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Entries in Google (127)

Monday
Aug132012

Google Purchases Frommer's Travel Guides

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google says it is acquiring the travel brand Frommer’s from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The Frommer's team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team,” a Google spokesperson said Monday in a statement to ABC News. “We can’t wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world.”

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., said Monday that it has “entered into a definitive agreement to sell of its travel assets, including all of its interests in the Frommer’s brand, to Google.”

Earlier this year, Wiley said it was exploring opportunities to sell a number of its assets, “as they no longer align with the company’s long-term business strategy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug132012

Google Plans to Slash 4,000 Jobs at Motorola Mobility

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google will remake Motorola Mobility, the cellphone maker it bought this year, beginning with job cuts.

The search engine giant plans to lay off 20 percent of Motorola Mobility’s workforce and close a third of its worldwide offices.  One third of the 4,000 job cuts will be in the U.S.

The cellphone maker has suffered from a slide in market share, losing out to Samsung and Apple, the dominant players in the global market.

The New York Times reports “the turnaround effort will also be a referendum on the management of Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, whose boldest move has been the $12.5 billion acquisition.”

Under its new management, the company is said to be cutting back on the number of different phones it makes and ending production of low end devices.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug092012

Google Ordered to Pay Record $22.5 Million for Violating Privacy

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Trade Commission has ordered Google to pay $22.5 million for violating user privacy on its Apple's Safari browser. It's the biggest FTC fine ever issued for a company violation.

The federal agency found that Google had been tracking "cookies" on Google sites for Apple Safari users. It was also sending targeted ads to those users, which violated another settlement between the FTC and the search-engine giant.

Google claimed that a tweak in Apple's browser caused an unintentional violation, but the FTC was not swayed by such an argument.

"A company like Google, which is a steward of information for hundreds of millions of people has to do better," David Vladeck, the FTC director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, told reporters on a conference call following the announcement.

The potential privacy violation was first detected by Jonathan Mayer, a Standford University graduate student, who realized that Google was still tracking his cookies, even though he had tried to block it.

"This seems to be the kind of thing the company shouldn't be doing," Mayer told ABC News in February.

As a result of this and other violations, a "Do Not Track," or DNT, setting had been added to various browsers, including Mozilla's Firefox, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari. Still, with this particular violation, the FTC charged that during 2011 and 2012, Google had been tracking Safari users -- on Macs, iPhones and iPads -- who had opted out of such tracking, as a result of default settings in the browser. Google has not admitted to violating the law.

"The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. This consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated," the FTC said in a news release.

A Google spokesperson held to that as well. "We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users. The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page published more than two years before our consent decree, and a year before Apple changed its cookie-handling policy," the spokesperson told ABC News. "We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug062012

YouTube Won’t Come on Next iPhone

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock/YouTube(NEW YORK) -- Get a new iPhone or iPad and you’ll get a handful of preloaded apps — Apple’s Calculator, Newsstand, App Store, and YouTube, just to name a few. But when Apple releases the next version of its iOS software — iOS 6 — in the fall, the YouTube app won’t be on the list.

“Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended. Customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store,” Apple’s Trudy Muller told ABC News. Google, which owns YouTube, didn’t immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

While the YouTube app will stay in iOS 5, those who update their iPhones or iPads to iOS 6 in the fall will no longer have the YouTube app out of the box; they’ll have to download it separately from the App Store. And YouTube isn’t the only Google app that will be missing in iOS 6 — Apple’s replacing Google Maps with its own Maps app, which was previewed earlier this summer.

Apple and Google have continued to battle it out in the mobile phone market as Apple sues Samsung for copying its products, including its hardware and software. Samsung’s phones and tablets all use Google’s Android operating system. AllThingsD suggests that Google might have already been compromising on the app with the lack of ads and missing content.

iOS 6 is expected to launch in September alongside the new iPhone (which many think will be called the iPhone 5). Google has not said when it plans to release its standalone YouTube app.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul262012

Google Introduces Fiber: Fast Broadband/TV Service

 Google(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- Google detailed its fast new Internet and TV service called Fiber on Thursday, and residents of Kansas City can now pre-register to get it.

"Google Fiber starts at a speed 100 times faster than most Americans have today," Milo Medin, vice president of access services at Google, said at the Fiber event today in Kansas City.

