The Google Threat Analysis Group disclosed to the public a major security flaw in Windows. This comes 10 days after Microsoft was alerted. But is that enough time to develop a patch and protect our systems?Read More
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Sep 20, 2011 10:43:00 AM
How many of you have more than $50 in your pocket right now? If you’re like me, you rarely ever have cold, hard cash in your pocket. Just about every purchase I make is used with a card. Well, for some of us, that is about to change. Soon you will be able to pay for everything using your smart phone. Wait a minute…what? Want to pay for something? Walk up to the register, have the clerk check you out, and then tap your phone to the front of the register. The register picks up some data on your phone, and the bill is settled. No sliding a card, no pulling out cash, just tap your phone to the register and you’re on your way.
All of this is made possible thanks to technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) and Google Wallet. This week, Google Wallet became available to the public, and provided you're in the right place, you can use it to pay for your goods.
How does Google Wallet work?
Let’s start with the basics. Google Wallet is an Android application. It’s a free download and you can add the details of your credit cards so that it stores all the basics that you need to make payments – your credit card number, expiration date, name and the CCV security code on the back.
Google Wallet works by communicating with the checkout terminal when you go to pay for goods or services. Tap your phone to the register and your phone sends wireless data to the store and your products are paid for. There's no cash involved.
Jul 11, 2011 3:48:00 PM
Whenever people desperately want something, criminals have always come up with ways to rip people off. It's a practice as old as time.
The Google+ invite frenzy has prompted some devious spammers to send out fake invitations. Sophos, a cyber securities firm, first reported this spam.
Gmail users would receive a Google+ invite that looks like the real thing. Except when you click on the link to the Google+ invite, it leads you to a completely different website, riddled with malware.
This isn't the first time that insane demand for Google products spawned scams. Back when Gmail membership was an exclusive club and a hot item, spammers sent existing Gmail users a notice that Google had just given them 50 extra invites.
All they have to do is fill out a form with their Gmail password.
Apple, was also used as bait. Back before the iPad was released, bogus Facebook pages were set up to ask users to be beta testers; they would get the iPad in advance and then keep it for free.
All these Apple fans had to do was provide their personal information and cell phone number. Their cell phone number was subsequently enrolled in an expensive premium service.
For active Internet users, scams and spams are a fact of life. Abiding by the following guidelines, however, will lessen the pain.
- Don't respond to sweet offers that you didn't pursue or don't know the origin of, whether it's a Google+ invite or a millionaire trying to give away his fortunes.
- Don't ever give out your personal information to email requests from scammers posing as legitimate entities. Legitimate entities will never ask you that; the only time they might prompt you for personal information is when you approach them do something.
- Too good to be true offers do not exist. For example, somebody looking to share the wealth of somebody who has no "next of kin"...does not happen in real life. If you're not sure, don't go for it, especially if you have to provide your personal information or grant access to your computer in exchange for it.
Jul 1, 2011 10:20:00 AM
This week, Google launched its own social network in an attempt to challenge Facebook with a service that ties together all its existing sites including Gmail. Google’s long expected second shot at taking on Facebook in the social networking space has arrived in the form of the Google+ Project. It has some interesting twists on the social networking model but is far from a Facebook-killer.
Google+ is structured in a remarkably similar way to Facebook, with profile pictures and news feeds forming a central core. However, a user's friends or contacts are grouped into specific circles of their choosing - as opposed to the common pool of friends typical on Facebook.
Google+ started rolling out to a limited number of users on Tuesday in what the company is calling a field trial. Only those invited to join will initially be able to use the service. Google did not say when it would be more widely available.
To create Google+, the company went back to the drawing board in the wake of several notable failures, including Google Wave and Google Buzz, a micro-blogging service whose launch was marred by privacy snafus. 'We learned a lot in Buzz, and one of the things we learned is that there's a real market opportunity for a product that addresses people's concerns around privacy and how their information is shared,' said Google spokesman Bradley Horowitz.
As with Facebook's service, Google+ has a central web page that displays an ever-updating stream of the comments, photos and links being shared by friends and contacts. A toolbar across the top of most of Google's sites - such as its main search page, its Gmail site and its Maps site - allows users to access their personalized data feed. They can then contribute their own information to the stream. Google+ will also offer a special video chat feature, in which up to ten people can jump on a conference call. And Google will automatically store photos taken on mobile phones on its Internet servers, allowing a Google+ user to access the photos from any computer and share them.
Want to try the service? Right now, it’s strictly invite only. Some press are being allowed in, along with others that Google hand picks. There’s no ETA on when wider invites will be available. Unusually, this isn’t being called a beta test or an experiment but rather a “field trial” that’s meant to finally gather some feedback from outside Google itself. The limited test is probably wise. It’ll give Google more time to discover things it might not have anticipated being problems, as was the case with Buzz.
For more detailed information and additional video tours of Google + click here.
