producing data in response to legal requests. You can learn more in Google's transparency report." Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment. If you're confused by the assistant's answer, so is a person in the background of the video. "The hell is she talking about? I'm not even stoned and I don't understand what she's talking about," the voice said in the background. To make matters worse, the voice assistant didn't even answer the original question, on what the CIA is. It's like if somebody asked you do you know what cookies are and you answered with a rant talking about how you've never eaten sugar. Source
  3. Yahoo! open-source code fling builds a better Google, again Yahoo! last month married clustered compute to Google’s machine learning. The firm’s engineers released TensorFlowOnSpark (TFoS), getting the Google Brain Team’s machine-learning framework up and running on Spark and Hadoop clusters. Spark is the open-source cluster framework overseen by Apache and employed by Yahoo!, Netflix and others processing petabytes of data across thousands of nodes. TFoS code is available on GitHub under an Apache licence and for use on Amazon’s EC2. The idea of TFoS is deep learning on massively clustered systems – and all the benefits of processing and storage that entails – only in a Google-free setting and using an architecture that’s “easy” to build and that also delivers fast throughput. Not something that in building gets the job done, but with tradeoffs in the plumbing, like complexity or bottlenecks. They’ve also given Google’s TensorFlow a speed boost: an Infiniband-friendly protocol, freeing it from a rather restrictive marriage to Ethernet. Using TFoS you can run TensorFlow free of Google’s cloud and have it share servers already running other big-data apps and processes rather than dedicated clusters. It follows last year’s release of CaffeOnSpark from Yahoo! – Caffe being a deep learning framework. There already exist, of course, at least two projects aimed at getting Google’s ML framework running on Spark – SparkNet and TensorFrame. According to Yahoo!, though, they have problems – all related to hardwiring TensorFlow to Spark, a fact that makes installations complicated to set up and difficult to repeat. Also, TensorFlow processes cannot communicate directly with each other, which leads to delays and latency. Yahoo!’s answer is to use TFoS direct tensor communications among TensorFlow processes and therefore not to rely on Spark drivers. Yahoo!’s framework reads directly from HDFS files using file readers and QueueRunners while Spark RDD data is fed into a TensorFlow graph using the feed_dict mechanism. The search firm’s engineers have upgraded the TensorFlow plumbing for speed, using InfiniBand in-memory access. TensorFlow runs over Ethernet officially, but Yahoo!’s own Hadoop clusters employed Infiniband along with Ethernet. Yahoo!’s code is now on GitHub. Yahoo! has also released grpc protocol so that any Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) can go via InfiniBand. An RDMA rendezvous manager will now ensure tensors are written into remote servers’ memory with the time taken to reduce the creation of tensor buffers. Will this have any impact? Amazon Web Services last year moved to embrace MXNet as its chosen machine-learning framework. AWS has the scale of its cloud to make MXNet matter. Google, of course, has TensorFlow itself, which it open-sourced but which it will use as a means to cover itself in data and compute from those using the service. Facebook, meanwhile, is working on its own machine-learning models via its Applied Machine Learning to process billions of data points in posts. Yahoo!? If you think of Yahoo! at all these days, you’ll probably do so for the wrong reasons: massive hacks, gargantuan losses of personal data, the company’s failure as an early pioneer to see Google coming. In the near future, this one-time pioneer in internet search and ads will see its head added to the collection owned by faceless US telco Verizon, which includes that of another one-time internet pioneer and business giant – America Online. While all true, this simple analysis would misrepresent and overlook the impact of Yahoo!’s engineering achievements. Over the decades Yahoo! has contributed substantially to the greater good, publishing its own code as open source. Arguably Yahoo!’s greatest legacy once it is a division of Verizon will be big data, after one of its engineers – Doug Cutting – wrote an open-source implementation of Google’s MapReduce that became Hadoop. What followed was an entire ecosystem of startups and projects crunching data at scale – Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR to name three in a market some calculate will be worth $50bn by 2020. Admittedly, it has been a slow start, with Hadoop held back by lack of skills and missing features that would let otherwise “ordinary” users install and run Hadoop. This has slightly helped firms like Cloudera and Hortonworks sell services. Also, Hadoop is no simple software purchase: Hadoop is a “platform sell”, meaning if you buy in, you are committing the architectural direction of your organisation to Hadoop, too – data, tools, development. This, on the other hand, has not helped firms like Cloudera and Hortonworks. That said, Hadoop users are no longer restricted to the Silicon Valley elite. It’s now employed by high-street names like Barclays and M&S in the UK. Yahoo! used Hadoop for years on its ads and search services. If past performance is an indicator of potential, TFoS is a potentially grand parting gesture from a firm that has achieved greater success with its code than with its business. Source
