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  1. Changelog: https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/2021/08/the-stable-channel-has-been-updated-to.html Downloads: Consumer x86 (71.2 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe Consumer x64 (73.7 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe Enterprise MSI: x86 (73.6 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise.msi x64 (76.2 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise64.msi Linux: x64 (76.5 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb x86 (76.2 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm Mac: (99.5 MB) https://dl.google.com/chrome/mac/stable/GGRO/googlechrome.dmg
  2. Changelog: https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/2021/07/stable-channel-update-for-desktop.html Downloads: Consumer x86 (70.3 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe Consumer x64 (72.7 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe Enterprise MSI: x86 (72.8 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise.msi x64 (75.2 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise64.msi Linux: x64 (79.7 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb x86 (79.3 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm Mac: (98.3 MB) https://dl.google.com/chrome/mac/stable/GGRO/googlechrome.dmg
  3. Microsoft working with Google for improved Clipboard API Microsoft is determined to make PWAs first-class applications on Windows and their latest effort is improving support for the system clipboard for websites and web apps. Microsoft and Google are currently working on a new Pickle Clipboard API which lets websites read and write arbitrary unsanitized payloads using a standardized pickling format, as well as read and write a limited subset of OS-specific formats (for supporting legacy apps). Microsoft says the existing Web Platform has an API that supports the most popular standardized data types (text, image, rich text) across all platforms, however, this API does not scale to the long tail of specialized formats. In particular, custom formats, non-web-standard formats like TIFF (a large image format), and proprietary formats like .docx (a document format), are not supported by the current Web Platform. With web apps becoming more prevalent, some powerful web applications would like to exchange data payloads with web and native applications via the OS clipboard (copy-paste). The Pickle Clipboard API would see the name of the clipboard format is managed by the browser in a standardized way to indicate that the content is from the web, which allows native applications to opt-in to accepting the unsanitized content. Microsoft says the new API will allow: Allow copy/paste between web and native apps using the system clipboard. Developers can create custom clipboard formats. Preserve security/privacy. Provide fine-grained control over the clipboard. Built on existing Async Clipboard API. The work has already begun to implement Pickling into Chromium, and will hopefully proceed without the controversy caused by Microsoft’s Enhanced URL copy and paste. via WindowsLatest Microsoft working with Google for improved Clipboard API
  4. Apple and Google’s AI wizardry promises privacy—at a cost Upgraded data protection and less reliance on the cloud could lock users in. Since the dawn of the iPhone, many of the smarts in smartphones have come from elsewhere: the corporate computers known as the cloud. Mobile apps sent user data cloudward for useful tasks like transcribing speech or suggesting message replies. Now Apple and Google say smartphones are smart enough to do some crucial and sensitive machine-learning tasks like those on their own. At Apple's WWDC event this month, the company said its virtual assistant Siri will transcribe speech without tapping the cloud in some languages on recent and future iPhones and iPads. During its own I/O developer event last month, Google said the latest version of its Android operating system has a feature dedicated to secure, on-device processing of sensitive data, called the Private Compute Core. Its initial uses include powering the version of the company's Smart Reply feature built into its mobile keyboard that can suggest responses to incoming messages. Apple and Google both say on-device machine learning offers more privacy and snappier apps. Not transmitting personal data cuts the risk of exposure and saves time spent waiting for data to traverse the internet. At the same time, keeping data on devices aligns with the tech giants' long-term interest in keeping consumers bound into their ecosystems. People that hear their data can be processed more privately might become more willing to agree to share more data. The companies' recent promotion of on-device machine learning comes after years of work on technology to constrain the data their clouds can "see." In 2014, Google started gathering some data on Chrome browser usage through a technique called differential privacy, which adds noise to harvested data in ways that restrict what those samples reveal about individuals. Apple has used the technique on data gathered from phones to inform emoji and typing predictions and for web browsing data. More recently, both companies have adopted a technology called federated learning. It allows a cloud-based machine-learning system to be updated without scooping in raw data; instead, individual devices process data locally and share only digested updates. As with differential privacy, the companies have discussed using federated learning only in limited cases. Google has used the technique to keep its mobile typing predictions up to date with language trends; Apple has published research on using it to update speech-recognition models. Rachel Cummings, an assistant professor at Columbia who has previously consulted on privacy for Apple, says the rapid shift to do some machine learning on phones has been striking. "It's incredibly rare to see something going from the first conception to being deployed at scale in so few years," she says. That progress has required not just advances in computer science but for companies to take on the practical challenges of processing data on devices owned by consumers. Google has said that its federated learning system only taps users' devices when they are plugged in, idle, and on a free Internet connection. The technique was enabled in part by improvements in the power of mobile processors. Beefier mobile hardware also contributed to Google's 2019 announcement that voice recognition for its virtual assistant on Pixel devices would be wholly on-device, free from the crutch of the cloud. Apple's new on-device voice recognition for Siri, announced at WWDC this month, will use the "neural engine" the company added to its mobile processors to power up machine-learning algorithms. The technical feats are impressive. It's debatable how much they will meaningfully change users' relationship with tech giants. Presenters at Apple's WWDC said Siri's new design was a "major update to privacy" that addressed the risk associated with accidentally transmitting audio to the cloud, saying that was users' largest privacy concern about voice assistants. Some Siri commands—such as setting timers—can be recognized wholly locally, making for a speedy response. Yet in many cases transcribed commands to Siri—presumably including from accidental recordings—will be sent to Apple servers for software to decode and respond. Siri voice transcription will still be cloud-based for HomePod smart speakers commonly installed in bedrooms and kitchens, where accidental recording can be more concerning. Google also promotes on-device data processing as a privacy win and has signaled it will expand the practice. The company expects partners such as Samsung that use its Android operating system to adopt the new Privacy Compute Core and use it for features that rely on sensitive data. Google has also made local analysis of browsing data a feature of its proposal for reinventing online ad targeting, dubbed FLoC and claimed to be more private. Academics and some rival tech companies have said the design is likely to help Google consolidate its dominance of online ads by making targeting more difficult for other companies. Michael Veale, a lecturer in digital rights at University College London, says on-device data processing can be a good thing but adds that the way tech companies promote it shows they are primarily motivated by a desire to keep people tied into lucrative digital ecosystems. "Privacy gets confused with keeping data confidential, but it's also about limiting power," says Veale. "If you're a big tech company and manage to reframe privacy as only confidentiality of data, that allows you to continue business as normal and gives you license to operate." A Google spokesperson said the company "builds for privacy everywhere computing happens" and that data sent to the Private Compute Core for processing "needs to be tied to user value." Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Cummings of Columbia says new privacy techniques and the way companies market them add complexity to the trade-offs of digital life. Over recent years, as machine learning has become more widely deployed, tech companies have steadily expanded the range of data they collect and analyze. There is evidence some consumers misunderstand the privacy protections trumpeted by tech giants. A forthcoming survey study from Cummings and collaborators at Boston University and the Max Planck Institute showed descriptions of differential privacy drawn from tech companies, media, and academics to 675 Americans. Hearing about the technique made people about twice as likely to report they would be willing to share data. But there was evidence that descriptions of differential privacy's benefits also encouraged unrealistic expectations. One-fifth of respondents expected their data to be protected against law enforcement searches, something differential privacy does not do. Apple's and Google's latest proclamations about on-device data processing may bring new opportunities for misunderstandings. This story originally appeared on wired.com. Apple and Google’s AI wizardry promises privacy—at a cost
