Items tagged with Google

Companies like Microsoft and others are potentially getting more time to fix zero-day vulnerabilities before Google's Project Zero team discloses them to the public, as part of a new policy change for 2021. At the same time, end users can potentially expect zero-day security patches to arrive quicker and be more thorough. How so? On the surface, giving companies additional time to stomp out bugs seems counterintuitive to users receiving more timely patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities. And perhaps it will work out that way. But on the surface, the new "90+30" trial, as Project Zero calls the policy change, looks like a win-win for all involved. Under last year's policy, Project Zero held... Read more...
Lately, there have been some rumors about what future products Google has in store, including the demise of the Pixel 5A; however, Google quickly shut those rumors down. Now, a new rumor has appeared, bringing up the Pixel Buds A, a slimmed-down version of the Pixel Buds. This comes at the same time as a hefty $50 discount on the second generation Pixel Buds, so what exactly is Google up to? Earlier this week, Google delivered an update to the Google Pixel Buds app, which provided insight into what is going on behind the scenes. According to 9to5Google, which dug into the update, there are hints within the code that points to a possible second version of buds, labeled as “type_one”... Read more...
The world was a different place in the 1980s, and we're not just talking about puffy hair styles held up with Aquanet and parachute pants. Parts of our planet were physically different. For example, the Aral Sea had not yet dried up, and the foliage in Madagascar was far more lush. You can see these changes in what is being described as the "biggest update to Google Earth since 2017," as part of a vastly enhanced timelapse feature. Of course, Google did not come into existence until the late 1990s, and Google Earth debuted in 2001. So how is Google able to pull off a timelapse of the past three and a half decades? Through the use of 24 million satellite photos spanning the past 37 years, which... Read more...
Issues within Chromium, the engine behind Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, have been popping up left and right lately. That trend is not set to end any time soon, it seems, as a new zero-day Chromium vulnerability has been found with a working proof of concept posted to GitHub. Yesterday, Twitter user Frust posted that they were “Just here to drop a chrome 0day,” along with a link to the GitHub hosting the information. The GitHub repository currently contains a proof-of-concept webpage that will exploit the flaw within Chromium. This flaw was demonstrated in a YouTube video that we posted below, showing proof-of-concept working in the latest version of Chrome. The only major catch... Read more...
Smart TV users, take note! The Google Play Movies & TV app will soon no longer be available on Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs. The app will officially be inaccessible on June 15, 2021. Google’s streaming services will also be entirely removed from NetCast and LG SimpleSmart devices by this same date. The app itself does not appear to be entirely disappearing and will still be available on Android TVs, Apple TVs, and iPhones and iPads. Google is encouraging customers to instead use the YouTube app and YouTube TV. Customers will be able to access their former purchases by logging into the YouTube app with the account that was previously used for Google Play Movies & TV... Read more...
The move from traditional cable and satellite TV packages to streaming options was supposed to give consumers more freedom and control over video plans. However, the streaming landscape has become muddied with multiple competing services and rising prices over the years. One of the biggest offenders concerning price hikes has been Google's YouTube TV. YouTube TV started at $35/month in 2016 and rose to $40/month in 2018. By 2019, Google raised the streaming TV service's price to $50/month, and last year, it rose yet again to $65/month. YouTube TV nearly doubled in price in four years, which is far more egregious than anything we've seen in the cable/satellite industry. To help ease the burden... Read more...
If you're a fan of LG's smartphones, it was probably heartbreaking news to learn last week that the company announced plans to exit the business. LG cited an "incredibly competitive mobile phone sector" for its decision, which was compounded by the fact that the division has been a money loser for six straight years. The company would later confirm that it will provide up to three major Android OS updates. It then added the caveat, "future updates will depend on Google's distribution schedule as well as other factors such as device performance and compatibility." Well, LG has now updated its Korean-language support website with a rundown of which specific devices will receive Android updates... Read more...