  4. Chrome no longer trusts Symantec certificates Google Chrome developers are planning to restrict transport layer security certificates sold by Symantec-owned issuers after it was discovered that they might have issued more than 30,000 certificates. Software engineer on the Google Chrome team Ryan Sleevi said in an online forum that Chrome plans to stop recognizing the extended validation status of all certificates issued by Symantec-owned certificate authorities. The change is effective immediately. "Since January 19, the Google Chrome team has been investigating a series of failures by Symantec Corporation to properly validate certificates. Over the course of this investigation, the explanations provided by Symantec have revealed a continually increasing scope of misissuance with each set of questions from members of the Google Chrome team; an initial set of reportedly 127 certificates has expanded to include at least 30,000 certificates, issued over a period spanning several years. This is also coupled with a series of failures following the previous set of misissued certificates from Symantec, causing us to no longer have confidence in the certificate issuance policies and practices of Symantec over the past several years," they explain. These extended validation certificates are supposed to provide assurances that a site is authentic by showing the name of the validated domain name holder in the address bar. For the next year, however, Symantec is in hot water, and Chrome will not be displaying this information as the certificates will be downgraded. Step by step In another gradual move, Google will update Chrome to nullify all current valid certificates issued by Symantec's CAs. This has the potential of preventing millions of users from accessing large numbers of sites, especially since Symantec certificates account for about 30% of the Internet's valid certificates, according to 2015 data. Since nullifying all these certificate en masse would have a huge impact on the Internet, Chrome has a plan to gradually decrease the maximum age of certificates issued by Symantec. Chrome 59 will limit the expiration to 33 months after they were issued, while Chrome 64 will mention a validity of nine months. This is just the most recent development in an argument with Symantec issuers going back close to two years. It seems that the report from back in January when an independent security researcher discovered evidence that Symantec improperly issued 108 new certificates was just the tip of the iceberg. With Google having evidence of over 30,000 certificates being improperly issued, their decision is more than justified. Source
  5. Google Hangouts logo Google has been making some major changes to its messaging applications, constantly updating Allo with new features, transforming Android Messages and shifting Hangouts towards exclusive business use. Google might remove text messaging feature from its Android app, Hangouts, according to an email sent to its G Suite administrators. The email was posted on Reddit and reveals that Google plans to cut the option from the app on May 22 and request users to find another default messaging service. Hangouts users might receive a message starting March 27, informing them that the SMS feature will be removed and that they should use another chat app instead. The app will also ask them to select other messaging apps as default and if they refuse, they will be redirected to the Google Play Store to find a new alternative. SMS through user Google Voice numbers can still be sent The situation is a bit more complicated for Google Voice users, as they will no longer have the option to send carrier text messages via Hangouts from May 22. However, those who send SMS through their Google Voice numbers will be able to continue as before. Through this move, Google aims to attract more users to Allo, its newest messaging app, especially since the tech giant recently added a number of new features, including the option to share files. Moreover, Allo comes with Google Assistant integration, the virtual AI which started rolling out to Android-running smartphones, but not to tablets. Google is also continuing the process of positioning Hangouts as a messaging service for the workplace. To highlight this, Google recently announced a video service that facilitates the meeting between team members in Hangouts and an intelligent communications tool with direct messaging for co-workers who use this app. As for the default messaging app on Google mobile OS, Android Messages will be handling consumer SMS service and comes with RCS integration for sending in-call multimedia content. Source
  6. Google Removing Close Other Tabs, Close Tabs To The Right From Chrome Google plans to remove the tab context menu items Close other tabs, and Close tabs to the right, from the company's Chrome web browser. Google made the decision to remove the two context menu options years ago, according to the bug on the official Chromium site, but never got it done up until now. The company cites lack of use as the reason for removal. Additionally, the two context menu options add complexity too Chrome, and add additional scanning time "due to the menu length increase". Google removing Close other tabs, Close tabs to the right from Chrome Usage stats, which Google revealed in September 2016 highlight the relative usage of each context menu item of the browser: Duplicate: 23.21% Reload: 22.74% Pin / Unpin tab: 13.12% Close tab: 9.68% Reopen closed tab: 8.92% New tab: 6.63% Close tabs to the right: 6.06% Mute tab: 5.38% Close other tabs: 2.20% Unmute tab: 1.41% Bookmark all tabs: 0.64% Relative in this context means the percentage of all context menu actions by Chrome users. Close tabs to the right is listed there with 6.06% of all actions, and Close other tabs with 2.20% of all actions. This makes it a more popular action than mute tab, and less than 0.60% less popular than new tab. Chrome users have other means to spawn new tabs or close them which may explain the relatively low usage stats for those actions. Even close tab, and reopen closed tabs, are not too far away when it comes to relative usage of the actions. It appears that the removal has been assigned in February, and that Chromium and Chrome will see the removal of the two options in the near future. Side note: Google plans to remove the bookmark all tabs option as well from the browser. It is unclear however when this is going to happen, as no date has been given yet. Google notes that you still have an option to close multiple tabs. Simply hold down the Shift-key, click on all tabs that you want to remove, and use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-W to close the selected tabs. Now You: Are you affected by the change? It is interesting to note that Google thinks that these options are not used enough to keep them in Chrome Source Update: Read this post.
