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Software, Hardware, Silverware


Entries tagged: Google

Oh, Google.

Android Wear, From an Actual User

Russell Ivanovic:

I won’t lie to you, whenever my timeline fills up with negative articles about new technology from people who haven’t even touched it, I die a little inside. I get that the sports team you’ve chosen to support didn’t release it. I get that all other sports teams are not as good as yours. I get that you view everything your sports team does in a positive light, and everything the opposing teams do in a negative light…but you know these aren’t sports teams right? They are companies.

So I won’t lie to you: Android Wear is pretty close to what I want from Apple. I think Apple can and will do it better, more refined, etc., but I think people who want something that isn’t “just” a notification device and “just” a health tracker are going to be disappointed.

Sergey Brin Says He’s ‘Kind of a Weirdo’

Rich McCormick for The Verge:

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said today that it was “probably a mistake” for him to have worked on Google+ because he’s “not a very social person.” Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference, Brin — who also called himself “kind of a weirdo” — acknowledged that he used Google+ to post pictures of his kids to his family, but suggested that any previous professional focus on the social network was misguided. “It was probably a mistake,” he said, “for me to be working on anything tangentially related to social to begin with.”

My favorite part is that he refers to Google+ as “tangentially” related to social.

Nest Protect Review

Dan Seifert for The Verge:

For the cost of one Protect, I can purchase the three generic smoke detectors my small house requires. Those with larger homes will see an even larger upfront cost. The Nest Thermostat is an easier sell, since it can actually make your home more efficient and save you money over time. But the Protect doesn’t make such promises, and thanks to governments and regulatory testing groups like Underwriter’s Laboratory, can’t promise to make your home any safer than any other smoke detector either.

Still, that doesn’t stop me from wanting one, and wanting the connected home of the future that it promises. If Nest and others have their way, every appliance in our homes will be connected and smarter than ever before. Samsung and LG have been showing off smart washing machines and refrigerators that tweet at every CES for years. Philips and other companies already have lighting systems you can control with your smartphone. But what Nest is doing seems to be the smartest holistic approach to the smart home, even though it just has two products on the market. The home is the next big frontier for today’s connected world — smartphones and wearable technology has already invaded our person, it only makes sense to give our living spaces similar smarts.

The Protect is not a product for today, it’s a product for the future, and if everything goes the way Nest wants it to go, the future is looking pretty bright. I didn’t think much about my smoke detector before, but I do now, and really, that’s the whole point.

I really like what Nest did the Protect, but it makes sense to me that they had to be acquired. Products like this and even their thermostat are luxury items more so even than Apple products, because the other options are so much cheaper and do the job almost exactly as well. That doesn’t stop me from wanting one, though. The best thing that could come out of the Google deal is much lower pricing on the Protect and the thermostat.

The Nest-Google Privacy Statement

Marco Arment analyzes the Nest privacy statement that came out following their sale to Google:

If you’re using Google’s services enough to give them a pretty good idea of where you are and what you’re doing, Nest could automatically turn your heat on so it reaches the ideal temperature at exactly the time you’re most likely to arrive home based on your location, travel speed, the route you usually take, and current traffic conditions. How clever and impressive! It’s even environmentally friendly!

A lot of what Google does or could do with your personal information is really cool and clever and helpful. On the other hand, for every bit of information they collect and put to use for you, they’re putting ten bits to use for them.

Switch from iPhone to Android in 24 Easy Steps

Eric Schmidt wrote a guide to help all those poor iPhone users who want to switch to Android but can’t figure out how:

Many of my iPhone friends are converting to Android. The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface. They are a great Christmas present to an iPhone user!

Here are the steps I recommend to make this switch. Like the people who moved from PCs to Macs and never switched back, you will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back as everything will be in the cloud, backed up, and there are so many choices for you. 80% of the world, in the latest surveys, agrees on Android.

Eric is excellent writer. My favorite:

At this point, you should see all your Gmail, and be able to use any apps and they should work well. Be sure to verify this.

