Tag: Google

Tablets face squeeze from notebooks, phones

ipad3Shipments of notebooks are only set to grow 0.6 percent in 2015, amounting to 174.6 million units, while sales of tablets will fall by 3.5 percent to 185.6 million units.

That’s according to Taiwanese market intelligence firm Trendforce, which said that this year notebook vendors struggled to gain market share this year by essentially engaging in a price war.

But Caroline Chen, a notebook analyst at the company, said that next year we’ll see an array of different products with tablets and low priced notebooks facing stiff competition from smartphones and so called phablets.

She thinks notebook vendors need to rethink their strategies.

Tablets didn’t do well this year and overall 366 million mobile PCs – a category that she defines as including notebook computers and tablets – shipped. That’s largely similar to sales last year.

Subsidies from major players like Microsoft, Google and Intel have skewed the market. Chromebooks, she thinks, will account for eight million units in 2015.

She said that because subsidies from Intel and Microsoft lower manufacturers’ costs, the subsidies benefit end users.  “It would be better if Microsoft and Intel can find more substantial ways to develop the market,” she said.

trendforce

EU wants to widen “right to be forgotten”

thanks-for-the-memory-movie-poster-1938-1020198195European privacy regulators want Internet search engines such as Google and Microsoft’s Bing (MSFT.O) to scrub results globally, not just in Europe, when people invoke their “right to be forgotten”.

The European Union’s privacy watchdogs agreed on a set of guidelines on Wednesday to help them implement a ruling from Europe’s Supreme Court that gives people the right to ask search engines to remove personal information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.

Google has been scrubbing results only from the European versions of its website such as Google.de in Germany or Google.fr in France, but they still appear on Google.com.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, the head of France’s privacy watchdog and the Article 29 Working Party of EU national data protection authorities, told a news conference that from the legal and technical analysis we are doing, they should include the ‘.com’.

Google said the company had not yet seen the guidelines but would “study them carefully” when they are published.

Google has previously said that search results should be removed only from its European versions since Google automatically redirects people to the local versions of its search engine.

However some feel that Google’s current approach waters down the effectiveness of the court ruling, given how easy it is to switch between different national versions.

The search engine has problems in Europe. Google is facing multiple investigations into its privacy policy and is bogged down in a four year EU antitrust inquiry.

The EU ruling has pitted privacy advocates against free speech campaigners, who say allowing people to ask search engines to remove information would lead to a whitewashing of the past.

EU to vote on Google breakup

euroflagzA motion to break up search giant Google will be debated in the European parliament this week.

That follows scrutiny of Google’s practices within Europe by antitrust regulators.

The vote, proposed by MEPs from Germany and Spain proposes that Google’s search business should be separated from the rest of its business activity.

But even if the vote goes against Google, the parliament doesn’t have the power to take it to pieces.  Nevertheless such a vote in favour would be a bad PR blow to Google, which has led a spin initiative in the last few months to convince Europeans that it isn’t evil.

What a positive vote might do is to put pressure on the EU’s competition commissioner to scrutinise Google more.

Google has argued that it is not anticompetitive and that it already has plenty of competition in Europe.  That hasn’t stopped publishers like News Corp and German publishing outfit Axel Springer getting irated about Google’s marketing clout.

Lollipop causes headaches for old Nexus users

kojakThe Tame Apple Press is rubbing its hands with glee that Google’s latest OS, Lollipop, appears to break old versions of its  flagship Nexus tablet.

The BBC , which is a big fan of Apple gear, seems to have spun the story as if the bug broke all Android machines, when actually the OS has positive reviews.

“Early adopters of Google’s latest Android operating system are warning others of problems with the software, “thundered Auntie only to admit in the next paragraph the bugs only affected Nexus 7 users. The Nexus 7 came out in 2012.

There is no doubt that there is something wrong with Lollipop and its reaction to some of the gear under the bonnet of an Ancient Nexus 7, but frankly, it is amazing it upgraded at all.

The BBC hints that more problems have not arisen because the OS is only available to a limited number of machines, because many network operators and device manufacturers have yet to complete their own tests.

