Just when I assumed the era of goofy Microsoft business moves was over, they go and do it again. Yesterday Microsoft announced that they were doing away with their unlimited OneDrive storage option. According to Microsoft, some users had abused the “limit” by storing “entire moving collections and DVR recordings”.
As all website operators know, Google can be a bit iron-handed (and vague) when it comes to AdSense ad policies. Website’s must follow strict guidelines on content, placement of ads, and adhere to agreements prohibiting them from running certain competing ads on their sites. And if something goes wrong or Google perceives the website owner has broken the rules, AdSense accounts are shut down – permanently. There is no resolution for the “kiss of death” either. Yesterday a self-proclaimed disgruntled AdSense employee released a bombshell, claiming that Google purposely rips off its AdSense clients through program policies designed to shutdown accounts with opportune timing (for Google). Google swiftly denied the claims.
Just when you think Microsoft won’t shoot themselves in the foot any longer – they do it again. Today they rolled out OneDrive, their replacement (or revamp) for their cloud storage product, SkyDrive, with a special offer for 100GB of free drive space while neglecting to mention that after a year the user must pay for an upgrade or lose their files to the cloud's nether-regions...
It’s no longer just a theory – despite their denials, major ISPs are ignoring net neutrality rules and throttling Netflix bandwidth and Netflix has the proof in hand which they provide through their publicly-available monthly statistics reports. Here’s how to find out if you’re being throttled by your ISP, why ISPs throttle network traffic from Netflix (and other competing streaming video providers), and what you can do about it.
After recent accusations that the NSA has direct access to tech giants' servers, hats off to Google who today asked US authorities to allow it to fully disclose the number of secret requests it receives to hand over user data. Google sent the letter to US attorney Eric Holder and posted a copy of the letter on Google's blog while reiterating that the government did not have unfettered access to their servers (for those that are still unclear, PRISM most likely runs at points just outside the companies' network perimeter).
As Google Glass begins rolling off the production lines and the Explorer developer program kicks in, the Google Glass support documentation was released today so we now have the official specs in hand. The display is said to be equivalent to a 25-inch HD display viewed from 8 feet away. The camera is a 5-megapixel unit that shoots 720p video. Google Glass contains 16GB of memory of which 12GB is free and usable. The device includes a micro USB connector for data transmission and charging.
Yesterday Google forked its WebKit browser engine, the same engine used by Apple’s Safari browser and many other mobile browsers, and will now focus its efforts on “Blink”, which will gradually diverge from the WebKit project on which Google Chrome is based. Developers at Google expressed their excitement and enthusiasm for the change noting that the fork will make it easier to make changes to the core engine, allow them to improve the security of the web browser, and provide the framework for an even faster browser engine.
Rumors are beginning to circulate that Google is prepping a major upgrade to their flagship Nexus 10 tablet. The Nexus 10, introduced in October 2012, is equipped with a powerful Exynos 1.7GHz dual-core processor and a Mali-T604 GPU but users have reported performance issues such as lag and stutter as the processor struggles to power applications and the massive (and dense) 2560 x 1600 display. Now we are hearing that Google is prepping an identical tablet with the processor swapped out to use a quad-core processor and updated 8-core Mali-T678 GPU. All other hardware should remain the same (i.e. 2GB Ram, 300ppi display, 16GB internal storage, 5-megapixel camera, 1.9 megapixel front camera, NFC, Bluetooth, WiFi, 9,000 mAh battery).
According to Bloomberg, Google, who gets about 1,400 requests a month from U.S. authorities for users’ email and documents, is leading an effort to change key aspects of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act in order to limit or prohibit government access to citizen’s private communications. Google’s chief legal officer told Bloomberg: “Given the realities of how people live and where things are going in the digital world, it’s an important time for government to act” to update the law. It’s a bipartisan issue and I think the momentum is going to build because citizens are expecting this.”
Amidst falling stock prices and a fleeing user base, Facebook introduced an upgraded search tool today – Graph Search, which will allow a more natural language search (e.g. search for “friends who like cats and UFOs” or “pictures taken on the beach in Mexico”). Mark Zuckerberg says “This is one of the coolest things we've done in a while.” According to Wired Magazine, the new product “promises to transform its user experience, threaten its competitors, and torment privacy activists.” Users will be able to get restaurant recommendations, search for job prospects amongst their peers, find pictures related to specific geographic locations, and much, much more.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is about to take control of its own branded phones with a hush, hush project dubbed – the “X Phone” (yeah, it’s a jab at iPhone). Google product manager Lior Ron is believed to be heading up the X Phone project which is said will “rival anything coming from mobile giants Samsung and Apple”. There are not a lot of details yet but phrases like “marquee handset”, “high-quality camera”, “bendable screen”, and “ceramic materials” (for durability and moldable shapes) are being tossed around. WSJ did note that “Motorola plans to enhance the X Phone with its recent acquisition of Viewdle, an imaging and gesture-recognition software developer.” Of course, it’s all just speculation right now.
Real world tests of Google’s Fiber project, a high-speed ISP network installed in Kansas City, are beginning to arrive and the results are outstanding. Kansas City Google Fiber users can expect 700 Mbps down on hard-wired connections. One user reported that he BitTorrented Ubuntu in only 2 minutes. When will it arrive in your neighborhood?
Reports are out that Apple has paid $21 million for rights to the Swiss Federal Railway clock it used in iOS 6 without their permission. In addition, Apple and HTC announced this past weekend that they have ended all their patent disputes. The financial terms of their agreement remains confidential but since HTC has been on the losing end thus far, it is safe to assume they paid a hefty sum to stop the litigation. In addition, the companies announced a 10-year license to current and future patents held by both companies.
On November 9, 2012, China set their national firewall (the Great Firewall) to block all Google services including Gmail, Google Maps, and search. Google reported the block on their Transparency Report. According to Google, everything was OK on their end indicating the block was coming from China themselves. It is assumed that the block was due to the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress which began on November 8. Services began to come back online on November 10, slowly, ad DNS caches refreshed.