He might be a third grader; we aren’t sure.

Leaving Google Chrome

Federico Viticci:

I considered switching to Safari because I was fed up with Google’s creepiness, and I ended up actually liking Safari more than Chrome overall.

Safari 7 on OS X and iOS is the best, most solid build of Apple’s browser ever.

(Also, I like this feature suggestion:

iCloud sync in Safari is nice, but browser history should sync as well. Too many times I find myself typing a website’s address, thinking that Safari will pull its full URL from my history on the Mac, only to remember that history doesn’t sync. It’s no deal-breaker – especially with iCloud Tabs – but it’s an enhancement I’d like to see.

I await Safari 8.)

Google Glass Revision Looks Even Dorkier Than the Original

Armando Rodriguez for TechHive:

It was very clear that the original Glass was a prototype, but these images don’t exactly inspire confidence in Google’s high tech wearable.

Now with more earpiece!

Homeward Bound

Saroo Brierley lost his family when he was left alone on a train in India. Using Google Earth, 26 years later he found his way home. “It was a needle in a haystack,” he said, “but the needle was there.”

Fingerprint Frustration

Vlad Savov reviewed the HTC One max for The Verge:

Using the One max in the recommended way — as a very generously proportioned phone — is an exercise in frustration, and nothing exemplifies that better than its major new feature, the fingerprint scanner. Firstly, it’s placed in exactly the wrong place. Sitting immediately below the camera lens and requiring a swipe, it pretty much compels you to smudge the lens every time you want to identify yourself. The need for a vertical swipe is also problematic, since your hand’s natural position is at an angle to the sensor, demanding an unnatural and uncomfortable motion to activate it. Inevitably, that leads to regular failures to recognize your epidermic signature.

Equally enervating is the fact that you have to wake the One max from sleep before swiping to unlock it. The whole point of these fingerprint sensors is to speed up security processes, not make them more finicky, and that’s exactly where the HTC One max fails. There’s plenty of potential here, as you can enroll up to three different fingers and assign each an app to launch, but that only works from the lock screen — why not universally? As it is, the fingerprint scanner implementation here is clumsy, awkward, and comfortably in line with the long history of failed attempts at making this technology work.

Sounds great.

“Not secure? [Android is] more secure than the iPhone.”

— Eric Schmidt, reportedly drawing laughs from the crowd.

‘Why I Use an iPhone’

Ian Dunn, columnist for Droid Life, uses an iPhone as his main phone:

It was Android and Windows enthusiasts’ vehement, unmitigated hatred towards all things Apple that pushed me to play devil’s advocate for some time. Eventually I found myself convinced that iOS was a much better fit for what I wanted in a phone. I didn’t stop being a “power user” or enjoying customizing my phone. Instead, I found that while using iOS I became more productive and enjoyed using my phone a lot more. It isn’t the only way, but Apple’s design and execution philosophies make much more sense to me personally than do Google’s.

Appleiness vs. Googleiness

Horace Dediu on Apple’s priorities: “Keeping your mouth shut.”

Not If You Look Deeper

Owen Williams, reformed Android user, with another smart response to “Android Is Better” (last one, I swear):

The problem with Android is that out of the box, the OS has no personality. There’s not much to it and to actually get the most out of your phone, you have to tinker. A lot. When I used the OS, I found myself tinkering with the thing trying to get it perfectly right to my desires and never actually got there, despite the hundreds of mods and apps I tried. They all had their downfalls and many felt like things that should be part of the OS from the beginning.

Obviously I’m cherry picking here, but I really think if you read these last three articles, you’ll see that Paul was incredibly short sided.

Google Blindness

A smart counter to “Android Is Better” from Marco Arment:

His article exudes a narrow tech-world view by having no such qualifiers. I don’t know Paul, but if his audience is similarly narrow, this might be a safe assumption in the context of writing on his personal site. I don’t qualify my posts here with “…well, if you have a computer,” because I can assume that most people reading my site are included in that group. But I bet Paul’s audience isn’t as narrow as he thinks.

