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Posts Tagged ‘ Google ’

How to turn off Google Location Tracking

Monday, August 25th, 2014

The problem with those crazy ideas about cellphones and Big Brother is that, occasionally, it turns out they were right. If you are an Android phone user the chances are that you have used your Google account to log in to the store, sync your emails, and all that good stuff. I certainly have, on two distinct phones and another brace of Android tablets.

And, I’ve been travelling – oh boy, have I ever been travelling. 50,000 air miles since last September, up and down to Cornwall, over to the Hague a couple of times, down to Switzerland, and in the last couple of weeks, chugging down the Canal de Borgogne at 5km/h. In all those places, my ancient but sturdy Moto XT890 has come with me.


Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Schmdit at SXSW 2014SXSW Interactive is a strange place, attracting all the greatest tech minds to the city of Austin in Texas. The result is a lot of over-excited people getting over-excited about new ideas, most of which will disappear in a puff of over-excited smoke, and it’s also a chance for big companies to push their message to a watching world. (more…)

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Posted in: Random


Censorship by copyright: Myles Powers and abuse of DMCA takedowns

Monday, February 17th, 2014


One of the problems inherent in any form of censorship — even censorship that’s valid in the first place — is function creep.

Come up with a clever way to block illegal images of child sexual abuse, and someone will want to use it to block piracy websites, and so on. Force ISPs to install parental-control filters, and soon the infrastructure is being used to block extremist videos and other “harmful content”. And so on. It’s all well-intentioned, but censorship with good intentions can still go wrong.

Here’s one such example. The wonderfully named Myles Power is a science blogger from Middlesbrough. His website features oodles of educational YouTube videos, from how to extract DNA from strawberries to making a basic jet engine at home.


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Posted in: Random


Google in my Nest? Not a chance

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


I very much like Nest. I like its approach, which it’s neatly boiled down to “reinvent unloved but important home products”.

I like Nest’s products: a smoke alarm that issues verbal warnings — children are more likely to wake up to a human voice than a beeping alarm, apparently — and glows softly as you pad underneath it at night. I also like its learning thermostat, which reacts to how and when you use your heating and allows you to start warming your home as you, say, make your way back from the airport.

It applies clever design and technology to forgotten appliances you use every day which is, if you think about, everything innovation in tech should be.


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Posted in: Newsdesk, Rant


How to stop Google+ strangers contacting you on Gmail

Friday, January 10th, 2014


Google has just switched on a new Gmail feature that allows any Google+ user to send you email, even if they’re a complete stranger.

If you have a Google+ profile and the sender has chosen to add you to their Google+ circles, your name will now pop up as a suggested recipient in their “To:” field – regardless of whether you’ve added them back, or indeed whether you know them at all.


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Posted in: Web


Why is Google pumping more money into Firefox?

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Google search on Firefox

Something quite extraordinary has happened to Mozilla. The Firefox maker’s revenue has almost doubled from $163 million in 2011 to $311 million in 2012, according to financial statements released last week.

What’s so strange? Well, Mozilla is almost entirely reliant on Google for its income. In fact, 90% of Mozilla’s revenue comes from the income generated by Google being the default search engine in Firefox, with Google paying Mozilla a fee for the referrals generated.

So why did Google’s payments to Mozilla increase so significantly?


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Posted in: Newsdesk


Google’s support policies shove users towards Chrome

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Road closed

Google has announced that it will stop supporting Internet Explorer 9 with Google Apps, meaning users of Microsoft’s ageing browser will likely lose access to key features.

It’s not clear exactly what functionality IE9 users will surrender, but a support page on Google’s site claims that “unsupported browsers” will only be able to access Calendars in read mode and the basic HTML version of Gmail (although given that descendants of Picasso now appear to be in charge of the regular Gmail interface, that may not be such a bad thing).

Google’s announcement on dropping support for IE9 claims there’s nothing pernicious going on here, merely that it’s the continuation of a long-stated policy to support only the past two versions of major browsers. Now Microsoft’s unveiled IE11 with Windows 8.1, it’s time to push IE9 off the cliff. “End users who access Gmail and other Google Apps services from an unsupported browser will be notified within the next few weeks through an in-product notification message or an interstitial pages with information about modern browsers and how to upgrade to them,” Google’s blog post states.


HP Chromebook 11 review: first look

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013


Meet the Chromebook family’s newest arrival – the HP Chromebook 11. With an 11.6in chassis, an IPS screen and a dual-core ARM processor, this £229 Chrome OS device is hoping to tempt buyers away from budget Windows 8 laptops.


Driven to despair by Google Drive

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Google Drive

Last month I wrote a disappointed blog post about how Google seems to be losing sight of the user focus that once made it great. Over the weekend I experienced another example of this.

First, a bit of background. I love Dropbox. Everybody loves Dropbox. But over the years I’ve found its free space allowance a bit of a squeeze. I’ve tried SkyDrive as an alternative, but I don’t like the online interface. I’ve tried Barracuda Networks’ Copy service, which certainly gives you plenty of space – but it hasn’t proved wholly reliable when it comes to syncing file A to computer B.

So last week, when Google announced that anyone setting up Quickoffice before 26 September would get an extra 10GB of storage for the next two years, I decided to switch to Google Drive as my everyday tool for keeping my work PC, home PC and laptop in sync.

Big mistake. Huge.


Why is Google going backwards?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013


A few months ago I wrote a column in the magazine arguing that we shouldn’t feel too aggrieved when Google tinkers with or discontinues free web services. But I have to admit I’m finding it hard to remain sanguine when so much about the company’s free offerings has changed for the worse lately.

For a start, January saw the unveiling of the new Google Image Search – an ugly step backwards, in my view, that wastes space while concealing useful information and functions. One site operator reported  an 80% drop in traffic from Google Image searches in the month following the redesign, indicating that users have been switching off in droves.







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