Google Maps Offensive Continues as Apple Begins Mapping New Regions

While Apple Maps is said to be a solid alternative to Google Maps, it’s not necessarily a secret that Apple’s app isn’t quite here yet. Especially outside of the United States, as Apple has often been extremely slow when it comes to rolling out new features for users who don’t live in the company’s home market.

Apple Maps, for example, has already received massive updates in the United States, including better maps and new features like traffic information with road signs and traffic light warnings, but this new experience continues to be available in limited markets.

But on the other hand, the iPhone maker is working tirelessly to expand Apple Maps to more markets, as the company itself knows it’s pretty much the only way to compete with Google Maps.

And more recently, Apple sent its fleet of Subaru Impreza used for data collection to Austria, with the mapping process due to start today. The company hasn’t shared any information on how long the entire process will take, but according to local media, Apple just wants to focus on vehicle-based data for now, so foot mapping wouldn’t take place. as part of this first step in the process.

This is probably a sign that Apple wants to improve the navigation component of its app, although time will tell how quickly the new data will be available to users in Austria.

The good news is that Apple is indeed making very good progress when it comes to expanding Apple Maps to more regions. Right now, this is one of the biggest shortcomings of using Apple Maps compared to alternatives like Google Maps, as the preloaded app on iPhones still lacks map data. updated and new features in many major markets.

Apple has yet to confirm Apple Maps’ expansion in Austria, but expect to see the company’s Subaru Imprezas on the streets of the country for several months.

After Apple hinted it was parting ways with Google Maps for its own proprietary system and application, Google is firing back, announcing it has new mapping technology ahead of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. In an invite sent to press last week, Google promised to “show off some of the newest technology and give a sneak peak at upcoming features,” according to CNET.

No word yet on whether the mapping technology will be for Google’s Chrome browser or for android phones or both, but mobile support seems likely. Will Google’s new application include something similar to Apple’s powerful new 3-D mode, which, according to 9-to-5 Mac, boasts “beautiful, realistic graphics”? Stay tuned as Map Wars 2012 continues.

Source: Google Maps offensive continues as Apple begins mapping new regions – OLTNEWS

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Critics:

The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android have many of the same features, including turn-by-turn navigation, street view, and public transit information.Turn-by-turn navigation was originally announced by Google as a separate beta testing app exclusive to Android 2.0 devices in October 2009. The original standalone iOS version did not support the iPad, but tablet support was added with version 2.0 in July 2013. An update in June 2012 for Android devices added support for offline access to downloaded maps of certain regions, a feature that was eventually released for iOS devices, and made more robust on Android, in May 2014.

At the end of 2015 Google Maps announced its new offline functionality, but with various limitations – downloaded area cannot exceed 120,000 square kilometres and require a considerable amount of storage space. In January 2017, Google added a feature exclusively to Android that will, in some U.S. cities, indicate the level of difficulty in finding available parking spots, and on both Android and iOS, the app can, as of an April 2017 update, remember where users parked. In August 2017, Google Maps for Android was updated with new functionality to actively help the user in finding parking lots and garages close to a destination.

In December 2017, Google added a new two-wheeler mode to its Android app, designed for users in India, allowing for more accessibility in traffic conditions. In 2019 the android version introduced the new feature called live view that allows to view directions directly on the road thanks to augmented reality Google Maps won the 2020 Webby Award for Best User Interface in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice. In March 2021, Google added a feature in which user can draw missing roads.

In 2005 the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) complained about the potential for terrorists to use the satellite images in planning attacks, with specific reference to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor; however, the Australian Federal government did not support the organization’s concern. At the time of the ANSTO complaint, Google had colored over some areas for security (mostly in the US), such as the rooftop of the White House and several other Washington, D.C., US buildings.

In October 2010, Nicaraguan military commander Edén Pastora stationed Nicaraguan troops on the Isla Calero (in the delta of the San Juan River), justifying his action on the border delineation given by Google Maps. Google has since updated its data which it found to be incorrect.

On January 27, 2014, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA and the GCHQ intercepted Google Maps queries made on smartphones, and used them to locate the users making these queries. One leaked document, dating to 2008, stated that “[i]t effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system.

