Android Device Makers Are “Mutinying”

Android Robot. Français : le logo d'android 日本...

There is an interesting article that appeared on the MIT Technology Review which claims that manufactures are getting increasingly annoyed with Google’s limitations on what they can do.

Google doesn’t actually make its own smartphones, in the same way Apple does, the company just produces the software and lets handset makers use it for free. Google makes money off its Android operating system from advertising. By producing their own operating system and getting into the market, Google is securing they maintain a presence on mobile devices.

But now, according to the article, manufactures want to break free from Google’s restrictions on them. In order to be considered an official Android phone, device manufactures must satisfy very specific requirements and get permission from Google. They cannot uniquely alter the Android software in any way – if they do Google will not grant them license or consider their device compatible.

Manufactures are complaining that there is nothing that sets them apart from all the other device makers who have Google’s operating system running. They say it’s hurting their business in some areas and are fed-up with being mere vehicles for Google’s Android.

Some of these manufactures are planning to distinguish themselves from everybody else by altering the Android software to make it their own. It will not satisfy Google’s requirements or make them part of the official Android lineup, but it will make them stand out from the rest.

The manufactures seem to be emboldened by success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet which has its own custom operating system build on modified Android software.

Uh oh – the manufactures are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore…

For more information:

Technology Review, “Android Device Makers Are Mutinying, Says Insider” – click here

Fudzilla, “Android makers tell Google to fork off” – click here

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Cell Phone Theft Crackdown

This is a good-to-know post about smartphone safety. I have been posting stuff about protecting your smartphone from online criminals, malicious apps, and intrusive Internet companies (ie. Google) that leave you vulnerable to identity theft.

But you also need to be careful not to get victimized by criminals who are disgusting enough to physically snatch your phone from you in broad daylight. Protect your property and know where all the threats are coming from. If you know better you do better.

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You’re Not Google’s Customer You’re Google’s Product

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

I found this useful mini slideshow on the DailyFinance website titled “5 Signs Google is Selling You Out”. I’ve discussed everything in their slideshow on this blog in other posts but it’s a nice summary and review of some of the things Google is up to.

To see the slideshow head on over to their site – click here

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How To Keep Your Personal Data Private On Your Smartphone

Apple iPhone 3GS, Motorola Milestone and LG GW60

Yesterday I published a post on the Consumer Reports survey which found that majority of Internet users are concerned about apps gaining access to their personal information on their smartphones. This is actually a very serious problem and several companies have been caught collecting sensitive data off smartphones without the knowledge of the owners.

You need to take your online safety seriously, especially on those little devices most of us are carrying around everywhere nowadays. Many people say their life is in their smartphones – every little detail about themselves and it’s all so vulnerable.

There are important things you can do to protect yourself though. I always say that knowledge is power and if you know better you do better. USA Today republished an excellent article by Tecca – it warns you about some of the major threats to your smartphone and provides some useful tips to keep you safe.

If you’re an owner of a smartphone, it’s definitely something you should read – click here

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Consumer Reports: Internet Users Are “Very Concerned” About Privacy

Big Brother 2007 (UK)

People are really worried about their online safety and they want to know more ways to protect their personal data. Internet users do not want weak laws that don’t go far enough – they desperately are seeking tough laws to make sure that their personal data doesn’t get exploited by companies or criminals.

A new national survey released by Consumer Reports found that 71% of respondents said they were “very concerned” about companies selling or sharing their personal data without their full permission. As we all should know by now, Google’s new privacy policy took effect on March 1st of this year and this allows the company to combine data of its users across its many products and services. Google wants to create a more detailed profile of exactly who you are so that they can sell it…ah, excuse me….”share” that information about you to advertisers. Google makes over 90% of its revenues from advertising and rakes in about $40 billion/year.

According to this new Consumer Reports survey (and many others like it) Internet users are fed-up and strongly disapprove of the way Google, and companies like it, handle their personal data. The survey also found that 65% of smartphone owners are very concerned about applications (apps) having access to sensitive information about them. Many of these apps have access to your photos, your location, your address list, etc. People often do not even realize that they are so exposed when their using their smartphones with these apps loaded on.

Ioana Rusu, Regulatory Counsel for Consumers Union (the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports) said:

“This survey confirms that most Americans are very concerned about their online privacy. A lot of people are seriously worried about how their personal information is being exploited. Your personal data ought to be treated with respect, and you ought to have more of a say in how it’s used.”

It’s clear what people want, let’s hope there are people listening to give them what they’re asking for.

For more information:

Mashable, “Worried About Digital Privacy? You’re Not Alone [SURVEY]” – click here

Consumerist, “Consumer Reports Survey Confirms That We’re Worried About Online Privacy” – click here

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Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Improving, Google’s Chrome Declining

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

The browser wars are pointing toward better days ahead for Microsoft (MSFT).

Netmarketshare shows the company’s Internet Explorer browsers taking back some of the share lost previously to Google (GOOG) Chrome, returning closer to levels it achieved in September. It’s the third straight month of gains.”

Read more – click here

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Jimmy Kimmel Makes Fun Of Google’s ‘Project Glass’

Jimmy Kimmel’s latest mockery of Google got me laughing so hard!