Basically, Paul ignores everyone who isn’t heavily invested in Google services when he says Android is unequivocally better. You should really read Marco’s whole piece. I especially like this bit:

The better question the Android community should be asking itself is why it hasn’t attracted or developed great writers and evangelists as well as Apple has. They’re probably there, but in smaller numbers and far less visible. What is it about Android and its community that’s preventing such people from shining through?

‘Android Is Better’

Paul Stamatiou makes some good points on Android’s benefits and some less good ones:

Each app has its own interactions, design and purpose as it should. Android helps coalesce each of these siloed experiences together into something a bit more fluid. The back button allows you to navigate through your history of pages, apps and menus. Didn’t mean to do that? No worries, no cognitive load required, no need to parse how that new app implements its navigation or drawer. Just hit back.

Remember the first time you discovered those shortcuts in Ikea? Felt pretty neat to save time navigating through a useless section when you knew exactly where you wanted to go. That’s Android and the back button.

Any iOS app worth using has a clear hierarchy with back buttons when it needs them. If a user is totally lost there’s the home button to completely start over. Every user knows how to work it.

A back button that occasionally takes you back pages in apps, occasionally takes you back in your history, and then occasionally takes you to the home screen is just confusing to users.

Metaphors are hard.

Google Adds Ads to the Google Maps App

I defer to John Gruber for comment:

Finally, some good news for Apple Maps.

A ‘Google Play’ Version of the Moto X Is Coming Soon

Dante D’Orazio:

Five major US carriers will sell the new Moto X when it comes out later this year, but those who want a truly pure and unlocked version of Motorola’s latest will be glad to hear that Google will be selling the device as well. Yes, there will be a Google Play edition of the Moto X.

Ah, so Google is going to sell a special Google version in addition to the regular version of their own latest Google hardware.

It’s shaping up like Google was being honest and really do intend to run Motorola as if it weren’t at all connected to Google. Which is uncommonly stupid, even for Google.

Ladies…

John Moltz has some excellent commentary on Motorola’s new Moto X phone. Apparently their marketing department thought “That’s what she said” jokes would be a good way to hook in the younger crowd. To their credit, they second guessed those decisions… after it went live.

Sorry Moto, the internet don’t forget.

The Verge Reviews the Chromecast

If I was reviewing a new television set-top box (or “dongle”), I’d probably focus on video quality:

Even at the highest quality video playback isn’t perfectly smooth, and there are some glitches here and there. You’ll also need a decently powerful machine: performance on my older Samsung Series 5 Chromebook was so terrible it was unusable, and I occasionally got performance warnings on my Core i7 MacBook Pro as well.

Content availability:

Unlike AirPlay, which is built into the system video player on iOS and integrated into OS X, Chromecast requires app developers to add support to every app individually. That’s going to take time and some intense lobbying from Google. Pandora support is coming, but unless you’re a heavy Google Play user, right now the Chromecast’s entire app story is Netflix and YouTube.

And maybe I’d throw in a thing about build quality:

The whole thing is a little under 3 inches long, and it’ll stick out about 2.5 inches when plugged into an HDMI port. That can lead to some problems if you bump into it or otherwise jostle it around — I bent the HDMI connector on one of my Chromecasts within minutes of plugging it in. (It still works, but it wasn’t exactly reassuring.)

The Verge gave the Chromecast “Verge scores” of 8, 7, and 8 out of 10, respectively for those categories, for a combined average (?) of 8.5/10.

Serious question: did Google pay these guys off?

Chromecast

John Gruber on Google’s new Chromecast:

Other than price, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t just buy an Apple TV instead. And even price-wise, it’s not like Apple TV is expensive.

The future of television isn’t going to be a dongle that only streams content from your browser. It just isn’t. There are two obvious problems with that: first, what do I do if I don’t have a browser handy? Can I fire up the Netflix app on my Chromecast? Nope. And second, native apps will always be better than web apps. The world wants native apps. I know Google is all about the web and many of us would like to think that web apps are on the verge of taking over, but that just isn’t happening. “This is the year web apps take over” is the new “this is the year of Linux on the desktop”.