References

Important Google Photos Change Will Impact Millions Of Users

Google Photos users often struggle with Google’s frequent unexpected interface changes, but a new tweak is now rolling out that’s sure to make image sharing much easier for everyone.

The change, as spotted by Reddit users last week, brings in an improved sharing menu that makes it easier to find and select the apps and contacts you want to use to share your photos.

The improvement makes a small, but significant change to how sharing destinations are selected. Thankfully, it’s so intuitive that you may have already been using the new interface without even realizing.

If you have the new interface, sharing an image now presents you with two rows of icons much like before. The top row is for sharing directly to groups or individual contacts and the bottom row is for sharing via any other appropriate apps you have installed. The key change is that selecting an app for sharing no-longer requires scrolling through a potentially very long list of apps to find the one you’re looking for.

Instead, you are presented with a selection of just three recently-used options followed by a new button marked ‘more’. Tapping on ‘more’ then brings up an app drawer which you can swipe upwards to expand it into a vertically-scrolling full screen format.

Google Photos now uses a new app sharing menu

Here you’ll find some favorite sharing destinations at the top, followed by a complete list of compatible apps. Furthermore, the apps are presented here in alphabetically rather than the seemingly random order found in the previous horizontal app selector.

Many users have the new interface already, so if you don’t have it yet you should expect to receive it soon. If you want a reminder of the old sharing interface, try sharing from the Google Maps app which still uses the old horizontal scroller.

Follow @paul_monckton on Instagram

Paul Monckton

Paul Monckton

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that we use to create it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

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Google Photos users often struggle with Google’s frequent unexpected interface changes, but a new tweak is now rolling out that’s sure to make image sharing much easier for everyone. The change, as spotted by Reddit users last week, brings in an improved sharing menu that makes it easier to find and select the apps and contacts you want to use to share your photos. The improvement makes a small, but significant change to how sharing destinations are selected. Thankfully, it’s so intuitive that you may have already been using the new interface without even realising.

If you have the new interface, sharing an image now presents you with two rows of icons much like before. The top row is for sharing directly to groups or individual contacts and the bottom row is for sharing via any other appropriate apps you have installed. The key change is that selecting an app for sharing no-longer requires scrolling through a potentially very long list of apps to find the one you’re looking for.

Instead, you are presented with a selection of just three recently-used options followed by a new button marked ‘more’. Tapping on ‘more’ then brings up an app drawer which you can swipe upwards to expand it into a vertically-scrolling full screen format. Here you’ll find some favorite sharing destinations at the top, followed by a complete list of compatible apps. Furthermore, the apps are presented here in alphabetically rather than the seemingly random order found in the previous horizontal app selector.

Many users have the new interface already, so if you don’t have it yet you should expect to receive it soon. If you want a reminder of the old sharing interface, try sharing from the Google Maps app which still uses the old horizontal scroller. Follow @paul_monckton on Instagram All data is taken from the source: http://forbes.com Article Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulmonc…#sharing#newsdaily#newsworldabc#bbcnewstoday#newstodaydonaldtrump#newstodayworld #

Is Google Profiting From COVID-19 Conspiracies

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Google, along with many of the web and social media platforms, have taken great efforts to stamp out wild – and even potentially dangerous – conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19. This has included pulling down videos including on Google-owned YouTube, but despite these efforts just as misinformation continues to spread, so too do the videos.

This has even been described as an “infodemic” – a worrisome side effect of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Even as YouTube cracked down on COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, their videos were still getting millions of views. In many cases it was because such content can often go viral long before YouTube or other platforms can react.

What is just as disconcerting is the fact that Google has continued to place advertisements on websites and on YouTube that are publishing those theories. Bloomberg reported that this allows the site’s owners to generate revenue and thus continue to operate. And in at least one case, Google even ran ads featuring a promoter of the very conspiracies it had banned.

Bloomberg cited a number of examples that seem downright concerning, such as an ad for telecommunications provider 02 showing up on an article linking the virus to 5G networks, which happens to be a largely debunked yet still common theory. An example of ad adjacency involved Microsoft 365 backup service, when the ad ran on a site that suggested that Microsoft founder Bill Gates was involved in charitable efforts as part of a world domination plot.