  5. Here’s what’s inside Google’s first-ever retail store Buy a speaker, try Google Stadia, or fix a cracked phone screen—the store is open. The inside of the store is wood-on-wood, with these crazy bendy poles everywhere. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. After years of flirting with the idea of opening a physical store, Google announced its first-ever permanent retail location last month. Today, June 17, is the official grand opening, and Google celebrated with a blog post detailing what the store is like. Officially, this is "The Google Store Chelsea," and it lives in New York City on 15th and 9th, aka the Chelsea Market building, aka the headquarters of Google's New York City campus. Unlike the stark white Apple Stores that Google is chasing after, the Google Store has a natural look, with warm wood walls and furniture. Whimsical bendy rods shoot out of the floor and decorate the store, looking like a giant version of a bead maze from a pediatrician's office. The store was designed by Ivy Ross, Google’s VP of hardware design. What can you buy in a Google Store? It's essentially an offline version of store.google.com. That means it will sell Pixel phones, earbuds, Pixelbook laptops, Chromecasts, Google TVs, Stadia controllers, and Nest-branded speakers, smart displays, thermostats, smoke detectors, cameras, Wi-Fi routers, and doorbells. Google also notes that it will "have experts on hand to help visitors get the most out of their device, such as troubleshooting an issue, fixing a cracked Pixel screen, or helping with installations." "Sandbox" areas for Pixel, Stadia, and Nest will pitch customers on the benefits of each product line. The Pixel area shows off the phone's camera technology with various lighting effects; the Stadia area is one of the only places the public can actually try the game streaming service; and the Nest section is a big living room full of smart home devices. A "workshop" space will host regular events and lessons. There's also a rotating exhibit called the "Google Imagination Space," a "17-foot-tall circular glass structure" that surrounds a visitor with several vertical screens. Right now, it's pitching Google Translate, and visitors can "experience real-time translation of your speech into 24 languages simultaneously and then learn how this all happens on the back end using several Google technologies." A one-off store or the start of a Googley retail empire? It's hard to say if this is a one-off vanity store for Google's NYC HQ or if Google is getting serious about retail. One of the co-authors of the blog post is "Nathan Allen, Head of Store Design & Special Projects," which is a very interesting title for someone at a company with a single retail store. According to Allen's LinkedIn, he held the title of "Head of Design for Experiential & Special Projects" until two months ago, but "Head of Store Design" apparently provides enough work to be his full-time job now. The blog post also notes that during the development of the store, Google "built a full-scale mockup of the space at our retail hangar in Mountain View." Again, having a "retail hangar" to experiment with sounds like part of a process rather than a one-off thing. Apple has over 500 physical Apple Stores, but the company is also a hardware juggernaut. It's not clear if Google's limited and inconsistent hardware selection can support a retail store. Microsoft is in a similar boat as Google, shipping low-volume, aspirational hardware in an ecosystem flooded with compromised partner devices. Microsoft started its retail store idea in 2009 and ended up getting out of the space in 2020. Regardless of Google's future retail plans, this Google Store is going to be a special case. Google owns this entire building, so it's not risking much as a retail venture since the property costs are accruing anyway. Google is turning 5,000 square feet of the ground floor from what could be office space into a public retail store. If the idea works out, maybe the company will build more stores. If not, the store can either stick around as a vanity project or can go back to being office space. I wonder what happens if you walk into the store and shout, "Hey, Google." Here’s what’s inside Google’s first-ever retail store (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  6. Google’s first-ever foldable phone will be more like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and less like Galaxy Z Flip Google is currently working on its first-ever foldable smartphone, which is said to be codenamed “Passport.” While the Mountain View company has so far managed to keep its upcoming foldable phone a secret, display analyst Ross Young has revealed an important piece of information about the upcoming Google foldable phone. According to the display analyst, the upcoming Google foldable phone will be more like Galaxy Z Fold 2 and less like the Galaxy Z Flip. In other words, it’ll fold horizontally and unfold into a tablet, unlike the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola RAZR, which unfold into tall phones. A few months back, we heard that the Pixel maker will be launching the foldable phone by the end of this year, though the exact launch date is unknown. Nevertheless, we’re hopeful that we’ll get to know more about the foldable in the coming months. Meanwhile, Google is taking help Samsung to develop the foldable display for its foldable phone. The South Korean tech firm is also helping a lot of other Chinese phone makers, including Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, to develop the display of their first-ever foldable phones. Google’s first-ever foldable phone will be more like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and less like Galaxy Z Flip
  7. Google says its AI is much faster and better chip designer than humans Even before Artificial Intelligence (AI) had started taking shape, we humans have feared that it will outsmart and outdo us to take over our jobs, and eventually everything. Well, we may be very close to the realization of those fears now. Today, in its study published in Nature, Google Brain, - which is Google's deep learning and AI research team - has claimed that it has developed a new reinforcement-learning system that can do microprocessor floor-planning designs much faster and better than humans can. With the help of an edge-based graph convolutional neural network architecture, it is being said that AI will be able to design floorplans in only a fraction of the time that humans take. The image below shows two memory macro-block designs. The one on the left was done by humans. The other one has been made by AI in only a few hours, far less than humans, and it has a higher number of macro-blocks too. The floorplan is basically the layout of the various functional blocks inside a processor to produce the most efficient design. Below are two example images of how a floorplan would look like. The one on the left is a simpler one while the other one is a bit more complex with more details. Interestingly, Google will be utilizing this technology to build its own AI-accelerators called Tensor Processing Units (TPUs). These will also be used for all chipmaking in general as it has the potential to save a huge amount of time. Source and image: Nature |CPU floorplan images via ResearchGate (1),(2) Google says its AI is much faster and better chip designer than humans
