A year ago today Google announced Android Security Rewards, an expansion of its Vulnerability Rewards Program. Find a vulnerability, tell Google about it, help them fix the issue, and take home money. That's the concept, and it's a common one in the tech industry.
Google handed out over half a million bucks to 82 individuals over the past year. This averaged out to $2,200 per reward. Researchers averaged higher payouts, at $6,700. One, @heisecode, received $75,750 for 26 vulnerability reports. 15 researchers received $10,000 or more. Read More
Google Fiber is high-speed internet the likes of which most of us can only dream of. For a handful of states, Google's effort to get people online faster is already a reality. Roughly six metros are set to get the experience at some point in the future. Another dozen are being considered, and today Google has announced Dallas as the latest city to make that list. Read More
A couple of months ago, while tearing down an updated APK, Cody found hints that Google Maps would be crowdsourcing to curate suggested edits to Places. The feature didn't appear to go live then, but it seems that it's been showing up for some users over the past couple of weeks.
If you're checking a place in Google Maps, you might start seeing notes in yellow below certain information telling you that someone has submitted an edit for said info. Tapping that surfaces a card which is very similar to the ones that Google Maps uses to ask you questions about Places. Read More
One of Chrome's biggest problems is speed. It's gone from being the fastest, best browser upon release to a RAM-hog that seems to be more of a platform than an internet browser nowadays. The internet has long been calling for Chrome to get some improvements, so it fares better against other faster, more modern browsers. It looks like Google has heard our calls, as the browser is about to get a lot faster.
Chrome 53, due for stable release in September, is going to see some big optimization work; there's up to 47% improvement across the board, mostly due to GPU raster, CSS and WebGL optimizations on OS X, resulting in percentages that are multiple times better than Chrome 51, the current stable release. Read More
You may have noticed that if you search for someone you know in the main Google Search app on Android, their name will automatically appear if they're already in your Google Contacts. Those search results might get a bit more useful soon: at least one user spotted some advanced quick shortcuts added to his contacts in the Search bar. As shared on Google+, James Scott Jr. saw links to call, text, or email some of his contacts right there in the search results. Read More
One might assume that anyone who's enthusiastic enough to enable Google Now On Tap, the contextual search engine that uses screenshots and optical character recognition, would also want access to Google Now cards, which depend more on location, time, and search history. But you know what they say about making assumptions. Previously Now On Tap did indeed depend on the more vanilla Google Now, or at least was linked to it, but the latest version of the Google search app for Android seems to have reduced the interdependency of these two tools. Read More
You don't have to look far on the internet to find someone complaining about a memory leak in Android. There is, of course, the infamous Lollipop memory leak that was fixed in Android 5.1, but Google just crossed another big one off the list. According to the Android issue tracker, Marshmallow system memory leak issue 195104 has been closed with a status of "future release." That probably means Android N or a monthly patch. Read More
June's Android security updates started rolling out earlier this week, but you could still be waiting for them if they're going out in batches. Those of you who are too impatient can get the full factory image and flash it or download the smaller OTA files linked here and sideload them. Cody already posted the detailed changelog if you want to read about all the changes, but if you're just interested in the links, here they are. Read More
Google Street View is awesome. With just a few taps of a button, you can get transported to new countries to explore their streets, landscapes, museums, and more. I remember using it two years ago to get a feel for my hotel's location in London and check the distance between the metro station exit and the hotel. I didn't want to look like a complete tourist upon my arrival for my first vacation in the city.
But Street View has caused lots of security and privacy concerns. Some countries have outright banned Google from driving their streets, others have spent years arguing with Google until they let it start collecting information (like Greece), and others have citizens who asked Google to blur their houses, and so on. Read More
When the Nearby API started rolling out to Google Play Services in July of last year, it had a lot of potential and promise. It made it so devices could talk to each other based only on their proximity and regardless of whether or not they were on the same WiFi network (in certain applications) or paired via Bluetooth. That's why we've often said it's the genius feature no one is using.
But Nearby in its original form required a lot of involvement from the user. The few apps that implemented the API only used it in specific screens, had to ask for a permission to activate it, and had to show a notification whenever Nearby was on and looking for other devices. Read More