'Google' Articles

Google Signs Deal With CBS for Upcoming YouTube Streaming Television Service

Google has inked a deal with CBS for its upcoming web-based streaming television service, reports The Wall Street Journal. Called "Unplugged," the paid subscription service, available on YouTube, will see Google offering a bundle of several channels for a set price of $25 to $40 per month. CBS, a major network, is now on board, and Google is also said to be close to reaching deals with both 21st Century Fox and Disney, putting it one step closer to establishing a streaming service. Google plans to launch "Unplugged" in early 2017 and has already built out the necessary infrastructure. Google's YouTube Unplugged offering is aimed at cord cutters and is the type of television service that Apple was hoping to provide to customers before its streaming television plans were put on hold. Apple wanted to offer a "skinny bundle" featuring channels from major networks and popular cable channels, which would have been priced at approximately $35 per month. Apple has been trying to create some kind of streaming television service for many years, but has continually run into negotiation difficulties with content providers due to its "hard-nosed" negotiating tactics and an inability to assuage fears about the interruption of traditional revenue streams. Apple's latest streaming plans fell through because media companies demanded too much money for content rights and were reluctant to unbundle channels. While Google and other companies are developing streaming television services, Apple is aiming to position the Apple TV set-top box and the tvOS App Store as a platform

Gboard Update Brings 3D Touch Cursor Tracking and Support for iOS 10 Emojis

An update to Google's iOS Gboard app today has introduced 3D Touch into the third-party keyboard, letting users move the cursor by hard pressing and sliding their finger around the keyboard to pinpoint the location they want to land. Gboard's 3D Touch lacks the free-floating cursor of Apple's stock keyboard, however, and simply moves left and right throughout a message, without the ability to track upwards and downwards. The version 1.2.0 update has also added support for Apple's new iOS 10 emojis, as well as the ability for users to search and share their contacts directly from within the keyboard. Anyone who wants to use the feature must first go to the Gboard app, tap "search settings" and activate "Contacts search," and then they'll be able to access their iPhone contact list directly within Gboard in Messages. The app has gained new themes as well, including a collection of new "Landscape" images that users can download and add onto Gboard with the tap of a button. When it launched in May, Google touted Gboard's advantageous ability to perform Google searches directly within the keyboard of Messages. Apple has made a big deal out of similar abilities in Messages with its new Messages App Store in iOS 10, where users can install smaller-scale apps to find movies, make dinner reservations, and place stickers. Gboard can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google Unveils Pixel Phone, Smart Home Hub, and More at AI-Focused Event

At its media event today in San Francisco, Google announced a few new pieces of hardware, mainly centering around the company's artificial intelligence initiatives and the confirmation of a new pair of smartphones called the Pixel and Pixel XL. Additionally, the company revealed the new Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle, a VR headset called Google Daydream, and gave more details about its connected smart home hub device, Google Home. Bits and pieces of information on the Pixel smartphones and Google Home have surfaced online over the past few weeks, correctly predicting most of today's announcements. Google Assistant The company started off by providing details on its artificial intelligence platform, called Google Assistant, which the company says is like "your own personal Google." The assistant can perform normal tasks like playing music, performing search queries, and providing navigation directions, as well as carrying on a normal conversation with the user. The company showed this by providing an example of a user asking for directions, then inquiring about restaurants at the destination's end, and finally setting a reservation at one. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also discussed a few intelligent updates coming to the company's search system, including improvements to image descriptions, better translation fueled by machine learning technology, and more human-like text-to-speech abilities. Pichai said that the assistant will "constantly get better" as the company introduces it to more and more users, which it's started doing with the recent launch of

