google

The privacy row over Google Glass has forced Google do an unusually Apple-like thing: block applications.

Despite repeated attempts to reassure the public that Google would not include face recognition in its Glass project without the appropriate privacy controls, the search giant has been unable to silence privacy campaigners or curb the aspirations of third party developers who are keen to exploit the new technology. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Google shares rose past the $900 mark on Wednesday as it announced 900m Android activations at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco. Google also launched a new subscription music streaming service, Google Play All Access, and a bunch of new services for developers, including improved gaming capabilities, mapping services and voice-controlled search tools.
Here’s a transcript of the liveblog by Chris Nuttall and Tim Bradshaw, who were reporting from the Moscone Center. 

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

Only a lucky group of applicants was selected to participate in testing the Explorer version of Google Glass. As early reviews started to trickle out this week, so too did a growing backlash against the “glassholes”.

While the elite of the tech world may be smitten – like Robert Scoble, who wrote he’s never taking his Google Glass off – others weren’t as easily impressed by the breakthrough in wearable computing, comparing it to overhyped tech toys such as the Segway and pocket protectors. Read more

Earlier on Friday, Wired reported that Apple’s voice app Siri, which is perhaps most famous for its comical misinterpretations, keeps users’ data for up to two years.

Now Google has told the FT that it stores queries to its voice search service for the same period. The difference is that Google stores the actual audio samples for up to two years, unlike Siri which deletes the audio after six months and then just retains the queries. So, is two years too long? Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook is an incredible innovator, but one of its greatest strengths is its ability to absorb – the less charitable might say copy – its competitors’ best features. We saw it with Twitter and status updates; with Foursquare and Places; with Pinterest and last autumn’s Collections tool; and most recently Snapchat and the Poke app.

That’s fine when startups are nipping at your heels, but does that work when you’re competing against the tech industry’s biggest platforms?

 Read more

By Andrew Betts of FT Labs

Google has announced a major change to its Chrome browser this week. While it represents a divergence in a key part of Chrome previously shared with Apple’s Safari browser, the move should enable Google ultimately to up its pace of innovation.

So for those who might think that a ‘rendering engine’ is a piece of farm machinery, we offer the following overview of this development, which represents a substantial fork in the road in the development of the web. Read more

The Google Glass isn’t even on sale yet but it may already have a Chinese competitor, writes Henry Mance.

Baidu, the company that now dominates Chinese internet search after Google’s partial retreat in 2010, has said it is developing its own “ocular wearable interface”, provisionally called the Baidu Eye, which will allow wearers to take pictures, and search using voice and images. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The launch of Google+ Sign-In five weeks ago seems likely to lead to a big conversion to mobile apps and favour the Android ecosystem, with Google announcing today that hundreds of websites are now adopting the common authentication method.

Google+ Sign-In saves users having to remember their logins for different services, similar to Facebook Connect, but the VentureBeat Mobile Summit was told it also is serving as a powerful tool to introduce them to app versions of the websites they visit. Read more

Apple has bought WifiSlam, an indoor mobile location service, as the Silicon Valley giant continues to compete with Google in mapping capabilities.

The deal closed recently for $20m, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source.

WifiSlam’s technology uses ambient wireless signals that are already present in buildings to pinpoint the location of smartphones, as opposed to the space-based satellite signals relied upon for larger-scale GPS mapping and navigation systems. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

At the South by Southwest Interactive festival, the annual geek gathering in Austin, Texas, a new Google gadget was the talk of the town – literally. Google’s “talking shoes” crammed a tiny computer, sensors, speakers and a Bluetooth wireless controller into a pair of Adidas that shout at their wearer when they aren’t moving around enough.

Google’s latest venture into wearable technology was more an attention-seeking gimmick than a serious new venture. But with the search giant ploughing significant resources into Google Glass, it’s another indication that Google is serious about moving from the digital to the physical – plans that seem to include a smart watch, too. Read more