The ads were placed through Google’s automatic system for matching marketers with websites, but it doesn’t take a conspiracy theory to suggest that there is clearly a problem with the algorithms mismatching ads simply based metadata and keywords.

“It’s difficult to say exactly what is leading to the disparity between Google’s stated policies and these problematic results,” said technology industry analyst Charles King of Pund-IT.

“However, I suspect a couple of issues are probably involved,” King explained. “First is the complexity of online advertising, which many people think of as a definable, manageable entity. Instead, the online marketplace is vastly complicated, involves thousands of markets and regions and hundreds of thousands of companies and interested parties, more than a few of which are actively working to circumvent or subvert Google’s and other advertising platforms’ policies.”

Google’s ad platform works with a plethora of sites – and as King noted, each has their own specific rules. Moreover, Google places ads for large brands that do routinely publish conspiracy theories. But while such information could cross the line into “misinformation” or even “disinformation,” in most cases it is generally harmless and this makes it hard for a platform such as Google’s to distinguish.

A site that suggests that the Titanic purposely hit the iceberg or President Kennedy was assassinated by a sinister cabal isn’t exactly “misinformation.” In some cases conspiracy theories are actually entertaining.

That’s why a lot of people view and read these theories, not to be informed but to simply see a different side of the story, no matter how unbelievable it may be presented.

“In addition, it’s worth noting that while the hundreds of thousands and millions dollars that the Global Disinformation Index says are being paid out to these sites are substantial in sum, they are generated by billions of page views across innumerable web sites,” said King.

“In other words, despite the best will and efforts of Google or any other online advertising platform things are going to fall or knowingly escape through the cracks,” he added. “Which leads to what the company intends to do now that it’s aware of the problem. That’s a question well worth asking and deserving of an answer.”

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Google Cloud BrandVoice: Building IT Security Requires Improving Teams

But when technology improves, enterprises aren’t the only ones to experience innovation increases. Hackers and other bad actors can be pretty innovative too. This is one reason it’s hard to go more than a few weeks without seeing some new data breach, malware risk, or cybercrime in the headlines.

Successful digital transformation boils down to leveraging technology to produce business outcomes, which is a simple idea. But deploying, connecting, protecting, and maintaining those technologies can be enormously complex, making it easy to accidentally expose security vulnerabilities or to react too slowly to a sudden advance in attackers’ capabilities.

As much as conversations about digital transformation can focus on finding the right kinds of programmers or the right kinds of data scientists, it’s equally important to emphasize that digital transformation requires the right kind of security professionals.

The right people can be hard to find

The need for security professionals is not new. In fact, security is one of the fastest growing job fields, and not just in IT. According to the 2019 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, going forward, there will be 10,000 cybersecurity professionals for every 100,000 U.S.-based establishments.

And yet, for all of this need, this CSIS survey showed that 82% of employers report a shortage of cybersecurity skills, with 314,000 additional cybersecurity professionals needed as of January 2019, despite the 716,000 such professionals already in the field.

Think about that: It’s as if every single person in Denver were already working in IT security, but because the job is so big, we need everyone in St. Louis to pitch in as well. That is a huge need and a huge shortage.

So what’s causing this shortfall? A large part of it is that the professionals in these roles are bogged down by manual work. Between patching servers, maintaining security infrastructure, updating security configurations, and collecting and analyzing data, there’s hardly any time left to design proactive cybersecurity.

Free your cybersecurity professionals with the cloud

As with so many issues in the modern workplace, improvements to this “people problem” lie in the cloud. Most notably, cloud providers maintain and secure the underlying infrastructure, relieving you of some of the more time-consuming manual tasks of infrastructure management.

The cloud provides security by default with systems that simplify IT resource configuration, deployment, and operation throughout the organization. This frees security professionals to concentrate on tasks that are a better use of their time and skills, like designing and modifying security policies, auditing access to critical systems, classifying business-critical content, and investigating anomalous activity through a business lens.

But the cloud offers more than just time. Many cloud providers offer tools and guidance to help users secure their apps and data by letting security teams determine which data is sensitive, who should have access to what, and how to translate the organization’s security and regulatory policy to controls. And since the cloud is exposed to users as software and APIs, automation becomes much simpler, resulting in more consistency at scale with fewer opportunities for human errors.