  7. Android also cracks down on risky apps and more Google has shared the results of its past year of stepping up Android security, showing not just how the mobile platform has cut down on malicious apps and other hazards, but its plan to roll out security updates to users faster than before. Throughout 2017, Google plans to improve regular security updates for the Android platform, streamlining the process so that manufacturers can get patches and updates out in a more timely manner across devices, according to Android Security Team's own Adrian Ludwig and Mel Miller. This move not only means a more consistent schedule for security updates, but helps Android mend its reputation for slow updates (as seen in the less-than-expedient release of Android Nougat) compared to its competition, Apple, which benefits from quicker, platform-wide updates thanks to its closed platform. Google also hopes its advances in machine learning will make it even more proactive at stopping cyber ne'er-do-wells, saying such technology can "significantly" improve its catch rate of harmful apps both inside and outside the Google Play Store. Lessons learned Android was able to beef up its security this past year using several new features such as Smart Lock, Safe Browsing, and Google-backed security APIs for third-party developers, according to Google's main report. From 2015-2016, Android's own Verify Apps feature claims to have dropped the amount of malicious activities via Google Play Store app to all-time lows, such lowering install rates of trojans by over 50% to just 0.016% of installs among the tech giant's 1.4 billion-strong user base. Backdoors and unauthorized loaders were also down, making up less than even a hundredth of a percent of installs in 2016. Phishing apps took an especially hard hit, down over 70% the previous year to an install rate of 0.0018%. Google boasts that by the end of 2016 only 0.05% of devices that downloaded apps exclusively from the Google Play Store has software that was potentially harmful, down from 0.15% in 2015. Curious to learn more? Android included full webinar as a companion piece to its annual security report, which you can watch below: Source
  8. Official Android O logo Today, Google launched the very first Android O Developer Preview, making the version available for download. The release is aimed at developers and Google did mention that it’s not intended for daily or consumer use. It’s worth mentioning that Android O Developer Preview packs lots of bugs and various stability issues, as expected. The new version can be installed on Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player. Google made the Developer Preview system images available, together with Release Notes that contain additional information on the new Android OS version. Google did mention that some apps may not function properly and that battery life may be regressed for screen-on and screen-off use cases. A number of new features were announced Google detailed several new features that developers will find in the first Android O preview. Therefore, this version comes with background limits, which will allow users to improve their phone’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance. As expected, Google brought notification channels, which are new “app-defined categories for notification content”. It will give developers the option to control different kinds of notifications and users, the ability to block or change the behavior of each channel individually. New visuals and grouping tools were also added. Moreover, this version introduces new autofill APIs for apps to store and secure data per user request. Picture-in-picture display was made available on phones and tablets so users can work on multiple apps at the same time. Google also added a new app overlay window and multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display. Adaptive icons in Android O Another change is adaptive icons that are displayed in different shapes, based on user preference. Connectivity options for Bluetooth and WiFi were also added, together with wide-gamut color for app developers. This release is mainly targeted at developers, while a stable version of Android O is expected to be announced later this year, after a number of developer previews are released. Source
  9. LineageOS Reaches Over A Million Installations, Adds More Devices To Its Roster After the collapse of Cyanogen, LineageOS rose from its ashes to create a new community and alternative Android OS. For the past several months, the team has been busy, releasing builds for an immense amount of devices. Now, it has been revealed that the team has hit a milestone with over one million installations. To be clear, the team did state that this doesn't necessarily mean that LineageOS has been installed on over a million devices, but that the OS itself has been installed over a million times. In addition to the announcement, it was revealed that there would be some updates to the OS which are listed below. Per usual, devices have been added to the 14.1 roster like the international and Verizon variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the international version of the LG G5, and the LG V20 for T-Mobile. As for 13.0 devices, you'll be looking at mainly Motorola handsets with the Droid 4, Droid RAZR, Droid Bionic, and Photon Q. More Info: LineageOS Source
  10. M&S joins the Google boycott. The bastion of the British high street joins the UK's government and a host of others in suspending its advertising with the internet giant. British retailer Marks and Spencer over the weekend became the latest company to remove its ads from Google for fear they'll be snuggled up against extremist content. M&S joins the British government and banks RBS, Lloyds and HSBC in suspending its adverts from all of Google's platforms in the wake of an investigation by The Times that uncovered advertisements for well-known companies appearing next to YouTube videos made by supporters of extremist groups. "In order to ensure brand safety, we are pausing activity across Google platforms whilst the matter is worked through," said a spokeswoman for Marks and Spencer in a statement. Ads appearing alongside YouTube videos generate money for the creator every time they're clicked, meaning that companies could inadvertently be giving money to extremists. McDonald's, L'Oreal, Audi, the BBC, the Guardian and advertising giant Havas have all pulled their digital ads from Google in the UK. Google's head of Europe, Matt Britten, reportedly apologized at a conference on Monday, according to the Guardian. "Clearly we need to do more," he said. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Source