Motorola’s New Android Phones

Motorola held a press event today. It lasted eight minutes, and they announced three different phones. But I’m sure they’re great.

Slow Your Roll, Chrome

MG Siegler:

To be clear, I love Chrome. I know I give Google a lot of shit, but Chrome is one product I’ve held in the highest regard since its launch a few years ago. I’ve given a look to Safari from time to time, but I always go back to Chrome. It’s just better.

“It’s just better.”

Instead, we’re at the point now where I cannot shut down my computer without force-quitting Chrome. And the browser is just about the only thing that can get my brand-new MacBook Pro to beachball.

Sounds better.

Here, I’ll even help. Step 1: rip out Flash.

Oh, you mean like Safari?

UPDATE: Apparently this article is a few months old, but Feedbin or Svbtle decided I needed a revisit this morning so you get one, too.

Bye, Bye, Google Reader

Lex Friedman took a look at all the Google Reader replacements that have sprung up in recent weeks. Looks like Feedbin is the way to go.

Glass

Dustin Curtis got his hands on and did short write up on Google Glass:

When you look at the screen, your eyes have to focus on something extremely close to your face, which leaves everything else in your field of vision totally blurred. This makes Glass dangerous to use while driving, for example, or even while walking down the street. Also, in order to see Glass’s navigation map while driving during the day, you have to look at a dark surface–I looked up at the roof of the car’s interior when I wanted to see the screen. This is also, obviously, dangerous.

I practiced focusing on my the surface of my glasses just now, and it is really straining on my eyes. I hadn’t thought of this hurdle to Google Glass before, but it’s a big one.

Welcome to Google Island

Mat Honan envisions life with Google in charge.

Answer: creepy plus.

Google Versus

John Gruber:

Google Maps entered a market where MapQuest and others had been around for years. That wasn’t something great that didn’t already exist. It was a better version of something that already existed. Google is a hyper-competitive company, and they repeatedly enter markets that already exist and crush competitors. Nothing wrong with that. That’s how capitalism is supposed to work, and Google’s successes are admirable. But there’s nothing stupid about seeing Google being pitted “versus” other companies. They want everything; their ambition is boundless.

John takes offense to Google CEO Larry Page’s claims that they aren’t a “versus” company. That they only build in new product categories, and I agree: Page’s statement is absurd. Be sure to read John’s follow up from today, too.

231 Minutes

The Next Web has a list of all the products announced at Google I/O this morning during their three hour and fifty-one minute keynote address.

The most interesting to me is the catchily-named “Google Play Music All Access”, which is basically Spotify but integrated into the native Android music app. It’s interesting because A: it actually looks pretty good; and B: if Google’s made good with the record companies, then Apple has, too.

‘Let’s Retire RSS When They Retire Google Reader’

Mike Tatum is really forward thinking:

It’s been over a month since Google announced it would shut down Reader on July 1. Over that time, I’ve come to realize how unnecessary and outdated RSS and RSS readers are today. Like a Palm Pilot, this 90’s technology is no longer the most effective way for readers to scan news or for publishers to reach readers. There are better technologies for content discovery. More important, pushing all these RSS readers back to websites will enable publishers to create more revenue. Google is right, despite protestations to the contrary. It’s time to retire RSS for good.

Like a Palm Pilot, RSS is no longer the best way to get the news. Also like a Palm Pilot, RSS is not a banana orchard.

Seriously: RSS is not going anywhere. Many people, myself included, use it every single day. Not just for news reading, but for podcasts and many of RSS’s plethora of uses. RSS is an technology standard. To paraphrase Dumbledore “RSS will always come to those who ask for it”.

Google Closes Facebook’s Loophole

Aaron Souppouris for The Verge:

After Facebook was found to be updating users without using the Google Play store’s update mechanisms, Google has clarified its terms and conditions to ensure no other developers attempt to circumvent its store.

