Tag: Google

‘BadNews’ malware family infiltrates Google Play Store

dandroidLookout has unearthed a new family of malware it is dubbing BadNews – which has emerged in the Google Play Store for Android devices.

According to Lookout’s research, BadNews poses as an aggressive ad network – however, it floods the user with application install prompts and brings up fake news, all with the agenda of pushing more malware and affiliated apps.

In its early days, Android in particular was dismissed by critics as being unreliable on the security front thanks to the open access nature of the OS. The Play Store, or Android Market as it was known, did occasionally sport dodgy applications that would mimic other popular apps but were anything but.

BadNews, Lookout says, is significant because it has managed to distribute itself so far and wide – using a server to delay malicious behaviour. The security company has let Google know about the malware, and all developer accounts associated with BadNews have been suspended and are being investigated.

BadNews and its affiliated could have been downloaded as many as 9 million times. Not all apps that have been compromised had malicious code in them, but BadNews, LookOut says, puts a “significant number” of users at risk.

The malware also threatens to leak sensitive information such as phone numbers and IMEI codes.

It is a reminder that as smart device use becomes more widespread, so will malicious coders targeting these devices. While at one time mobile security features were panned by some corners, it can’t hurt to have a legitimate piece of antivirus software installed on your phone and to only download trusted applications, as malicious coders will increasingly target the etailing and digital services space.

Google rakes in the cash for first quarter

google-ICGoogle made more than a few dollars in its latest quarter, raking in a cool $14 billion in revenue.

The company, which described the figures as a “strong start to 2013,” reported consolidated revenues of $13.97 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, an increase of 31 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012.

GAAP operating income in the first quarter of 2013 was $3.48 billion, accounting for 25 percent of revenues. This was in comparison to $3.39 billion, or 32 percent of revenues, in the first quarter of 2012.

Non-GAAP operating income in the first quarter of 2013 was $4.22 billion, or 30 percent of revenues. This compared to non-GAAP operating income of $3.94 billion, or 37 percent of revenues, in the first quarter of 2012.

GAAP net income including net income from discontinued operations in the first quarter of 2013 was $3.35 billion, compared to $2.89 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

Non-GAAP net income in the first quarter of 2013 was $3.90 billion, compared to $3.33 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

Again it was Google’s ad business that generated the most profit with revenues hitting
$12.95 billion, or 93 percent of consolidated revenues, in the first quarter of 2013, representing a 22 percent increase over first quarter 2012 revenues of $10.65 billion.

Google-owned sites generated revenues of $8.64 billion, or 67 percent of total Google revenues, in the first quarter of 2013 – an 18 percent increase over the same period last year.

And its partner sites also raked in the cash generating revenues of $3.26 billion, or 25 percent of total Google revenues, in the first quarter of 2013. .

In the UK, Google revenues amounted to $1.39 billion, representing 11 percent of revenues.

Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google’s partners, increased to $2.96 billion in the first quarter of 2013, compared to $2.51 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

However the company lost out on some dough over in its flagging Motorola mobile sector with a decline of 27 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

Google tests same-day delivery online

google-ICGoogle is not content with dominating the search and mobile OS space. Now it wants to deliver our groceries, too. The company is about to roll out a new same-day delivery service in San Francisco and several suburbs south of the city, AP reports. 

Google Shopping Express will provide same-day delivery of food and other products bought online. If it takes off, Google will expand the service to other markets.

“We hope this will help users explore the benefits of a local, same-day delivery service, and help us kick the tires on the new service,” Google said in a statement.

It is an interesting twist in Google’s cunning plot to take over the world. Google wants to increase consumer reliance on the internet, even when it comes to mundane chores. The hope is that Google’s shopping push will attract even more merchants to buy online ads.

The biggest drawback of most online shopping outfits is that they cannot guarantee same-day delivery, which means their services can’t be used for perishable goods. Besides, you can already get a week-old salad at Tesco.

Several major merchants have already signed up for Google’s new service, including Target and Walgreen. The merchants will sell some items through a central website, run by Google. Google will then hire courier services to pick up and deliver the items to shoppers. The couriers will be driving Google trucks, in Google uniforms.