  11. WikiLeaks and tech companies don't trust each other It's been quite a few days since WikiLeaks promised it would work with tech companies to patch the security exploits featured in the CIA leak, but no steps have been taken thus far. Following the reveal of the Vault 7 files from WikiLeaks, multiple files indicated the CIA used zero-day exploits to get into people's systems, including Android and iOS devices, Windows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs. After exposing all these files for the world to see, a lot of pressure was put on WikiLeaks because they did not go to the tech companies beforehand, helping them patch up their systems. In response, WikiLeaks said they would work with tech companies to secure everything. Motherboard writes, however, that WikiLeaks made demands on the companies before it would hand over the details needed to patch the vulnerabilities, including a requirement to issue security patches within 90 days. Depending on the size of the bug, this may or may not be possible. There's also the fact that companies may not want to sign up to anything without knowing what the flaws are. Wiki has a side of its own The same sources say, however, that companies are somewhat reluctant to write patches based on WikiLeaks' information because there are concerns about the origins of the leak. The CIA could not confirm they are original because intelligence agencies never can. That makes everyone worry that Russia may have been responsible for forwarding the info to WikiLeaks and, in the process, may have tweaked the information, which could make companies open up their systems instead of making them safer. WikiLeaks has a different take on the story and says that companies such as Google are taking their time because they are, in fact, working with the US government and their relationship prevents them from fixing these kinds of flaws. It looks like everyone is suspicious of the other and, given the circumstances, some have more rights to be wary than the others. Source
  12. WordPress gets less takedown requests than Google does for its sites WordPress is one of the largest blogging platforms in the world and, in this role, it's not surprising that it receives quite a few takedown notices for various pages its users post. What is surprising, however, is that it gets a lot less than Google does for WordPress pages. In Automattic's transparency report we find that in the second half of last year, they received 5,006 takedown requests, which is about the amount Google gets while an engineer boils water for their coffee. The number is in no way small, but it pales in comparison with the numbers Google gets. In fact, it was a while back that Google said it was asked to remove 1,500 links per minute. Automattic's report shows that out of the number of links it is asked to remove, it only takes down about half, which is consistent with numbers over the past few years. TorrentFreak points out, however, that Google receives more takedown requests for WordPress.com than Automattic does. In fact, in the past year, copyright holders asked Google to take down over 13,000 WordPress URLs, compared to less than 10,000 sent to Automattic. This makes little sense. Twisted way to get things done If copyright holders really cared about the content that someone is allegedly infringing upon, they'd go to the target and ask those responsible to take it down. Instead, they choose to take down search engine results, which isn't exactly the most logical way to go about things. "Those numbers aren't entirely surprising for a few reasons. When looking to limit access to material online, complaints will naturally look for the path of least resistance," Automattic told TorrentFreak. Automattic says it scrutinizes every single DMCA takedown notice for formal validity and fair use considerations, so removal is not guaranteed. Google, on the other hand, has an automated process and there are higher chances the links will disappear than for WordPress to actually take them down. Not by much, however. Google appears to have whitelisted the blogging platform so only 0.3% of the 13,100 takedown requests received over the past year have been removed. Source
  13. The browser now supports WebGL 2.0's advanced visuals. Did you recently notice a boost to 3D web graphics while using Chrome? It's not just you. Google has revealed that Chrome 56 and later releases support the WebGL 2.0 standard. You should see faster performance, new texture types and visual effects (such as volume-based effects and tone mapping). And importantly, it's now on par with the same OpenGL ES 3 spec you see in newer mobile games -- it might now be possible to port your favorite phone title to Chrome without losing graphical detail. You should see the upgrade in all desktop versions of the browser. Android, meanwhile, is "coming soon." This isn't a completely new development when Firefox and Opera also have WebGL 2.0 support. However, Chrome's considerably larger usage share (58.5 percent as of February, according to Net Market Share) makes this a big deal. It not only increases the chances that you can see this next-level 3D on the web, but gives creators a stronger incentive to take advantage of that extra visual prowess. Article source
  14. The Guetzli project shows there's room to improve the venerable compression tech. Too bad Google's software is slow and not so practical for most sites right now. It's a common problem: A website's text is smudged with stray pixels. It's as much fun as seeing white dog hairs on the black couch. The culprit is the JPEG file format, which can compress graphics so they load faster on your PC and eat up less of your phone's monthly data plan. There have been lots of efforts to do better -- Microsoft's JPEG XR and Google's WebP and RAISR among them -- but their success has been limited by the ubiquity of JPEG support. Now Google thinks it's found a better way to compress JPEG. In research published Thursday, it details technology called Guetzli that cuts JPEG file sizes by 35 percent in its testing. The idea isn't to replace JPEG, but tweak its settings to minimize the likelihood we'll notice problems when files are squeezed. Smaller file sizes might seem an arcane technology concern, but they're crucial to fast-loading websites. The average web page has ballooned from about 1 megabyte five years ago to about 2.5MB today, according to the HTTP Archive, and bigger pages load slowly. The faster the web page, the happier everyone is: Speed means we buy more online, read more news pages and spend more time checking friends' social network activity. For Google's Guetzli speed boost, researchers developed a test called Butteraugli designed to model human vision. Compression works by throwing out data that we won't notice is missing, and the point of Butteraugli is to automate testing of different compression settings. Guetzli fiddles with two particular parts of JPEG compression -- discrete cosine transform, which governs how details like object edges are recorded, and quantization, which governs which colors are preserved and which are sacrificed to cut file size. "Butteraugli takes into account ... properties of vision that most JPEG encoders do not make use of," Google researchers said in a Guetzli research paper (PDF). They validated their results in a separate study detailing tests of Butteraugli with actual people (PDF). That automation is key. Guetzli works by producing multiple candidates of compressed JPEGs and then comparing them to see which is best. If you want to try it, Google released Guetzli for free as open-source software. Google isn't the only one trying this approach. Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, began a project in 2014 called Mozjpeg designed to improve on standard compression engines. Google's tests showed that Guetzli outdoes Mozilla's tool by 29 to 45 percent. Google says its Guetzli compression produces JPEG images with fewer photo-degrading artifacts. These zoomed-in images show the original at left, Guetzli compression in the middle, and an alternative called libjpeg at right. Note how the Guetzli compression on the right is smoother but lacks some richer colors of the libjpeg compression in the center. The original image is on the left. There's no free lunch here, though. Guetzli may indeed produce better perceived quality at a given file size, but note for example how some green areas are washed out in the eye comparison image above. And although Google compared Guetzli to mozjpeg and another JPEG encoder called libjpeg, there are other options, too. Another problem: speed of compressing images. "Guetzli is rather slow to encode," the researchers said, suggesting it's most likely useful on image-heavy websites. "Although Guetzli may be too slow for many practical uses, we hope that it can show direction for future image format design," the researchers said. Source
  15. Google I/O Google is said to offer a first glimpse at Android O during the Google I/O conference, set to take place in May. Until then, new information about the upcoming OS version continues to surface online, the latest referring to changes regarding notifications. Apparently, Google intends to bring lots of changes to notifications in Android O, including app icon badges for notifications. This would mean that each notification would carry the app icon, and users would be able to get a quick glance at how many notifications they have for any given app simply by looking at the home screen. In addition, 9to5Google stated that Android O could come with a completely redesigned notification system, but that remains to be seen. Google might also include a picture-in-picture mode just like on Android TV. Moreover, Google might be working on a smart text selection floating toolbar with Assistant integration. The feature would automatically copy relevant information from apps and surface it when needed. The “Copy Less” feature was mentioned in an earlier report, stating that it would include integration with Google Assistant. Restricted background activities from apps and dynamically changing icons Google might also bring the restricted background activities from apps feature to Android O. The tool is currently found in Chrome 57 and it allows users to reduce power consumption of background tabs, so that battery life would be optimized. The stricter throttling tool in Chrome 57 can result in 25% less power consumption. Dynamically changing icons is another feature revealed in the report, a feature that is currently found in the Pixel Launcher for Google Pixel smartphones. Furthermore, Google may intend to bring lots of improvements to MediaRecorder API, which allows apps to capture audio and video in order to save data to persistent storage. Moreover, improvements could also be brought to enterprise features and audio latency. Take this information with a grain of salt for now, and we’ll just have to wait and see what Google has in store for Android O. When it comes to the name of the upcoming version, some have hinted towards Android Oreo, but it’s simply too early to say for sure. Source
  16. Gmail gets a new feature Gmail users will soon be able to enjoy a new feature allowing them to watch videos right within their emails. For many years, Gmail users have enjoyed some rather great features, but they don't have it all. Google is doing its best, however, so the latest update will allow users to watch videos within Gmail, by using the same streaming infrastructure as YouTube and Google Drive. The thing is, this new feature only works if you're sending over small videos, because, as everyone knows, Gmail only permits attachments of 25MB. When it comes to video content, especially of higher quality, 25MB is easily reached even with short clips. Those larger files are automatically uploaded to Google Drive anyway, which means they can be streamed regardless if Gmail supports this feature or not. The change obviously targets smaller clips, funny videos you want to share with your friends and family of your dog chasing its tail, or your kid throwing the food bowl across the room. Now, people won't have to download the attachment anymore, and when it comes to less tech-savvy family members, that can only mean you save a lot of time you'd spend explaining how to open a downloaded file. Changes coming soon "Today, we’re rolling out a quality of life improvement to Gmail desktop users that makes previewing video attachments in Gmail much smoother and quicker. Previously, in order to view a video attachment in Gmail, you would have to download it to your computer and open it with a media player. Starting today, when opening an email with video attachments, you will see a thumbnail of the video and have the ability to stream it, right from inside Gmail," reads Google's blog post. The changes are incoming, but it might take two weeks to see them in your Inbox, depending on how Google's gradual rollout hits you. Source
