Category Archives: Google

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Google’s firing of James Damore was legal, according to a federal labor agency

A federal agency has found that Google was well within its legal rights to fire James Damore in 2017.

The company dismissed its former engineer after he wrote a paper arguing that woman aren’t as biologically equipped for leadership roles as men. Damore filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board after his firing, but a newly released January memo from the agency sides with Google.

SEE ALSO: We need to change the way we talk about women in tech

As NLRB legal counsel Jayme L. Sophir wrote on Jan. 16: “While much of [Damore’s] memorandum was likely protected, the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected.” Read more…

More about Tech, Google, James Damore, National Labor Relations Board, and Tech

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Google has just made it harder for you to steal photos from Google Images

Google’s just made a rather subtle change to its image search — but one that will have big repercussions for copyright.

Announced on Thursday on Twitter, the company has removed the “view image” button from image search, which will make it trickier to save copyrighted images directly.

SEE ALSO: Google’s fast-loading AMP pages are coming to Gmail

Once a direct link to a high resolution version of your chosen image, the “view image” button was a concern for photographers, publishers and stock image sites alike, as it allowed people to access a high res version of the image without visiting the source site. Read more…

More about Google, Copyright, Getty, Tech, and Web Culture

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Here’s how Chrome will filter annoying ads

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

Starting tomorrow, Feb. 15, Google’s web browser Chrome will start automatically blocking overly intrusive ads, which might mark a huge (positive) change in how we view the web. 

In a blog post Wednesday, Google has explained exactly how this will work.  

SEE ALSO: Chromebooks may soon have Google Assistant standard

Unlike certain ad blocker programs, Chrome will not block absolutely every ad you encounter. Instead, it will only remove ads that do not follow “Better Ads Standards,” a set of standards for acceptable and unacceptable web ads created by a coalition of organizations and companies including Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The idea is that users don’t hate all ads, only overly intrusive ones, and if everyone gets rid of those, both users and publishers will end up happier.  Read more…

More about Google, Ads, Chrome, Ad Blocking, and Ad Blocker

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Google didn’t sell many Pixel phones in 2017, and that’s not good for the line

Google’s Pixel phones may be great phones with best-in-class cameras, but they won’t be toppling Apple’s iPhones or Samsung’s Galaxy phones anytime soon.

The company reportedly only shipped 3.9 million Pixel phones in 2017, according to IDC research director Francisco Jeronimo. For Google, that’s not too shabby for a newcomer — it’s twice the number of Pixels from the year before — but overall it’s still pretty weak, and a sign that there’s a long road ahead before the company even comes close to challenging Apple and Samsung.

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Never Bite Your iPhone’s Battery

iPhone and Galaxy phone sales dwarfed Pixel by a massive margin. Apple sold 216.7 million iPhones and Samsung sold 316.4 million Android smartphones last year, according to IDC numbers. Read more…

More about Mobile, Gadgets, Google, Android, and Smartphones

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Google’s fast-loading AMP pages are coming to Gmail

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

If you’ve ever browsed the web on your mobile phone (duh!), you’ve likely encountered Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Launched in Feb. 2016, they’re optimized webpages from a variety of publishers that are stored on Google’s servers.  

From the user’s perspective, the most important aspect of AMPs is that they’re fast. Google says an AMP typically loads from Google Search in less than one second.

SEE ALSO: Google wants your phone screen to double as a speaker Read more…

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Mashable launches AMP stories in partnership with Google

It’s a big day here at Mashable: We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with Google that will bring our immersive vertical video storytelling to a new audience via search. 

Ladies and gentlemen, meet AMP stories.

Mashable is one of eight publishers involved in the development of AMP stories with Google, and we’re proud to have had a hand in shaping the new format with our unique perspective on tech, culture, and entertainment. 

Our debut AMP stories include an essential guide to Marvel’s Black Panther, a tongue-in-cheek examination of Instagram’s most absurd beauty trends, and an absorbing explainer on Silicon Valley’s favorite gossip app. Read more…

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Unilever Threaten To Pull Advertising From Facebook And Google Over Extremist Content

Unilever has threatened to cut advertising on internet platforms is more isn’t done to combat extremist material” alt=”Unilever has threatened to cut advertising on internet platforms is more isn’t done to combat extremist material” data-credit=”PA Wire/PA Images” data-portal-copyright=”PA Wire/PA Images” data-provider=”pressassociation” data-provider-asset-id=”2.34926350″ data-has-syndication-rights=”false”>

Unilever has threatened to pull advertising from platforms like Google and Facebook if they don’t do more to tackle extremist and illegal content.

It said consumer trust in social media is at an all time low and called on the industry to “collectively build trust back into our systems and society” in an era of “fake news and toxic online content”, warning it may cut investment in “platforms which breed division”.

Speaking at a leadership meeting in Palm Springs, Florida, Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Weed, called on technology giants to make a veritable stand against “things they see are not right” and stop “illegal, unethical and extremist behaviour and material on their platforms”.

Unilever vowed to: 

1) Not invest in platforms that do not protect children or which create division in society.

2) Commit to tackling gender stereotypes in advertising through #Unstereotype and championing this across the industry through #SeeHer and the #Unstereotype Alliance.

3) To only partner with organisations which are committed to creating better digital infrastructure, such as aligning around one measurement system and improving the consumer experience.

Speaking ahead of his speech, Weed said: “As a brand-led business, Unilever needs its consumers to have trust in our brands. We can’t do anything to damage that trust – including the choice of channels and platforms we use. So, 2018 is the year when social media must win trust back.”

He continued: “2018 is either the year of techlash, where the world turns on the tech giants – and we have seen some of this already – or the year of trust. The year where we collectively rebuild trust back in our systems and our society.