Ironically, the OS was supposed to revamps the system’s user interface, offers greater control over notifications, and makes changes to the way the OS executes code, which Google said should mean fewer “temporary glitches” than before.

Android Lollipop adapts its look to suit smartwatches, smartphones and tablets

Nvidia, LG and Motorola have also released Android Lollipop updates for some of their handsets and tablets.

The work around for Nexus 7 users is to turn off Google Now, change transitions to zero and limit it to two background apps maximum.

Several Android Lollipop users have also highlighted compatibility problems with Air-based apps.

Apple said sorry  in September after faults with iOS 8 caused some of its new iPhones to be unable to make and receive calls, which was supposed to be the phone’s main job.

Google unlocks advertising secret — don’t trust Google

google-ICSearch engine outfit Google has realised that the secret to getting people to install its home monitoring equipment is to pretend that it has nothing to do with it.

The outfit has started selling connected thermostat, its connected smoke alarm and its Dropcam monitors to the great unwashed.

The only problem is that Google has a bit of a rap sheet when it comes to personal privacy, and a in a moment of self-awareness, twigged that no one really trusts it. The common perception is that if Google was involved monitoring you, it must be selling some of your personal data  somewhere else.  If you have a dropcam monitor in your bog, and you have difficultly having a bowel movement, your computer will display shedloads of laxative adverts.

Google has got around the problem by not mentioning its name in any of its nationally televised ads and has made the adverts funny.

Nest is advertising itself with the image that it is a tiny bit weird to put these things into your home. But they’re also cool – and there is no question that Google is spying on you.

You can see the adverts here  and they do not mention the G word.

It is uncertain that this will be enough to ease punters fears about Google doing evil to their smoke alarm.

Get ready to wear a smart shirt

fobwatchA survey from Gartner said that less wearable electronic devices for fitness will ship in 2015 because of confusion in the marketplace.

While 70 million wearables will ship in 2014, that figure will fall to 68 million next year.

That is because the entry of smartwatches into the marketplace will have overlap in functionality.

But the figure is set to rise again in 2016 because lower cost machines will be available along with a variety of different designs.

The push to get people to use fitness wearables is being funded by a number of industry giants including Qualcomm, Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nike and Intel.

Gartner sys the five main form factors are smart wristbands, sports watches, other fitness monitors, heart rate monitor chest straps and so called smart clothes.

This last category has the biggest potential for growth, according to Gartner and so-called “smart shirts” are no becoming available.  The research firm didn’t say whether the next step will be “smart pants”.

While smartwatches will come in many different price range, those costing $150 or over are likely to include accelerometers and gyroscopes but unlike health wristbands will have to tell the time and have the capacity to send and receive texts.

Google gets its hardware knickers in a twist

Nexus 9A report by financial analysts at Seeking Alpha suggests that Google has come adrift with its smartphone hardware strategy.

Seeking Alpha claims the Nexus programme does not now include the kind of devices most people would rush out to buy.

And even devices like the joint Google-HTC One GPe – which the analysts describe as the “Rolls Royce” of five inch Android smartphones is in a spot of bother. Because it’s sold out.

The Nexus 5 is last year’s model with an ancient Qualcomm 800 CPU and less memory.

The Nexus 6 is sold out but anyway it’s too big because few want a six inch screen.  The Motorola G isn’t sold out but it’s last generation.

Seeking Alpha Analyst Anton Wahlman says that everything Google is selling on its site is sold out, suggesting the behemoth is losing its way on the hardware front. You can read more of what he has to say about the debacle, here.

Facebook takes on Linkedin

Mark Zuckerberg - WikimedaSocial networking site Facebook is apparently readying a rival to Linkedin – a site that some people occasionally use for work to share resumes and the like.

The Financial Times originally broke the news and claims that Facebook, which has already lost popularity with younger people, will let people tie up with their professional contacts and chat to their colleagues.

It’s not only Linkedin that Facebook may compete against – the report suggested that Microsoft’s Yammer and Google are in Facebook’s sights too.

