Alongside today’s announcement of a new V11 cordless vacuum, Dyson also announced updates to its lighting and air purifier products.The first is the Dyson Lightcycle, its desk and floor lamp that can automatically adjust its lighting temperature based on ambient light or time of day.The high-end lamp also includes a scheduled lighting mode that gadgets like the new Casper Glow offer: you can now set wake and sleep times to gradually adjust as you prepare to rise or wind down.It has a new control panel above the bulb (which Dyson claims can last up to 60 years) that uses touch-capacitive taps and slides to control the power, lighting temperature, and brightness.Buttons along the bottom let you turn on the ambient mode that allows the Lightcycle to change lighting temperatures based on the natural light it finds in the room.Along the side of the stand, there’s a single USB-C port.
In the latest update to its mobile browser, Opera has added a built-in VPN service which is free, unlimited and doesn't require users to login or create an account.As consumers and businesses alike have grown more concerned about their privacy, the use of virtual private network (VPN) services has grown to over 650m people worldwide according to a GlobalWebIndex estimate.However, this isn't the first time that Opera has experimented with VPNs.The company launched its own standalone VPN app for Android and iOS in 2016 called Opera VPN and then added VPN capabilities to its desktop browser shortly after that.Last year, Opera shuttered its VPN app as the company prepared to add VPN functionality to its Android browser.Free VPNs have come under criticism recently as security flaws were discovered in many free VPN apps on the Google Play Store and this, combined with the fact that the companies running these services are likely selling your usage data to advertisers and other third-parties, could be enough to turn some users off from VPNs entirely.
But a "high-severity" bug that went undetected for more than five years—that attackers could exploit to spy on a user and gain access to their accounts—serves as a reminder that Android's impressive open source reach also creates challenges for defending a decentralized ecosystem.Discovered by Sergey Toshin, a mobile security researcher at the threat detection firm Positive Technologies, the bug originated in Chromium, the open-source project that underlies Chrome and many other browsers.As a result, an attacker could target not only mobile Chrome, but other popular mobile browsers built on Chromium."An attacker could launch an assault on any Chromium-based mobile browser on an Android device, including Google Chrome, Samsung Internet Browser, and Yandex Browser, and retrieve data from its WebView," Toshin says.Making matters worse, the bug has been present in every version of Android since 2013's 4.4 KitKat—the first version of Android that could listen for “Ok Google,” and the first to include emojis in Google Keyboard.An attacker would get the most reliable, long term access to a victim's device by tricking them into installing a malicious app that incorporates WebView and exploits the bug.
Come for the on-demand servers, stay for the sweet documentationOn a rainy Wednesday morning in San Francisco, Google pitched its Cloud Platform (GCP) to power games, and brought friends along to sing its praises at the annual Games Developer's Conference.Game makers represent the ideal market for on-demand infrastructure because their IT requirements tend to be unpredictable.They might need thousands of VMs on launch day and a fraction of that several months out.Or their demand for computing resources might be the opposite, starting slow then spiking due organic or promotionally-driven growth.As Paul Manuel, managing director for multiplay at Unity Technologies, explained during the GCP presentation, game makers used to have either too much hardware and too few players or too many players and too little hardware.
It’s been six months since I reviewed the apparently boring new Google Chromecast, a gadget I said “falls short” and called “a bummer.” New Google has effectively turned the Chromecast into the video game console of the future.Eating one’s words does not exactly mean the same thing as saying you’re wrong.When I argued that Google’s latest £30 Chromecast disappointed some folks by failing to deliver full-fledged set-top box solution, I was right about that.Now that Google has linked Chromecast to Stadia, the company’s broader mission to create a cloud-based video game empire, I realise that my eye was on the wrong ball.The new Chromecast is still boring for TV watchers, but it’s suddenly fascinating for gamers.The basic idea is that any device that works with Chromecast—this includes everything from a Mac running the Chrome browser to a TV with a new Chromecast plugged in—will be able to access video games through Google’s existing data centre network.
This WebView came rolling homeSmartphones and other gadgets running Android 4.4 or later contain a bug that can be exploited by rogue apps to steal website login tokens and spy on owners' browsing histories.This is according to Sergey Toshin of security house Positive Technologies, who took credit for the discovery and reporting of the flaw, CVE-2019-5765, which lies within Google Chrome on Android.With patches out since February, Positive today went public with details of the security blunder.The bug was introduced into Android starting from version 4.4, aka KitKat which was released in 2013.If you are running Chrome on Android version 72.0.3626.81 or later on Android 7.0 or higher, you are patched and safe from this vulnerability.