“Across the world, dramatic shifts are taking place in people’s trust, particularly in media. We are seeing a critical separation of how people trust social media and more ‘traditional’ media. In the US only less than a third of people now trust social media (30%), whilst almost two thirds trust traditional media (58%).”

Unilever Chief Marketing officer Keith Weed” alt=”Unilever Chief Marketing officer Keith Weed” data-credit=”Youtube” data-portal-copyright=”Youtube” data-provider=”Other” data-provider-asset-id=”206121673″ data-has-syndication-rights=”false”>

Weed added: “Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children – parts of the internet we have ended up with is a million miles from where we thought it would take us.

“It is in the digital media industry’s interest to listen and act on this.”

Weed said it was up to all stakeholders to be part of the “solution”, saying Unilever was not “interested in issuing ultimatums or turning my face while I demand others sort this out”.

Unilever has met with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon and Snapchat and Weed said he had repeated “one point to each and every one of them”, that it was “critical that our brands remain not only in a safe environment, but a suitable one”.

“It is acutely clear from the groundswell of consumer voices over recent months that people are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of digital on wellbeing, on democracy – and on truth itself. This is not something that can brushed aside or ignored,” he said. 

Experts in digital media say that more buyers of advertising will have to join Unilever to spur change.

“The advertising ecosystem contains so many players, so for Facebook and Google to see any dent in the profits they make, there will need to be many companies that not only put their hat in the ring, but also follow through on these threats,” Sam Barker, a senior analyst at Juniper Research told the BBC.

Unilever’s warning came as the Government unveiled a new technology that aims to automatically detect terrorist content before it hits the web.

Tests show the tool can identify 94% of IS propaganda videos and has an extremely high accuracy rate.

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Google might finally make its messaging app more like Apple’s iMessage

Google might finally be bringing its default messaging app on Android up to speed with Apple’s iMessage.

No, the green bubbles (sadly) won’t be going away, but Android users may soon have a way to exchange messages via their web browsers.

SEE ALSO: Making GIFs just got way easier thanks to Google’s keyboard app

It looks like a future version of the app will include a web-based counterpart to the Android Messages app, according to code buried in the latest version of the Android Messages app that was unearthed by XDA Developers. 

The code hints at a QR code-based system, that would allow Android users to link their phone and PC by scanning a QR code. It sounds like the feature would support a wide range of browsers, as XDA found references to Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Read more…

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Chromebooks may soon have Google Assistant standard

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

Chromebook owners might soon be saying “OK Google” to their laptops. 

This is according to a snippet of Chrome OS code unearthed by XDA Developers, which indicates that native Google Assistant integration might be coming to Chrome OS devices.

SEE ALSO: Google wants your phone screen to double as a speaker

This isn’t entirely new; in fact, Google’s own Pixelbook (arguably the best Chromebook around) natively supports Google Assistant. But if true, it would mean that other Chromebooks would get the power of the Assistant as well — if the manufacturers enable it, that is.  Read more…

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Social Media Companies Must Step Up To The Plate And Help Us Tackle Mental Health Issues Online

Last month, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook spoke candidly about his unease at what he called the “overuse” of technology, adding that he didn’t want his young nephew to use social media networks.

It felt like a symbolic moment, as one of the titans of the technology world hinted at personal reservations about social media when it came to his own family.

As Health Secretary, I’ve been vocal over the past 12 months about the need for social media companies to step up to the plate and help us tackle the mental health issues that research suggests is associated with to excessive social media use.

And that’s not because I am a Neanderthal but because fundamentally I believe in technology – provided it is harnessed appropriately. The company I founded before going into politics was in technology – we produced a number of websites to help younger people choose the right university or college course. I’ve also been a passionate champion for how technology can improve our health system too, including mental health provision itself.

But I do worry about unintended consequences. I worry for my own children, and I worry that as a nation we are sleepwalking into a situation where a whole generation of young people are spending huge chunks of their childhood online rather than investing in the deep and enduring face-to-face relationships that help them grow up as well-rounded individuals.

When you have people like Sean Parker, Facebook’s founding president, effectively admitting that the social media industry’s business model is built on psychological addiction, I think it’s right to demand these firms to exercise greater restraint and responsibility in how they design, market and manage their services.

The latest Ofcom research suggest that half of children aged 11 and 12 now have a social media profile, despite many platforms’ minimum age being 13, and the average 12-15 year old spends over 20 hours every week online. These are two areas that could be addressed by technology providers stepping up and accepting responsibility.

In the autumn, I met with the leading technology providers and set them a simple challenge: work with us and help us find solutions to these issues facing young people

That’s why in the autumn, I met with the leading technology providers, including Facebook, Snapchat, Apple and Google, and set them a simple challenge: work with us and help us find solutions to these issues facing young people.

It was a good, productive conversation and they agreed to come back in March with some hard proposals, which I look forward to seeing – but the clock is ticking, just as the public’s attitude towards the ethical conduct of social media firms is hardening.

Without question there is more that Government can do to improve support for children and young – and our Children and Young People’s Green Paper sets out a comprehensive set of measures, including the £5million I’ve announced today to extend mental health training in primary schools.

We particularly need to make sure there is greater availability of counselling services in our schools, better support for parents and faster access to specialist NHS therapies and treatments where necessary. At least 70,000 additional children and young people each year are expected to receive evidence-based treatment by 2020/21.

So here’s the opportunity: if the future of technology is so promising, why don’t Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Google make sure they are the solution, not the problem?

That means tackling underage use with proper age verification; nudging people who are online too long; sharing data so we can tackle cyber-bullying and many other small measures that – taken together – will have a dramatic impact in making children safer online.

We read a lot of hot air on social media every day, but this time it is action not words we need.

Jeremy Hunt is the Secretary of State for Health and Conservative MP for South West Surrey

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