  8. Google kills its augmented reality “Measure” app App let you measure things with your smartphone. The final version of Google's Measure app. Measure a door! Measure a table! Measure stuff. Volume measurement and some settings. Another day, another dead Google product. This time, the augmented reality app "Measure" is being put out to pasture. As first spotted by Android Police, the Android app is no longer available via a Play Store search, and a direct link to the listing shows a new message in the description: "This app is no longer supported and will not be updated. Users who previously installed this app can continue to use it on compatible devices." Measure was pretty neat. The app used a smartphone to measure real-life objects through the magic of augmented reality. AR tracks real-life objects in order to accurately place virtual items in a camera feed, and if the tracking is good enough, an app can turn that data into a pretty good estimate of distance. Measure was never good enough for applications like detailed carpentry work—we found that short measurements were accurate to within half an inch, and longer measurements could be off by several inches—but the best measuring tape is the one you have with you. Plus, the app worked great if you wanted to measure something large, like a telephone pole, which would be pretty difficult with a tape measure. The Measure app started life on another dead Google product: Project Tango, which loaded a smartphone with specialized sensors, enabling early portable augmented reality on development devices in 2014 and a commercial device, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, in 2016. In 2018, Measure arrived on regular Android phones without all the extra sensors; Google's ARCore augmented reality toolkit did all the tracking through the camera hardware. Measure was such a good idea that Apple released a similar app for iPhones in 2018. Measure's demise isn't a huge deal as long as the underlying framework that powers it—ARCore—is still around. ARCore handles augmented reality tracking, detection, and measurement, and the Measure app simply presented all that information in a friendly user interface. There are many alternative ARCore measurement apps on the Play Store, and since they all use the same toolkit, their tracking and accuracy should all be pretty similar—you're mostly just picking the UI you like. Some apps are in the style of straight-up rulers, while others are focused on making floor plans. Even before Google pulled the app, Measure wasn't a great option compared to third-party alternatives. The app is down to 2.9 stars on the Play Store, with many users citing bugs and freezes. It does not sound like the app has been kept up to date. The two third-party apps linked above are hovering around 4.5 stars. Google still uses ARCore in products like Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Lens. Plus, at Google I/O 2021, ARCore got a few new updates and APIs, so it sounds like the underlying framework is here to stay. Google kills its augmented reality “Measure” app
  9. Google Chrome 91.0.4472.101 https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/2021/06/stable-channel-update-for-desktop.html Downloads: x86 (70.32 MB): https://r1---sn-xupn5a5uxbt-j5py.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/AN-n_8hS0gppwoSjkGVycH0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe SHA1:6A76340F5EDD3177E32DCE806ED378772F095A19 SHA256:CCD3FDCE87F91605175AFD21BE955C6F121D9BB97CDB05053E45F1120CB4E188 x64 (72.64 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/ANrA1loD6WYCLPAk93y-Cm0_91.0.4472.101/91.0.4472.101_chrome_installer.exe SHA1:E0475E87F6D0A9416997E3C8B97A9DF47DF1C52B SHA256:12D622D555551CD7739793B496C42871B679E72D1354A662860C35A7132EB975 OSX (98.27 MB): http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/ALU9xJiUg77y1VfVeqltCI4_91.0.4472.101/GoogleChrome-91.0.4472.101.dmg https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/ALU9xJiUg77y1VfVeqltCI4_91.0.4472.101/GoogleChrome-91.0.4472.101.dmg http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/ALU9xJiUg77y1VfVeqltCI4_91.0.4472.101/GoogleChrome-91.0.4472.101.dmg https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/ALU9xJiUg77y1VfVeqltCI4_91.0.4472.101/GoogleChrome-91.0.4472.101.dmg http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/ALU9xJiUg77y1VfVeqltCI4_91.0.4472.101/GoogleChrome-91.0.4472.101.dmg https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/ALU9xJiUg77y1VfVeqltCI4_91.0.4472.101/GoogleChrome-91.0.4472.101.dmg SHA1:59094D54B81CCABAE377451BFD76BB81CF834106 SHA256:28E8DEB544DFB5A063DDA593FF5CD7475D2F1B47B75DAAA9B6DE96EF8BA3419B
  10. Google ends search provider auctions on Android Google displays a search engine selection screen on Android devices in some regions of the world, including the European Union. The majority of Android devices have Google Search as the default search provider and one complaint that was leveled at Google by regulators from the European Union was that the company pushed manufacturers to keep Google Search and Google Apps as the defaults on their devices. Google made the decision to display a search engine selection screen in those regions. The initial selection process required payments in an auction-like system. Providers who paid the most were included, and those who refused to pay or did not bid enough were not included in the selection process. Some providers refused to participate in the auction because they felt it was putting them at a disadvantage against companies with deeper pockets. The updated Choice Screen support page on the Android website reveals that Google has made changes to the choice screen "in consultation with the European Commission". The auction-based choice screen won't be used anymore and search providers don't have to bid in an auction anymore or pay Google to be included. Android users will see a list of up to 12 search providers in random order. The list includes Google Search and also other providers such as DuckDuckGo, Bing, Ecosia, or Yahoo. The choice screen display and ordering follows the following rules: The five most popular search providers in a region based on StatCounter data will be displayed randomly at the top (including Google). Up to seven additional search providers are displayed randomly after the five search providers at the top. If there are more than seven eligible search providers, seven will be picked from the available providers each time the screen is displayed. Providers need to meet certain criteria if they want to be included: The search engine needs to be a general purpose search engine and not a specialized search engine. The search provider needs to have a free app in Google Play. Search providers must offer local language support in the regions and countries that they want to be included. Search providers need to deliver required technical assets to Google. Closing Words Google was criticized heavily for its auction-based approach and the small number of search providers that it displayed to Android users in the original choice system. The system benefitted providers with deep pockets and meant that many providers would not be displayed to Android users, even if the search engine was more popular or liked than others. The new system is better; the top five search providers will get the bulk of selections but even smaller providers have a chance to be selected. Now You: which search provider do you use on your mobile devices? Source
  11. New Pixel Feature Drop brings astrophotography features, new Pride wallpapers, and more As is the case every once in a while, Google has rolled out the latest Feature Drop for its Pixel line of devices that are currently supported, adding a few new features. This month’s additions include enhancements to the astrophotography capabilities of the devices, new wallpapers and ringtones for Pride month, Locked folders, and more. Pixel devices feature enhanced astrophotography capabilities through their Night Sight mode that is used for low light images. The company has boasted of the prowess of the feature in the past and is now improving it by introducing support for Night Sight videos. Users can shoot a video of moving stars in the night sky and choose to have both the still image and the video saved to the device. This feature is rolling out to Pixel 4 and newer devices. Another feature that is rolling out to Pixel users is Locked Folder – a capability announced during the company’s I/O conference. As the name suggests, these folders are secured using a passcode or fingerprint and allow users to save confidential or personal content within them without the fear of accidentally opening or sharing them. The feature allows users to also directly access these images from the Camera app. Google Assistant is getting smarter with this Feature Drop, as the digital assistant can now help with answering and rejecting calls with a voice command when users’ devices are out of reach. Gboard is adding quick clipboard paste snippets that make it easier to paste recently copied content to the keyboard, a nifty use case for pasting OTPs or entering contact information in apps like Messenger. Some of the search giant’s features are also expanding to more regions, with the first being the Call Screen capability that helps answer calls on behalf of the user. That feature is rolling out to users in Japan. The Recorder app’s audio transcription capabilities, on the other hand, are being made available this July to four new English dialects that include Singaporean, Australian, Irish, and British English. Additionally, car crash collision detection is expanding to users in Spain, Ireland, and Singapore. Lastly, the Mountain View firm is adding new wallpapers and ringtones for Pride month. These include three wallpaper designs from Ashton Attzs, along with ringtones and notification tones created by LGBTQ+ artists and YouTube Creators. The Feature Drop also addresses a few bugs such as the one that prevents devices from wireless charging on some chargers, the inability to edit motion pictures, and more. You can read the entire changelog here. New Pixel Feature Drop brings astrophotography features, new Pride wallpapers, and more
