Chrome

Chrome For Android Is Now Almost Entirely Open Source 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the strong-work dept.
jones_supa writes: After lots of work by Chrome for Android team and a huge change, Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source, a Google engineer announced in Reddit. Over 100,000 lines of code, including Chrome's entire user interface layer, has been made public, allowing anyone with the inclination to do so to look at, modify, and build the browser from source. Licensing restrictions prevent certain media codecs, plugins and Google service features form being included, hence the "almost." This is on par with the open source Chromium browser that is available on the desktop.
Google

NSA Planned To Hijack Google App Store To Hack Smartphones 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes: A newly released top secret document reveals that the NSA planned to hijack Google and Samsung app stores to plant spying software on smartphones. The report on the surveillance project, dubbed "IRRITANT HORN," shows the U.S. and its "Five Eyes" alliance: Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, were looking at ways to hack smartphones and spy on users. According to The Intercept: "The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was published Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept. The document outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were working on during workshops held in Australia and Canada between November 2011 and February 2012."
Chrome

New Chrome Extension Uses Sound To Share URLs Between Devices 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the sound-of-malware dept.
itwbennett writes: Google Tone is an experimental feature that could be used to easily and instantly share browser pages, search results, videos and other pages among devices, according to Google Research. "The initial prototype used an efficient audio transmission scheme that sounded terrible, so we played it beyond the range of human hearing," researcher Alex Kauffmann and software engineer Boris Smus wrote in a post on the Google Research blog.
Firefox

Adblock Plus Launches Adblock Browser: a Fork of Firefox For Android 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the unblocking-the-blocked-blocker dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Adblock Plus has launched Adblock Browser for Android. Currently in beta, the company's first browser was created by taking the open source Firefox for Android and including Adblock Plus out-of-the-box. The Firefox Sync functionality is disabled, as is the ability to use other addons. "Adblock Plus for Android got kicked out of Google Play along with other ad blocking apps in March 2013, because Google’s developer distribution agreement states apps cannot interfere with the functionality of other apps. Williams thus believes Adblock Browser “should be fine” as it only blocks ads that are shown as you browse the Web."
Education

AP Computer Science Education Scalability: Advantage, Rupert Murdoch? 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the teaching-the-next-generation-of-voicemail-hackers dept.
theodp writes: Code.org's AP Computer Science offering won't be going mainstream until the 2016-2017 school year. In the meantime, NewsWorks' Avi Wolfman-Arent reports that Rupert Murdoch's Amplify MOOC just wrapped up its second year of offering AP Computer Science A. And unlike Microsoft TEALS, Google CS First, and Code.org — programs constrained by the number of volunteers, teacher and classroom availability, professional development requirements, and money — Murdoch's AP CS MOOC holds the promise of open-access, unlimited-enrollment, learn-anywhere-and-anytime classes, a la Coursera, Udacity and EdX. So, did Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and their leaders place a $30 million bet on the wrong horse when it comes to AP Computer Science scalability? And, even if they've got a more scalable model, will Murdoch's Amplify and schools be willing to deal with higher MOOC failure rates, and allow large numbers of students to try — and possibly drop or fail — AP CS without economic or academic consequences?
Twitter

Tweets To Appear In Google Search Results 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the social-Social-SOCIAL! dept.
mpicpp writes with news that Google will now begin showing tweets alongside search results. Mobile users searching via the Android/iOS apps or through the browser will start seeing the tweets immediately, while the desktop version is "coming shortly." The tweets will only be available for the searches in English to start, but Twitter says they'll be adding more languages soon.
Cloud

Google Offers Cheap Cloud Computing For Low-Priority Tasks 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the guaranteed-7-7s-of-uptime dept.
jfruh writes: Much of the history of computing products and services involves getting people desperate for better performance and faster results to pay a premium to get what they want. But Google has a new beta service that's going in the other direction — offering cheap cloud computing services for customers who don't mind waiting. Jobs like data analytics, genomics, and simulation and modeling can require lots of computational power, but they can run periodically, can be interrupted, and can even keep going if one or more nodes they're using goes offline.
Software

Software Glitch Caused Crash of Airbus A400M Military Transport Aircraft 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the complexity-breeds-failures dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A software glitch caused the crash of an Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, claims German newspaper Der Spiegel (Google translation). The accident, which happened in Seville on the vehicle's first production test flight on 9 May, killed four crew members. Airbus is investigating the system controlling the aircraft's engines. The early suspicions are that it was an installation problem, rather than a design problem.
Books

