Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Good morning. For David Karp, it's a great one.
Friday, May 17, 2013
It appears that Canada will become the latest country to look into the business practices of search giant Google. The Financial Post reports that Canada's Competition Bureau — a law-enforcement agency focused on ensuring competitive conditions in the marketplace — has notified Google that it will be investigating the company's Canadian operations. It's not clear at this time what the scope of the investigation will be, or what specific Google products and services will be targeted.
The investigation will follow a series of other Google investigations, including ones launched by the Federal Trade Commission and EU regulators. Google reached a settlement with the FTC earlier this year; the company offered to make changes to address EU antitrust concerns just last month. Google Canada's head of communications and public affairs, Leslie Church, told the Post that "We will work co-operatively with the Competition Bureau to answer any questions they may have."
- Via AllThingsD
- Source The Financial Post
- Related Items google canada competition investigation inquiry competition bureau leslie church
A group of cybersecurity experts has come out in opposition to a White House-backed proposal that would dramatically expand the FBI's wiretapping capabilities for internet communication services.
In a new research paper, the group argues against new regulations under what's being called CALEA II, an extension to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which mandated law enforcement backdoor access for telephone networks. The new regulation would do something similar for internet communications, threatening heavy fines on companies that do not comply with wiretapping orders. That means that all apps would need to be built or rebuilt to be wiretap-ready, just in case they need to accomodate a law enforcement investigation.
"serious consequences for the economic well-being and national security of the United States."
The paper's authors warn that forcing companies to build intercept functionality into their end-user software would make it far easier for malicious actors to get access to systems, saying the proposal "is unwise and will be ineffective, with the result being serious consequences for the economic well-being and national security of the United States." Those authors include Bruce Schneier, security writer and co-creator of the Twofish encryption cipher, and Phil Zimmermann, creator of Silent Circle and the PGP encryption scheme.
Last week, sources told the New York Times that the White House was close to completing a deal that would put a wiretapping plan into action. The FBI is backing the proposal as a solution to what they call "going dark," the concern that the strong security schemes protecting web services like Skype, Google, and Facebook "hamstring" investigations. However, data from Congressional reports has shown that in 109 investigations between 2000 and 2011, encryption did not prevent law enforcement from accessing the contents of communications even once.
- Via Boing Boing
- Source CALEA II: Risks of Wiretap Modifications to Endpoints (PDF)
- Related Items fbi privacy wiretapping cybersecurity calea bruce schneier phil zimmermann calea 2
TechCrunch is reporting that two of the largest players in online food delivery have been talking about joining forces. GrubHub and Seamless, which offer websites and mobile apps that allow users to order food online for delivery to their home or business, are said to be discussing a potential merger. According to the report, no deal has been finalized just yet, thought the talks are characterized as "serious."
While both companies are arguably the two most well-known competitors in their particular arena, that hasn't stopped a number of other entrants from bringing their own online food-ordering services to market. Merging would allow the two companies to bolster their respective offerings, resulting in an even more entrenched service. As reported, it's not clear just how the two companies would integrate with one another — and of course, discussions are no guarantee that the merger will actually happen.
Yahoo is on the brink of acquiring Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash, according to a new report. All Things D , which first broke the news that a deal was in the works, says Tumblr's board will meet on Sunday to consider an all-cash offer for the popular blogging platform. The deal would be Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's largest to date and would reportedly form the centerpiece of her effort to revitalize the company by acquiring younger users.
News of the potential deal surfaced hours after Yahoo invited the press to a special event Monday in New York City. "Join us as we share something special," the invite reads. A Yahoo spokeswoman did not respond to a request for more details, but Bloomberg reported that the event would include an update on Flickr.
It's easy to miss the Google TV booth here at I/O 2013, hidden in the corner of the third floor. That may not be an accident: there was apparently no room in the company's sprawling three-and-a-half-hour keynote to mention Google TV, either, just a short blog post hours later announcing that it now runs the latest version of Android. So in a sea of new products, services, and pitches to developers, we couldn't help but wonder: is TV dead? Google has killed plenty of products with many more fans than Google TV — will it go the way of Reader?