Leaked Images Reveal Google 'Pixel' Smartphones Ahead of October 4th Event

U.K. mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse was today guilty of publishing a series of visuals and spec slides for Google's upcoming own-branded smartphones, a day ahead of their official unveiling (via 9to5Google). Due to be announced at the company's October 4th San Francisco event, Google's 5-inch 'Pixel' and 5.5-inch 'Pixel XL' smartphones feature Snapdragon 821 processors and 4GB RAM, a 2770mAh battery for the Pixel and a 3450mAh battery for the Pixel XL, and screen resolutions of 1080x1920 and 1440x2560, respectively. Both similar-looking handsets are available in black or white, and come with a choice of 32GB and 128GB storage capacities with the addition of a microSD slot for storage expansion, as well as what appears to be a headphone jack on the top and a USB-C port on the bottom. A 12-megapixel camera on the back, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a circular fingerprint scanner on the rear also feature. The pulled slides from the U.K. retailer's website also show off a number of Google software services on the Android Nougat 7.1 powered devices, including free photo storage via Google Photos, and the company's Duo video chat and Allo messaging apps, not to mention a quick charge feature that claims seven hours' battery life after 15 minutes of charging. The two smartphones signal the company's first foray into own-branded phones in the manner of Apple and Samsung, and will allow it to have more control over the hardware running its Android OS. Google is said to be relying on HTC to manufacture the devices, which will be unveiled

Google for iOS Updated With Touch ID Incognito Mode and YouTube Support

Google announced an update to its namesake app for iOS yesterday, adding a resumable private browsing mode and inline YouTube support. The new private browsing feature apes Incognito mode from the company's Chrome browser, along with its dark window theme, but adds an extra layer of privacy, too. Like Chrome, search and browse history are not saved when the mode is enabled, but Google app users can also enable Touch ID for the feature, allowing them to re-enter an existing Incognito session after exiting the app. Additionally, the Google app gets inline support for YouTube videos, allowing for instant playback within search results, instead of being switched to another browser window or the YouTube app. The update also renames Google Now to "the feed", and brings increased stability for iOS 10 users as well as performance improvements that promise to reduce crashes by half. The new Incognito mode does not appear to have rolled out to all users yet, but once it does, the mode can be enabled by tapping into the app's account settings screen and selecting "Turn on incognito". A hard press of the Google app icon from the home screen also turns up a 3D Touch option to enter the mode on compatible devices. The Touch ID feature can be configured in Incognito settings. Google Search can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google's Own Echo-Like Device 'Google Home' Rumored to Cost $130

Google will formally announced its Wi-Fi enabled smart home device, Google Home, at its upcoming October 4 press event, according to a new report by Android Police. The device is rumored to cost $129 and the company will sell different color plates so users can personalize the look of Home. At $129, Google Home would be $50 cheaper than Amazon Echo, which offers a selection of similar services and features to users. Google originally discussed Home at its I/O Conference in May, detailing how users will be able to make voice-enabled Google searches, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free "OK Google" voice commands. Continuing in the vein of other smart home speakers, Home can play and control music, sync with various online services that provide traffic reports and weather forecasts, and interact with other smart home products like Nest. It's believed that Google could use a version of its intelligent chat AI Google Assistant -- which it uses in Allo -- to fuel Home's voice-control abilities. The October 4 event is thought to be the launch pad of a few other Google products, including the $69 Chromecast Ultra (with 4K and HDR streaming), a new Daydream VR headset, and the company's new lineup of Android phones. The connected smart home speaker device is slowly becoming a popular platform following Amazon's success with Echo and Echo Dot. Apple is rumored to be entering the space with a Siri-enabled alternative, which might have facial recognition but is otherwise thought to offer many of the same search inquiries,

Google Launches Intelligent Messaging App 'Allo'

Google has launched Allo, its new intelligent messaging app. Allo combines now-standard messaging features like stickers, changing font sizes and marked-up photos with Google Assistant, an intelligent chat AI that brings Google's services to your conversations, and Smart Reply. Google Assistant comes in two forms. The first form is a one-on-one chat in which you can request information from Google's services, similar to Google Now. Users can find out sports scores, the weather, search for restaurants, check travel time or flight status, and more. The second form is within your conversations. Google Assistant can be brought into chats by tagging the service in a message line and issuing a command. For example, a user can type "@google show me local burrito places" and Google Assistant will show you local burrito places. Users can also bring in other forms of information, like Google Search, Images and YouTube results. However, Google points out that Google Assistant is in "preview edition" and isn't complete. To help improve Assistant, users can submit real-time feedback with conversations. Allo also comes with a feature called Smart Reply. The app can learn your texting habits and suggest quick replies for more basic communication. Allo can, for instance, learn whether you're more prone to using "lol" or "haha," or whether you like to say "sup?" or "hey how's it going." Once it figures out your reply patterns, it can suggest basic responses. Smart Reply can also adjust to how you respond to certain people. As BuzzFeed notes, it can change its suggestions based