It seems as though smartphone pricing is getting out of hand these days, with flagships easily cresting the $1,000 mark before discounts. Decent mid-range smartphones with 5G will run you around $500. But what about folks that want to spend less than $200 and still get a device that then can daily drive? Well, Woot is currently offering a flagship phone from a few years back at a crazy-low price. The Pixel 3 was Google's flagship phone first launched back in October 2018, and it is still a competent performer. The smartphone initially launched at $799, but Woot is currently selling the smartphone for a low $169.99 with free shipping. Unlike some of Woot's other discounted products, the Pixel... Read more...
You can't believe everything you hear on the internet. Such is the case with an intriguing rumor that was making the rounds this morning regarding the successor to the Google Pixel 4a. It was reported that Google had canceled the Pixel 5a 5G, which would have replaced both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G. The reasoning for the supposed cancellation seems sound, with the blame being placed on the global silicon chip shortage. Case and point being the absolute chaos that is the GPU market right now, with limited stock and other issues. And in early March, we reported that Qualcomm was struggling to keep up with the demand for the flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC. However, Google is now looking to... Read more...
LG announced earlier this week that it would be fully leaving the smartphone market by the end of July 2021. At the time of this announcement, it committed to provide current LG smartphone owners with a few OS updates. LG today announced that all of its premium devices will receive up to three OS updates from the year of purchase. All premium LG devices released in 2019 or later will receive three more OS updates. This includes smartphones like the G series, V series, Velvet, and recently released Wing. Certain devices released in 2020 like the LG Stylo and K series will only get two OS updates. LG noted that these “future updates will depend on Google’s distribution schedule as well... Read more...
Contrary to some beliefs, mobile devices are vulnerable to malware, such as recent spyware that was posing as an Android system update. Today, researchers have disclosed a new piece of mobile malware that hides in a fake application and is spreading itself through WhatsApp. This is just the latest reminder that people need to be more careful about the links they click and the apps they download on any device. The fake application, called “FlixOnline,” was discovered in the Google Play store by researchers at Check Point Research. It was found that if any user downloaded the app and granted the requested permissions, the malware then automatically replies to a victim’s WhatsApp... Read more...
Google's Pixel 5 has been around since October 2020 and has seen regular updates via Pixel Feature Drops and monthly security updates. So, when the Android Pixel Security Update landed this month, we assumed that it would just be another run-of-the-mill release. However, a curious addition in the release notes hinted at something big for Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 smartphones, both of which use the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. Specifically, Google explains that the update includes "Performance optimizations for certain graphics-intensive apps and games." We decided to test this out for ourselves and updated our Pixel 5 review sample to run a few benchmarks. In the back of our minds, we... Read more...
It seems that the fight between Oracle and Google is coming to a close, or at least has hit a major stumbling block for the former. The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Google over a copyright dispute involving code used in Android, the popular mobile operating system. It seems Oracle's only recourse now would be to request a rehearing in the next 25 days, and it likely will not go down without a fight. Nearly 11 years ago, in August 2010, Oracle accused Google of infringing on its copyright by utilizing roughly 12,000 lines of code to build Android. As Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc. Filing 36 explains, "the infringed elements of Oracle America's copyrighted work include Java method and class... Read more...
From the beginning of the Pixel program, Google's phones have always run on Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platform silicon. In fact, you'd have to go all the way back to 2011's Galaxy Nexus, which ran on a Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 to find a Google phone that didn't have some form of Snapdragon inside. While most Pixel phones used Qualcomm's powerful top-end chips over the years, the Pixel 5 (our full review) dropped down to the Snapdragon 735G for 5G connectivity and midrange performance. If rumors are true, however, this fall could mark the start of something entirely new for the company: custom Arm-based systems on a chip (SoC) powerful Google's next Pixel flagship.  A year ago, rumors... Read more...
