Half of Web Traffic Now Encrypted as Websites Adopt HTTPS

A new report from rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found that half of today’s Web’s traffic is now protected by encryption. The increased adoption of HTTPS is largely a result of efforts from big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, and an increased awareness of government surveillance. Google started factoring whether a website was on HTTPS or HTTP into its algorithm. WordPress, one of the biggest Web hosting providers, switched to HTTPS last year. Continue reading Half of Web Traffic Now Encrypted as Websites Adopt HTTPS

Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

Last week, Netflix opened the doors to downloaded content for offline viewing on mobile devices. Now, the company is describing some judicious technology adjustments it made to ensure viewers enjoy an improved video image, and that the resulting content doesn’t eat up the mobile device’s storage. The company did that by switching video codecs, although the result favors Android users, as well as improving its already-established method of varying data rates based on the needs of each scene in a movie or TV show. Continue reading Netflix Makes Updates to Improve Visual Quality of Downloads

Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

In January, Chrome will begin placing a “not secure” warning on the left of its address bar for websites that do not use strong HTTPS-connected encryption, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s existing sites. Up until then, Chrome has only posted warnings on HTTPS sites with faulty encryption. Later in 2017, Chrome plans to expand the categories of sites for which it will issue warnings, including any unencrypted pages visited via Chrome’s Incognito and any HTTP site offering downloads. Continue reading Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

Warner Bros. and Google Team Up for Unique Film Promotion

Google and Warner Bros. Pictures have partnered to promote “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the prequel to the “Harry Potter” franchise, via integrations with Daydream View VR, Google Allo, YouTube and more. Among the features are a series of spells that users can cast by speaking to Google’s voice assistant: “Lumos” will turn on the phone’s flashlight and “Nox” will turn it off; “Silencio” will disable the ringer and notifications. Another feature of the partnership is integrating real-life locations in Google Street View and letting fans visit 1926 New York City. Continue reading Warner Bros. and Google Team Up for Unique Film Promotion

Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Google recently integrated full Google Cast capability directly into its Chrome browser, a significant upgrade to its previous Cast extension that allowed streaming from Chrome to supported devices like the company’s popular Chromecast. The Cast icon will appear on all sites that support it, enabling Cast functionality from the Chrome menu, no software download required. Cast is also now available on third party hardware such as TV sets and speakers. More than 38 million casts were sent from Chrome in August alone, representing over 50 million hours of consuming media content. Continue reading Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

The Washington Post is unrolling a new “lightning-fast” mobile website based on Google’s Progressive Web Apps that loads pages in under one second; the current mobile site loads pages in about three seconds. The goal is to create the fastest mobile news site possible, says chief technology officer Shailesh Prakash, who notes that 70 percent of the newspaper’s digital traffic is from mobile devices. The Post plans to direct 10 percent of traffic to the new site now, segueing to a complete switch by the end of the year. Continue reading Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

Google Debuts Features to Enable Browsing the Internet in VR

Google has been a significant player in defining and deploying what’s called WebVR, which enables VR websites to provide content directly to virtual reality headsets via standard capabilities. But Google has a much broader vision: it would like users to be able to access all websites in VR including those not created with virtual reality in mind. Currently, a user would have to take the VR headset off and on as she jumped from site to site. Google thinks it’s a better idea to let the user remain in an entirely VR environment. Continue reading Google Debuts Features to Enable Browsing the Internet in VR

Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

By the end of the year Google plans to release its own smartphone, which will compete directly with the Apple iPhone and extend the company’s reach into hardware. Google is presently in talks with carriers about the branded phone. Its Android operating system already powers 80 percent of smartphones sold around the world in phones made by, among others, Samsung, LG and Huawei’s Google Nexus brand. With its new smartphone, Google will take charge of design and manufacturing as well as software. Continue reading Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

European officials have charged Google with violating competition rules by favoring Android over rival mobile software. Europe’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager accused the tech giant of unfairly promoting its own mobile search and Chrome browser with phone makers. “We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” said Vestager. From Brussels, the European Commission issued a release stating that Google has “abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.” Continue reading European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

Few Publishers Trying to Recover Revenue Lost to Ad Blockers

More than a third of Americans reportedly use an ad blocker on their Internet browsers, and many of them probably have no idea that they are costing publishers billions in lost advertising revenue. Randall Rothenberg, president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, urged publishers to develop their own technology and methods to stop ad blocking software. Meanwhile, Samsung is following Apple in enabling an ad blocking plugin for the Internet browser on its mobile phones. Continue reading Few Publishers Trying to Recover Revenue Lost to Ad Blockers

Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Google’s parent Alphabet finally sailed past Apple as the world’s most valuable company, as shares rose 4.2 percent, to a market capitalization of about $560 billion, compared to Apple’s $539.7 billion. Alphabet posted 14 percent revenue growth in its core Internet businesses, including search, YouTube and Android, rising to $74.54 billion from 2014’s $65.67 billion. Revenue from its “Other Bets,” or moonshots, rose 37 percent to $448 million, up dramatically from the $12 million in revenue reported in 2013. Continue reading Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

For those who want a more social TV viewing experience, Showgoers is a new and interesting solution. The Chrome extension enables far-flung friends to watch the same movie or TV show featured on Netflix and play, pause or seek specific segments, simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the idea was born out of a long-distance relationship; the developer created Showgoers to create another experience that the couple could share. Although Showgoers can’t get around geographical blocking, it is simple to set up — and free. Continue reading Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

Google Launches New Chrome OS for its Business Customers

Google has unveiled its new Chrome operating system designed for business customers, which includes changes aimed at allowing companies to operate many of their legacy software applications. Dell has announced new Chromebooks and management software designed to work with the new operating system. After years of pushing cloud-based systems for improved security and management, Google has learned that many companies require custom upgrades or rely on virtualized systems to address the multitude of applications that cannot easily move to the cloud. Continue reading Google Launches New Chrome OS for its Business Customers

Google Now a Subsidiary of New Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.

In a move that surprised Wall Street, Google created Alphabet Inc., a new publicly traded parent company. Google will be a subsidiary of Alphabet, with Google executive Sundar Pichai as its new CEO. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will run Alphabet, which will include all of Google’s other ancillary businesses. Brin will also run Google X, the company’s experimental laboratory. Since the announcement was made after the close of trading on Wall Street, Google shares rose 6 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Google Now a Subsidiary of New Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.

New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

DNT (Do Not Track) has been an Internet standard that consumers can activate to prevent sites from secretly following and recording their online activities. But, despite DNT, many unprincipled advertisers continue to clandestinely track and record users’ Internet activity. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), privacy company Disconnect and a group of Internet companies decided it was time to combine their resources to develop a stronger DNT setting. Continue reading New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

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