  12. Google makes small Android advertising concession in wake of iOS 14.5 Android ad tracking still isn't opt-in, though, so not much will change. After Apple shook up the advertising industry by requiring users to opt-in to ad tracking in iOS 14.5, Google—the world's biggest ad company—is announcing a small concession for advertising on Android. Starting in late 2021, Google will begin to roll out a feature that makes Android's years-old advertising opt-out checkbox less likely to be bypassed by apps. Enlarge / Android's ad-tracking opt-out checkbox. Ron Amadeo Android has offered an advertising opt-out option for years, and the interface doesn't seem to be changing. Buried in the settings (System Settings -> Google -> Ads) is a checkbox allowing you to "opt out of ads personalization." Checking the box would "instruct apps not to use your advertising ID," but with this new change, the checkbox will stop asking apps to not use the advertising ID and will instead show apps "a string of zeros" if they try to access it. The rollout will start affecting apps running on Android 12 devices in late 2021 and will expand to all Google Play services in early 2022. Google's advertising change has made headlines around the tech world, but the move probably won't change a lot. The key factor in iOS 14.5 is that ad personalization is opt-in. A big pop-up appears to ask if you want the app to track you, and you get to pick "yes" or "no." When asked directly, users have overwhelmingly rejected ad tracking, with one study saying 96 percent of iOS 14.5 users chose to block access to their ad ID. On Android, users won't be asked directly if they want to be tracked. They will have to know that this checkbox exists and then find it in the settings, almost certainly resulting in dramatically lower usage. Case in point: this "ad personalization" checkbox has been in Android since 2013. I bet you didn't know about it. The Google Play Store's developer policy requires that all advertising SDKs (not just Google's ad network) use the Android ad ID for ad-tracking purposes. If everyone follows the rules, this checkbox will block ad tracking across all ad networks for apps downloaded from the Play Store, just like it supposedly has been doing for years. If app-makers followed the rules, though, Google wouldn't need to make this checkbox more aggressive by passing a string of zeros to apps. Google makes small Android advertising concession in wake of iOS 14.5
  13. Google reportedly working on its own foldable Pixel phone (with a bit of help from Samsung) Korean publication ETNews reports that Google is working on a foldable smartphone and that Samsung will be providing some components for this. Specifically, Samsung Display will be offering a flexible display and ultra-thin glass, with the latter being something of a Samsung speciality. Samsung Display expressed some concern about wider distribution of UTG technology would undermine Samsung’s competitiveness, but on reflection, they noted that Samsung is so far ahead of rivals that this would not particularly matter. Google’s entrance to the foldable market should be a game-changer, with many of the improvements needed to support new form factor expected to trickle down to base Android. via SamMobile Google reportedly working on its own foldable Pixel phone (with a bit of help from Samsung)
  14. Google reportedly made it difficult for smartphone users to find privacy settings The details come from unredacted documents in Arizona’s lawsuit against the company Unredacted documents in Arizona’s lawsuit against Google show that company executives and engineers were aware that the search giant had made it hard for smartphone users to keep location information private, Insider reported. The documents suggest that Google collected location data even after users had turned off location sharing, and made privacy settings difficult for users to find. Insider also reports that the documents show Google pressured phone manufacturers into keeping privacy settings hidden, because the settings were popular with users. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against Google last May, alleging the company illegally tracked Android users’ location without their consent, even if users had disabled location tracking features. The lawsuit suggested Google kept location tracking running in the background for some features, and only stopped the practice when users disabled system-level tracking. Earlier this week, a judge ordered parts of the documents in the case to be unredacted in response to requests from trade groups Digital Content Next and News Media Alliance, Insider reported. The unredacted documents show one Google employee asked if there was “no way to give a third party app your location and not Google?” adding that it didn’t sound like something the company would want revealed to the media, according to Insider. Google did not immediately reply to a request for comment Saturday. The company said in a statement to The Verge last year that Brnovich had “mischaracterized our services” in the lawsuit. Google reportedly made it difficult for smartphone users to find privacy settings
  15. Malvertising Campaign On Google Distributed Trojanized AnyDesk Installer Cybersecurity researchers on Wednesday publicized the disruption of a "clever" malvertising network targeting AnyDesk that delivered a weaponized installer of the remote desktop software via rogue Google ads that appeared in the search engine results pages. The campaign, which is believed to have begun as early as April 21, 2021, involves a malicious file that masquerades as a setup executable for AnyDesk (AnyDeskSetup.exe), which, upon execution, downloads a PowerShell implant to amass and exfiltrate system information. "The script had some obfuscation and multiple functions that resembled an implant as well as a hardcoded domain (zoomstatistic[.]com) to 'POST' reconnaissance information such as user name, hostname, operating system, IP address and the current process name," researchers from Crowdstrike said in an analysis. AnyDesk's remote desktop access solution has been downloaded by more than 300 million users worldwide, according to the company's website. Although the cybersecurity firm did not attribute the cyber activity to a specific threat actor or nexus, it suspected it to be a "widespread campaign affecting a wide range of customers" given the large user base. The PowerShell script may have all the hallmarks of a typical backdoor, but it's the intrusion route where the attack throws a curve, signaling that it's beyond a garden-variety data gathering operation — the AnyDesk installer is distributed through malicious Google ads placed by the threat actor, which are then served to unsuspecting people who are using Google to search for 'AnyDesk.' The fraudulent ad result, when clicked, redirects users to a social engineering page that's a clone of the legitimate AnyDesk website, in addition to providing the individual with a link to the trojanized installer. CrowdStrike estimates that 40% of clicks on the malicious ad turned into installations of the AnyDesk binary, and 20% of those installations included follow-on hands-on-keyboard activity. "While it is unknown what percentage of Google searches for AnyDesk resulted in clicks on the ad, a 40% Trojan installation rate from an ad click shows that this is an extremely successful method of gaining remote access across a wide range of potential targets," the researchers said. The company also said it notified Google of its findings, which is said to have taken immediate action to pull the ad in question. "This malicious use of Google Ads is an effective and clever way to get mass deployment of shells, as it provides the threat actor with the ability to freely pick and choose their target(s) of interest," the researchers concluded. "Because of the nature of the Google advertising platform, it can provide a really good estimate of how many people will click on the ad. From that, the threat actor can adequately plan and budget based on this information. In addition to targeting tools like AnyDesk or other administrative tools, the threat actor can target privileged/administrative users in a unique way." Source