Google Debuts Interactive VR Photography App 'Cardboard Camera' on iOS

Google today announced the launch of Cardboard Camera for iOS, which lets users "capture 3D 360-degree virtual reality photos" without the need for technical VR equipment. Photos taken with the app are three-dimensional panoramas in which users can tap and drag to look around "in all directions," with sound recording the moment the photo is taken that plays back each time the image is revisited. A few examples of Cardboard Camera's interactive panoramas Cardboard Camera uses a similar photography style as panoramas in the iOS camera app: users simply hold their iPhone vertically, tap the record button, then rotate slowly in place to capture their surroundings. Users will also be able to share albums filled with VR photos directly within the app by generating links to email, text message, or share on social media. Whether you’re hiking on the Olympic Peninsula or attending your cousin’s wedding, go beyond the flat photo or selfie. With Cardboard Camera—now available on iOS as well as Android—you can capture 3D 360-degree virtual reality photos. Just like Google Cardboard, it works with the phone you already have with you. The company said that if any of the VR photos taken with Cardboard Camera are viewed on Google Cardboard, anyone "can relive those moments as if they were there." Previously, Cardboard Camera was available on Android, with more than 5 million photos captured on the platform. On iOS, users can download Cardboard Camera on the App Store for free. [Direct Link

Hands-On With Google's New FaceTime-Like 'Duo' App

This week, Google released a new app called Duo, which allows for FaceTime-style video calling. Unlike FaceTime, though, Duo allows for cross platform calls that work on both Android and iOS mobile devices, so it isn't limited to users who only have an iPhone. In the video below, we went hands on with Duo to see just how well it works and whether it's a serious FaceTime competitor. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Duo app is rather simple, with a similar interface on Android and iOS devices. You sign into the app using your phone number, and once logged in, you have a list of contacts to call pulled from the existing contacts in your phone. That's it. When in a video call, you get many of the features you'd expect from a service like FaceTime, including mute, switching between the rear and front-facing camera, and ending the call. One new feature, however, is called Knock Knock, which is a sort of video caller-ID that lets the person receiving a call see what the caller is doing before answering. Think of it like a FaceTime video preview that's available before the FaceTime call is accepted. Because Duo uses a phone number for authentication, the app is not available for the desktop, and you are only able to use one device associated with a certain phone number at a time. This may be a deal breaker for those who like to chat on multiple devices, but for those looking for easy video calling, it's worth a try. We all likely know someone who doesn't use an iPhone, and Duo seems to be a good alternative for those looking for a

Google Releases New Video Calling App Called 'Duo'

Google has announced a new one-to-one video calling app for iOS and Android called Duo, which the company says aims to take the complexity and frustration out of video calling. Users of Duo sign into the app using just their phone number and Google then sends them a confirmation text. After that, users can video call anyone in their contacts list who also have Duo installed. Google says Duo is built to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks. Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected — when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly. For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door. Apart from its simplicity, Google is heavily hyping a feature (currently limited to Android) called "Knock, Knock", where a known caller's live video can be transmitted before the receiver has answered, allowing them to reveal things on the screen to entice the person to accept the connection. Once they do so, the video continues seamlessly, which makes video calling "more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up," says Google. The company has made no mention about whether the feature will be coming to iOS - and even if it did, users would have to unlock their iPhone first before taking a call. Google notes that Duo isn't a replacement