But Facebook faces increasing criticism that material posted by people worldwide form the basis of a marketing initiative that breaches personal privacy and can cause unexpected consequences.

In view of this, business professionals may feel it’s a bit much to trust their resumes/CVs into the hands of a company that’s already facing criticism because of privacy concerns.

Facebook made no comment at press time but is continually looking at ways to stretch its global database reach.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to just buy Linkedin, which is a publicly listed company?

Goggle Glass goes dim

OgleA cunning plan by Google to let us snoop on each other and record it on the internet now appears to be an idea without legs.

Information on the superinformation highway – that is to say from Vanity Fair and Reuters suggests that Google co-founder Sergey Brin is tired of the idea.

Reuters reports that the beta version of Google Glass, which will set you back a cool $1,500, has lost interest not only from end users but from developers too – a sure kiss of death for any bit of hardware you may care to name.

Further, there appears to be ennui in the Google Plex, with Reuters further reporting that a number of employees dedicated to the x-ray specs have quit the coop for pastures new.

Further a consortium which appeared to be hoping to finance the Glass “egosystem” – as computer execs call the cloud of vultures that circle round a possible bright new shiny bit of tech bling, appears to have shuffled off its mortal case.

And Vanity Fair?  It has a different take on the whole Google Glass phenomenon and that involves love….

Microsoft loses ground in schools race

1920-track_field_bellcounty_30yd_dashSoftware giant Microsoft is losing ground to the likes of Apple and Google in the race to get its gear into schools.

According to consultant Pablo Valerio,  the reason is nothing to do with marketing to kids and parents, but because it is falling short when it comes to providing teaching apps and its licencing arrangements.

Apple’s Teacher Tools and Google’s Chromebook Management Console are fuelling the adoption of Chromebooks and iPads, leaving Microsoft behind.

The recent Microsoft TechEd Europe event showed that Microsoft was close to sorting out the lack of Apps with the upcoming Windows 10 operating system.

However, Microsoft has not solved the issue of having to purchase a licence for each user as each user that logs into a device will use a licence, so that license will be taken down and it would not go back dynamically.

This will cause a heavy bill for schools with limited numbers of computers and hundreds of students using them.

Google Chromebooks have Chrome OS with specific tools for schools to manage the devices, their apps and users. Its Chromebooks for Education program is helping schools deploy large numbers of devices with an easy management system.

While it is possible to buy a small Windows laptop for about the same price of a basic Chromebook, the associated management and support costs are enormous in comparison. Also Chromebooks are pre-loaded with apps such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, with similar functionality to Microsoft’s Office.

Apple is the leader in the education market thanks to having the biggest collection of education apps available today, plus some unique management tools, some by Apple and some by MDM providers such as AirWatch, he said.

 

Google did evil to the Berlin Wall

ap6108231298-ab0817725a55e10f913b3d4d8f1ba2d18f00f8d4-s6-c30 Over the weekend, Google celebrated the Fall of the Berlin Wall with one of its doodles, failing to note its part in the history of one of the sections.

According to the Google Doodle team, they  “took a short bike ride from our Mountain View, California headquarters to our local public library to study an actual piece of the Berlin Wall.” These segments of the Berlin Wall were featured in the Doodle.

What the post fails to mention is how the two sections ended up at the library and how it might not have had to do that cycle ride if it had taken a less evil interest in history sooner.

The 12-foot-tall remnants sections of wall were bought over to the US by German-born businessman Frank Golzen. It all seemed fair enough. After all, they were spoils of a war which the US had spent a lot of time and money winning and made a suitable monument to the victory. They were placed in the Bayside Business Plaza where they were a lot more attractive than many of the other things on the estate and provided a bit of history that is missing in many Industrial Parks.

In 2012, Google bought the entire park, did not like the inclusion of the two sections of the Berlin Wall, and gave the Golzen family until summer 2013 to take the historic Berlin Wall out of the industrial park.

A 2012 City of Mountain View Staff Report stated that although the donating family has until next summer to remove the installation from the current location, their preference (and the preference of the new owner of the property) was to remove it sooner.

