Google Plays Chicken with Taiwanese Government

July 1, 2011 -

A new consumer protection law in Taiwan that requires online software retailers to offer customers a week-long free trial of any application that can be purchased via download has riled Google enough to disable Android Marketplace sales in the region. According to the government of Taiwan, Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market both violated this new policy.

While Apple complied with the new rule, Google declined. For that reason the Taiwanese government has fined Google approximately $35,000. In response to that fine, Google has disabled app purchases for Android users who live in Taiwan.

The complex and highly disparate nature of laws governing commerce around the world pose serious challenges for global software vendors. The difficulty of navigating and complying with regional legal obligations is one of the reasons why Google's Android Market isn't fully supported yet in every country.

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Google Moving Into Game Space

June 22, 2011 -

Google is looking for someone to runs a new gaming division, according to an official job posting from the search giant. The job listing seeks a Project Manager for "Games at Google," which the company describes as "a rare opportunity to grow a brand-new business." While we do not know if this new gaming venture is specific to social gaming or geared towards its Android based OS, it certainly sounds like a serious endeavor.

The job requires whoever takes it on to build a new user experience, work on partnerships with developers and foster a relationship with the gaming community.

Here's the full job listing:

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Research: The Life and Death of Apps

June 7, 2011 -

MTV Networks released the results from its "Love 'Em or Leave 'Em: Adoption, Abandonment and the App-Addled Consumer" study, which examines the life cycle of apps, from how consumers find them, and why people keep them or delete them. Culled from responses to a survey of more than 1,300 mobile app users, MTVN uncovered some interesting statistics related to the global app market.

Around 91 percent said apps expose them to new things; 87 percent said apps let them have fun no matter where they are or what they're doing; 77 percent said apps serve as personal assistants; 75 percent claim that apps give them time to relax; 73 say that apps allow time to connect and interact with family and friends; and 70 percent said apps make the rest of life better.

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Google Executive Slams New 'PROTECT IP Act' Bill

May 19, 2011 -

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt on Wednesday proclaimed the company's strong opposition to new legislation that calls for shutting down access to file-sharing websites that offer allegedly copyrighted material. The new law proposes that the government blacklist these sites, take them offline, and demand that search providers such as Google delist them from their search indexes.

Schmidt argued that laws such as these set a very “disastrous precedent” for destroying free speech all over the world.

"If there is a law that requires DNSs [domain name systems] to do X, and it's passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it, then we would still fight it," Schmidt told reporters at a London conference. "If it's a request, the answer is we wouldn't do it. If it's a discussion, we wouldn't do it."

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Google Rolls Out Updates for Android Security Hole

May 19, 2011 -

Responding to reports that 99.7 percent of Android-based phones suffered from a security hole that made vital personal data vulnerable to hackers, Google has released an automatic fix to deal with the problem. Google is trying to assure users that no action is needed on their part.

"Today we're starting to roll out a fix which addresses a potential security flaw that could, under certain circumstances, allow a third party access to data available in calendar and contacts," said Google in a statement. "This fix requires no action from users and will roll out globally over the next few days."

The flaw was identified by Ulm University (Germany) researchers who who tested the security hole on a number of smart phones using the Android operating system. They also found that some phones sent unencrypted data, which clever hackers could "eavesdrop" on with the right tools.

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Report: 99.7 percent of Android Phones Contain Security Hole

May 18, 2011 -

A new report claims that around 99.7 percent of phones using Google's mobile operating system contain a security hole that can enable hackers to send unencrypted personal data. Mobile devices using the Android operating systems have a weakness that could allow hackers to gain "full access" to private information such as calendar, contact information, and "private web albums,” according to a research group from Germany's University of Ulm. The security hole could also give hackers the ability to view, modify or delete contacts, calendar events, and private pictures. Thankfully, the security flaw only affects individual phones.

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Google Claims 3 Billion Android Apps Installed

April 15, 2011 -

Google claims that over three billion apps have been installed on devices running its Android mobile operating system. Google made the announcement yesterday afternoon during a conference call with investors. The search giant also revealed that Android app downloads during the first three months of 2011 were up 50 percent, compared to the fourth quarter of last year.

Google added that 350,000 Android devices are activated worldwide every single day. Google said that it was performing well in the US, Japan, Korea, and Europe - but did not supply further details.

Google did not detail how many of the three billion apps were paid apps or free. While Google is certainly making progress with Android and its apps, it has a long way to go before it catches up with iOS device apps: Apple claimed ten billion app downloads in January.

Source: Edge


Kongregate CEO 'Shocked' by Android App Removal

January 20, 2011 -

Kongregate CEO Jim Greer has responded to Google pulling its Kongregate Arcade app from the Android store this week. Released yesterday, the app was on the store a few hours before Google decided to yank it without much explanation. Greer called Google's swift removal of the app "surprising," noting that he showed the app to several people at Google, and that they seemed to approve of it at the time. Greer did acknowledge that the person at Google who made the decision to yank the app had not seen it prior to its release.