But the cloud offers more than just time. Many cloud providers offer tools and guidance to help users secure their apps and data by letting security teams determine which data is sensitive and who should have access to what. Moreover, since the cloud is exposed to users as software and APIs, automation becomes much simpler, resulting in more consistency at scale with fewer opportunities for human errors.

Overcoming the skills gap

In addition to the “people problem,” modern security workforces also find themselves facing a “skills problem.” Security threats are always evolving, as are the solutions and tools, which means that many established security professionals can’t keep up with the skills they need to detect and address new types of attacks. The longer it takes to find solutions, the more productivity may suffer across the organization.

On a deeper level, knowledge of the latest skills is essential to strong DevSecOps. The basic concept of DevSecOps is to build apps with security in mind from the start, rather than the traditional tactic of designing security in toward the end of development or bolting it on after systems and apps are built. Executing this requires a deep knowledge of security skills and tools that grows throughout the development process.

The cloud helps overcome these issues by providing access to the latest technological advancements and giving professionals access to the latest tools without the constant need to acquire and retrain.

Security professionals can also use the cloud to drive DevSecOps by embracing the best practices embedded into cloud-based tools. For example, Google Cloud offers vulnerability scanning, deploy-time controls, and configuration management—tools that underpin Google’s own best practices for develop-and-deploy processes. With tools like these, security experts can set up strong security practices from the start that persist throughout the project’s life cycle.

Building better security professionals

IT security is only going to become more essential as businesses rely more on technology for innovation and competitive advantage, and the need for professionals who are equipped for the challenge is going to grow as well.

Fortunately, with cloud-based security tools and a healthy amount of security by default, not only can security professionals continue to do their jobs effectively even as the landscape changes, but the next generation of experts will likely already be trained on cloud-based tools. That leaves the major people and skills problems in the IT landscape to those who haven’t taken advantage of the cloud.

Discover how the highest performers scale DevOps to maximize success. Get the latest “Accelerate State of DevOps Report.”

Rob Sadowski is the Trust & Security Product Lead for Google Cloud at Google. He is responsible for creating and delivering Google Cloud’s security message, spanning platforms, applications, and connected devices. Prior to joining Google, he held multiple senior roles in strategy and marketing at RSA Security, a Dell / EMC Company and came to RSA as part of the team that drove the creation of EMC’s Security division. He is a former member of the PCI Security Standards Council Board of Advisors and has been an expert commentator on security issues to global media outlets including CNN, USA Today, the Financial Times, NPR, Fox Business, and CNBC.

Source: Google Cloud BrandVoice: Building IT Security Requires Improving Teams

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Google Issues Serious Warning For Google Photos Users

Google Photos Logo

Google has issued a serious warning to a number of Google Photos users, stating that their private videos have been accidentally sent to strangers.

The warning will come as a shock to users who have used the service to store videos they don’t wish to be made public, precisely because of Google’s promise to protect their data and keep unshared Photos private.

According to the warning, sent directly via email to all affected users, the blunder caused Google’s ‘Download your data’ service to incorrectly export some stored videos to the wrong user’s archive when bundling them up for download.

This resulted in some users downloading archives with missing videos and, more worryingly, videos that belong to other users.

You can read the text of the email in the tweet from @jonoberheide below:

View image on Twitter

Google hasn’t revealed the number of accounts affected, but it appears to be relatively small as it’s restricted to those who used ‘Download your data’ within a specific five-day time period of November 21 to November 25 2019. However, even only a small proportion of Google Photos’ over one billion users will likely result in a significant total number of people affected. The wording of the email suggests that Google is confident that it has identified all occurrences of the bug and warned all those affected.

What to do about it

Google’s preferred solution to this predicament is for users to create new data archives and download them again. While this will help anyone with missing videos to retrieve them, it offers no comfort to those who now have no way of knowing which, if any, of their videos have been downloaded and viewed by strangers. Furthermore, we can only hope that there are no other instances of the bug which remain undetected.

I have reached out to Google for comment.