Google TV is Android, and Android is Google TV
We've been told that Google TV isn't going away — the company can't give up, because the market and opportunity are too large. But Google's changing its approach to your living room, beginning with the update this week. Google TV is now based on Android 4.2.2, the latest version of the operating system, and offers developers much more — when Google TV first started three years ago, the team forked Android to build the OS, and a source described this update as "bending the fork back in." Google TV is Android, and Android is Google TV — or it will be, whenever the update becomes available. It’s what Google TV should have been from day one.
In fact, for better or for worse your television is now just another screen size in Google's eyes. Google TV was originally forked because the Android team was so focused on smaller screens, but as the OS developed it became more amenable to larger screen sizes, both on phones and tablets. Now Google is betting that your 4-inch phone and 10-inch tablet aren't so different from your 60-inch TV.
Google's keynote this year focused on optimizing apps for tablets, and a tablet-specific section of the Play store; next year building apps for your TV may be the focus. But tablets may not be just another screen size, and TVs certainly aren't: turning touch-enabled apps designed to be used in the palm of your hand into something that works on a six-foot screen ten feet away, controlled by your button-filled remote control, is no small task. But Google would rather you just think of it as the same old Android.
In fact, Google appears even wary of using the term "Google TV" — the team's session at I/O was called "Android: As Seen on TV!" Google Fiber, Google’s ambitious attempt to take over your whole house, doesn’t even use Google TV. It's no wonder, either: Google TV has plenty of product issues, but it has much bigger branding issues.
Google made two key missteps when it originally unveiled the product: bringing a "launch and iterate" process to a market where change is slow and cumbersome, and not explaining how niche the audience for Google TV was. It's a complicated, often difficult setup, but it's powerful — and only those willing to deal with difficult and complicated need apply. Apple's repeated mention of Apple TV as a "hobby" was smart, they said, because it freed Apple from having to answer for slow progress and relative lack of attention. It's just a hobby, what can you expect?
Your TV isn't just a different screen size
As it tries to take over your living room, Google's not only fighting its bad reputation among users, but among content providers: companies from Hulu to NBC panicked when Google TV first launched, and blocked it from accessing their content. Coupled with the fact that Google TV’s target audience is disproportionately likely to be cord-cutters anyway, that lack of content kills Google TV's primary appeal — Prime Time, the universal guide that searches your cable box, Netflix, and much more. We’re told those deals are coming together now, and that Google TV may have just been originally ahead of its time, but it's a long and steep road ahead. Still, Google believes it has accomplished a lot in three years – a relatively short period in the molasses-slow world of TV — and says that the partnerships it's made with manufacturers and content providers have benefitted both Google TV and the company's other products.
Without the content, what does Google TV really offer?
If the hundreds of millions of device sales and the 6,000-plus developers here at I/O are any indication, Android is a vibrant and thriving ecosystem, the world’s most popular mobile OS. Whether it's the right one for TVs is another question entirely, though — we've seen companies like Ouya take the Android interface and adapt it for the big screen, but it's a massive undertaking. And while Android apps may now run on your television, most won't work as they should: not only do developers now need to code for enormous screens that sit far away from you, they have to figure out how to make an app that works equally well with your fingers and a remote control. No one's done that yet, including Google.
Despite its slightly awkward presence, like the nerdy kid that snuck into the school dance and hid in the corner hoping no one would notice, Google TV isn't gone. And Google believes it may be heading toward a comeback: we’re told to expect a steady drumbeat of Google TV products, from partners like LG, TCL, and others. But a steady drumbeat is what got Google TV where it is today.
What Google TV needs is a makeover, and a splashy re-launch. It needs to shows us why it’s different now, why it’s better. Google needs to convince users, developers, and manufacturers that the Android they love on cell phones can work on the big screen in their living room as well. Then Google needs to prove it, fast.