Surface tablet sales fall short, resemble Zune

surface-rtOh dear. It looks like the sceptics were right, Microsoft’s Surface tablets are lemons. Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has sold about 400,000 Surface Pro tablets since their debut last month. In addition, it only managed to sell a little over a million Surface RT tablets.

Microsoft reportedly ordered three million Surface RT tablets last year, but sales never picked up and Redmond was forced to scale back the order. 

The lacklustre figures come as no surprise. Earlier this year it emerged that the RT faced high return rates and very low sell-through, with shipments totalling just 900,000 units in the first quarter of sales. The Surface Pro did not fare any better. It got relatively negative reviews and since it is quite a bit pricier than the RT, consumers don’t seem keen to make the leap of faith.

JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna told Bloomberg that Microsoft has failed to prove that Windows has a place in a new world dominated by touchscreens.

“It’s pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they’re getting worse,” he said. “The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now.”

Apple still commands a 50+ share of the tablet market, although it is projected to slip under 50 percent later this year. Analysts put Apple’s iPad shipments in Q4 at 22.9 million units, which dwarfs every single competitor. However, Apple is losing share to Android, not Windows.

IDC reckons that the share of Windows RT tablets will stay below 3 percent through 2017, while Windows 8 could end up on 7.4 percent of tablets, in 2017 of course. In other words, Windows tablets are going nowhere, fast.

HTC guerrilla marketing campaign takes on Samsung juggernaut

htc-quietly-going-underTroubled smartphone maker HTC is not giving in yet. It used the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch event to stage a guerrilla marketing event of its own. HTC can’t take on Samsung in a set piece battle or in a war of attrition, but it seems eager to fight on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets. The streets of New York that is. 

HTC did not use Spitfires and Hurricanes, it resorted to an even more potent marketing weapon – lovely ladies handing out HTC One samples. Sometimes a friendly smile works better than a Vickers machine gun. HTC let the crowd try out its new flagship phone at the sidelines of Samsung’s Unpacked 2013 event and it offered a $100 rebate for anyone who trades in their old phone, reports Business Insider.

Samsung held two separate events in New York, one for the media and one for consumers. Apparently HTC chose to target the latter. It is unclear how many consumers fell for it, but in our opinion the HTC One has what it takes to slug it out with Samsung’s Galaxy S4. Sadly though, HTC lacks hundreds of millions of dollars to take on Samsung’s hype machine and hype is proving more important than actual products. 

HTC is down, but it is not out. And if the HTC One fails we will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted Samsung science.

HTC is not the only Android outfit that chose not to yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. LG took out a few cleverly placed ads, trolling Samsung’s SIV ads in New York as well.

Google Shopping ads now extend to mobiles

google-mobile-ad-listingsGoogle is bringing Google Shopping product listings to mobile devices. Google has been serving up product listings on desktop search results for quite a while, but now it is taking them to cramped mobile screens as well.

A simple Google search on a phone or tablet will now result in several listings popping up above the organic search results.

This ad unit is labeled as ‘Sponsored’ and displays rich product images, prices, retailers and more. It might be a boon for some users and m-commerce outfits, but sticking an ad unit in mobile searches is bound to irk quite a few consumers, especially those who didn’t fall for the oversized smartphone craze.

Google explained the finer points of its approach in an Adwords Blog entry and it was quick to point out that the new service will allow potential consumers to narrow down their searches and save money in the process. It should boost Google’s mobile ad revenue and it also opens up a range of new possibilities.

The listings are location-aware, which means they could come in handy on the road, or abroad. Comparing prices, exchanging money or just getting a quick bite to eat in a new city should be easier than ever, especially if Google Now goes mainstream and lends a helping hand.

However, when you’re not on the road and when you just want to search for something, the ads will do what all ads do best – annoy you.

How the big boys killed Google and Apple’s TV

5d5ff59c-434d-11e2-989b-12313d1f5c43About a year ago you could not read anything in the tech press about how the big names were pressing into the telly industry.

Google and Apple were all outed as being likely to become big players. Their channel partners waited, after all there was some big dosh to be made in joint operations, and suddenly there was nothing.

Google pulled off a big “oh look a badger” and started talking about Google Glass while Apple instructed its Tame Apple Press to start writing meaningless pieces about watches instead.
So what happened to the television being the cure for Apple and Google’s woes?