According to Google, the connection will run at 1,000Mb per second -- much faster than Verizon's 300Mb-per-second FIOS service, which is also fiber based. Fiber-optic connections provide much faster speeds than DSL and cable.

The faster Internet connection will enable faster web surfing, video streaming, and uploading; downloading a movie will take just a few minutes. Google's Network Box, a box it will provide to customers, will serve as a hub for the service in houses, but it will also require special installation to get the hook-up. The box is also a Wi-Fi router and has four Ethernet ports.

Google's also providing the TV offering to compete against other cable and Internet providers. The company will provide the full TV channel lineup and an HD TV box that is capable of recording up to eight shows at the same time. The box has built-in Netflix and YouTube streaming capabilities. It doesn't come with a traditional remote; instead it uses Google's latest Nexus 7 tablet.

The pricing structure is also unique. For $120 a month Kansas City residents can get the Internet connection and TV; there's no construction or installation fee. For $70 a month, they can just sign up to get Internet connectivity.

On top of that Google is offering Internet with no monthly fee. However, to get it you need to pay a $300 construction or installation fee. There is no data cap on any of the plans, meaning customers will get unlimited Internet access every month. The free option is guaranteed for at least seven years and includes the network box.

Google is planning to accommodate everyone in Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kans., but it is requiring people there to pay $10 to pre-register now with their neighbors. The areas that have the most registrants will be the first to get the service in their neighborhoods -- or what Google is cleverly calling "Fiberhoods."

"We believe Google Fiber is best when you have a critical mass of users," Medin said at the event.

Technology analysts point out that this is just a project.

"It's all part of a larger experiment which is typical Google. Put something out there as a stake in the ground. Learn from the effort and iterate quickly," Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. "It certainly looks to be a compelling deal at face value, but when it comes to this level of effort, it's all about the details, levels of service and overall experience that matter."

Google has not discussed plans to expand its Fiber offering beyond Kansas City. If you live in Kansas City, you can pre-register here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul162012

Google Executive Named Yahoo CEO

Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for TechCrunch/AOL(NEW YORK) -- Yahoo has had an unlucky executive streak lately, but that may be coming to an end. Marissa Mayer, one of Google's top executives, will join Yahoo as its new CEO, the company confirmed Monday.

"I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the Internet's premier destinations for more than 700 million users," Mayer said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world."

Mayer joined Google in 1999 and was one of its first engineers. She leaves Google as its vice president of location and local services. She has been named as one of the most powerful women in technology time and again.

Yahoo has struggled to find a standing CEO since Scott Thompson left in May after admitting that his official biography included a college degree he never earned. Thompson was the third to assume the leadership position since 2011, when Carol Bartz resigned after failing to revive the company.

Mayer, 37, has worked on Google's search homepage, Gmail, and other successful Google products.

Mayer resigned Monday from Google. She will begin Tuesday as Yahoo's CEO.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul162012

Apple’s iPad Gets Competition, Readies Smaller Tablet

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For more than two years Apple has dominated the market for tablet computers. Now it’s feeling the heat from competitors and may be getting ready to introduce a smaller, cheaper version of the iPad.

Last week, Google began shipping the Nexus 7, and Microsoft recently announced it would create a new tablet. Both are likely to compete with Amazon’s Kindle for the less-expensive part of the tablet market.

Apple isn’t standing still.

“The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display," The New York Times reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul092012

British Airways' New Customer Program: Helpful or Creepy?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- In an airline industry first, British Airways' Know Me program uses Google images to identiy its best customers even before they set foot in the airport. The airline has equipped its customer service agents and senior cabin crew with iPads so they can easily tap into and share information about customers, including their preferences, flight history and yes, photos.

While British Airways says the program, which launched earlier this month, helps "put a face to the name," it's got some people asking whether the airline is going the extra mile or just acting downright creepy.

The idea behind the initiative, the airline said, is to personalize the flying experience. It gave the example of a Silver Executive Club member flying in business class for the first time. Crew members would know to welcome that customer and explain the benefits of the cabin.

Or if a regular traveler has experienced problems on previous flights, such as delays, crew members would be informed of that so they could acknowledge the previous problems and thank the customer for his or her continued patronage.

Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at British Airways, said, "We're essentially trying to re-create the feeling of recognition you get in a favorite restaurant when you're welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers."