Book Review: The Terrorists of Iraq 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
benrothke writes: The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting random typewriter keys for an infinite amount of time will eventually be able to create the complete works of Shakespeare. Various scientists such as Nobel laureate Arno Penzias have shown how the theorem is mathematically impossible. Using that metaphor, if you took every member of United States Congress and House of Representatives and wrote their collected wisdom on Iraq, it's unlikely they could equal the astuteness of even a single chapter of author Malcolm W. Nance in The Terrorists of Iraq: Inside the Strategy and Tactics of the Iraq Insurgency 2003-2014. It's Nance's overwhelming real-world experiential knowledge of the subject, language, culture, tribal affiliations and more which make this the overwhelming definitive book on the subject. Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Businesses

Apple Acquires GPS Start-Up 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-get-there-from-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Apple is still sprinting to catch up with Google with its navigation software — the company just acquired Coherent Navigation, a startup focused on GPS tech. Its navigation services are reportedly more precise than most commercial-grade systems. Their system "combines signals from the traditional mid-earth orbit GPS satellites with those from the low-earth satellites of voice and data provider Iridium to offer greater accuracy and precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance." They've already worked with Boeing and the U.S. Department of Defense. Apple didn't disclose the terms of the deal or explain any specific plans for the GPS technology.
Transportation

The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-long-as-my-car-gets-a-turbo-button-i'm-ok-with-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: An article at TechCrunch looks at some interesting parallels between the current automobile industry and the PC industry of the 1980s. IBM was dominant in 1985, employing four times as many people as its nearest competitor. But as soon as Windows was released, the platform became more important for most end users than the manufacturer. Over the next decade, IBM lost its throne. In 2015, we're on the cusp of a similar change: the computerized car. Automakers, though large and well-established, haven't put much effort into building the platform on which their cars run. Meanwhile, Google's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are constantly improving. As soon as those hit a breakthrough point where it's more important for a customer to have the platform than the manufacturer's logo on the side, the industry is likely to resemble a replay of the PC industry in the 1980s.
Google

Report: Google To Add 'Buy' Buttons To Mobile Search Results 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the consume-consume-consume dept.
An anonymous reader writes: According to a (paywalled) report in the Wall Street Journal, Google is stepping up its efforts to take some of the online marketspace away from Amazon and eBay. Soon, the company will start showing "buy" buttons alongside sponsored search results on mobile devices. So, for example, if you search for a particular pair of pants, and one of the top sponsored results is from Macy's, then Macy's can pay Google to slap a big "buy" button right there that will take you directly to a product page where you can pick sizes and shipping options before checking out. Google won't be selling the products, but they will be hosting the product pages — "a major and potentially risky strategy shift that will turn the company into more of an online transactional business, rather than simply a provider of links to information elsewhere on the Internet." The report says Google will be trying to streamline the purchasing process by taking the payment from the customer and then passing it on to the retailer, so users only need to input their credit card details once.
Advertising

European Telecoms May Block Mobile Ads, Spelling Trouble For Google 198

Posted by timothy
from the scrabble-will-still-show-their-ads-to-me-I-bet dept.
Mark Wilson has news that may have a big impact on both advertisers and end-users who use their phones as portals to ad-supported websites. Several European telecom providers are apparently planning to use ad-blocking software at the data-center level, which would mean benefit for users (in the form of less obnoxious advertising, and less data being eaten by it) but quite a pickle for online advertisers, and sites that rely on advertising revenue. From BetaNews's article (based on this Financial Times article, paywalled): Talking to the Financial Times, one wireless carrier said that the software had been installed at its data centers and could be enabled by the end of the year. With the potential to automatically block most ads on web pages and within apps, the repercussion of the ad boycott could be huge as mobile providers try to wrestle control from the likes of Google. I just wish my mobile provider would start testing this out, too.
AI

Baidu's Supercomputer Beats Google At Image Recognition 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
catchblue22 writes: Using the ImageNet object classification benchmark, Baidu’s Minwa supercomputer scanned more than 1 million images and taught itself to sort them into about 1,000 categories and achieved an image identification error rate of just 4.58 percent, beating humans, Microsoft and Google. Google's system scored a 95.2% and Microsoft's, a 95.06%, Baidu said. “Our company is now leading the race in computer intelligence,” said Ren Wu, a Baidu scientist working on the project. “I think this is the fastest supercomputer dedicated to deep learning,” he said. “We have great power in our hands—much greater than our competitors.”
Google