OnePlus Confirms Massive Camera Upgrades

Forbes Paul Monckton

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that creates it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

Source: Google Issues Serious Warning For Google Photos Users

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Those default Google Chrome settings are no good! Here is what to change. More Top Lists ➤ https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Subscribe Here ➤ https://www.youtube.com/user/ThioJoe?… Google Chrome is the most popular web browser right now, but most people just leave the settings on default without even knowing about things they could or should change. Some of these settings are on by default that you should disable, and others are cool features that are not enabled by default, but you’ll want to turn on. This video goes over 11 of these settings, which include some found in the regular settings menu, as well as some in the hidden “chrome flags” menu, found at chrome://flags . Everything from a new way to mute noisy tabs, to faster downloading with chrome. ~~~ ⇨ http://Instagram.com/ThioJoehttp://Twitter.com/ThioJoehttp://Facebook.com/ThioJoeTV ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Google Says Chrome Will End Support for Third-Party Cookies That Track You. Here’s Why That’s Not All Good News

On Tuesday, Google announced what appears, at least at first, to be a fairly monumental change to its Chrome browser: Over the next two years, it plans to “phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome.” Third-party cookies are little pieces of code used by advertisers to track what you do online so they can serve you targeted ads on sites you visit based on where you’ve previously visited.

So, for example, if you browse Pottery Barn’s website, and start seeing ads everywhere for the coffee table you were looking at, it’s usually because of third-party cookies. In reality, while most of us would say it’s kind of creepy, targeted ads are effective. At the same time, they’re also a very real invasion of your privacy–which is a problem. In fact, those privacy concerns are why browsers like Brave and Safari have already ended support for this type of tracking.

Back in August, I wrote about Google’s new “Privacy Sandbox,” which the company said was a way to introduce privacy protections for users online while still allowing digital advertisers to serve up targeted ads. The problem, at the time, was that Google said that it couldn’t eliminate support for third-party cookies because it would have a detrimental effect on the web at large.

Now it seems that’s changing, and there are huge implications for users as well as advertisers. Google’s blog post announcing the change puts it this way:

We are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving and open-standard mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete.

So, let’s look at the good news and the bad news. If you’re a user, there’s mostly good news, because ending third-party cookies is generally good for privacy. The caveat here is that it’s not yet entirely clear how Google plans to have it both ways. Meaning, it’s not clear how Google thinks it can provide a privacy-protected browsing experience that also provides targeted ads.

Image result for amazon gif advertisements for macbook

There’s also the fact that some less ethical advertisers will no doubt resort to other types of more nefarious tracking, like browser and device fingerprinting. Those technologies create a profile of you based on information sent by your browser about your device, the operating system, your location, and other unique identifiers. Safari has introduced protection against that, and it will be interesting if Google takes a similar approach with Chrome.

This leads us to more good news, this time for Google. Google has arguably the most to gain from this change, because its advertising model doesn’t depend on the same type of tracking technology. In effect, by eliminating third-party cookies, Google is edging out any of its digital advertising competitors. Since Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, all of your web traffic is already going through Chrome. It doesn’t need cookies for that.

If you’re a digital advertiser, on the other hand, this could be very bad news. That’s especially true if you’re a smaller business or startup, since both tend to rely more heavily on digital advertising. Larger brands are able to better absorb changes like this, but if you’re bootstrapping a new company and count on PPC advertising to reach your customers, this is going to hurt.

That said, while I’m generally sympathetic to the overall challenge facing entrepreneurs in this regard, I still have to lean in the direction that it’s a good thing whenever tech companies start respecting our privacy. In fact, the headline of my column back in August was that “Google Could Make the Internet Respect Your Privacy.” At the time, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t.

In this case, I’m happy to be proved wrong.

By Jason Aten Tech columnist @jasonaten

Source: Google Says Chrome Will End Support for Third-Party Cookies That Track You. Here’s Why That’s Not All Good News

Image result for amazon advertisements for computers

A Beginner’s Guide To Using Keywords In Google Ads

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Google Ads can be an effective way to reach an audience of new customers. However, if you do not have a well-thought-out keyword list, your search and display ads may not be shown to those much-coveted consumers.

What is a keyword list? It is a set of terms, words and phrases that are associated with your business, brand or product. For example, if you own a yoga studio, keywords or phrases might include yoga classes, beginners’ yoga, hot yoga or meditation classes.