Google Announces 97 Percent of YouTube Traffic is Now Encrypted

Google yesterday posted an entry on its YouTube Engineering and Developers Blog, detailing the increased encryption achieved by the company for its video streaming site. Over the past few months, Google has slowly bolstered the encryption for YouTube, and now 97 percent of the service's traffic is encrypted using HTTPS. The encryption-enforcing protocol provides "critical security and data integrity" for any website that uses it, and all of its visitors. YouTube said that three reasons it took the company so long to reach this high level of encryption was because of the heavy traffic the site receives daily, the breadth of devices that HTTPS needs to work on due to YouTube's ubiquity, and "mixed content" that leads to lots of potentially non-secure requests. We're also proud to be using HTTP Secure Transport Security (HSTS) on to cut down on HTTP to HTTPS redirects. This improves both security and latency for end users. Our HSTS lifetime is one year, and we hope to preload this soon in web browsers. In the real world, we know that any non-secure HTTP traffic could be vulnerable to attackers. All websites and apps should be protected with HTTPS. YouTube also pointed out that its website isn't at a full 100 percent encryption rate yet because "some devices do not fully support modern HTTPS." It's doing its best to support the widest number of smartphones, tablets, and browsers with the new security protocol, but admitted that down the line, to ensure the safety of all its users, it plans to "gradually phase out insecure

Tesla and Google Face Regulator Scrutiny After Self-Driving Cars Crash

Google's self-driving car project has appointed its first general counsel after a number of crashes involving the company's vehicles caught the attention of regulators (via Reuters). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was collecting information after a minor incident in March when a Google self-driving car struck a municipal bus in California. On that occasion, it did not open a formal probe. Tesla however is feeling more intense pressure after one of its own cars was implicated in a fatal road accident recently. The NHTSA has opened a formal investigation into the May 7 death of a Tesla Motors Model S driver in Florida who was operating in "Autopilot" mode when his car crashed into a semi-trailer. Tesla's Autopilot system uses cameras and radar, but not lidar – a special sensor that uses laser to more accurately identify environmental obstacles. The company said its system would have had trouble distinguishing a white semi-trailer positioned across a road against a bright sky. Reuters reports that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also looking into whether Tesla breached securities laws by not telling investors about the fatal May 7 Autopilot crash. The SEC investigation aims to determine whether the accident should have been labeled a "material event" by Tesla, or one that investors are likely to consider important, when the company sold $2 billion in stock on May 18. In a blog post written in response to a Fortune article on the subject, Tesla explained that all it knew when it notified the

First Renders of Upcoming Google Smartwatches Emerge Online

Last week, we reported that Google is said to be working on its own branded pair of smartwatches, in a break from its traditional reliance on third-party manufacturers to come up with the hardware for its Android Wear OS. Given the continuing interest in rival smartwatches of the round-faced variety, some readers may be interested in the latest renders showing what Google's upcoming pair of wearables could look like. The image above published by Android Police, the site of the original leak, is described as an accurate "recreated image" of primary source material, used to preserve the anonymity of the source. The site also warns that the devices are still under development and therefore may ultimately differ from the design shown. With those caveats in mind, the larger watch render on the left is based on the 43.5mm "Angelfish", which is said to feature a heart-rate monitor, GPS, and LTE cellular connectivity for standalone use. The watch has three buttons, where third-party Android Wear devices typically have one, suggesting possible Google Assistant integration with contextual alerts. According to the report, the Angelfish will not be compatible with Android Wear Mode watch bands. The smaller 42mm device, codenamed "Swordfish", offers just the one crown button and is thought to lack the HRM, GPS and LTE smarts of the larger watch, but will be compatible with Android Wear Mode watch bands. The report states that Google avoided Motorola's flat-tyre design issue by adding a thick bezel between the display and ring, making the screen much smaller. Both displays

Concerns Arise Over Pokémon Go Granting Full Access to Players' Google Accounts [Update: Fix Incoming]