“Open”.

A Short Translation from Bullshit to English of Selected Portions of the Google Chrome Blink Developer FAQ

Rob Isaac kindly translated Google’s PR speak into English:

What should we expect to see from Chrome and Blink in the next 12 months? What about the long term?

We have a direct strategic interest in destroying Apple’s mobile platforms because their lack of participation in our advertising and social ecosystems does not benefit our long term goals. You should expect Chrome and Blink changes in the short term to be focused in this direction.

In the longer term, we aim to have sufficient control over the installed base of web browsers to dictate whatever conditions we consider most appropriate to our business goals at the time.

I can’t get over the feeling that this is going to be bad for the web.

Google Forks WebKit

Adam Barth, a software engineer at Google, on the Chromium Blog:

This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.

Didn’t John Siracusa just explain why the WebKit Planet is a good thing?

UPDATE: As Guy English reminds us, The Doctor has already chimed in on Google’s new rendering engine.

Google Reader to Shut Down

Google Reader will shut down on July 1, 2013. While I realize RSS is a fading fad, this seems a bit premature.

An iPhone Lover’s Take on the Nexus 4

MG Siegler reviewed the Nexus 4:

And I fucking love the wireless charging orb that Google just released. Pardon my French. Actually, don’t. I fucking love that thing. Apple needs to copy that pronto. It’s by far the best smartphone “dock” I’ve ever used. And it’s a billion times better than Apple’s current iPhone 5 dock — because no such dock exists. I know it’s a little thing, but coming home and just slapping the Nexus 4 down on a magnetic charger is such a nice touch.

I really want wireless charging for my iPhone. The Lightning connector is a step up, but if we could remove the connector entirely, well… that’s even better. (Oh, and MG likes the rest of the phone, too.)

The Chromebook Pixel Is the Most Brilliant Laptop You’ll Never Buy

MG Siegler reviews the Chromebook Pixel, and he likes it:

From a pure product perspective, this device is a winner. It’s the Chromebook that should show many PC users they no longer need Windows in their lives. Hell, it could even convert some Mac users as well. This is how a browser-based computer should be built.

But he, like me, doesn’t get it:

Unfortunately, many of you will never know this firsthand because you’re never going to buy this device.

It costs as much as a Retina MacBook Pro, and only runs a browser. There’s zero market for it.

(My favorite part:

I still absolutely adore the dedicated search key on the keyboard.

Apple should rid us of caps lock and give us a search key.)

YouTube Updated With iPhone 5, iPad Support

Federico Viticci, for MacStories:

Google has today also released a new version of its YouTube app, which includes AirPlay and iPhone 5 support, as well as an iPad version that makes the app Universal.

It took Google three months to figure out Default-568h@2x.png.

Sources Inside Google Don’t Like Apple

Michael Grothaus writing for The Guardian:

Sources at Google familiar with its mapping plans say they are “not optimistic” that Apple will ever approve a dedicated Google Maps iOS app. Though the app is reportedly in development and should be ready to ship by the end of the year, the sources say their plans are only proceeding in “the unlikely event” that Apple will choose to approve the app.

As we know, sources inside Google are experts on Apple’s App Store policies. This sounds like a shameless leak from Google higher ups to assuage the wait until they’ve finished their app.

The fact is that Google was caught with their pants around their ankles when iOS 6 shipped. They had to have known that Apple Maps was coming, and they should have started their own iOS client a year ago. But they didn’t, and now they’re trying to deflect attention from their own flaws.

Mark my words, when Google finally finishes their iOS client, Apple will put it on the store.

The Worst Unboxing Ever

“Pure Google Experience”.

Project Glass

Good luck with that. Seriously.

Toodles, Google

I don’t like Google. I don’t want that to be a secret. That distaste hasn’t existed forever.

For years Google has been my friend. I was one of those people who almost never used the address bar in my browser. I typed whatever I was looking for into the Google search bar, even if I was looking for Facebook or YouTube.