Beyond compiling a list of keywords and phrases that correlate to your business, think about the ways that people may search for you. Listing out your business or product name is always a must. But what if people do not already know about you? In our example of the yoga studio, keywords to use could be yoga studio near me, yoga studio in [town name], or even something as simple as good yoga studios.

The more specific your keywords are, the narrower the audience will be that finds them in their search. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a good keyword if you are targeting experienced and knowledgeable yogis, but it may exclude those new to the practice trying to find a studio. However, too broad of a keyword and you may be wasting money on showing your ad to people that may not be your target audience. Yoga is a pretty broad keyword and it competes with many other facets of the practice, including magazines, blogs and other online websites. Finding keywords that hit the proverbial sweet spot, as mentioned in paragraph three, will help optimize your reach to those searching for your business.

Once you have a keyword list ready, you must next decide on the modifiers. These are ways of inputting the keywords into Google Ads using quotation marks, brackets, plus signs, or leaving no modifiers of the keyword or phrase at all. The options are exact match, phrase match, broad match modifier, and broad match, respectively.

Exact Match is much like it sounds. By choosing the Exact Match modifier using brackets, ads will show when someone searches that exact term. [Beginners’ Yoga Studio] is an example of an exact match. Only someone searching that exact term will see the ad associated with that keyword.

Phrase Match uses quotation marks around the word or phrase. “Beginners’ Yoga” would be shown to those searching that phrase or a variation of that phrase, like beginners’ yoga classes.

Broad Match Modifier utilizes plus signs in front of the keywords so that they will appear when those terms, or close variations of those keywords, are searched in any order. +Beginners’ +yoga is an example of Broad Match Modifier. If someone searches yoga for beginners, the ad associated with that phrase will be shown to them.

Leaving out any modification and inputting the keywords or phrases just as they are is Broad Match. This type of matching leaves the terms open to include misspellings, synonyms and variations of the term. This is the default match when adding your keywords into Google Ads.

Which modifier is better to use is up to you. However, Google Ads makes it very easy to access your keywords and make changes at any time. If you start your ads with Broad Match but find that you are not converting customers, try Broad Match Modifier or Phrase Match. Google Ads’ dashboard can help you determine which keywords are successful. Google will also provide you recommendations on what keywords you may want to add to the campaign.

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Finally, create a negative keyword list for terms for which you do not want to be found. Using the yoga studio as an example again, if it does not offer hot yoga classes, then the term hot yoga can be added to the negative keyword list. When people search the term hot yoga, your ads will not show up, saving the money on ads to be shown to those who are in the market for your type of studio.

Google Ads can act as a driver to gain brand awareness, push more visits to your website, receive more phone calls and, most especially, grow your customer base if they are set up correctly. Taking your time with your keyword list is a great way to start.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Google’s New Chrome Move: Another Reason To Switch To Firefox?

Google’s Chrome browser has come under increasing scrutiny lately, especially after its Manifest V3 plans announced earlier this year which cause some ad blockers to break.

Now privacy advocates are honing in on a nascent web API called getInstalledRelatedApps, which has been in development since 2015 and available to experiment with since Chrome 59’s launch in 2017.

Described on GitHub, the API lets developers determine if their native app is installed on your device.

Of course, there are benefits that will improve the experience when people have multiple apps from the same developer installed on their device. It will prevent potentially annoying consequences such as receiving the same notification twice.

So what’s the problem? As an article on highly-esteemed tech site The Register points out, the purpose of this API “isn’t really about users so much as web and app publishers.”

In fact, if it isn’t handled properly, it could be a major risk to people’s security and privacy. “If done incorrectly, there’s a good chance of it being open to abuse–and with that come some pretty significant privacy and security related issues,” says security researcher Sean Wright.

Google Chrome privacy: Identifying factors

The privacy issue stems from the fact that the API would allow sites to potentially see which apps you have installed on your device. “Seeing what you have installed allows them to form a picture of what you do,” says Wright.

At the same time, it could impact your security: “Knowing which apps are installed can help attackers perform targeted phishing or to target apps with known vulnerabilities,” Wright warns.

It looks like Google will officially support this API in a future version of Chrome, according to a statement of intent posted by Google engineer Rayan Kanso at the end of November. In the post, he conceded that it would not help Chrome users directly although said it “indirectly benefits them through improved web experiences.”