European officials Wednesday fined Google €1.49 billion ($1.7 billion) for more than a decade of abusive practices in how it brokered online ads for other websites like newspapers, blogs, and travel aggregators.This is the third billion-dollar antitrust penalty levied against Google by the European Commission, which has fined the company more than $9 billion for anticompetitive practices since 2017.But the reaction also shows how much the debate around antitrust has intensified in just a few years, from fear that enforcement would stifle innovation to concern that even massive fines provide an insufficient check on dominant tech giants.As part of Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s first enforcement action against Google in 2017, the agency ordered the company to change the way it handles shopping-search results to give better display to other merchants.At the time, experts worried such restrictions might hamper innovation or create a false impression of more competition, says Maurice Stucke, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and cofounder of the Konkurrenz Group.Since then, the discussion has shifted, he says, pointing to recent antitrust proposals from officials in France, Germany, Australia, Britain, and even the US.
The humble Google Doodle is used to honor important lives, events, and other pop-culture references, and now the company is celebrating the life of legendary German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.The Doodle isn’t just nice to look at either — it’s an interactive experience that allows users to compose two-measure melodies.This Doodle also goes a step further — not only can you create your own melody, but the Doodle will also take that melody and create harmonies for it in the style of Bach.Within the Doodle, you can do things like start with a simple melody, change the key, and more.The Doodle itself will run for 48 hours from March 21 to 22, and can be seen in most of the 77 markets in which Google Doodles are available.Google isn’t just launching the Doodle — the company will also debut a behind-the-scenes video exploring the making of the Bach Doodle.
The first doodle: Burning Man 1998The concept of the Google Doodle was born on Aug. 30, 1998, when company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin placed a simple stick-figure drawing behind the second "o" in the word Google.This first Google logo art was intended as a message to the site's users that the founders were "out of office" at the Burning Man festival.While this first doodle was a relatively simple sketch, the idea of decorating the Google logo to celebrate notable events was born -- a tradition which is today stronger than ever.As the doodles have continued to grow, new technologies have led to more complex, entertaining, and creative artistic concepts.Today, Google employs a team of illustrators and engineers known as "Doodlers" to brighten up the Google home page.
Primary in my mind has been the query of why Google needs to be in the gaming business at all.Isn’t it enough to dominate web search, ads, and browsers, smartphone operating systems, and maps?And then it dawned on me that we might be looking at it from the wrong perspective: what if Stadia isn’t a case of Google aggressively entering a new business sphere, but rather a defensive one to protect its existing kingdom?It’s the birthplace of creative communities, the workplace for many, and the landing spot for a huge array of gaming-related videos.Lest we forget, YouTube’s most popular personality, PewDiePie, got his start by filming himself playing games.Everything from replays of competitive e-sport matches to complete play-throughs of narrative-driven games, game reviews, and curated anthologies of funny moments in games make their way onto YouTube.
In a paper presented at the 2018 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), the scholars described the results of experiments that used artificial neural networks to predict with greater accuracy than ever before how different areas in the brain respond to specific words.The work employed a type of recurrent neural network called long short-term memory (LSTM) that includes in its calculations the relationships of each word to what came before to better preserve context.It sounds obvious, but for decades neuroscience experiments considered the response of the brain to individual words without a sense of their connection to chains of words or sentences.They used data collected from fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machines that capture changes in the blood oxygenation level in the brain based on how active groups of neurons are.Using powerful supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), they trained a language model using the LSTM method so it could effectively predict what word would come next - a task akin to Google auto-complete searches, which the human mind is particularly adept at."In trying to predict the next word, this model has to implicitly learn all this other stuff about how language works," said Huth, "like which words tend to follow other words, without ever actually accessing the brain or any data about the brain."
The EU has fined Google €1.49bn for blocking rival online search advertisers as it looks to crackdown on anti-competitive policies.This is third major EU fine that the search giant has incurred in two years and the latest case accuses the US company of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.Google has since changed its AdSense contracts with large third parties to give them more leeway in how they display competing search ads.EC commissioner Magrethe Vestager explained why it decided to fine Google over its ad policies, saying:"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules."
The European Commission has hit Google with another fine for antitrust rule breaking, this time asking it to pay €1.49bn (£1.2bn) for using anti-competitive guidelines in its online advertising businesses.In the firing line this time is the way Google imagined-up rules that suited its dominant position in the online search and ad results business, particularly the way it restricted third-party websites from displaying ads for services offered by Google's rivals.As in, if businesses wanted in on Google's magical money-creating internet advertising merry-go-round, they had to agree not to allow Bing ads to pop up anywhere on their sidebars.This was an abuse of their powers, said EC competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who explained: "Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition."