However, the recommendation to relocate the seven-ton concrete slabs to remote Charleston Park, adjacent to the Googleplex, was nixed by the City Council, who voted instead to move the Berlin Wall sections to its current home in front of a downtown public library. The walls were moved and re-dedicated in November last year.

 

German publisher realises Google calls the shots

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyGerman publisher Axel Springer has just worked out what the rest of the world already knew – Google controls the press.

Springer has scrapped a move to block Google from running snippets of articles from its newspapers, saying that the experiment had caused traffic to its sites to plunge.

Traffic flowing from clicks on Google search results fell by 40 percent and traffic delivered via Google News had plummeted by 80 percent in the past two weeks.  This mimicked what happened when Google changed its algorithm and destroyed many tech news sites overnight.

A two-week-old experiment to restrict access by Google to some of its publications had caused web traffic to plunge for these sites.

He discovered, somewhat belatedly that publishers no longer decide who sees their content, it is more or less decided when Google decides who will appear in its search items.

Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner said his company would have “shot ourselves out of the market” if it had continued with its demands for the US firm to pay licensing fees. Springer had sought to restrict Google’s use of news from four of its top-selling brands: welt.de, computerbild.de, sportbild.de and autobild.de, the company said.

Springer, which publishes Europe’s top-selling daily newspaper Bild, said Google’s grip over online audiences was too great to resist, a double-edged compliment meant to ram home the publisher’s criticism of what it calls Google’s monopoly powers.

Publishers in countries from Germany and France to Spain have pushed to pass new national copyright laws that force Google and other web aggregators to pay licensing fees – dubbed the Google Tax – when they publish snippets of their news articles.

Under German legislation that came into effect last year, publishers can prohibit search engines and similar services from using their news articles beyond headlines. Last week, Spain’s upper house passed a similar law giving publishers an “inalienable” right to levy such licensing fees on Google.

The only problem is that if they do that, they end up cutting their own throats.

 

 

HTC shows signs of recovery

Nexus 9Cooperation between mobile firm HTC and Google is giving the Taiwanese firm a boost.

According to the Taipei Times, orders for the Nexus 9 tablet have exceeded expectations and that means HTC has ramped up its production facilities.

HTC mobile phones are considered to be some of the most stylish smartphones on the market, but a lack of marketing budget has seen the firm struggling to compete with the majors in the market.

HTC doesn’t really play in the tablet market on its own and the report suggests it is taking a cautious view on revenues in the sector  before it launches products it no doubt has, waiting on the sidelines.

Earlier this week HTC released figures for October 2014 showing unaudited revenues of NT$15.8 billion.  Companies listed on the Taiwanese bourse report monthly rather than quarterly figures.

Google cuts out the server middlemen

HP-MicroServerA report said that Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM) Quanta will supply search engine giant Google with its servers in 2015.

Google has long abandoned the habit of using “brand name” servers from the likes of Dell, HP or IBM/Lenovo.

The news, reported in Digitimes, confirms a recent survey saying that the ODMs, which often build machines that are then subsequently branded, are taking market share from the brand names.

It’s not just Google that is following this path.  Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft also buy their servers direct.  Quanta has benefited more from these changes in buying patterns because it has been quicker to realise the money involved than rivals such as Taiwanese company Inventec.

Until comparatively recently, Quanta’s entire business was building notebook machines, subsequently branded by others.  But the bottom has somewhat fallen out of the notebook business with the rise of tablets and smartphones.

GCHQ head hits out at IT companies

GCHQ buildingThe newly appointed head of spy outfit GCHQ has said computer companies like Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to help security services catch criminals and terrorists.

Robert Hannigan went a little further than that and accused technology outfits of being “command and control networks for terrorists and criminals”.

The Islamic State, for example, used the web as a channel to promote itself, frighten people and radicalise new recruits.

Hannigan said: “But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.”

He also criticised the security of communications saying that encryption methods which were once the domain of nation states are now commonplace.  For example, Apple and Google include encryption in their mobile operating systems as a way of protecting people’s security and privacy.

He wants the tech companies to provide more support.