We pick our highlights of the product unveilings, bringing you the essential news from the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas (January 6 -11).
What it is: More devices with Google TV
Key points: More set-top boxes and TV models will feature Google TV with Asus, Hisense and TCL joining the party and existing partners like LG, Vizio and Sony showing new products featuring the Google TV 3.0 platform. Partners will also be showing the latest apps, such as an improved YouTube experience, voice command capabilities and the “Send to TV” feature that allows video to be switched from an Android device to the bigger screen. Read more
Victory on the main issue raised in the US anti-trust investigation of Google – the charge of search bias – is likely to remove any self-imposed limits the company has observed while under intense regulatory scrutiny over the past two years (Google’s own response, hinting at more aggressive competition to come, certainly suggested as much.)
Another consequence, noted by former FTC official David Balto: Any hopes that rivals had about riding on the back of regulatory action to bring their own private lawsuits have been dashed.
But in the area of patents, at least, the concession Google has made to end a US anti-trust investigation could have wider ramifications. Read more
Google’s latest addition to its hardware range, the Nexus 10, has landed. This time Google partnered with Samsung to produce an iPad-beating spec sheet and what they tout as the ‘highest resolution display in the world’. Priced at £319 in the UK and $399 in the US, could the Nexus 10 tempt Android holdouts? Read more
There has been no shortage of calls recently for European regulators to drag Google’s controversial new data privacy policies into their anti-trust investigation of the company. But with settlement talks at an advanced stage, we hear this one isn’t going anywhere – at least, not in this round of Google v the EU. Read more
Google has agreed to pay a $22.5m fine to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived users about tracking “cookies”, which it used to serve them targetted ads in the Safari browser.
The penalty, the same as expected when we reported its likelihood a month ago, represents a record sum for the FTC but a piddling amount for the search giant. Read more
Google’s tablet and living-room media device, unveiled at its annual developer conference, were enough to have some Google fans and tech commentators fawning over the company. Google also stepped it up another notch with a demonstration of the prototype Google Glass and a promise to turn it into a product by early 2014, reminding us that Google still has huge technology ambition – though some were not sure sure the company was taking the right direction. Read more
Google’s first Chromebook sought to do a couple of things really well – and largely succeeded.
But because laptops need to do more than a couple of things, the Chromebook didn’t sell. Ultimately, it represented too much of a break with the PC. That makes the compromises built into the new Chromebook, which goes on sale in the US on Tuesday and the UK on Wednesday, an important step towards making it a more practical machine. Read more
Fourteen months ago, to some fanfare, Google launched One Pass – its way to help publishers charge for digital content on the web, mobile and tablets.
Coming just a day after Apple announced plans for a 30 per cent tax on all app subscriptions, Google’s gambit caused quite a stir. With a more generous 10 per cent split and promises to share more subscriber data with publishers, at a time when many were spitting feathers about Apple’s diktat, One Pass was seen as a bold challenge and a tempting proposition from a company many publishers still felt was a parasite.
Yet last week, on a sunny Friday afternoon, Google quietly snuffed One Pass, whose homepage now returns only a 404 error. Read more
How does the company that says it wants to be “deserving of great love” justify tapping into home WiFi networks and grabbing snippets of personal information by the truckload?
Simple: listening in to unsecured WiFi networks, according to Google’s lawyers, is perfectly legal. And regrettable as that may sound, US regulators have accepted the defence – though they still feel Google “deliberately impeded” their investigation and “willfully and repeatedly violated” orders to produce information. Read more
Can you name this start-up?
Some 18 months after launching, it reaches 20m users and may be on the way to owning its category. An established internet giant, which has been trying to break into the same market, jumps in with a takeover offer worth more than $1bn – even though it’s not clear how the start-up will make money. With a market value that has soared to over $100bn, though, the acquirer feels it can afford the risk.
No, this is not Facebook buying Instagram – but the parallels are striking. Read more
Could Google become one of the beneficiaries of improving ties between Taiwan and China?
The US internet company on Tuesday began construction of its own data center in central Taiwan, one of three that it is building in Asia, after Hong Kong and Singapore. The groundbreaking comes just a week after the Taiwan government approved the construction of the first-ever undersea cable directly linking China and Taiwan. Read more