According to Forbes it was some dark satanic practices being carried out behind closed doors in the Far East.

But in the old days control the TV meant you might also control other household functions, like remote control of the air conditioning. Microsoft was early into TV operating systems for that reason.

Its logic is that the TV market is owned by Korean manufacturers and in particular Samsung, and by LG and they are making their plans grander by the minute.

LG recently bought WebOs from HP, specifically for use in smart TVs while Samsung already has a smart TV project that has sucked up developers of iOS, Windows and Android.

For Apple and Google to get into this market they have to do something pretty sexy in a channel where they are an innocent Shirley Temple doing a rounding redition of “good ship lollypop” before a convent of Nuns.

Apple looked at the competition, saw how good it was, and thought “Nah lets stick to making toys.” Google on the otherhand has been a bit more shifty.

The Web OS purchase was bad news for Google TV, but it exposed the extent of Google’s plans. In the beginning the company courted a number of big TV manufacturers for Google TV, with the idea of having the system embedded in a wide variety of TV sets.

It spoke to Sony, which was one of the first to make Google TVs, LG came on board for the second generation, and Samsung seemed to be ready to go Google as well by early 2012.

However a year afterwards Samsung’s Google TV never materialised and Sony stopped selling and now, LG is buying its own smart TV operating system. This means that Google is stuck to a companion box and is snookered.

So why have the big players gone all Altair’ on Google? It appears that it might not be Google, but the operating system that it runs on which has the big Asian names miffed.

For a while now there has been muttering that Android has become too powerful. The moaning has not just come from the Chinese Government, which is looking to build its own Red Friendly operating system, but Google’s partners too.

Some of that was Google’s fault, in buying Motorola, but there are some other reasons too. The first is that many are terrified of returning to a situation where one operating system has control over the market. Although Android is Open Source it still operates at the will of Google.

What is starting to look possible is that Samsung could use Tizen and LG will use Web OS.
The interesting point here that recently Intel revealed its TV plans. It is coming in late, and really few people will care, but it looks like it means that it will not only have to do it without Samsung or LG. True it could run its TV on WebOs or Tizen but that is not normally its style. It probably thought it could come in with Android and everything would be home and hosed. Only it wasn’t.

Google Play gift cards available at Tesco and Morrisons

googleplaycardsGoogle has officially introduced its Google Play gift cards in the UK and they are already on sale. That was quick, but still a bit too late for baby Jesus’ birthday. 

The cards are available at Tesco and Morrisons branches across Britain.

Although the cards should be available in three denominations of £10, £25 and £50, early reports indicate that some denominations are not available in all shops, but it is probably a minor glitch that will be worked out.

Obviously, the cards can be can be used to buy content from Google’s Play store, ranging from Android games to books and films. Sadly though, the gift cards cannot be used to buy Nexus hardware, digital subscriptions or accessories.

The cards can be redeemed by simply entering the code on the back of the card in the Google Play app, during the purchase or by entering the redemption code through your browser.

Google Play gift cards set to hit UK

googleplaycardsGoogle Play gift cards are coming to the UK, just three months late for Christmas. Google has apparently leaked a few details on its Google Play Support page, indicating that British Googleites will soon be able to pick up virtual gift cards.

Google launched its gift card service in the US last August, in four denominations: $10, $15, $25 and $50. Britain is getting three denominations, £10, £25 and £50. However, it is still unclear when Google will roll out the new service and the company is not commenting. With plenty of references on its own pages, it shouldn’t be long before we see the cards on sale across Britain.

The leak was unearthed by Android UK News, which also reports that the maximum credit allowed will be £2,000. That should be more than enough for any Google Play addict.

The big question at this point is who will carry them? Carphone Warehouse and similar outfits are the obvious choice, but we could be in for a surprise.

Google might be too late for Christmas, but in a few months time Brits should be able to spoil their offspring with hassle free virtual gift cards.

Iron Mountain makes the UK superbrands list

ironmountainCAInformation management company Iron Mountain has found itself in the 2013 Business Superbrands qualifiers, finding itself among household names such as Samsung, Intel and Apple.

Although it is not in the top 20 – dominated by the heaviest hitters – the company has posted a proud release to let the world know of its increasing brand presence, specifically in the European mid market.