  17. Google Chrome 57 is the first stable version of the web browser for the desktop that ships with the background tab throttling power optimization feature. Google announced back in January 2017 that its Chrome web browser would start to throttle expensive background pages in the near future. This change is now live in Chrome Stable. According to the new blog post on the official Chromium Blog, Chrome "will throttle individual background tabs by limiting the timer fire rate for background tabs using excessive power". While timers of background tabs in Chrome were limited to run once per second already, the change throttles access to the CPU so that background tabs may use on average 1% of a core when they run in the background. Google notes that tabs that run real-time applications such as audio playing in the background or WebRTC / WebSockets are not affected by the change. The change leads to 25% "fewer busy background tabs" according to Google, but benchmarks for how that translates to power improvement has not been published by the company. Users may opt out of the extra tab throttling right now by loading Chrome with the --disable-background-timer-throttling flag. This is done in the following way on Windows machines: Right-click on the Chrome icon in the taskbar. Right-click on Chrome in the menu that opens, and select properties from it. Add --disable-background-timer-throttling to the end of the target field. Make sure there is a space between the path and the flag, e.g. "C:\Users\Martin\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome SxS\Application\chrome.exe" --disable-background-timer-throttling Google created the flag for "use cases like running test suites and other sanctioned heavy computations", but it is available to all users of the browser. The company has long term plans for the feature (and we mean long term as the last entry of the roadmap is set to 2020+): Explicit opt-outs (~Q2 2017, when FeaturePolicy ships) Suspend all tasks on mobile (~Q2 2017) Throttling non-timer tasks (~Q2 2017) Budget-based throttling for offscreen frames (~Q3 2017) Throttling web workers (~2018) Suspend all background tabs (~2018) Remove opt-outs (~2020+) Google engineers plan to enable opt-outs that web apps and sites may use to opt-out from some forms of throttling. Also, in the second quarter of 2017, Google plans to throttle non-timer tasks, e.g. loading tasks, web workers in 2018, and to suspend all background tabs in 2018 as well. Article source
  18. Telegram v3.18.0 Beta Overview: Pure instant messaging — simple, fast, secure, and synced across all your devices. Over 100 million active users in two and a half years. FAST: Telegram is the fastest messaging app on the market, connecting people via a unique, distributed network of data centers around the globe. SYNCED: You can access your messages from all your devices at once. Start typing on your phone and finish the message from your tablet or laptop. Never lose your data again. UNLIMITED: You can send media and files, without any limits on their type and size. Your entire chat history will require no disk space on your device, and will be securely stored in the Telegram cloud for as long as you need it. SECURE: We made it our mission to provide the best security combined with ease of use. Everything on Telegram, including chats, groups, media, etc. is encrypted using a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange. POWERFUL: You can create group chats for up to 5,000 members, share large videos, documents of any type (.DOC, .MP3, .ZIP, etc.), and even set up bots for specific tasks. It's the perfect tool for hosting online communities and coordinating teamwork. RELIABLE: Built to deliver your messages in the minimum bytes possible, Telegram is the most reliable messaging system ever made. It works even on the weakest mobile connections. FUN: Telegram has powerful photo and video editing tools and an open sticker/GIF platform to cater to all your expressive needs. SIMPLE: While providing an unprecedented array of features, we are taking great care to keep the interface clean. With its minimalist design, Telegram is lean and easy to use. 100% FREE & NO ADS: Telegram is free and will always be free. We are not going to sell ads or introduce subscription fees. PRIVATE: We take your privacy seriously and will never give third parties access to your data. For those interested in maximum privacy, Telegram offers Secret Chats. Secret Chat messages can be programmed to self-destruct automatically from both participating devices. This way you can send all types of disappearing content — messages, photos, videos, and even files. Secret Chats use end-to-end encryption to ensure that a message can only be read by its intended recipient. We keep expanding the boundaries of what you can do with a messaging app. Don’t wait years for older messengers to catch up with Telegram — join the revolution today. Requirements: 4.0+ What's New: Mar 15 | v3.18 New! Added the possibility of routine Voice Calls through connected Bluetooth devices New! Email hint and verification for Payment methods and invoice creation New! Customized ringtone per user New! Busy and network issues recognition for VoIP New! Slow connection enhancements New! Additional: I am not fully sure. But Telegram might be giving an option to record calls also. This app has NO advertisements Downloads: Note: To make use of the voice calls feature, both the end-users should have this specific version. Mirror:
  19. Google Chrome cuts down power consumption for all those background tabs you keep The latest Chrome version has been tweaked to help you save some power. Everyone who uses this particular browser knows that Chrome is bad when it comes to power usage and terrible when it comes to memory usage. This time around, it seems that at least one of the issues has been fixed to a certain extent. "Starting in version 57, Chrome will throttle individual background tabs by limiting the timer fire rate for background tabs using excessive power," reads Google's post signed by Alexander Timin, software engineer with the Chromium team. He says the changes were made to prolong battery life, for which purpose Chrome should minimize power impact from things users can't even see, including background tabs, which usually consume about a third of Chrome's power usage on the desktop. Chrome 57 comes with a new throttling policy. The browser will delay timers to limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in the background. That does not include tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC. 25% improvement "We've found that this throttling mechanism leads to 25% fewer busy background tabs. In the long-term, the ideal is for background tabs to be fully suspended and instead rely on new APIs for service workers to do work in the background," Timin adds. The new Chrome 57 has been out for a few days already, and it can be downloaded at any time. Alternatively, you can update the Chrome you have already installed. If you're always on the go and need your laptop battery to keep on for just a little bit longer, then this is great news because your laptop may stay alive for that extra minute you need to get your work done. Let's just hope they find ways to improve the overall impact of Chrome on the system. Source