  16. Google Chrome now lets you run more commands via the address bar Google has added a new batch of Chrome Actions for early testing in the latest Google Chrome web browser releases before the feature's worldwide rollout later this year. Chrome Actions is a recently introduced experimental Chrome feature that allows you to type in a command, causing an action to be displayed inline in the browser's address bar search results. When clicked, the action will be automatically executed in the browser, helping you get more things done quicker and easier. For instance, once you type 'delete history,' 'clear cache,' or 'wipe cookies' in the Chrome address bar, a 'Clear browsing data' action will appear as a search result styled as a button right under your query. Google started progressively rolling out the first set of Chrome Actions (i.e., Clear Browsing Data, Manage Payment Methods, Open Incognito Window, Manage Passwords, Update Chrome, and Translate Page) in November with the release of Chrome 87. Image: Google Now, Google has added a new set of Chrome Actions, including: Run Chrome safety check: Makes it simple for you to run a Chrome safety check, directly from the address bar. The safety check can help keep you safe from data breaches, bad extensions, and more (to use it, type “Chrome safety check” or “Run password checkup”) Create doc: Makes it simple to create a new Google document, directly from the address bar. This saves time, so if you want to take notes or start an essay fast, you can do it quickly right from the address bar (to use it, type “New Google doc” or “Create Google doc”) Manage Google Account: Makes it extra simple to control your Google Account, including personal info, payments and subscriptions, and more (to use it, type “Control my Google Account” or “Adjust my Google Account”) How to enable Chrome Actions Google has already started rolling out this feature and has announced today that it will be launching in Chrome for all users later this year. However, it is still an experimental feature hidden behind Chrome flags that need to be toggled on to enable it. To turn on Chrome Actions in Google Chrome, you have to follow these steps: Go to chrome://flags in the Chrome address bar. Search for '#omnibox-pedals' and enable the 'Omnibox Pedals Default Icon Colored' and 'Omnibox Pedal batch 2' flags. After enabling both of them, relaunch the browser. Once Google Chrome restarts, the Chrome Actions will automatically show up when you're typing the relevant terms into Chrome's address bar. Chrome Actions flags (BleepingComputer)
  17. Everything Google Announced Today: Android, AI, Holograms The annual Google IO developer conference kicked off with a two-hour keynote filled with announcements. Here are the highlights. Tuesday marked the return of Google’s annual developer conference. The 2020 edition of the event was canceled because of the pandemic, but today Google IO returned as a virtual event. The three-day conference began with an opening keynote address, where Google executives and project managers took turns showing off new software features, new AI-powered tools, and a zany prototype video booth made for hyperrealistic teleconferencing. Here’s everything Google announced. A New Look for Android Photograph: Google Android 12 brings many visual changes that make the next version of the mobile operating system a little more personal and playful. Pick up your phone and the lock screen will light up from the bottom, but tap the power button instead and the pixels will illuminate from the side of the phone. If there are no notifications on the lock screen, the clock will take up more space. Small touches like this even apply to the system’s design—the color tones of widgets and the notification drop-down menu can adjust to match your wallpaper. Many of these changes fall under a new design language Google calls Material You. It’s coming first to Google hardware and software this fall, and it lets you change the color palette of all your apps, though you’ll be confined to the colors Google has chosen for its “Material palette.” Android’s interface has also been given an overall redesign with new widgets, a fresh look for larger and bolder quick settings tiles, and a simpler settings menu. You’ll find new types of tiles in the quick settings menu too, such as Google Pay and smart-home control options. Thanks to under-the-hood improvements, the OS is smoother and animations are more responsive. Everything about the interface is a little faster and more efficient. The first beta version is available now, and the official release will likely roll out in August or September. New Android 12 Privacy Features Video: Google Perhaps in response to Apple’s recent announcement that it would disable ad tracking between apps by default, Google has emphasized newfangled privacy features of its own. You can read a detailed rundown Android’s new privacy features by our own Lily Hay Newman. There’s a new privacy dashboard that allows users to view app permission settings, see which data is being accessed by which apps, and revoke app tracking privileges all from one screen. Also, an indicator will now pop up in the top corner to let you know if an app is using your mic or camera. More nuanced “approximate location” features allow you to give an app a general sense of where you are, rather than being able to pinpoint exactly which bathroom stall you’re in. Project Starline’s ‘Video Booth’ Photograph: Google It’s the Zoom of the future! Kind of. Maybe the Google Meet of the future. While still a prototype, Google’s Project Starline is a virtual meeting booth with holograms. (Don’t miss our exclusive first look at the tech.) Two people sit in their respective booths in different locations, and your chat companion beams right in using tech that makes them look like they’re sitting across the table from you. Thanks to depth sensors, multiple cameras, and spatial audio, Starline makes you feel like you’re really there with the other person, as opposed to staring at yet another talking head on a video screen. It’s currently just a proof of concept, and we might see it in the real world within five years, according to Google. Wear OS Updates Google is revamping its smartwatch operating system, with some help from Samsung. You can read our exclusive deep dive on the changes coming to Wear this year, but here are some highlights. The next version of Wear OS—for now, just called Wear—will include some features pulled right from Samsung’s current wearable OS, Tizen. (Samsung’s forthcoming wearables will also use the Wear operating system.) Google says this and other optimizations will offer better battery life and up to 30 percent faster performance. Some Google apps will work directly on the Wear platform without requiring a constant phone connection, including turn-by-turn directions on Google Maps and offline music listening on streaming services like YouTube Music and (eventually) Spotify. Google is also putting its acquisition of Fitbit to use, imbuing the tech with standard Fitbit features like health tracking and workout progress. Improved Photo Discovery Google gives all of its users a free place to upload all of their pictures, and that policy affords the company a huge benefit: a massive dataset it can use to hone its computer vision prowess. Today, we saw some enhancements coming to Google Photos that are powered by these machine intelligence experiments. First is a feature that automatically collects photos into albums using visual patterns in the images to identify photos that probably belong together. The AI engine looks at all your photos to find similar shapes and colors, and it can spot patterns the human eye might miss. As an example, Google showed pictures from one of its engineers. The Photos AI was able to assemble a gallery of photos from a specific backpacking trip he took by pulling in all the pictures where his orange backpack appears. Another example: The AI can spot all of your shots with a menorah in them, and put together a collection of Hanukkah memories. Importantly, Photos users can control which photos show up in these collections. You can remove specific photos from memories, rename the memories, or prevent specific photos from ever showing up. This is a boon for anyone who’s lived through a heavily photographed life experience they’d rather forget. On the creepier end of things, the company showed a new tool that can turn two static images into one animated image. It looks at the objects in the two images, then inserts interpolated frames to make animations that were never actually captured by the camera. Yes, it makes two still photos come to life. The effect is very unsettling. A Better Password Manager Google is enhancing Chrome’s built-in password manager to aid users in keeping better track of their various account credentials across desktop and mobile. First, there’s a new password import tool that helps new users aggregate their many passwords into Google’s manager. Once the passwords are stored in Google’s password manager, users will have an easier time deploying them outside of Chrome; better integrations between Chrome and Android will store passwords and auto-fill information for apps as well as websites in a way that feels more seamless. Google’s password manager currently alerts you to security breaches on the web that may have compromised your passwords. Now, there’s a new feature in the password manager that adds one helpful step to that alert: a quick-fix tool that guides you through the process of changing any passwords that have been compromised. Of course, Google isn’t the only company that wants to manage your passwords for you. We have a list of excellent options in