Jun 17, 2011 8:51:00 AM
Apr 15, 2011 9:24:00 AM
If you have some less tech-savvy friends that are a bit confused about what cloud computing, HTML5, DNS, or the other ins and outs of the internet, a new web site created by Google explains it clearly for non-techies.
The creative team that gave us Google Chrome has released an online book titled "20 Things I learned About Browsers and the Web". The book is not an eBook, think of it as more of an interactive online guidebook built in HTML5. It’s a clever overview of things many people may not know. Well illustrated and written with humor, the book covers a cross section of items and is designed to explain some of the finer points of the internet to those of us that don't understand it.
This online guide was written for everyday users who are curious about the basics of how browsers and the web work, and how their evolution has changed the way we work and play online. It has quite a few long-standing basics, like DNS, IP addresses, and cookies, while also explaining some of the more recent trends, like webapps, HTML5, cloud computing, and more.
The site is well designed and one can it read like a real book. You can flip through pages cover-to-cover, or jump to specific sections from any point in the book. It's a good resource when something like Wikipedia might get too technical, so it's a nice companion to Google's latest video how-tos for parents initiative.
I expect we will only see more and more of this sort of stuff as the years (and technology) move forward. The full experience (ideally in Google Chrome) can be viewed here.
Mar 25, 2011 1:44:00 PM
The internet search giant is taking a major step forward in its expected bid to become a legitimate rival to iTunes.
According to CNET, who cites “music industry sources”, Google Music is being tested internally at Google. These sources also said that the app described in this recent XDA Developers forum, was a “working version of the service, but that the final version could be “much different” than the one recently leaked.
The lucky find by an XDA Developers forum member has suggested that Google's development on its music service has proceeded much faster than many would have expected it to. In a forum post made two weeks ago, the poster claims that he was playing around with a custom Honeycomb ROM for his smartphone, only to find out that the ROM contained a fully working version of Google Music preloaded, complete with cloud syncing capabilities.
According to the CNET report, sources close to the search giant have revealed that Google is already well into the next step of the testing process. Known as 'dog-fooding', it refers to employees being tasked to try or test out a new product or service in order for developers to gather data on how the service might function under typical real world circumstances. Add both findings together, and most users will probably come to the same conclusion - that Google's upcoming online music service is almost ready, and it is only a matter of time before Google Music goes live.
Google Music is widely expected to offer streaming music service that enables users to access their content from any and all connected devices. To me, being the music junkie that I am, this sounds like a godsend. I can’t wait for the day that my music collection, in its entirety, will be cloud-based and available to me on all of my internet connected devices. I also look forward to some healthy competition for iTunes.
Online music sales have been largely dominated by Apple. Competition from a powerful content provider such as Google ought to give iTunes a run for its money, creating more options for all of us. Unfortunately, it seems that Google has its work cut out for them, as CNET's report claims that industry players close to the search giant have identified content availability as the biggest problem faced by Google Music. This is due fundamental differences in Apple's and Google's approach to digital music: unlike Apple, Google is reportedly negotiating with record companies for rights to all music synced to Google's cloud servers, and not just tracks made available for download via Google Music. Sources inside the music industry say Google would have likely introduced the service long ago if not for the negotiations that reportedly continue between the internet behemoth and top record labels.
The music industry, however, is more than eager for an iTunes rival to enter the market. The prospect of an iTunes competitor of Google’s caliber “has music industry executives giddy.”
Needless to say, record companies are understandably wary of Google's unorthodox proposal; this has resulted in delays over content availability for Google Music. Still, one should not overlook the fact that Google has had experience in digital music, and it is entirely possible that Google's approach might come off as the better solution as opposed to Apple's iTunes.
For music lovers like me, we are eagerly waiting to see how this all plays out. How about you? What would you like to see from Google Music that iTunes does not offer?
Mar 11, 2011 11:47:00 AM
An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday and while authorities are still attempting to assess the extent of the destruction it caused, people are desperately trying to reach loved ones in areas affected by the natural disaster. Google is trying to help.
Google has set up a Crisis Response Center page on which it provides links to disaster resources, related news reports, and the Google Person Finder tool.
Feb 25, 2011 9:34:00 AM
Recipe View allows users to narrow their search results to show only recipes, and it displays ratings, ingredients and pictures on the search results page. Once the results are returned you can filter out different ingredients, cook times and even calorie counts to find the perfect meal for you and yours…and me if you invite me over. Users can also search for or more open-ended topics like holidays, events or a favorite chef.
Recipe View is built on Rich Snippet markup technology. Any recipe publisher can add markup to their website’s content and be part of Recipe View. Recipe View is rolling out now in the U.S. and in Japan. Google is promising to roll out Recipe View in more countries in the future but they’re waiting to see how many people will use this feature as most serious cooks will have cookbooks or particular websites they use anyway.
Now that I gave you all the tools, when can I come over for dinner?