Academics Call For Greater Transparency About Google's Right To Be Forgotten 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the show-us-the-list dept.
Mark Wilson writes: Just yesterday Google revealed that it rejects most Right To Be Forgotten requests it receives. In publishing yet another transparency report, the search giant will have hoped to have put to bed any questions that users and critics may have had. While the report may have satisfied some, it did not go anywhere near far enough for one group of academics. A total of 80 university professors, law experts and technology professionals have written an open letter to Google demanding greater transparency. The letter calls upon the company to reveal more about how Right To Be Forgotten requests are handled so that the public is aware of the control that is being exerted over "readily accessible information."
DRM

Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix 371

Posted by timothy
from the chinese-finger-trap dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 38 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech for playing protected content in the HTML5 video tag on Windows, Ruby annotation support, and improved user interfaces on Android. Firefox 38 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Note that there is a separate download for Firefox 38 without the DRM support. Our anonymous reader adds links to the release notes for desktop and Android.
Google

Google Shuts Down Map Maker Following Hacks 37

Posted by samzenpus
from the shutting-it-down dept.
Errorcod3 writes: Google has temporarily shut down Map Maker while it works on a way to stop people from inserting pranks into its maps. A statement from Google explains that the service isn't going away, just shutting down while a new moderation system is worked on. "Given the current state of the system, we have come to the conclusion that it is not fair to any of our users to let them continue to spend time editing. Every edit you make is essentially going to a backlog that is growing very fast," Google's Pavithra Kanakarajan wrote. "We believe that it is more fair to only say that if we do not have the capacity to review edits at roughly the rate they come in, we have to take a pause. We have hence decided to temporarily disable editing across all countries starting Tuesday, May 12, 2015, till we have our moderation system back in action."
Software

Ask Slashdot: What's the Future of Desktop Applications? 276

Posted by Soulskill
from the software-becomes-softwhere dept.
MrNaz writes: Over the last fifteen years or so, we have seen the dynamic web mature rapidly. The functionality of dynamic web sites has expanded from the mere display of dynamic information to fully fledged applications rivaling the functionality and aesthetics of desktop applications. Google Docs, MS Office 365, and Pixlr Express provide in-browser functionality that, in bygone years, was the preserve of desktop software.

The rapid deployment of high speed internet access, fiber to the home, cable and other last-mile technologies, even in developing nations, means that the problem of needing offline access to functionality is becoming more and more a moot point. It is also rapidly doing away with the problem of lengthy load times for bulky web code.

My question: Is this trend a progression to the ultimate conclusion where the browser becomes the operating system and our physical hardware becomes little more than a web appliance? Or is there an upper limit: will there always be a place where desktop applications are more appropriate than applications delivered in a browser? If so, where does this limit lie? What factors should software vendors take into consideration when deciding whether to build new functionality on the web or into desktop applications?
Transportation

Self-Driving Cars In California: 4 Out of 48 Have Accidents, None Their Fault 408

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-mister-bond,-i-expect-you-to-frown-and-examine-your-fender-for-dents dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Associated Press reports that 48 self-driving cars have been navigating the roads of California since the state began issuing permits last year. Of those, only four have been in accidents, and none of the accidents were the fault of the autonomous driving technology. Seven different companies have tested autonomous cars on California's roads, but Google, which is responsible for almost half of them, was involved in three of the four accidents — the other one happened to a car from Delphi Automotive. All four of the accidents happened at speeds of under 10 mph, and human drivers were in control during two of them. The Delphi accident happened when another car broadsided it while its human driver was waiting to make a left turn.

The AP pieced together its report from the DMV and people who saw the accident reports. But critics note that there aren't direct channels to find this information. Since one of the chief selling points of autonomous cars is their relative safety over cars piloted by humans, the lack of official transparency is troubling. "Google, which has 23 Lexus SUVs, would not discuss its three accidents in detail." Instead, the company affirmed its cars' accidents were "a handful of minor fender-benders, light damage, no injuries, so far caused by human error and inattention."
Piracy

How To Set Up a Pirate EBook Store In Google Play Books 90

Posted by timothy
from the pirate-business-plan dept.
Nate the greatest writes: Most ebook pirates simply upload ebooks to one of many pirate sites, but the entrepreneurial ones have opened storefronts in Google Play Books. They invent an author's name, and then upload dozens if not hundreds of pirated ebooks under that name, The names can range from Devad Akbak to Ispanyolca, but the really clever pirates choose a legit sounding name like Bestsellers — Books USA Press or Fort Press and then start selling ebooks.

Thanks to Google's indifference, the pirates can continue to sell ebooks no matter how many times copyright holders might complain. If Google takes a pirated ebook down in response to a DMCA notice, the pirates simply upload another copy of the same title.