our password manager guide—including some advice about why in-browser options like Google’s are more limited. New Tools for Remote Work Video: Google If you’ve been lucky enough to have a job that’s allowed you to work from home for the past 14 months, you’re probably used to living your work life in the cloud. Google’s new remote working tools aim to make that a little easier. Smart Canvas is a project management tool that lets multiple users work together across different document types. They can keep track of progress with checklist items tagged to specific dates and people, and brainstorm ideas live in one place. Google Meet, the video chat platform, will soon be integrated directly into Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You’ll be able to click the little Meet button in the top corner, and collaborators can pop up on video in a column alongside the doc to argue about what gets edited. A new Companion Mode in Meet is meant to display members of a team in more equally placed tiles, along with better noise cancelation and automatic visual tweaks to zoom and lighting to make all participant videos more visually consistent. For anyone watching who needs captions, those can be turned on using live transcription, or even translated into one of Google’s supported languages. Improved Natural Language Skills Google showed off some new AI-powered conversational capabilities that will eventually turn up in products that use Google Assistant. First, it’s developed a new conversational model called LaMDA that can hold a conversation with you, either typed or spoken, about any topic you’re curious about. The AI will look up information about the topic while you’re talking, and then enhance the conversation in a natural way by weaving facts and contextual info into its answers. What we saw on Tuesday was just a controlled demo, but the LaMDA model really does look like it could make conversations with a computer feel even more human. There’s another natural-language processing model headed to Google’s Search tools. Dubbed the Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, Google says the feature is intended to make sense of longer, multi-pronged questions submitted by users. In theory, you could ask it to compare different vacation locations, or tell you what kind of gear you’ll need to bring on a hike. It can gather information from websites in other languages, then use what it finds to uncover even more relevant information published in your native language. That way, what may be the most pertinent info on the web is not locked behind a language barrier. These enhancements are part of Google’s larger effort to understand the meaning and context of questions in the way a human might. Still, Google says the features are still in the experimental phase, so it’ll be a while before the Assistant starts making decisions about any pod bay doors. More Detailed Maps Google is tweaking bits of its Maps app in an effort to offer users more real-time information. When you’re asking for directions, Google will present an option for “eco-friendly routes” that factor in distance and road or traffic conditions to find a more fuel-efficient way to get where you’re going. A “safer routing” feature in Maps can analyze road lanes and traffic patterns to help you avoid what it calls “hard braking moments,” when traffic slows down unexpectedly. If you’re walking around, there are also improvements to Google’s AR mode, Live View, that help contextualize where you are by analyzing streets signs and providing information like “busyness” levels for whole neighborhoods instead of just specific restaurants and shops. Live View also now works indoors, so you can see that contextual info inside a train station or a mall. The main Maps tool will also tailor what it shows you to the time of day and your location. Open Maps in the morning and you’ll see pins for breakfast options. Open Maps in a city you’ve never visited and you’ll see tourist spots and popular attractions. Don’t Forget About Shopping In an effort to make you even more likely to buy stuff on the internet, Google has tweaked some of its shopping tools. Now users can use Google Lens to search images in screenshots taken on their phone and link third-party memberships directly to their Google account. Also, the days where you could idly add a 5-pound bag of gummy bears to your shopping cart and then forget about it are gone. Now, whenever you open up a new tab in Chrome, Google will show you all of the pending purchases you have sitting in shopping carts around the web. Google also announced a Shopify integration feature, which will let sellers who use Shopify make their products appear across search, Maps, images, Google Lens, and YouTube. Update, Tuesday May 18 at 6:20 pm: This story was updated to further clarify the way the Multitask Unified Model gathers information across websites published in different languages. Everything Google Announced Today: Android, AI, Holograms (may require free registration)
  18. Software and extension stores that rely on automatic store submission reviews are more prone to fake and malicious extensions being offered. The latest addition to the growing number of Chrome Store extensions that fall into the category is called Microsoft Authenticator. The name suggests that it is an official product by Microsoft, but it is not. One hint that something is off is that the company that is offering the extension is not Microsoft Corporation but "Extensions". The app has 448 users and a three out of five stars rating at the store at the moment. It has been in the store since April 23, 2021. If you have read our guide on verifying Chrome extensions before installation, you know that direct information such as the developer may provide hints that something may be fishy. The developer email address looks like one of those fake email addresses used for poising or spam sending; it uses a Gmail address, and not an official Microsoft address. A look at the reviews includes several warnings from other users, but also some that praise it. The latter are likely fake and used to instill a level of trust in users who check the reviews before trying the extension. A quick check of Microsoft's Authenticator homepage reveals that it is available as a mobile application, and as a Microsoft Store version, but not as a browser extension. The Microsoft Authenticator application cannot be used to authenticate Microsoft account sign-ins or any other sign-in for the matter. It displays a basic page with the option to "run Microsoft Authenticator". A click on the button opens a Polish webpage that redirects to another webpage automatically asking for a sign-in or the creation of an account. Closing Words In this case, it is pretty obvious that the extension is not legitimate but fake. Still, more than 400 users have installed the extension already and it is possible that the count will increase in the coming days or weeks. Much of it depends on Google and whether the company will do something about it. Now You: do you vet extensions before you install them? Source
  19. Google Pixel 6 leak shows off distinctive new design Besides the all-new Google "Whitechapel" SoC, it's reportedly getting a new design. Renders of the Pixel 6. Get a load of that camera bar. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. The Pixel 6 promises to be a landmark device for Google, as it is expected to mark the debut of the Google-developed "Whitechapel" system on a chip instead of the Qualcomm chips the search giant has shipped in all of its previous devices. To go along with the revamped insides, it appears the outside is seeing some major design changes, too—if the newest leak is to be believed. Our first look at the Pixel 6 design comes from YouTuber Jon Prosser. Prosser claims he was sent live, hands-on images of the device, and while he isn't sharing the actual images, he teamed up with a render artist to depict the device based on those images. Prosser's track record with Google leaks is not the greatest. Just last month, he claimed the Pixel 5a was "canceled," but that assertion was publicly shot down by Google. This leak has a bit more believability to it, as it was also backed up by Android Police's Max Weinbach, though Weinbach says the colors aren't accurate. The most striking thing about the design is the back, which now features a big horizontal camera bump that stretches edge to edge across the phone. It's definitely distinctive. The renders show two sizes, which Prosser says will be called the "Pixel 6" and "Pixel 6 Pro." Previously, Google named the bigger phone "XL," but the Pixel line, which has always been about chasing Apple, naturally had to align with Apple's naming scheme. Prosser doesn't have exact specs, but the Pro model has three rear cameras and the base model has two. Google is reportedly teaming up with Samsung to build the Pixel 6's Whitechapel SoC, and maybe that's why the front of the Pixel 6 looks kind of Samsung-y. The Pixel 5 had shallow corners, while the Pixel 6 has sharper display corners, making it look more like a Galaxy Note. The Pixel 5 had a hole punch off to the left side, while the