Representative asks internet CEOs to explain ‘absurd’ content policies

 Facebook, Google and Twitter are under great scrutiny lately for their rather inconsistent approaches to moderating content on their platforms, and Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is the latest to take them to task. Calling the results of the various undocumented policies “absurd,” he summoned the companies’ CEOs for a talk on the topic. Read More

New teardown brings more smoke to reports of a touchscreen Google Home

Sections of code within a recent update to the Google app seem to bolster reports that Google is working on a competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker.

An Android Police teardown of the Google app’s v7.14.15 beta update uncovered several references to functions and commands that can be performed by a device or feature codenamed “Quartz.”

The code suggests that Quartz is activated through voice commands and can perform typical smart speaker tasks like setting a timer or checking the weather. However, it also points to several functions that would likely involve a screen, such as Web browsing, showing Google Maps data, and displaying recipes and other cooking info. The update also seems to contain different layouts for watching videos on YouTube, which Google pulled from Amazon’s touchscreen speaker last month with little explanation.

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Google ‘actively investigating’ reports of OLED burn-in issues on Pixel 2 XL displays

 The Google Pixel 2 XL may have just launched this past week, but over the weekend reports began to surface that the device’s OLED screen was already exhibiting signs of burn-in, which left UI elements faintly evident after switching screens.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company was looking into the reports.
The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED… Read More

Touchscreen Google Home device evidence spied in official app code

 There’s now more evidence Google is testing a touchscreen Home device. AndroidPolice points to sections of code of the latest Google app that refers to a device that sports a new on-screen interface. The APK teardown of 7.14.15 beta version revealed a long list of on-screen menus and functions that are utilized by a device with the code-name of Quartz. These abilities include YouTube… Read More

Apple and AT&T activate LTE Band 8 to give iPhone users in Puerto Rico cellular service by Loon Balloon

 Apple has been working with AT&T to extend and activate cell service for users in Puerto Rico. To improve what is a terrible connectivity situation there, it’s going to enable a provisional band of LTE that has been recently approved, but not activated in the US and Puerto Rico, where it has not been licensed. This will allow iPhones to connect to Google’s Project Loon balloons… Read More

Google says 64% of Chrome traffic on Android now protected with HTTPS, 75% on Mac, 66% on Windows

 Google’s push to make the web more secure by flagging sites using insecure HTTP connections appears to be working. The company announced today that 64 percent of Chrome traffic on Android is now protected, up 42 percent from a year ago. In addition, over 75 percent of Chrome traffic on both ChromeOS and Mac is now protected, up from 60 percent on Mac and 67 percent on ChromeOS a year ago. Read More

Google Follows Apple’s Lead By Reducing Play Store Fee for App Subscriptions

Google revealed on Thursday that it would follow Apple’s lead in lowering the amount of money app developers must pay for mobile subscriptions processed through the company’s Play Store (via The Verge).

Adoption of the subscription model by iOS developers has increased over recent months, causing some controversy within the app-using community. Apple incentivized developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its App Store subscription policies in September of last year.



Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple’s cut drop down to 15 percent.

Google is adopting the same policy for subscriptions in its Play Store – an Android developer selling a subscription service will be eligible for the cut if the customer in question has been subscribed for more than a year. The company plans to bring the change into effect starting January 2018.

As The Verge notes, Google is trying to stay competitive with Apple by offering a reduction in its fees. This way the company ensures that subscription services like Spotify don’t try to bypass the Play Store in an effort to avoid paying the fee. But it also encourages developers to work harder to keep users subscribed for longer, given that the free reduction doesn’t take effect until 12 months into the initial subscription.

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Google’s AVA data set raises the bar for identifying human actions in videos

 Today Google announced a new labeled data set of human actions taking place in videos. That may sound obscure, but it’s a big deal for anyone working to solve problems in computer vision. Read More