SAN FRANCISCO—The Epic Games Store's much-ballyhooed 88-percent revenue share has been great news for developers who are no longer forced to accept Steam's de facto 70-percent standard.Should PC games cost less on Epic’s Games Store?Speaking to Ars Technica, though, Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney says that players should look forward to paying less on the Epic Games Store in the future.While Epic leaves pricing decisions completely in developers' hands, Sweeney said, "after you go through several cycles of game developers making decisions, you're going to see lower prices as developers pass on the savings to customers, realizing they can sell more copies if they have a better price."It's a supply-side thing, this revenue sharing, it's some sort of business arrangement between developers and a store that [a] gamer generally doesn't see... [but] as developers reinvest more of that 18 percent of additional revenue into building better games, that's key to the long-term health of the game industry that we all have to look out for."Sweeney wouldn't share too many specifics but did throw out a few numbers to highlight that faster-than-expected growth: 85 million total players with Epic Games Store installed and 4.5 million downloads for a free game like Subnautica, including one million downloads from newcomers to the store.
Tomorrow’s Google Doodle will be one for the history books as it will be the very first Doodle to be powered by artificial intelligence.The Google Doodle will be focused on famed German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born on March 21, 1685 (doing the math, that was 334 years ago!).Using machine learning, you’ll be able to compose a brief musical piece in Bach’s distinct style, complete with multiple harmonies.Don’t worry, even if you don’t know anything about music composition you can still get in on the fun, as there will be pre-created samples for you to pick from as well.The Bach Google Doodle was created by three Google teams: the Doodle team (naturally), the Magenta team (which focuses on machine learning and AI when it comes to creating art and music), and the PAIR team (which stands for People + AI Research).The three teams worked to bring all of the elements of a machine-learning music composition program right into your browser.
Google claims that Stadia means “the future of gaming is not a box,” and would probably love nothing more than for me – and other PC gamers – to take a look at our expensive graphics cards, bags of RAM and multi-core processors and vow “never again!”But, if Google wants me to stop getting excited about Nvidia and AMD (and, eventually, Intel’s) new graphics cards, and instead buy a Chromecast, it’s going to be sorely disappointed.The idea that Google can use its servers and infrastructure to stream the latest games to any device that can run Chrome is certainly intriguing, but there are a number of factors that means the service at the moment just isn’t for me.If you want evidence of this, look at the thriving modding scene on PC, where dedicated fans have delved into the code of their favorite games, adding new features, upgrading graphics and even completely overhauling them to make an entirely new game with total conversion mods.PC gamers are used to editing .ini files that are installed alongside our games to make them run better – sometimes fixing issues that the games developers haven’t got around to, like adding support for 21:9 aspect ratios.If Google decides to remove a game from the service, then there’s likely not much you can do about it.
For years, we played video games in arcades.Then we huddled in front of specialized consoles hooked up to our living room televisions.On Tuesday, Google announced Stadia, a service that lets you play games by way of a wide variety of devices and an internet connection, similar to how you watch shows and movies on Netflix.Just a TV, set-top box, browser, phone or low-end PC that can surf the web using Google's Chrome browser.You can use your own keyboard, mouse and a controller you have lying around, or you can use a specialized controller from Google that connects to its service over Wi-Fi."Our ambition is far beyond a single game," said Google's Phil Harrison.
Google has been fined by the European Union again, this time for imposing what the E.U.calls “unfair terms” relating to its online advertising market.This ruling has resulted in a fine of 1.5 billion euros (around $1.7 billion), the third such fine handed to Google by the E.U.’s European Commission.The root of the complaint against the search engine giant involved the terms for third-party websites who wanted to use Google’s search bar in their own websites.According to the E.U.’s ruling, Google required websites to favor ads from its own advertising services above the ads of competitors.This is against the E.U.’s antitrust rules, as laid out in a statement by Margrethe Vestager, head of Europe’s top antitrust watchdog.
With Google's game streaming service unveiled Tuesday and Apple's TV streaming service reveal expected Monday, Comcast is hopping on the bandwagon: The cable giant said it will announce the launch of a new service Thursday, according to a media advisory.Comcast declined to characterize the nature of the new service.It will be introduced by Matt Strauss, a longtime Comcast executive who is the head of the company's Xfinity Services line of business.Xfinity Services run the gamut of all Comcast's residential offerings, including its high-tech X1 cable video offering, internet, voice-command technology and home security and automation.A prime suspect: some sort of smart-home play.Comcast was testing a program late last year that would allow its broadband-only customers to turn their TVs into smart-home hubs.
Researchers have discovered a critical vulnerability in Google’s Chromium browser that could be used to steal personal data.Positive Technologies researcher Sergey Toshin uncovered the bug last December and disclosed it to Google in January, which patched the bug a few weeks later.There’s no sign that it was actively exploited, but given the broad reach of the vulnerability, it’s difficult to be sure.The bug was briefly disclosed in Google’s patch notes from January, described only as a high-severity vulnerability with “insufficient policy enforcement.” After a new report from Positive Technologies, we now know that the bug affected Android’s WebView component, which is commonly used to display pages inside Android apps.More broadly, the vulnerability existed inside Google’s Chromium engine, and it was present in all versions of Android 4.4 and up.Hackers could have exploited the vulnerability by linking users to a malicious instant app, which would run a small file that has access to a phone’s hardware.