Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google has acquired gesture recognition startup Flutter. The San-Fancisco-based company is founded by Navneet Dalal and Mehul Nariyawala of Indian origin.

No details on the price or the terms of the deal have been released.

Flutter develops gesture recognition technology that controls popular apps like YouTube, Pandora and Netflix via webcam.

Announcing the deal on Flutter’s homepage, CEO Navneet Dalal wrote, “Today, we are thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our research at Google. We share Google’s passion for 10x thinking, and we’re excited to add their rocket fuel to our journey.”

A Google spokesperson too confirmed the deal to the media, “We’re really impressed by the Flutter team’s ability to design new technology based on cutting-edge research. We look forward to supporting and collaborating on their research efforts at Google.”

Flutter was received funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Spring Ventures and Y Combinator.The deal has tech circles speculating if the new tech will find its way into Google’s upcoming devices like Nexus 5.

Gmail’s app for Android may get ads after the latest update. An application package file (APK) teardown report of the app’s latest 4.6 version by tech website Android Police has revealed that a new library called ‘Ads’ has been added and users can save their preferred ads as messages.

Gmail, which had remained ad-free until now in mobile apps, is rolling out this new feature along with the latest capability. The web version of the free email service already features ads, and now this would come to the Android app version as well.

The latest update for Gmail came out a few days back along with the updates for some other apps as well. Though no mention was made by Gmail about the ads feature, a closer examination of the new update brought forth the revelation.

The new update also brings in a cleaner design for conversation view and a number of tweaks such as checkmarks for selecting multiple messages. There are other features such as reminders for users in case there is an unsent mail in the drafts section.

It is not yet certain as to when Google would actually introduce ads via its app. Advertising forms a bulk of earnings for Google; the company’s total advertising revenue in April-June quarter stood at $12 billion, accounting for approximately 85% of its total revenue for the period. Online marketing research firm eMarketer has estimated that 33% of global online ad revenues for 2013 will be spent on Google networks. It also said that Google will take up around 53% of total mobile advertising revenue for 2013.

It’s getting only tougher for struggling BlackBerry as T-Mobile, one of the top U.S. carriers, said it will no longer sell the Canadian smartphones in its stores.

The only customers who are still interested in purchasing BlackBerry are business professionals, and they do not buy their devices in stores, said David Carey, T-Mobile’s executive vice president for corporate services, according to a Reuters report.

“Keeping stock in the retail distribution system was inefficient,” Carey told Reuters.

The T-Mobile announcement is another major blow to BlackBerry’s prospects.

The Canadian phone manufacturer was once the leader in mobile, but after the launch of the Apple iPhone and smartphones that run Google’s Android platform, BlackBerry began slipping in both market share and innovation.

Now, BlackBerry is practically irrelevant in the U.S. consumer market.The company has struggled so much it put itself up for a sale. BlackBerry reached a deal this week with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. to be bought for $4.7 billion. BlackBerry shareholders will receive $9 per share under the tentative deal.

Samsung has signed a deal with an anti-virus firm to offer improved protection to its Galaxy-branded Android devices.

It will use San Francisco-based Lookout’s software to scan handsets and tablets for threats.

The feature will be targeted at business users as part of the firm’s forthcoming Knox security product, which was announced in February.

Numerous studies have indicated that many hackers have focused their efforts on Google’s Android system.

Analysts said the move was designed to reassure companies that Samsung’s Android phones were a safe alternative to the Blackberry and Windows Phone platforms which have promoted their enterprise security facilities as key features.

More malware
Lookout’s chief executive blogged that malware protection had become increasingly important at a time more employees were linking their own devices to office networks.

“One in three companies now allow employees to bring their own devices to work, and whether or not it’s allowed, employees are doing so and company data is being accessed outside of the corporate network, potentially putting that data at risk,” wrote John Hering.

The company said its servers would scan Samsung’s mobile devices against known malware that could be introduced via email attachments, webpages or file-sharing services.

Other anti-virus firms have also been quick to play up the threat to Android devices.

Kaspersky recently announced that it had detected 57,000 new examples of malware specifically targeting the operating system since the start of the year.

McAfee has also warned that new types of spyware and code designed to bypass bank ID protection had helped swell the amount of Android malware by 35% in the April-to-June quarter.

The US government has also issued its own alert suggesting 79% of all malware threats to mobile operating systems were directed at Android in 2012.

“Android is the most insecure mobile system of all the mobile ones, and that’s been made more difficult because it’s so fragmented,” said Richard Absalom, an analyst at telecoms consultancy Ovum.

“It’s not just that that people are still running old versions of the software, but that Samsung and other vendors are forking the OS in different ways.”

Google itself has taken steps to address the problem. Earlier this month it banned apps from its Play store that make changes to a device without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

But one expert suggested the firm had still not gone far enough.

“New variants of Android malware are found every day, with most designed to steal money from users by signing them up for expensive premium rate SMS scams,” independent security analyst Graham Cluley told the BBC.

“Much of the Android malware has disguised itself as fake versions of popular apps like Angry Birds or Instagram, and although its normally encountered in unofficial app stores they have also managed to intrude into Google’s official Play store on a worrying number of occasions.”

Defence-approved
Samsung began offering its Knox product to selected Galaxy S4 handsets in May and has promised it would be extended to other devices.