The other day Google released a video showing off “new” technology it’s been working on called “Project Glass”. It’s basically a camera on your head that connects to the Internet – hands free mobile computing glasses. Let’s not even get started with the privacy issues that this will potentially stir up.

Anyway, Google’s “new” technology has been getting a lot of media attention and many people actually thought it was an April Fool’s joke – but Google couldn’t be any more serious with their plans to develop this technology. They uploaded the video to get feedback from the public to help in the development.

Here’s the video Google uploaded:

And this is the hilarious Jimmy Kimmel video (the music just cracks me up for some reason ha-ha):

Thanks to Gizmodo for directing its readers to the funny video – click here

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Apple’s Share Price Finally Overtakes Google

Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the...

It might not really mean much but it’s definitely something the late Steve Jobs would have been proud to see. Yesterday, Thursday April 5th, Apple’s share price finally passed Google’s for the first time in its history. At 12:26 p.m. EST Apple’s share price was at $633.07 overtaking Google’s at $633.

By the end of the day, Apple closed at $633.68 and Google at $632.32. Apple has done very well recently and it seems like it can only get better. Google, however, has been struggling a lot. This year has not been a good year for Google so far. We’ll see how things end up.


For more information:

CNNMoney, “Apple overtakes Google” – click here

The Register, “Apple’s stock price swells above stuttering Google” – click here

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Wikipedia Announces That It Will Also Ditch Google Maps For OpenStreetMap

Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

Earlier this month, I published a post about Apple and other companies ditching Google Maps for a free open source mapping project called OpenStreetMap – to catch up on that post, please click here.

Today, Wikipedia announced that it too will be ditching Google Maps and replacing it with OpenStreetMap. This is great news for the crowdsourced mapping project which is getting better by the day and gaining more support from major companies.

In updates it released today, Wikipedia says that it is releasing an all new application for the iPhone and it’s removing Google Maps to replace it with OpenStreetMap on the Android – which to me is a perfect match. Wikipedia is a high quality free crowdsourced site and OpenStreetMap functions in the same way but for maps. It’s a match that is meant to be and the Wikimedia Foundation acknowledged this in a statement:

“Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMaps – an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as ‘Wikipedia for Maps.’ This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone. This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications.”

Their motivation for moving away from Google Maps doesn’t seem to be about price though, which was the reason other companies have ditched Google Maps. They say it’s more about reaching a greater number of people and making themselves more accessible.

For more information:

The Next Web, “Wikipedia updates iOS and Android apps, ditches Google Maps…” – click here

TPM, “Wikipedia Drops Google Maps For OpenStreetMap” – click here

TechCrunch, “Wikipedia’s Mobile Apps Drop Google Maps for OpenStreetMap” – click here

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Viacom Wins Appeals Court Reversal Against Google

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Uh oh, looks like Google might be in a bit of a mess. Remember that epic legal battle between Viacom and YouTube a few years ago? Well, it’s being given new life.

Back in 2007 Viacom sued Google for knowingly allowing users to post copyrighted material on YouTube. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for over a billion dollars and the video-sharing site was founded in 2005. Viacom, along with other companies, believe that YouTube wasn’t doing enough to take down their content and sought over $1 billion from Google. However, Google always believed that it shouldn’t be held responsible for what its users do and the company says that it takes down copyrighted content when notified.

Viacom and Google fought over this issue for several years until June 2010 when a lower court ruled in favor of Google. The court agreed with Google’s argument that it shouldn’t be held responsible if its users infringe copyright. The court upheld an interpretation of the 1998 federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that protects companies from liability for what its users do online. It was seen as a big victory for Google at the time.

Fast-forward almost two years later and this issue is back to give Google some headaches. Viacom filled an appeal in October 2011 saying that the dismissal of their lawsuit was “fundamentally flawed”.  Today, a panel of judges at an appeals court agreed with Viacom and reversed the decision of the lower court saying that it’s quite obvious that YouTube knew about the copyrighted content being uploaded but did nothing to stop it.

Viacom is obviously thrilled by the reversal and released a statement:

“This balanced decision provides a thoughtful way to distinguish legitimate service providers from those that build their businesses on infringement. The court delivered a definitive, common sense message to YouTube – intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law. We are confident we will prevail when the merits of our case are heard”

This also opens the door for several other companies who have issues with Google’s video-sharing website. It includes several sport leagues, music publishers, artists, and news agencies. They are delighted by the appeals court decision and will seize their chance to protect their material.

Viacom seems to have a love-hate relationship with Google. Viacom has a reputation for being quite litigious and so it suing Google is to be expected – but the two of them have also been working with each other. Viacom now has YouTube channels set up and receives revenue from it. And just yesterday it was announced that a deal was made so that online users could rent Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Viacom) movies from YouTube’s rental store.

Awkward….anyway, we’ll see what happens between these two as they get ready to rehash this old argument.

For more information:

The Guardian, “Judge reanimates Viacom’s $1bn copyright suit against YouTube” – click here

CBSNews, “Revived Viacom suit spells trouble for Google” – click here

The Register, “Viacom’s anti-Google copyright case rises from the dead” – click here

Reuters, “Viacom wins reversal in landmark YouTube case” – click here

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