When Gmail came out, I jumped on it. It was, and probably still is, the best webmail client out there. I wrote tens of thousands of emails — literally; my email account alone reached over 5GB of data — on Gmail.com. I was one of those people that kept “Beta” tag even after Google finally removed it from the logo. I was one of those people that tried Buzz. And Wave. And +.

For lack of a better term, I was a bona fide Googler.

Then Google began to unravel. The last twelve months’ headlines have been dominated by privacy scandals and search degradation. One need look no further than Search Plus Your World. When these first stories began to hit, I brushed them off. I wouldn’t hear any of it. Google was awesome, I couldn’t possibly be true, could it?

Then I discovered a little Google utility called Dashboard. On one single webpage, Google has brought together every single bit of information it’s collected about you over the years. It’s a lot. It’s stuff I didn’t remember doing; it’s stuff i wouldnt want public; most of it is stuff I can’t delete.

That right there was enough for me. I was done with Google.

Here’s the problem: Google’s business model isn’t built to please me. I’m not the customer, I’m the product. Advertisers are their customers. They’re selling me. Sure, doing so allows them to give me profesionally-built applications for free. But you know what? I don’t care. Charge me. I’ll take paid over shady any day of the week.

That day, I committed to eliminating Google from my Internet life. That’s not as easy as it sounds. My policy was soon ammended with an “as much as possible”.

I pulled all my 5GB of email messages down from Gmail’s servers and migrated to Apple’s iCloud. I downloaded my YouTube videos to my harddrive. I cleared my Web History and everything else that Google would allow, and then deleted my account.

There were a few Google services that I unfortunately still required, so I did have to create new account. I use that account only for Reader and YouTube, so I can only hope that I have limited Google’s grasp on me just a little bit.

Not for a second do I believe that Google actually deleted all of my data. I’m sure it’s still up their, harbored cozily in Big Brother’s cloud. Plus, I know I made a bunch of other Google accounts that I’ve since forgotten about, and I’m sure each of them has little snippets of me being broadcasted.

Honestly, I wish I’d never signed up with Google in the first place. I was naive. It’s too late for me. I’ve done all I can, but I still don’t feel safe.

Why I Am Letting My Google I/O Invitation Expire

Jeffrey Zeldman:

So Google wrote to my zeldman.com address, which they won’t allow me to associate with my Google+ address, to invite me to start a Google+ account (which I already have) on my zeldman.com account, which they won’t support. And if I do that (which I can’t), and some other complicated stuff, they promise that I will then be able to participate in Google IO, whatever that is.

In case you were wondering, I won’t be going either.

What’s in a Name?

Des Traynor:

Is it a condom or is it an Android?

So funny, so good.

The Case Against Google

Matt Honan:

To start with, it needs to know where you are. Then there is the question of your route—are you taking 80 up to the north side of the lake, or will you take 50 and the southern route? It needs to know what you like. So it will look to the restaurants you’ve frequented in the past and what you’ve thought of them. It may want to know who is in the car with you—your vegan roommates?—and see their dining and review history as well. It would be helpful to see what kind of restaurants you’ve sought out before. It may look at your Web browsing habits to see what kind of sites you frequent. It wants to know which places your wider circle of friends have recommended. But of course, similar tastes may not mean similar budgets, so it could need to take a look at your spending history. It may look to the types of instructional cooking videos you’ve viewed or the recipes found in your browsing history.

And then they want to package all that information all neatly with a bright shiny bow and sell it to advertisers.

And this:

Imagine you woke up tomorrow and Google was gone. You would still be able to search the Web. You could still send email. You could still use maps, make phone calls, watch videos, network with friends, write blog posts. There would be a period of adjustment, and it would be incredibly inconvenient but you would get by. There are other options.

Yep.

‘Why I Left Google’

James Whittaker:

A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.

I’ve said it before: if there’s one company I’m even less likely to give my personal information to than Facebook, it’s Google. I only use Facebook because all of the people I know do, and I hate it. And I hate Google+. I’m thankful I’m not forced to use it too.