Pokémon Go is experiencing a momentous launch week, with an estimated 7.5 million downloads and nearly as many daily active Android users as Twitter in the United States. The rollout has not been entirely smooth, however, as the game has indirectly been at the center of crimes, robberies, and even car accidents. Pokémon Go has full access to your Google account (Image: Ars Technica) Now, an even bigger potential concern has arisen, as systems architect Adam Reeve has discovered that Pokémon Go grants full access to a user's Google account linked during the iOS sign-up process. Players can alternatively link a account, but the website is currently experiencing issues for many users. When granted full account access, Pokémon Go developer Niantic is theoretically capable of viewing and modifying nearly all information stored in your Google account, including your Gmail messages, Google Drive documents, Google Maps navigation history, search history, and personal photos stored on Google Photos.Now, I obviously don't think Niantic are planning some global personal information heist. This is probably just the result of epic carelessness. But I don’t know anything about Niantic’s security policies. I don't know how well they will guard this awesome new power they’ve granted themselves, and frankly I don't trust them at all. I've revoked their access to my account, and deleted the app. I really wish I could play, it looks like great fun, but there's no way it's worth the risk.It remains unclear what information, if any, Niantic is actually collecting from

Google Said to be Readying Pair of Own-Branded Smartwatches

One week after news emerged that Google is working on its own smartphone hardware to compete with the likes of Apple's iPhone, a separate report this week claims the company is also set to enter the wearable market with a pair of Google-branded smartwatches. As with its Android mobile operations, the company has traditionally focused on developing its Android Wear OS while relying on third-party manufacturers to come up with the hardware. Motorola Moto 360 watches running Android Wear However, on Wednesday Android Police cited "reliable" sources with knowledge of Google's wearable hardware project, which is said to involve two smartwatches codenamed "Angelfish" and "Swordfish", both with circular displays. The Angelfish model will reportedly bear similarities to the Motorola Moto 360, with a design that features visible lugs and a housing that curves at the point where the wristband meets the device's body. A 43.5mm diameter accommodates a larger battery and LTE chip that will let the watch connect to cellular networks. A large circular button at the center of the watch's right side and a pair of smaller circular buttons above and below it will provide physical interaction. While there's no information on what functions the buttons offer, the device is said to feature GPS and a heart-rate monitor, which in addition to LTE capabilities, will make it a true standalone device. The second, smaller Swordfish model is said to resemble a Pebble Time Round watch, sans the large screen bezel, offering a more rounded look. A single button at the center of its right

Google Reportedly Working on Own-Branded Phone Set for Release This Year

Google is set to launch its own smartphone by the end of the year in an effort to compete more directly with Apple and Samsung devices, according to The Telegraph. Citing "senior sources" familiar with the matter, the report claims that the company plans to unveil a Google-branded handset that is separate from its Nexus range of phones, which are designed and manufactured through partnerships with the likes of LG and HTC. Google is also said to be in discussions with mobile operators about the release of the phone by the end of 2016. The Nexus 6 handset by Motorola, one of Google's manufacturing partners. If true, the news would signal a significant shift in ambitions for the company's mobile arm, which has historically focused on software development with its Android OS and left handset design largely in the hands of hardware manufacturers. By contrast, Google's own internal handset division will take full control over "design, manufacturing and software," the newspaper reported. No other details were offered by the sources, while Google declined to comment on the story. Last month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company was "investing more effort" into phones, although this was interpreted to mean it wanted to work more closely with existing Nexus device makers. Similarly, in April, Recode reported that former president of Motorola Rick Osterloh was returning to Google to take over hardware development on the company's Nexus phones and its OEM partnerships, but no indication was given that an own-branded phone was in the works. Google's Android OS

Google Simplifies 2-Step Verification Process With iOS Search App Prompt

Google is making the two-factor authentication process to log into a user account a simpler affair by integrating it into the company's iOS search app. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to users' Google Apps accounts by requiring them to enter a verification code in addition to their username and password when signing into their account. The two-step verification process prevents unauthorized access if someone obtains a user password. Previously, users had to opt to receive a text message or phone call to get an authentication code, or alternatively use the Google Authenticator mobile app, which generates time-limited numerical codes that users needed to enter into their account log-in page. The change, which is being rolled out from today, means that when a user tries to sign into a Google account with two-step verification enabled, a notification from the Google search app now asks if they are trying to sign in. A simple tap on the option "Yes, allow sign-in" quickly authenticates the account. To enable two-factor authentication, users need to sign into Google's My Account section and select Google prompt under Sign-in & Security -> Signing in to Google -> 2-Step Verification. Google notes that the option requires a data connection to work, and that it may take up to three days for the feature to appear across all account pages. The Google app is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Google's New 'Motion Stills' App Makes Live Photos a Whole Lot Better