The Pentagon is among organisations to have authorised the use of handsets which include the feature.

“This approval enables other government agencies and regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services to adopt Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets,” the South Korean firm said at the time.

Ovum suggested the latest announcement would help give the company an edge over other Android manufacturers such as Sony, HTC and LG.

“What Samsung is doing here is seeing a gap in the market,” said Mr Absalom.

“Blackberry’s share within enterprise is dropping and Windows Phone isn’t picking up as fast as Microsoft might have hoped.”Samsung is the biggest individual smartphone manufacturer out there and it thinks it can now make a major play in the corporate market.”

Internet giant Google is reportedly planning to develop its wearable computing device Google Glass for dogs with occupation.

According to New York Post, Google has teamed up with Georgia Institute of Technology, in order to develop a wearable computer system that could give bomb-sniffing and cadaver dogs an easier way to communicate with their handlers, or even let man see the world through an animal’s eyes.

The project called FIDO (Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations) could allow pooches to bite down on or otherwise activate a sensor which can send information to its handler.

Google Glass is expected to be released to the mass market next year and its technical lead Thad Starner, has joined professors at the Georgia Institute to develop a computerized harness to assist working dogs.

Associate Professor Melody Jackson said that the dogs being tested for devices which could activate sensors have been found to have quickly got the hang of the sensors, which they activated using their mouths.

Jackson added that the gear is being eyed for everything from the deadly-serious business of bomb detecting or helping the blind to letting owners know when a dog has to go out or when it’s time to be fed, the report added.

 

Considering that Steve Ballmer has been chief executive of Microsoft for more than a decade, it might sound strange to say this. But the sweeping reorganization announced Wednesday made it clear that Microsoft is now his company.

But in the various memos and news releases, the company emphasized that while Windows remains crucial to its future, it’s no longer the way Microsoft wants to define itself. The company is now about “devices and services,” Ballmer said in a memo.

“Ballmer has definitely placed his stamp on Microsoft, meaning the ‘Gates era’ has come to an end,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. “He is fundamentally shifting the company from an operating system company to services and devices company. In a world where operating systems are free, as in the case of Android, iOS and Linux, Windows is a lot less important.”

To accelerate that shift, Microsoft is collapsing the number of divisions from eight to four. Ballmer wants to promote more collaboration at a company often seen as internally fractious.

It’s a radical push to remake the company. But there’s no arguing that the reorganization is the capstone to one of the most remarkable years of transformation we’ve seen at a technology giant.

Under Ballmer, Microsoft has engaged in a historic upheaval of nearly every part of its massive product line.

Much of that has been documented in bits and pieces. The biggest news was the redesign that came with Windows 8. But there’s also the launch of Outlook.com, the new Windows Phones, the new Xbox One coming later this year, a new cloud-based version of Office.com. And the list goes on.

And, of course, there’s been the push to build its own tablet, the Surface. In the announcement, Ballmer promised to continue working with third parties as it has traditionally done, but also to keep looking for ways to build more of its own devices.

Many of these moves have come in for heavy criticism. Sales of the Surface have not been stellar. Windows 8 has failed to stem a steep decline in PC sales.

But from the point of view of the new Microsoft, all this matters less than you think. With the new guiding philosophy, Windows is not the sole benchmark by which to measure its success or failures. Rather, the company wants to be given credit for the enormous breadth of things it does for both consumers and enterprise, and how well all of those things work together.

Indeed, while some of the consumer offerings have failed to catch fire so far, the enterprise side of Microsoft has been growing quite nicely in recent months.

So much so, that investors seem, at least for the moment, to be optimistic that this new, post-Windows Microsoft, has a fighting chance. The stock in mid-day trading Wednesday was up $0.67 or 1.93% to $35.37. The stock has been on a decent run this year, up more than 24% and coming close to the $36 per share mark it last reached in 2007.

Of course, for all the major surgery at Microsoft, it remains to be seen whether this will translate into a company that can grow at the pace investors want over the long term. Or whether it can regain any sense of leadership in the fast-moving worlds of mobile and cloud technologies, where so far the company has been outflanked by rivals such as Apple and Google.

Ballmer’s legacy is now firmly tied to these remarkable changes. Whether he’s remembered as a transformative corporate visionary or a bumbling, misguided chief executive will depend more on what happens in his second decade running the company than his first.

A Muslim search engine that blocks forbidden content as per Islamic law has been launched. The press release said that ‘Halalgoogling’ gives results leading search engines such as Google and Bing.
It added that the search engine has a built-in advanced special filtering system that blocks Haram content according to the Law of Islam.
According to the Express Tribune, a special and unique filter system in the search engine excludes forbidden contentits search results such as pornography, nudity, gay, lesbian, bisexual, gambling, anti-Islamic content.
The system has been designed to respect Muslim culture, the report stated.

Google Latitude is about to enter the search giant’s junk heap.

Google announced on Wednesday that Latitude, its location-aware application that allows users to share where they are with others, will be retired on August 9. When that day rolls around, users will no longer be able to share their location and their friends list will be deleted. Third-party applications that use Latitude will also see that feature stop working.

The news was part of a broader announcement of a major update to Google Maps. The update was detailed that, which includes a new Explore feature for finding places of interest around a location and support for tablets.

In anticipation of its retirement, Google Latitude was left out of the Maps update.