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
Google is kicking off its developers conference, Google I/O, with a keynote that’s sure to be jam-packed with news. Mashable will be reporting the news live from the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Some of Google’s sessions this year are dedicated to adapting apps for wearables and the company’s Chromecast device. And just before the conference, Google-owned Nest opened its smart thermostat up to developers. Clearly, extending apps to new and emerging platforms will be a theme. Here’s what else we’re expecting.
Google is planning to investmore than $1 billion in a new fleet of satellites that will expand Internet access to unconnected regions of the world.The company’s decision to purchase 180 small, high-capacity satellites is just the first step in a project that could cost the search giant over $3 billion, reported The Wall Street Journal. The project’s price tag will depend on whether the company decides to embark on a second phase of the project, which would double the number of satellites needed, Google insiders told the WSJ.
It’s hard enough to get a group of friends to pull off a potluck, yet when members of the after-hours creative group The Letter Society congregate, they manage to take on ambitious tasks like redesigning Google’s homepage.
Each month, this group of designers, who met in college and have held down gigs at motion graphics powerhouse Imaginary Forces, ad agency Leo Burnett, Procter & Gamble, and digital agency Razorfish, choose a subject ripe for a redesign and offer up their creative visions. This month, the team turned their talents towards Google’s search box. “I decided that because we had not done a web-focused project that I would throw us into the deep end by trying to reimagine the most iconic website on the internet,” says Erik Wagner, a member of the society and originator of this project.
Anything that deviates runs the risk of appearing tone deaf.
Redesigning Google’s homepage is a more difficult challenge than it seems. The search giant is known for its spartan starting screen so anything that deviates from that runs the risk of appearing tone deaf. On the plus side, Google’s passion for data driven “design”–whereby 41 colors of blue will be mercilessly A/B tested–has left plenty of white space open to the designers.