Despite such stated good intentions, the program is not without its critics. "Since when has buying a flight ticket meant giving your airline permission to start hunting for information about you on the Internet?" Nick Pickles, director of the London-based privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, told the Los Angeles Times.

But George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, told ABC News he thought the program was a "great idea," saying the airline wasn't snooping into private records, only using information that's already been made public and is easily obtainable on the Internet.

"I think the more the airline knows about the passenger, the better service they can provide," Hobica said. "I wouldn't be creeped out by this. I'd be somewhat flattered that at least on BA, I'm finally famous."

British Airways isn't the first in the travel industry to collect information beyond what's given when a reservation is made. Starwood hotels, which owns such brands as W, Westin, Sheraton and St. Regis, uses social media to collect information about its guests as part of a program called Global Personalization at Starwood. Starwood calls it game-changing innovation, but criticism on at least one popular travel message board has been blistering.

As for Know Me, British Airways plans to grow the program. "This is just the start, said Boswell. "The system has myriad possibilities for the future."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Galaxy Nexus Android Phone Banned in Apple-Samsung Patent Case

Apple/Samsung/Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While Apple and Samsung’s phones and tablets battle it out on store shelves, the companies (along with Google) have been battling it out in the courtroom in ongoing patent disputes.

Apple has accused Samsung and Google with its Android software of copying the workings of its iPhones and iPads. Earlier this week the dispute came to a head as a California judge granted Apple an injunction — banning the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone until the case is argued.

“In sum, Apple has shown a likelihood of establishing both infringement and validity,” Judge Lucy Koh wrote in granting the injunction. The judge ordered Apple to post a $96 million bond for the injunction to take effect. Apple posted the money on Tuesday, making it illegal for the Galaxy Nexus phone to be sold in the U.S.

Samsung filed a motion to stay the ban, but Koh denied the request.

The Galaxy Nexus was the first phone to ship with Google’s Android 4.0 operating system, known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The injunction is primarily over the “Quick Search Box” found on the Galaxy Nexus, a feature that allows users to search the phone’s memory and the web at once. Apple said it already holds a patent for a “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.”

On Monday night the Galaxy Nexus phone was pulled from Google’s Play Store.

“Samsung is disappointed with the court’s decision that denied our motion to stay. We believe today’s ruling will ultimately reduce the availability of superior products to consumers in the United States,” a Samsung spokesperson told ABC News. “We will continue to pursue an appeal of the Galaxy Nexus preliminary injunction, which we filed on July 2 to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Meanwhile, we are also working closely with Google to resolve this matter, as the patent in question concerns Google’s unified search function.”

Google told the technology site The Verge that it planned to issue a software update that would fix some of the disputed patent issues. The update, the company said, would disable users’ ability to search the phone and just allow them to search the web. Thursday afternoon, no such update had been sent out to Galaxy Nexus phones. Google did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Apple’s patent war with Google and Samsung continues.  While Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he doesn’t enjoy the litigation and went as far to call it a “pain in the ass,” he also said, “We just don’t want people ripping us off.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun282012

Google Design Chief Would Love to Collaborate with RIM

Joanna Stern / ABC New(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Take a look at the myriad Android phones on the market today and you’ll notice that most of them no longer have actual keypads -- only virtual keyboards on their screens. But Google’s director of Android User Experience, Matias Duarte, said he still hopes there will be Android phones with hardware keyboards.

“I am still a huge fan of hardware keyboards,” Duarte told ABC News in an interview. “Many of the products I have worked on in the past  have had them. I think there is a place for them -- it’s all about choice and different types of devices. I would love, personally, to have a portrait oriented device, like we made at Palm.”

Before joining Google, Duarte headed up software design at Palm and worked on the company’s Palm Pre device, which had a physical keyboard and touchscreen.

On the heels of RIM’s major loss and struggles to put out a new operating system and phones, Duarte said he would love to work with the BlackBerry maker. “If RIM wanted to work on Android devices, I would really welcome that. They clearly make great physical keyboards.”

Duarte is one of the leads on Google’s Android Nexus program, in which Google works closely with hardware partners to make phones or tablets to highlight the software. Google and Asus released the Nexus 7 tablet Wednesday with the new version of Android called Jelly Bean.

Just Thursday RIM announced plans to cut 5,000 employees after reporting lackluster earnings. The company does allow for Android applications to run on its own software, but has continued with its plans to develop BlackBerry 10, the next version of its BlackBerry software for its phones.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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