Did you realize, or ever put much thought into the fact, that mobile applications can sneak a peek at what other programs you have installed on your smartphone or tablet? They can, leading to some privacy implications. To avoid those privacy implications, Google is implementing a new policy that will make it tougher for developers to bake that functionality into their apps. It may seem like no big deal on the surface, but there are reasons why you might not want a mobile app being able to see what other apps you have installed. Simple privacy is one. Beyond that, this sort of behavior can be extracted and sold for targeted advertising purposes. That kind of information could, in theory, also... Read more...
Earlier this year, Google announced the Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, which would improve user privacy around the web. While this has led to some scrutiny, such as a Department of Justice antitrust probe, it will hopefully bring a safe and responsible end to third-party cookies. The technology is now rolling out as part of a developer origin trial in Chrome. First and foremost, the uninitiated among us may be asking, “What is a cookie and what does it have to do with a flock?” Cookies are the means by which a website can track user sessions or data, such that you stay logged when you leave a website and come back to it later. Third-party cookies are a subset of cookies in... Read more...
We know both Android and iOS collect certain user data and beam it back to each one's respective mothe ship, some of which is necessary for the continued operation of a smartphone, and other a result of privacy opt-ins. But does one or the other go overboard? A new study would have you believe "Google collects around 20 times more handset data than Apple." Google's reply? Get out of here with that nonsense (we're paraphrasing—more on that in a moment). Like it or not, some level of data collection is simply required for today's high tech handsets, in order for features like GPS, receiving calls and text messages, and other core functionality to work. The question, however, is how much data... Read more...
Years ago, the method of navigating was either printing out directions from MapQuest or pulling out the absurdly large Rand-McNally map for the state and figuring it out the quickest way to your destination. You would not have access to live data like accidents, police activity, and road conditions as you do now with mobile devices. Since the “dark times,” Google has been “pushing the boundaries of what a map can do, propelled by the latest machine learning” and is “on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps.” Indoor Navigation Have you ever gotten lost or turned around in an airport, mall, train station, or other large, yet crowded location?... Read more...
Don't blindly click that link or assume the notification about a system update that you received is real. Zero-day exploits in popular server applications like Solarwinds and Exchange may grab headlines, but the biggest problems most users face with tech security are of the socially-engineered variety. That's the case once again this week, as new malware for Android poses as a security update, but the payload is much darker. According to security firm Zimperium, that supposed critical patch could really be malware that steals messages and personal data, or even takes over the phone entirely.  Zimperium first detected a new System Update malware because the application's behaviors triggered... Read more...
If you're using Google's official phone calling app -- and that probably means most of you Android users out there -- there's a rather alarming and potentially dangerous bug that users are reporting. The Phone app is an essential piece of software on your Android smartphone, as it handles incoming/outgoing calls, gives you access to visual voicemail, and handles spam filtering (among other things). But happens when the Phone app can't even handle one of its most basic functions like answering calls? That's what is happening to several Android users that raced to the app's Google Play page to raise their concerns. The main problem seems to be that users can't answer any call no matter... Read more...
Many people today rely on features like smart assistants to help better organize their lives. Rumor has it that Google Assistant will soon become even more useful and convenient. Google is reportedly testing a new feature called Google Assistant “Memory” that would allow users to save both real world and virtual content. Google Assistant Memory is purportedly only available at the moment to Google employees for testing. However, 9to5Google was able to examine the files for an app that was recently uploaded to Google Play. They have done their best to piece together what they have discovered and so far the possibilities of Memory seem pretty interesting. Memory will be a... Read more...
Were you having issues accessing apps like your Gmail on your Android device yesterday? If so, you were not alone. An issue with Android System WebView was recently causing various apps to crash. Fortunately, the problem has since been formally resolved by Google and updates are available. Android System WebView comes preinstalled on Android devices and permits apps to show webpages. It is updated fairly regularly and does not typically cause a lot of problems. Most users probably do not give it too much thought.  Many users reported yesterday that several apps, including Gmail, Outlook, and Amazon Shopping, were crashing on their various Android devices. Users were at first puzzled by why... Read more...
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