Google is aware that its new move could have consequences. This week, Google engineer Yoav Weiss expressed concerns, highlighting the API’s risks. He pointed out that “the collection of bits of answers” to “Is app X installed” could reveal enough about a user to uniquely identify them.

I have reached out to Google for further comment and will update this story when it arrives.

A risk to Google Chrome users’ security and privacy: What to do

As the Register’s Thomas Claburn states, it shows “how user concerns, like privacy, don’t necessarily drive how software gets made.”

Indeed, concerns such as security and privacy often take a back seat, right behind functionality. “There has to be a balance, but unfortunately this often seems tipped in favor of functionality,” says Wright. “It’s putting the company before users. This really frustrates me because without your users, there would be no company.”

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Increasingly often, users are being overlooked when they really should be at the heart of every product.

But there is something you can do. The only way to fight back against changes that impact privacy is to look for alternatives that do not affect you in the same way.

Many companies are hitting back against the likes of Google and Facebook, by providing services that respect their users’ privacy and security. Firefox is currently the browser of choice for those who are concerned, and many Chrome users have already moved over.

At the same time, smaller browsers such as Brave are quickly gaining a strong reputation, so it might be a good time to try something new.

Follow me on Twitter.

I’m a freelance cybersecurity journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector. My interests within cybersecurity include critical national infrastructure, cyber warfare, application security and data misuse. I’m a keen advocate for women in security and strive to raise awareness of the gender imbalance through my writing.

Source: Google’s New Chrome Move: Another Reason To Switch To Firefox?

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Firefox Quantum has some great feature, but is it a a chrome killer? Today we’ll find that out. NEW VIDEOS EVERY SATURDAYS!!! Subscribe ➤ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXZq… Also follow my Twitter: https://twitter.com/AfroFlew Mozilla has released a completely overhauled version of Firefox, called Firefox Quantum, which is claims is faster than Chrome. I’ve been using it for a week, and overall really like it. But I might not be quite ready to switch completely for a few reasons I discuss in this video. Some of the best features are that it is indeed very fast, and at least seems to be faster than chrome. It also has some neat features such as a built in screenshot ability. Firefox Quantum also has support for more scripting frameworks such as WebAssembly, and WebVR. It is much faster than previous versions of Firefox, which was starting to get to be a slow web browser. Part of the improvement is Firefox Quantum now allows more CPU cores to be used simultaneously. In the video I discuss all the other pros and cons of Firefox Quantum compared to Google Chrome. What is Firefox: Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by The Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, Mozilla Corporation. Firefox is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, illumos and Solaris operating systems. Its sibling, Firefox for Android, is also available.

Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Users of Google Photos are reporting that one of the app’s most frequently-used features is currently broken. The bug comes into play when selecting multiple photos at once, but fortunately, it looks like there’s a workaround for anyone affected.

When sharing pictures it’s common to want to select multiple images to send together in one go. Thankfully, the Google Photos app makes this very easy: simply hold your finger down on the first thumbnail image and then drag your finger along the gallery until you get to the last one you want to share. This will select all of the images between the first and last, marking them with a tick.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

However, as picked up by Android Police, some users on Reddit have reported that this feature has now disappeared since updating their apps, leaving them forced to select each image individually. This is a minor inconvenience when selecting just a few pictures but quickly becomes a chore when larger numbers are involved.

Today In: Innovation

The bug seems to affect a wide range of Android smartphones from various manufacturers, but only for a certain group of users and it turns out that a seemingly unrelated Android system setting is the trigger. As luck would have it, one eagle-eyed reader of the Android Police post discovered that the problem is related to an unexpected interaction with Android’s accessibility settings.

I can confirm that enabling Android Accessibility features on the Amazon Shopping app caused the Google Photos multi-select problem to appear on my handset while disabling the feature enabled Google Photos to work as normal once again.

For now, it seems the workaround to the problem is to disable Android Accessibility on any applications which may be using it.

To do this, go into your Android settings menu and search for ‘accessibility’ then scroll down to locate the relevant options. The actual layout will vary from phone to phone, but sections to look out for are ‘Downloaded Services’ where apps such as Amazon Shopping are likely to appear, and ‘Screen Readers’ where you may find functions such as ‘Select to Speak’ or ‘Talkback’ available.