  20. Google gets some big names in its corner Tech companies are joining forces to fight against the FBI's desire to get its hands on people's emails. Apple, Amazon, Cisco, and Microsoft have all filed an amicus brief in support of Google. Silicon Valley giants have known for years how difficult it is to fight against the government, especially when it wants to get its hands on the data of your users. This time, they're working together to back Google who was ordered by a court to hand over emails in response to an FBI search warrant. In this particular situation, the court said it doesn't matter if Google has the emails stored on data centers that are not on the territory of the United States. “When a warrant seeks email content from a foreign data center, that invasion of privacy occurs outside the United States — in the place where the customers’ private communications are stored, and where they are accessed, and copied for the benefit of law enforcement, without the customer’s consent,” reads the brief filed by the tech giants Apple, Amazon, Cisco, and Microsoft. There's a flip side They believe that granting access to the FBI only creates a precedent for other countries to demand emails sent and received by US citizens, stored on US soil, by using the same methods. This, of course, would be severely frowned upon by those very same courts that are now ordering Google to supply the FBI with data on its customers stored in foreign data centers. "Our sister nations clearly view US warrants directing service providers to access, copy, and transmit to the United States data stored on servers located within their territory as an extraterritorial act on the part of the US government," the file further reads. Google has previously said that it would battle against the court order and it seems that it has decided to bring in backup. In a similar situation, the court sided with Microsoft, which is probably part of the reason the company decided to join in on the matter. There's also the fact that all these companies face the same difficulties when fighting against the government's overreach and that such a decision could be used as precedent in cases against themselves. Source
  21. Google takes down Chamois Google has just taken down a huge family of malicious Android apps it named Chamois. According to the company, these apps may have infected millions of devices. Chamois, named after a type of mountain goat, is just the latest attempt to take advantage of the massive Android range of devices in a large-scale ad fraud. In the past, Hummingbad infected about 10 million devices at its peak, earning the attackers behind it over $300,000 a month. "We detected Chamois during a routine ad traffic quality evaluation. We analyzed malicious apps based on Chamois and found that they employed several methods to avoid detection and tried to trick users into clicking ads by displaying deceptive graphics. This sometimes resulted in downloading of other apps that commit SMS fraud. So we blocked the Chamois app family using Verify Apps and also kicked out bad actors who were trying to game our ad system," reads a blog post signed by the company's Security Software Engineers Bernhard Grill, Megan Ruthven and Xin Zhao. Given Google's previous experience with ad fraud apps like this one helped quite a bit in taking swift action to protect Android users and advertisers alike. The intricacies of Chamois It seems the malicious apps didn't appear in the device's app list so users couldn't even see it to uninstall it, as it often happens with this type of tools. This is where Verify Apps comes into play, a tool Google developed to help users discover potentially harmful applications and delete them. According to Google, Chamois was one of the largest families of malicious apps seen on Android to date, being distributed through multiple channels. Chamois had a number of features that made it unusual. For instance, its code was executed in 4 distinct stages using different file formats. This multi-stage process made it more complicated to immediately identify apps in this family as harmful because the layers have to be peeled first to reach the malicious part. The Chamois family The Chamois family apps could also evade detection by using obfuscation and anti-analysis techniques, which were countered by Google's systems. Furthermore, apps also used a custom, encrypted file storage for its config files, as well as additional code that required deeper analysis to understand the dangers of the app. Google says it went through more than 100,000 lines of sophisticated code to better understand Chamois. The company did not reveal any of the infected app names, but we assume they've all been taken care of already. Source
  22. Fake news is the plague we need to fight against Tim Berners-Lee, the man we have to thank for inventing the World Wide Web, believes there are several things that need to be done to ensure the future of the web in order to make this a platform that benefits humanity - fight against fake news, political advertisements and data sovereignty. As the World Wide Web turns 28, Berners-Lee celebrates the occasion. He writes that over the past year he has become increasingly worried about three trends that he believes harm the web. The first thing the world needs to fight against is fake news. "Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And, they choose what to show us based on algorithms which learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting," Berners-Lee writes. "The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or ‘fake news’, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain." He takes things a step forward and gives names. He believes that we must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while also avoiding the creation of any central bodies that decide what's true or not because that's another problem altogether. It's not just fake-news to fight against Another thing we need to fight against is government over-reach in surveillance laws, including in court, if need be. "We need more algorithmic transparency to understand how important decisions that affect our lives are being made, and perhaps a set of common principles to be followed," he adds. Political advertising online needs to be more transparent, he believes, especially considering that during the 2016 US elections as many as 50,000 variations of adverts were being served every single day on Facebook. There are many problems plaguing the world wide web, but some are more pressing than others, it seems. TheWeb Foundation, which Berners-Lee leads, will be working on many of these issues as part of the new five-year strategy. "I may have invented the web, but all of you have helped to create what it is today. All the blogs, posts, tweets, photos, videos, applications, web pages and more represent the contributions of millions of you around the world building our online community. [...] It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone," Tim Berners-Lee concludes. Source
