google

Thu
13
Apr
John Lister's picture

Burger King Hijacks Home Gadget for Ad

Burger King has cheekily used a Google gadget to advertise its products. But the way it did so is pretty risky and could easily backfire. The stunt came in a television advert that contained a command for Google's Home device. That's a voice ... activated speaker that lets the user ask questions, control home devices, set alarms and other useful (and sometimes purely trivial) activities. While similar technology exists on many Android phones, those are usually set to recognize and respond only to the user's voice, including listening out for the trigger phrase "Okay Google" ... (view more)

Thu
06
Apr
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Amazon to Refund up to $70M for In-App Purchases

Amazon is to refund up to $70 million of in-app purchases made by children without their parents' permission. It follows a hearing where a court previously agreed that the way Amazon's purchasing system worked was inherently unfair. The case was ... brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) back in 2014 , and relates to so-called "freemium" apps on the Kindle Fire and some other Android devices. The word freemium is a portmanteau for "free" and "premium" and is often used to describe an app that would normally cost money, but instead includes ads or an ... (view more)

Tue
21
Mar
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Advertisers Ditch Google Over Extremist YouTube Videos

Google has apologized to businesses whose ads appeared next to extremist videos on YouTube. It follows several major brands and the British government dropping Google advertising over the affair. The Times newspaper reported that videos from ... extremist groups had appeared beside advertising from many a host of big businesses and government agencies. That not only meant embarrassment but could mean that the advertisers were unwittingly -- if indirectly -- contributing to extremist groups. Content Classification Confusing Google's Matt Brittin told a conference that he wanted to " ... (view more)

Tue
07
Mar
John Lister's picture

Google Gadget Claims Obama Planning Coup

Google's voice activated home assistant gadget has told users that former president Barack Obama is planning a coup. It's an unfortunate quirk of the way the company applies its website techniques to the gadget. Google Home - the company's answer to ... the Amazon Echo - is a small speaker that contains a microphone and a WiFi connection. It's designed to help with a host of activities around the house where voice-based information is quicker or more convenient than using a phone, tablet or computer. Examples include being able to ask for a recipe unit conversion while in the ... (view more)

Tue
07
Feb
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Google Fails to Block Email Search Warrant

A US court has ordered Google to hand over emails that it stores on computers in another country. That's a contrast to a previous ruling involving Microsoft, and highlights the complexity of applying national laws to Internet issues. The case ... involves an FBI search warrant that applies to a criminal suspect. Google had refused to comply with the warrant on two grounds: that there wasn't enough evidence for a seizure to overcome the restrictions placed by the constitution, and that the emails were physically stored outside of the US and thus couldn't be covered by a domestic ... (view more)

Tue
24
Jan
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Ads for Google Products Top Search Results: Report

An independent study found 91 percent of Google searches for physical products brought up a Google product as the top ad result. Google says it plays fair and the practice doesn't mean other companies have to spend more on advertising. The Wall ... Street Journal study wasn't about the search results themselves, but rather the ads that appear on the results page. It took 25 tech hardware products from carbon monoxide detectors to WiFi routers and carried out 1,000 searches for each on a computer, having first blocked its past search history to avoid distortion. On all but two of the ... (view more)

Wed
28
Dec
John Lister's picture

Google Accused of Silencing Whistle-Blowers

A Google employee is suing the company, claiming it imposed unlawful confidentiality agreements. The plaintiff says staff are banned from speaking out even about illegal activities. The lawsuit has been filed anonymously and is thus in the name of ... John Doe. It alleges violations of the Private Attorney Generals Act, which is a technical measure that lets private citizens bring claims against a company for breaching labor laws. "Doe" claims that although he remains at the company, Google falsely told other Google workers that he had been fired for leaking information to the press. ... (view more)

Fri
23
Dec
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Holocaust Denial Site Tops Google Rankings

Google has tweaked its search algorithm after discovering holocaust denial sites were topping the results for some queries. The incident may have highlighted a difference in the way Google and other search engines rank pages. The issue came to light ... when a newspaper reporter experimented with searches for the phrase "did the Holocaust happen" and discovered that the top result returned by Google was a site specifically dedicated to denying the Holocaust. Other journalists checked up potentially controversial queries and found unsettling top results, such as a search for "are ... (view more)

Thu
15
Dec
John Lister's picture

Google Publishes Previously Secret FBI Letters

Google has published eight letters sent by the FBI demanding details about its users. Normally the company isn't allowed to even acknowledge the letters exist. The letters, known as National Security Letters, are formal demands from the FBI for ... details about users - in this case, Google users. The letters are controversial for two reasons; first, the demands can be made without a specific search order, something that raises constitutional issues. The second is that Google isn't normally allowed to tell the user about the demand. While it's been argued that doing so may tip off a ... (view more)

Tue
15
Nov
John Lister's picture

Google Slammed Over Election News Link

Critics of Google say the search engine's algorithm is giving undue credibility to a website claiming to have final voting figures for the US election. The site, which is given prime position when users search for several election-related terms, ... appears to be unauthoritative and rely on questionable sources. As with any story in this year's US presidential election, its likely to prove partisan responses on both sides. However, this specific scenario is about Google's quality control, rather than political arguments. The issue surrounds the way Google doesn't just produce a ... (view more)

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