Tapping on any of these will enable you to turn off its accessibility service. Turning them all off should then cause Google Photos to work correctly once again.

Obviously, the downside to doing this is that you’ll lose any accessibility functions you may have been relying on until Google comes up with a fix.

Method two

Alternatively, you may be able to restore the multi-select function by reverting to an older version of Google Photos. You can download previous versions of the app from sites such as apkmirror.com and sideload them onto your device, although I’d recommend waiting for an official update instead.

With any luck, a forthcoming fix from Google will then enable us to revert our Accessibility settings back to the way we want them.

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that creates it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

Source: Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Google Photos was designed to make it easier for people to organize a lifetime of memories. The recently announced API now lets you harness the best of Google Photos in your own product. In this session, you’ll see how you can create experiences that eliminate the friction associated with finding, transferring, and sharing photos. Rate this session by signing-in on the I/O website here → https://goo.gl/Cuv8ta See all the sessions from Google I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/q1Tr8x Watch more Android sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/R9L42F Watch more Chrome sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/5fgXhX Watch more Firebase sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/TQEeBQ Watch more Google Cloud Platform from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/qw2mR1 Watch more TensorFlow sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/GaAnBR Subscribe to the Google Developers channel → http://goo.gl/mQyv5L #io18

 

Google Is Planning to Offer Checking Accounts in Partnership With Banks

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Google is increasingly involved in more areas of its users’ lives. It’s where we turn every day for answers to pretty much everything from simple questions to complicated research. It’s where we get our email, store our photos, manage our calendars, and manage our files. It’s already the most dominant mobile operating system, and it now makes smart home devices. With its purchase of Fitbit, it’s clear Google also wants to dominate wearable technology.

Or, said another way, Google is everywhere.

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a new project called Cache that involves offering checking accounts. Yes, Google wants to be your bank.

Well, more specifically, Google plans to partner with banks to offer its customers access to banking products like checking accounts. In this case, accounts would be offered by Citigroup, as well as a credit union at Stanford University, and those financial institutions would provide all of the financial services and account management.

Google would provide the convenience, along with loyalty rewards. For example, users would access their accounts through Google Pay, much like Apple’s users access its branded credit card through Apple Pay.

 

Speaking of which, with recent moves by other tech companies into the personal finance space, it was probably inevitable that Google would follow suit. Apple recently introduced its own credit card with Goldman Sachs, and Facebook has announced its plans to launch a digital currency called Libra. It might be worth mentioning that both of those have come under intense scrutiny, with New York regulators launching an investigation into Apple Card for discriminating on the basis of gender when extending credit limits.

I actually think this is less a deviation for Google than it might seem. In fact, as TechCrunch pointed out, by providing users with checking accounts, “Google obviously stands to gain a lot of valuable information and insight on customer behavior with access to their checking account, which for many is a good picture of overall day-to-day financial life.”

It’s helpful to remember that for all the useful services Google provides, the company is, at its core, an advertising platform. That is the underlying business model that makes it huge amounts of money, and it’s the driving force behind every product or service it offers.

And while Google hasn’t suffered the same level of scandal as the next-largest advertising platform, Facebook, the strategy is the same–monetize people’s personal information.

Of course, that lack of scandal is reflected in the fact that consumers say they are more likely to trust Google with their financial information than some of its competitors. Only Amazon was rated higher in a McKinsey & Company survey included in the Journal’s report. Fifty-eight percent of consumers said they would trust Google for financial products.

The Journal also reports that Google won’t sell financial information to advertisers, which is great, but that doesn’t mean it won’t use that information to target specific advertising at customers based on their income or spending habits — which is really the only reason Google would get into financial products in the first place.

It’s also the only thing you need to know when considering whether this is a good idea. I’m not sure any amount of “loyalty program” or convenience can make up for the cost of having even more of your personal information monetized.

Jason AtenWriter and business coach

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Google is planning to launch consumer checking accounts next year in partnership with Citigroup and Stanford University, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday (Nov. 13). Code-named Cache, the accounts will be handled by Citigroup and a credit union at Stanford University. The branding will reflect the financial institutions and not Google. “Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google VP of Product Management Caesar Sengupta told WSJ. “It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.”
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