Earlier this week, Google released a new app called Motion Stills, designed to turn Live Photos captured with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE into GIFs or videos. Over the past couple of days, we spent some hands-on time with Motion Stills, and have been really impressed with the way it transforms Live Photos into a more useful, shareable medium. Motion Stills isn't just an app that converts a Live Photo to a GIF. As seen in the video below, it uses Google's video stabilization technology to smooth out jittery images and freeze backgrounds with some impressive-looking results. In addition to serving as a tool to convert Live Photos into GIFs and videos that can be quickly shared on social networks, Motion Stills is also useful simply as a tool to view Live Photos. In Apple's Photos app, there's no dedicated folder for Live Photos, so they can get lost among other images. Live Photos are viewable on Apple devices running iOS 9 or later or OS X 10.11 or later, and Apple has made an API available for developers to build Live Photos support into their apps, but there are no built-in tools for editing Live Photos or converting them to other formats. With no native tools available, Motion Stills fills a major Live Photos void. The app isn't perfect, has a few bugs, and works better with certain types of subjects, but overall, it's well worth checking out if you have a device capable of capturing Live Photos. Motion Stills can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Google Also Planning to Adopt 85/15 Subscription Revenue Split for Developers

Just hours after Apple announced plans to implement App Store revenue sharing changes that will see developers getting an 85/15 revenue split for subscriptions maintained for longer than a year, Re/code says Google is planning on implementing a similar change for Android. According to unnamed sources, Google is going to implement the same 85/15 split, but unlike Apple, Google will make the new revenue sharing changes available without the one year requirement. It is not known when Google will roll out its revenue changes to all developers.Now Google plans to up the ante at its app store: It will also move from a 70/30 split to 85/15 for subscriptions -- but instead of requiring developers to hook a subscriber for 12 months before offering the better split, it will make it available right away. Sources said Google has already been testing the new split with some entertainment companies (so has Apple, to some extent). ​Google started running the new model over a year ago with video services as a way to get Play subscriptions to work with its TV streaming offerings like the Cast dongle.Apple currently takes a 30 percent cut of subscription fees in the App Store with 70 percent going to developers, but that's changing with a new policy that will implement an 85/15 split if a customer stays subscribed to an app for more than one year. For example, if a customer subscribes to Netflix through the App Store and pays $7.99 per month, for the first year, 30 percent of that amount goes to Apple. If a customer stays subscribed, at the start of the second year, Apple's share

Google Debuts 'Motion Stills' App for Creating GIFs and Movies from Live Photos

Google today announced the launch of a new app called Motion Stills, which is designed to create unique GIFs from Live Photo images captured with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. According to Google, the app was built by the Google Research Team and uses the company's video stabilization technology to freeze the background into a still photo or create cinematic panoramas. Multiple clips can also be combined into a montage. GIFs created by Motion Stills can be shared via apps like Messages or on social media networks. We pioneered this technology by stabilizing hundreds of millions of videos and creating GIF animations from photo bursts. Our algorithm uses linear programming to compute a virtual camera path that is optimized to recast videos and bursts as if they were filmed using stabilization equipment, yielding a still background or creating cinematic pans to remove shakiness. [...] Short videos are perfect for creating loops, so we added loop optimization to bring out the best in your captures. Our approach identifies optimal start and end points, and also discards blurry frames. As an added benefit, this fixes "pocket shots" (footage of the phone being put back into the pocket).There are several other apps designed to create GIFs for Live Photos, so Google's offering isn't unique, but it is notable that Google is offering an iOS-only app that works with an iOS-only feature. Google says the information it learns from Motion Stills will perhaps be used to introduce new capabilities into Google Photos in the future. Aside from making Live