Iron Mountain has been following a strategy that targets European mid market companies. Its campaigns, the company said, have centred on showing off its brand appeal to smaller companies, using a combination of PR, web marketing, direct mail and event channels to raise awareness.

The company said that it works with 150,000 organisations across the world as well as finding itself in the majority of FTSE top 100 businesses for storing and managing critical information. In a statement, the company said despite this reputation, it was “largely unknown in Europe”.

Since 2011, the company has been involved in brand research in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Hungary.

The long list of the so-called superbrands is available in PDF format here.

Top ten business superbrands, from top to bottom, were Apple, BA, Google, Visa, Virgin Atlantic, IBM, SHell, Microsoft, London Stock Exchange Group, and Mastercard.

Superbrands claims that its league tables are based on the “opinions of marketing experts, business professionals and thousands of British consumers”.

Three tech companies were in the top ten of the consumer index. Apple was in second place, Microsoft in third, and Google at six. We are not clear about the exact metrics used, but Stephen Cheliotis from the council said they’re judged on “quality, reliability and distinction”.

Europe to binge on cheap tablets

nexus7The tablet boom is still going strong and according to Forrester Research, plenty of growth is expected over the next few years. Tablet ownership in Europe is expected to quadruple by 2017.

At the moment, an estimated 14 percent of European online consumers own a tablet, and the number should hit 55 percent by 2017. But who stands to gain from the boom?

Google needs no shops says Rubin

nexus7Rumours of Google’s retail store push seem to have been just that, groundless rumours. Android boss Andy Rubin now says that Google does not need its own retail stores.

Speaking to AllThingsD, Rubin said the need for physical stores is simply not there anymore. Consumers can get plenty of information online or through word of mouth.

Taking into account the sheer volume of bias and fanboy fuelled hype found in most tech reviews, we believe the latter option is a better choice.

However, Rubin believes consumers no longer have to go into stores to “feel” gadgets. He added that Google’s hardware effort is still in its infancy and we have to agree. Google’s Nexus programme is basically a way of showing the world how not to launch and market phones, or how to ruin perfectly good products with terrible execution.

“For Nexus, I don’t think the program is far enough along to think about the necessity of having these things in a retail store,” said Rubin. He went on to say that Google has no retail store plans and that it has nothing to announce. That’s nada.

For some strange reason, Google seems to view Nexus gear as a nuisance, something to get out of the way while developing newer versions of Android and web services. Tangible stuff is dirty in the Google mindset. Even Rubin refers to his own Nexus gear as “these things,” rather than actual products that could be very competitive and generate plenty of revenue if Google somehow managed to do things right.

Just ask Samsung.

Google starts to recruit resellers against Amazon Cloud

cloud 2Google and Amazon have been scrapping it out for dominance of the skies, but now it seems that the search engine Zeppelin may be trying to recruit resellers to help out.

According to GigaomGoogle has signed up its first reseller, a company called RightScale, which is offering a “cloud management platform”.

It helps an enterprise automate routine tasks, monitor usage and monthly costs, and control security options.

As a reseller RightScale works with other major providers of Internet-delivered computing power and storage, including Amazon, RackSpace, HP Cloud, and Windows Azure. But its products have always worked with Compute Engine since Google launched the cloud service in June.

What this means is that Google has finally woken up and realised that its enterprise customers not only need someone to sell them the products, but also hold their hands if something goes tits up.
One of the difficulties that Google has had is that the company is so big, that getting information on its products, particularly when something goes wrong, is difficult.

But there are some elements of self-protection here. This partnership announcement comes a week after Amazon launched a new service called OpsWorks, which competes with RightScale. This means that by having resellers Google and the reseller can protect each other from the Amazon juggernaut.

In the long term Google will probably do better than Amazon. It has a lot more experience running Apps on the Cloud, and soon its products will be faster and cheaper but this announcement is a reminder that even super-companies like Google need resellers to get their products out there.
Google is also the new kid on the block and many corporate customers will not be aware that it is out there yet. Having a reseller pushing product is one way of raising the profile.

PayPal and Google to cash in as mobile payments go mainstream

google-walletMobile payments are slowly but surely going mainstream. Mass adoption of smartphones and tablets is making the dream of fully digital wallets a reality and it is opening new possibilities for traditional banks, credit card companies and net-based payment services.