Email hacking is a problem that won’t be going away any time soon. But if you’re diligent and take the proper precautions, you can significantly minimize the chances someone bad will be able to get into your account. Google wants to help too. The company has a new tool that lets you easily check when and where your account has been accessed over the last month to make sure nothing unusual is happening.
The Devices and Activity Dashboard lists what devices are connected to your Google Account, along with when and where they’ve been accessed. The list stays up to date for the past 28 days. If a new device recently began accessing your account, “New” is stationed in all caps next to the product listing. The device you’re currently using with your Google account is listed at the top
Starting in January 2015, Google’s Chrome browser will block all old-school Netscape Plug-In API NPAPI plugins. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given that Google started its efforts to remove NPAPI plugins more than a year ago.
Over the last year, Google went from recommending that developers move away from this old architecture to actively blocking almost all NPAPI plugins. There was, however, always a whitelist that allowed some of the most popular NPAPI plugins like Microsoft’s Silverlight, Unity and Google’s own Google Earth plugin to continue to run in the browser. Starting in January, even that’s going away and all of these plugins will be blocked by default.
Google is hoping that if you’re going to shop local, you’ll go with Google Express. This week, the company officially rebranded its former Shopping Express service—which allows people to order items from area retailers for same-day or overnight delivery—and said it was expanding the program to three more cities.
Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., are now part of the same-day delivery service area, on top of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Northern California residents will still be able to enjoy overnight deliveries and adults in the Bay Area can now purchase alcohol via the service. Google also has added regional and national merchant partners, with the number of available merchants varying by location.
Before companies like Microsoft and Apple release new software, the code is reviewed and tested to ensure it works as planned and to find any bugs.
Hackers and cybercrooks do the same. The last thing you want if you’re a cyberthug is for your banking Trojan to crash a victim’s system and be exposed. More importantly, you don’t want your victim’s antivirus engine to detect the malicious tool.
So how do you maintain your stealth? You submit your code to Google’s VirusTotal site and let it do the testing for you.
It’s long been suspected that hackers and nation-state spies are using Google’s antivirus site to test their tools before unleashing them on victims. Now Brandon Dixon, an independent security researcher, has caught them in the act, tracking several high-profile hacking groups—including, surprisingly, two well-known nation-state teams—as they used VirusTotal to hone their code and develop their tradecraft.
Like last year and the year before that, 2014 has been dubbed the “Year of Mobile” when ad dollars would start to catch up to smartphone usage. With major players like Facebook, Twitter and Google all pivoting to a mobile-first strategy, pundits claim this accelerated monetization as imminent. Unfortunately, there are fundamental hurdles inherent to the mobile ad ecosystem that must be cleared for this to become a reality.
Without a doubt, mobile marketing has fantastic potential, but we’re not there just yet. Outside of Facebook and Twitter, the majority of ad inventory available to marketers is the mobile banner, which has nearly the worst signal-to-noise ratio of any ad medium ever invented—second only to incentivized clicks. That means that the success of campaigns has almost no correlation to click performance data. Mobile game companies have consequently swallowed this market, buying ads based on inferred lifetime valuations LTV of customers.
Google’s “smart contact lens” just went from patents to partners.
The Google X project is now officially in lock step with healthcare giant Novartis, the parent of Alcon, which produces some of the most-widely used contact lens products on the market, including Air Optix, FreshLook and Dailies. Novartis will work on turning Google’s lab project into smart contact lenses for people around the world.
A product of Google Research, the smart lenses look like traditional contact lenses. The company’s eye care division, Alcon, will license Google’s smart lens and co-develop them for a variety of ocular medical uses.
Ophthalmic electrochemical sensors in the contact lenses are designed to measure glucose levels and offer real-time updates to an app on a connected mobile device for people with diabetes. Google secured a patent for the technology earlier this year