  23. Google Turns reCAPTCHA Invisible The new system will tell whether you're a bot or not without you having to figure out what's written in pictures So, what exactly happened? Well, Google, who bought reCAPTCHA years ago, introduced the Invisible reCAPTCHA. What does that mean? It means that you, as a regular Internet user, won't be bothered by it to tick checkboxes, decipher jumbled writing and so on. It will, however, still stand in the way of bots. " The Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) was always rather simple to figure out. You had to type in a few mumbled words or tick a checkbox to prove you're not a robot. The newer version doesn't use any of these, however, because it works in the background to identify bots from humans. Google says the system uses a combination of "machine learning and advanced risk analysis that adapts to new and emerging threats." There are no more details and that's fine with us at this point because too much of those and bot-makers could learn how to crack it. Helping you help me reCAPTCHA was purchased by Google way back in 2009 and was put to use to protect websites from bots, but also to help Google. Google digitizes millions of books, but sometimes its text recognition system doesn't work too well. Then, it used areas of text its system couldn't understand and ask people to type in the words they saw. There was also the time when Google improved its Street View system with your help by asking you to tell it what numbers you saw in various pictures, which were, in fact, street and house numbers it captured with its cars. Next, the grid of pictures where Google asked you to pick all images showing traffic signs was used to train its computer image recognition algorithms. As sites switch to the new invisible CAPTCHA system, you will no longer even see the prompts to check boxes. If your system is flagged by Google as suspicious, well, you'll just have to go through the usual loops to get to where you want to go. Source
  24. Windows 10 is safe from the CIA Microsoft has finally issued a statement regarding the WikiLeaks Vault 7 leak of CIA documents regarding the agency's hacking powers, saying that computers running Windows 10 software should be safe. According to Microsoft's statement, the vulnerabilities mentioned in the CIA files were dated and appeared to target older systems. "We take security issues very seriously and are continuing a deeper analysis to determine if additional steps are necessary to further protect our customers," the company said. Should any additional threats be discovered, Microsoft promises to inform customers. There is no mention whether people using previous Windows version are safe from CIA attacks or not. Apple, Google, Linux claim users are safe Microsoft's statement falls in line with what we've been hearing from all over the tech community. Apple and Google have said that customers running their latest software appear to be safe from vulnerabilities and that most of the issues mentioned in the WikiLeaks files have already been fixed. It's unclear what vulnerabilities are yet to be patched or whether there really are any. The Linux Foundation has also addressed the issue with a rather relaxed statement. They said that given the open-source nature of the operating system, with security updates being released every few days, there are little chances for users to be in danger from the CIA as any vulnerabilities they might have been able to exploit have long since been fixed. The major problem exposed by the CIA files WikiLeaks dumped the other day is the fact that the agency expressed a desire to stockpile zero-day vulnerabilities and find ways to exploit them. If its hackers didn't find the security holes, the CIA bought it off the Internet. Such vulnerabilities in iOS and Android were used by the CIA to create malware which got them full access to a target's phone, bypassing even encryption layers set down by apps such as WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. This, of course, is the exact type of thing any serious malware can do. By refusing to disclose these zero-days to the affected companies, however, the CIA put billions of users at risk. After all, if the CIA found the vulnerability, who's to say other didn't too? Samsung and LG are still looking into the situation and are expected to release statements on the matter too. Source
  25. Google’s Android is big on customization features, as any Android-running smartphone user has the option to change the launcher, wallpaper, app icons, and do much more on their devices. The Play Store offers a plenitude of options, there’s only the question of which one to pick. Google has sought to answer this question and introduced a new section on its official Android website. Android.com is filled with all sorts of tips and information on how to use Android-running phones and make the most out of their features. Question in myAndroid Taste Test MyAndroid Taste Test requires you to take only a few minutes and answer a few fun questions to see which wallpaper, icons, launcher and other customization options best suit them. Interestingly, the first page includes a picture of the G6, the latest premium smartphone from LG. Get suggestions of wallpapers, icons and launchers The questions are based on your preferences when it comes to images, as well as information displayed on the home screen of your smartphone. You will have to pick from monochromatic or multicolor, warm or cold colors, vibrant or muted, and so on. You will also have to pick between types of animation, patterns, shapes, as well as pick from getting weather information, the news or quick access to music. Google also requires you to specify whether you’re an Android beginner, intermediate user or expert. Results of myAndroid Taste Test Once you’ve completed the test, you will receive suggestions of wallpapers that best suit your preferences, launchers that provide info on the home screen based on what you want to see first, as well as themes for icons and more. Google also provides you with shortcuts to applications in the Play Store, so you can get widgets and keyboard themes that best suit you. If you’ve completed the test on your computer, you can access the links and push installs to your smartphone, so you wouldn’t have to manually search for the apps on your mobile device. Source