Truth is I’ve never been much on advertising. I don’t click on ads. When Gmail displays ads based on things I type into my email message it creeps me out.

That’s coming from a former Google employee and devotee.

Cookies and Privacy

John Gruber:

But I’m thinking that if you took a thousand random iOS and Mac users, sat them down and explained to them in layman’s terms what browser cookies are and how Google uses them to track their behavior across the web, and then conducted a survey among them as to what Safari’s default cookie privacy setting should be, we’d find out that Apple chose well to break with tradition here.

Don’t be evil.

Googlighting

So there’s that.

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend

MG Siegler:

And yet, Microsoft rarely bashes Apple publicly anymore. In fact, they often take their side on arguments or come to their defense on issues. Again, these were once bitter rivals. And these times should be the battleground for their bloodiest battles yet. Instead, it’s all holding hands, s’mores, and Kumbaya.

Why? Because Microsoft has an enemy they hate much worse than Apple. And Apple has the same enemy. Google.

I saw the same transition between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates over the past few years. They were friends again when Microsoft infused $150 million into Apple, then they became bitter rivals once more, and then their friendship blossomed for a third time.

Microsoft should probably be going all-in to combat the rise of iOS, but instead they seem far more concerned with spending obscene amounts of money to bolster Bing as a Google competitor. And they seem to truly enjoy undermining Android by way of licensing agreements with key OEM partners.

Is MG upset that Microsoft isn’t declaring war on Apple? Microsoft can’t win against Apple. But they can sure beat Google.

Maybe this all just means that Google is doing something right.

Uh, nope.

All of this makes for a fascinating situation in the tech world. On one side there’s Google. On the other side there’s basically everyone else, with new members seemingly joining on a daily basis. And this side is filled with rivals that under any other circumstance would hate each other. But here they’re allied. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Google vs. Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. Good luck with that.

Google Didn’t “Track” iPhones, but It Did Bypass Safari’s Security Settings

Danny Sullivan summarizes the scandal of the past week regarding Google’s tracking cookies. Turns out the Journal sensationalized the story a bit, but Google was still bypassing the security settings of Safari. Don’t be evil.

Google+ Adds Instant Uploads to iOS App

Whitson Gordon:

The Google+ app for iOS has added a new Instant Upload feature, which automatically uploads any new photos you take on your phone to Google+.

What a terrible, terrible idea.

Google Tricked Safari, Tracked Users

Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries:

Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.

Google removed the tracking code after being called on it by the Wall Street Journal, but who knows what else is lurking. Is anyone surprised? “Don’t be evil” was long ago replaced with “OK, let’s be evil”.

Chrome Comes to Android

MG Siegler:

Say I have 5 tabs open in Chrome on my iMac and I get up to leave my home. I can see all 5 in Chrome for Android. And if I have 3 other tabs open on my MacBook Air, I can see those as well, all labeled and separated.

This feature is killer. Apple, please steal it.

While many of the UI elements of Chrome for Android are fantastic (and smooth!), unfortunately, browsing still leaves a bit to be desired. Pages load fast (roughly as fast as Safari on iOS 5 — some faster, some slower), but zooming in and out of web pages is still stuttery. When pinching to zoom out, this is particularly noticeable.

Likewise, scrolling down longer pages often leads to little stutters here and there. None of that is a deal-breaker by any means, but it’s still not iOS-smooth.

When will the day arrive that smoothness becomes Google’s priority? I think it’s way over due. We’ve been reading reviews that knock Android’s scrolling since 2008. In fact, finding a review of an Android device that doesn’t complain about jittery scrolling behavior is a feat and — I’m guessing — an omission.

First of all, yes, Chrome for Android is here. Second, it’s only compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich which is currently on — wait for it — 1% of Android devices.

To be fair, Google Chrome has always been a winner, and the Android port sounds like a winner, too.

But: 100% of iPhones run Safari.