Last September, an appeals court ruled that Google’s Street View Wi-Fi sniffing tactics violated the Wiretap Act, and now Google is asking the Supreme Court to overrule that decision.
In order to get accurate Street View data, Google sniffs unencrypted Wi-Fi networks such as nearby homes and businesses. Some people see it as wiretapping, but Google thinks capturing unencrypted Wi-Fi is not wiretapping. After further investigations, it was found that an engineer was electronically eavesdropping as part of a 20-percent project, but he also urged the company’s legal team to “weigh in” before deploying the code to the Street View fleet. That request “slipped through the cracks,” and Google apologized with the understanding they would destroy the never used data.
If you thought for a second that Google was out of the hardware business, then think again. In what came out of nowhere, Bloomberg is reporting that Google just made a deal to buy Samsung Electronics for $200 billion in cash and stock. We aren’t talking just the mobile division folks, we are talking the whole shabang, including TVs, appliances, display panels, and semiconductors.
We found it hard to believe that Google would buy Motorola and turn around and sell it to Lenovo pretty quickly, but I think it’s clear that Motorola was too limited. Motorola only dealt with the mobile side, but in order for Google to bring Android to the next level, TVs and appliances need to be in the mix as well. Owning both companies at the same time would certainly be an antitrust issue.
Apple and Samsung were scheduled to return to the courtroom today in the latest round of legal disputes between the two smartphone giants. Unlike the first trial that focused heavily on hardware issues, this new round will emphasize software, especially features found in the Android and iOS operating systems. That focus on software features found in Android means Google will play a much larger role this time around. Read more
[We will update this post as more jokes come in]
To check out last year’s antics, click here.
Google seeking the best Pokémon Master to bring Google Maps to the next dimension
Using Maps on their Android or iOS device, applicants need to find each and every one of the wild Pokémon. All applicants that are able to collect every Pokémon will be invited to the Googleplex for the final round of hiring. The winner will be deemed, Pokémon Master, and will start employment at Google on September 1, 2014. Now, yes, this is a joke, but the best part of it is that if you go into Google Maps now on your Android phone or iPhone, tap the search bar and press on the “Press Start” link, you will start seeing Pokémon now. I kid you not. You have until April 2 at 2:00pm PST to capture all of them. Good luck and check out the video below…..
Crackle and Vudu recently updated their app to support Chromecast, but these aren’t the only apps as Rdio’s latest update also brings Chromecast support to its users as well.
Rdio, a subscription-based music streaming service with over 20 million tracks to play, now allows users to stream tracks, albums, stations and playlists from their smartphone or tablet to any TV via Google’s Chromecast. This means that users can also control the playback of contents streamed to the TV via Chromecast using their device. In addition, users can also stream content to their TV via Chromecast with Google’s Chrome web browser. Read more
Google has now added the Crackle app to its list of Chromecast supported app which means you no longer have to watch Crackle movies and shows on just your smartphone or tablet if you own a Chromecast device. Now, you can stream all Crackle movies and TV shows right to your TV via Chromecast.
The Crackle app, a Sony-owned free video on demand service, just received an update today with support for Google’s Chromecast. The app allows you to view a number of TV shows and movies for free and includes “new movies and series created by Crackle such as Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Chosen, Extraction, Cleaners and more.” The app currently works in US, Canada, UK, Australia, Brazil and Latin America. Read more
Google is done letting people get down and dirty with the Play Store. The Google Play Developer Program policies are getting revamped and it should expel any “erotic” content from the store. So your eyeballs will need a new storefront to glean upon as you wipe the drool from your face. While there was nothing very raunchy found in the Play Store, there was certainly some content that should not have been there since it is a store for everyone. For example, there were some wallpaper apps with scantily clad women. There is a time and a place and the Play Store just isn’t that place. Read more
A week ago, we reported that a new version of Android (KTU65) showed up in the Chromium code. Yesterday, folks at myce spotted the Android 4.4.3 running on the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 with the build number KTU83 running on Nexus 5, codenamed “Hammerhead”.
In addition, a Google employee was found running build KTU79 on a Nexus 7 device which was created on March 21. We explained before in detail what each letter or number in the build number designate and the first letter designates the Android version (‘K’ for KitKat). So the build number KTU83 starts with the letter ‘K’ referring to KitKat. The second letter is the branch code, which for KitKat is a ‘T’, although Google used other letters previously as well. The ‘U’ and the numbers after it refer to the quarter release, ‘U’ is Q1 2014 and after ‘U’ comes the number 83 which means the 83rd day of Q1 which basically means that it was built on March 24.
Everyone knows Google‘s reputation as being a great place to work, as outlined by the movie The Interns. It’s fun, colorful, and has a number of great benefits. Well now there’s an internal team at Google that’s aiming at making it an even better place to work. The study is basically aimed at finding out what makes employees happy, efficient, and successful. Not only that, but the study is supposed to continue for up to 100 years!
Google’s Senior VP for People Operations, Laszlo Bock, detailed the study in a guest article for the Harvard Business Review. The plan is to take anonymous surveys of 4000 employees. The study is only in its second year, but Bock says that most people fall under one of two categories: the “segmentors” or the “integrators”. Segmentors, who represent 31%, are able to cut off their outside concerns at work, and integrators are worried about what’s happening at work, and often wish they were segmentors.
In a very smart move, Google is mandating that Android manufacturers use “Powered by Android” branding on their devices. The HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S 5 are the first devices to do this. This “Powered by Android” branding will appear during the boot sequence in both phones, and we suspect all future Android phones. At least the ones that use Google Play Services.
I’m surprised Google didn’t mandate this from the very beginning. If you think about it, with all the manufacturer custom UIs such as TouchWiz and Sense, mainstream consumers have no idea that their own phone is running Android. Most people probably think these manufacturers are using their own proprietary software much like Apple is with iOS. Well in a way, they are, but at least they will know there are other options out there, even though the experience might not be identical.