Pixel 6, like a modern Samsung phone, puts it in the center. Prosser also said that "the glass curves around the edges a bit," which would also make it more like a Samsung phone, as the Pixel 5 display was flat. Another change is the addition of an in-screen fingerprint reader; Google has previously gone with a rear capacitive reader. Nobody knows the specs of the phone yet, and unlike with most flagships, there is actually the potential for variance here since the Pixel 5 was a mid-range phone with a Snapdragon 765G SoC. Is this still a mid-range phone? Will Google's SoC make any noise from a performance standpoint, or is it just a play for more control over the SoC kernel and a longer window for software updates? We still have a ton of unanswered questions about this phone, but fortunately for us, Google's hardware team is not great at keeping secrets. Google Pixel 6 leak shows off distinctive new design (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  20. Web giant tells us it's considering its response to €100m fine demand Google was tickled with a €100m fine by Italy’s monopoly watchdog on Thursday for unfairly holding back an Android app maker. The Italian Competition Authority said Google “holds a dominant position” in the industry, given its curated Play Store that comes with Android, and that about three quarters of smartphones in the Euro nation run the operating system. As gatekeepers of this software bazaar, Google controls what apps are allowed, and what access third-party developers can have with its own apps or services. Not only that, but Google abuses this position and favors its own applications, breaking European law, the regulator said. The fine is equivalent to about £86m or $121m. Google accountants must already be checking down the back of the couch to collect up loose change to pay it: its parent Alphabet banked $18bn (€15bn) in profit in the first quarter of 2021. The watchdog decided to extract some coins from the Chocolate Factory after Google refused to allow Italian energy company Enel X Italia to port its JuicePass app, which shows vehicle charging spots and reservations at electric car-charging points, to the Android Auto car operating system. This goes against Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the authority said. Google has consequently favored its own Google Maps app, which runs on Android Auto “Google did not allow Enel X Italia to develop a version of its JuicePass app compatible with Android Auto, a specific Android feature that allows apps to be used while the user is driving in compliance with safety, as well as distraction reduction, requirements,” the Italian Competition Authority said in a statement. “By refusing Enel X Italia interoperability with Android Auto, Google has unfairly limited the possibilities for end users to avail themselves of the Enel X Italia app when driving and recharging an electric vehicle." The regulator then raised a crucial point: "Google has consequently favored its own Google Maps app, which runs on Android Auto and enables functional services for electric vehicle charging, currently limited to finding and getting directions to reach charging points, but which in the future could include other functionalities such as reservation and payment." The regulator said it has also "ordered Google to make available to Enel X Italia, as well as to other app developers, tools for the programming of apps that are interoperable with Android Auto and will monitor the effective and correct implementation of the imposed obligations through an independent expert to whom Google must provide all cooperation and information requested." Google said it may contest the fine. A spokesperson for the web giant told The Register: “We disagree with the authority's decision and we will review our options. “The number one priority for Android Auto is to ensure apps can be used safely while driving. That's why we have strict guidelines on the types of apps which are currently supported and these are based on driver-distraction tests and regulatory and industry standards. “Thousands of applications are already compatible with Android Auto, and our goal is to allow even more developers to make their apps available over time. For example, we have introduced templates for navigation, charging, and parking apps, open for any developer to use.” Enel X Italia was unavailable for comment. ® Source
  21. A New Android Auto Version Is Now Available with More Mysterious Improvements Google has just released a new Android Auto version, but as per the company’s typical approach, no changelog is included, which means users will have to figure out what’s been improved on their own. Android Auto 6.4 is therefore now available for download for everybody, though it’s very important to keep in mind that the rollout via the Google Play Store takes place gradually and the new version may not show up for all users just yet. If you don’t want to wait for the new version to go live in the Google Play Store in your region, you can just download the Android Auto stand-alone APK installer from this page and therefore update to the latest version manually. Google has been working on several important improvements for Android Auto lately, and there’s a chance version 6.4 continues the development in this regard. For example, one of the highly anticipated Android Auto features is a connection troubleshooter that has first been spotted in version 6.3. As you’d normally expect from a troubleshooter, the purpose of this feature is specifically to help users deal with connection problems, and as Android Auto adopters certainly know, this is so something happening way too often in the car. The new troubleshooter would not only be able to provide recommendations when connection problems are detected but also figure out when a low-quality cable is being used, therefore telling users to replace the cord. Bad cables are among the most common issues on Android Auto, so hopefully, this troubleshooter would help users get a more stable and reliable experience in the car. For the time being, there’s no ETA as to when this feature is projected to go live, as Google clearly takes its time when it comes to its development. The company typically releases these software updates, such as the new version we’re getting today, specifically to address a series of problems, though as you can see, it’s up to users to discover what’s been fixed every time. Source: A New Android Auto Version Is Now Available with More Mysterious Improvements
  22. Google releases Android Studio 4.2 with IntelliJ upgrade and wizard UI refresh Upgrading your project to the latest version will be less complicated Android Studio is the primary tool developers use to make apps for Android. After being in beta for months, the latest version of the SDK — Studio 4.2 — is available to download through the stable channel. The release features an upgraded IntelliJ platform, and developers will be able to make use of an updated GitHub UI for pull requests and a new centralized problems window found in the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition 2020.2. Going forward, it'll be even easier to know which IntelliJ version the Studio is based on, thanks to the new naming scheme. The New Project wizard gets a visual refresh to make it easier to discover Android device types. There is a slew of updates that aim to improve productivity, including enhancements to features like the Database Inspector, System Trace, and SafeArgs support. Migrating your project to the latest Android Gradle Plugin will be easier thanks to a new upgrade assistant, which will allow you to toggle the commands that will be executed, preview which files will be affected by the upgrade, and globally update deprecated configs. Google has also brought back multiple device deployment from an earlier version of Android Studio that allows deployment of an app on multiple devices — it's integrated directly into the device selection menu. You can check out a more exhaustive list of all the changes and improvements here. If you already have Android Studio installed, you should be able to update it to 4.2. Alternatively, you can get the latest version from the official website. Source: Google releases Android Studio 4.2 with IntelliJ upgrade and wizard UI refresh
  23. Yet another Google AI leader has defected to Apple He will work under John Giannandrea, who also left Google for Apple. Enlarge / AI researcher Samy Bengio (left) poses with his brother Yoshua Bengio (right) for a photo tied to a report from cloud-platform company Paperspace on the future of AI. Paperspace Apple has hired Samy Bengio, a prominent AI researcher who previously worked at Google. Bengio will lead "a new AI research unit" within Apple, according to a recent report in Reuters. He is just the latest in a series of prominent AI leaders and workers Apple has hired away from the search giant. Bengio will work directly under John Giannandrea, Apple's senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy. Giannandrea himself used to lead AI at Google (he worked there for eight years) before jumping ship to work at Apple in 2018. We interviewed him at length last year about the growing role of machine learning in Apple's software and services. Apple uses machine learning to improve the quality of photos taken with the iPhone, surface suggestions of content and apps that users might want to use, power smart search features across its various software offerings, assist in palm rejection for users writing with the iPad's Pencil accessory, and much more. Bengio was part of a cadre of AI professionals who left Google to protest the company's firings of its own AI ethics researchers (Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru) after those researchers raised concerns about diversity and Google's approach to ethical considerations around new applications of AI and machine learning. Bengio voiced his support for Mitchell and Gebru, and he departed of his own volition after they were let go. In his 14 years at Google, Bengio worked on AI applications like speech and image analysis, among other things. Neither Bengio nor Apple has said exactly what he will be researching in his new role in Cupertino. Yet another Google AI leader has defected to Apple
  24. Google is working on UWB connectivity, possibly for Pixel 6 family Google is experimenting with putting ultra-wideband (UWB) connectivity into their Android hardware, likely for the Pixel 6 family of phones. Over the last year or so, UWB has become the latest hot feature for smartphones and smart home devices alike. In the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone 12 series uses UWB to do neat things like connect to a HomePod Mini just by bringing your phone close to it or precisely locate an AirTag. Samsung is also using UWB for their SmartTags as well as allowing your phone to act as a car key for supported vehicles. Given the popularity, it’s surely only a matter of time before UWB is available on all flagship-tier smartphones. To that end, XDA’s Mishaal Rahman shared on Twitter that Google is working on bringing UWB support to an upcoming device codenamed “Raven,” believed to be part of the Pixel 6 family of phones. “Raven” and another device “Oriole” are set to be this fall’s Made by Google phones, both running on Google’s own Whitechapel GS101 chip. Based on documentation viewed by 9to5Google, we can corroborate that Google has been working with UWB hardware developed by Qorvo. No information has come to light regarding how the presumed Pixel 6 family would use the UWB connectivity, as no current Nest hardware offers that technology. The only clues we have for now lie in the open source UWB code for Android 12. Primarily, this code deals with determining how far away two UWB devices are from each other and at what angle the two are being brought together. For now, these UWB features will only be available to system apps, leaving them unavailable to other Android developers. Source: Google is working on UWB connectivity, possibly for Pixel 6 family
  25. Everybody hates “FLoC,” Google’s tracking plan for Chrome ads The EFF, Mozilla, Brave, Vivaldi, and DuckDuckGo, say "no way" to FLoC. Enlarge / Vivaldi's graphic on FLoC. Vivaldi Google wants to kill third-party tracking cookies used for ads in Chrome with the "Chrome Privacy Sandbox." Since Google is also the world's largest ad company, though, it's not killing tracking cookies without putting something else in its place. Google's replacement plan is to have Chrome locally build an ad interest profile for you, via a system called "FLoC" (Federated Learning of Cohorts). Rather than having advertisers collect your browsing history to build an individual profile of you on their servers, Google wants to keep that data local, and have the browser to serve a list of your interests to advertisers whenever they ask via an API, so that you'll still get relevant ads. Google argues that conscripting the browser for ad interest tracking is a win for privacy, since it keeps your exact browsing history local and only serves up anonymized interest lists. Google does not have many other companies in its corner, though. One of the first to come out against Google's plan was the EFF, which in March wrote a blog post called, "Google's FLoC is a Terrible Idea." The EFF seems to be against user tracking for ads entirely, saying Google's framing of the issue "is based on a false premise that we have to choose between "old tracking" and "new tracking." "It's not either-or," the EFF writes. "Instead of re-inventing the tracking wheel, we should imagine a better world without the myriad problems of targeted ads." The EFF worries that FLoC won't stop advertisers from personally identifying people and that the API will serve up full profile data on first contact with a site, saving tracking companies from having to do the work of building a profile themselves over time. It also argues that "the machinery of targeted advertising has frequently been used for exploitation, discrimination, and harm." Google's browser competitors have also come out against FLoC. Mozilla told The Verge " We are currently evaluating many of the privacy preserving advertising proposals, including those put forward by Google, but have no current plans to implement any of them at this time." The Firefox developer continued "We don't buy into the assumption that the industry needs billions of data points about people, that are collected and shared without their understanding, to serve relevant advertising." Enlarge / Google's infographic on how FLoC works. Google As for the other major independent browser vendor, Apple, it's hard to imagine it would be onboard with FLoC given how pro-privacy, anti-ad network it has been in the past. While it doesn't have an official statement out, Webkit (Safari's rendering engine) Engineer John Wilander has said the WebKit team "have not said we will impliment [FLoC] and we have our tracking prevention policy." Next, up how do the many forks of Chromium feel about FLoC? A "no" here would mean tearing the code out of your browser codebase. The Verge also pinged Microsoft about its feelings, and got a long, meandering answer that I don't think boils down to a clear "yes" or "no" to FLoC: We believe in a future where the web can provide people with privacy, transparency and control while also supporting responsible business models to create a vibrant, open and diverse ecosystem. Like Google, we support solutions that give users clear consent, and do not bypass consumer choice. That's also why we do not support solutions that leverage non-consented user identity signals, such as fingerprinting. The industry is on a journey and there will be browser-based proposals that do not need individual user ids and ID-based proposals that are based on consent and first party relationships. We will continue to explore these approaches with the community. Recently, for example, we were pleased to introduce one possible approach, as described in our PARAKEET proposal. This proposal is not the final iteration but is an evolving document. Brave has a whole post out about why it disables FLoC, saying it's harmful to users and "a step in the wrong direction," citing many of the same concerns the EFF has. The Vivaldi browser also has a blog post (and the above graphic) detailing why it won't support FLoC, saying "Google's new data harvesting venture is nasty" and "a dangerous step that harms user privacy." There have been some reports out there that WordPress, which powers something like 34 percent of all websites on the internet, will block FLoC, but that is just a proposal submitted by one of its contributors. WordPress's founding developer, Matt Mullenweg, says the company has not made any "hasn't made any decisions or changes yet" on FLoC. DuckDuckGo, one of Google's search engine rivals, has also come out against FLoC, and in addition to disabling it on the search pages, has released a Chrome extension that blocks FLoC tracking across the web. I don't think I've seen a single company other than Google claim that FLoC is a great idea. FLoC is currently rolling out as a trail in Chrome, and, as of March 30, is enabled for "0.5% of Chrome users." The EFF's amifloced.org site will let you know if you're one of the lucky few. Part of the uh, "magic" of Chrome is that, if Google's doesn't see value in reaching an industry-wide consensus, Google doesn't really need anyone else's cooperation when it comes down to it. Chrome has something like 70 percent of the browser market share. Google controls the world's biggest ad network. These ads are shown on some of the world's most popular websites, which Google also controls, like Google.com (#1 in the world) and YouTube (#2). The ads are also shown on the world's most popular operating system, Google's Android, which has over 2.5 billion monthly active users. There's also Chrome OS, which is now the second most popular desktop OS, and is particularly successful in schools. The company regularly sneaks out its own web "standards" first in the Google ecosystem, like early rollouts of WebP, VP8/9, and SPDY/HTTP/2, and it could, if it wanted to, do the same with FLoC. Everybody hates “FLoC,” Google’s tracking plan for Chrome ads
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