"The reason for the removal," Greer said, "and we didn't find out until after it was already gone, was that they claim you can't use their app store to distribute another app store -- which is a reasonable restriction. But to us, what's really bizarre, to call [Kongregate Arcade] an 'app store' seems like a pretty extreme stretch."

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China Beware: Android Apps May Contain Trojan

December 31, 2010 -

According to security firm Lookout, a Trojan called "Gemini" has been found in multiple games purchased via "third-party Chinese app stores." Apps such as Monkey Jump 2, Sex Positions, President vs. Aliens, City Defense and Baseball Superstars 2010 are affected, though only if purchased from a "third-party Chinese App Store." The original versions of the games from the Google Android Market are clean, according to the security firm.

"Though the intent of this Trojan isn't entirely clear, the possibilities range from setting up a malicious mobile ad network to creating an Android botnet," the company said.

While infected apps have yet to show up in other regions, Lookout warns that anything is possible:

"..possible infected apps could be posted to app stores targeting US users in the future," Lookout CTO Kevin Mahaffey noted.

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Microsoft Tops The Street's 2010 Top Ten List

December 29, 2010 -

The Street has named 2010's top companies and the only company that has a direct link to gaming is Microsoft. At the top of the heap is Microsoft, who takes a few lumps for Windows 7 and its Windows Phone 7, but The Street recognizes Microsoft's dominance in the console space. The Kinect motion sensor gets an acknowledgement as well.

Here’s what The Street says about its number one pick for 2010:

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The Father of GNU Hates on ChromeOS, Cloud Computing

December 15, 2010 -

An article in The Guardian features the comments of Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, who has some ugly things to say about Google's new ChromeOS operating system. A few years ago, Stallman warned that making use of cloud-based computing was "worse than stupidity" because it put user data in the hands of those that operated the servers.

This week he is calling Google's ChromeOS a scheme to "push people into careless computing" by forcing them to save a minimum amount of data locally. He also says that he is deeply concerned because it takes private data and puts it out into the "cloud," which law enforcement agencies in the United States have easier access to:

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Google: 300,000 Android Phones Activated Daily

December 11, 2010 -

Google claims that 300,000 Android phones are activated every day. At least, that is what Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, claimed last night on his Twitter account - according to a Network World report. Why would he say that? Well, people do enjoy big numbers, particularly if they support and use your device, but it has importance for another reason: it shows that Android is beating Apple's iPhone. Apple claims that its daily activation number is 270,000.

Andrew Gomez of AndroidGuys points out that this is very important to Google.

"Does this mean that more Android phones are currently being purchased than iPhones?" asks Gomez. "Generally, iPhone activations are always brought up at Apple events and keynotes. It's going to be interesting to see how Apple will react to or counter Rubin's statement."

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Google Buys SocialDeck

August 31, 2010 -

Google has purchased social games company SocialDeck Inc., the latest in a series of strategic acquisitions and investments aimed at helping the world's #1 search engine break into the social networking space and compete with the likes of Facebook. The deal was announced via SocialDeck's website, but financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company has created a number of games for the iPhone, Blackberry and Facebook -- which makes it an even better fit for Google, who also has its hooks into the mobile phone market.

Last week Google snapped up Angstro, a Facebook app developer whose claim to fame is a program that finds new photos on Facebook and creates a real-time social address book for users. Add to that Google's ongoing talks with companies including Playdom, EA's Playfish and Zynga to bring their games to its future social network, and Google has what it hopes is the perfect storm to take the fight to Facebook.

While there is no denying that it has its work cut out for it, former combatants like Yahoo can attest to the fact that Google has a way of surprising everyone.

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Music Industry to Google: What is Unlawful Activity?

August 19, 2010 -

According to Politico’s Morning Tech blog, The RIAA, SoundExchange, BMI, The Recording Academy and nine other music groups have sent a letter to Eric Schmidt (Google's CEO) asking for more clarification on what it considers "lawful and unlawful activity on the Web." The question relates to Google and Verizon's proposals to the government on Net Neutrality which was released last week.

In a letter sent to Google yesterday, the groups asked for a more in-depth definition of activity, especially as it relates to "content rights." Here's an excerpt:

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The Daily Show on Google and Net Neutrality

August 18, 2010 -

While public and private interest groups alike have skewered Google’s apparent Net Neutrality pact with Verizon, now the search giant has fallen victim to an attack by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show

To sum up Jon Stewart’s take on the matter, Google has gone from stating that “Net Neutrality will allow new Googles and Amazons to form,” to “NET NEUTRALITY WILL ALLOW NEW GOOGLES AND AMAZONS TO FORM!”

More form Stewart, “Google doesn’t get to write laws! They just photograph and post where everybody lives and republish every book ever written and negotiate with the Chinese government while building floating data centers in the ocean.”

Stewart also has a little fun with the protestors who lined up at Google's headquarters to make their voice heard.

Still a little strange to see a former media darling get bashed in the press.

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Net Neutrality Groups Take Aim at Google HQ with Protests

August 13, 2010 -

Several consumer and political groups are taking aim at Google with plans to protest the number one search engine company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The protests are in response to Google's and Verizon's recent proposals for "net neutrality," which many critics point out, is so riddled with loopholes for ISP and mobile phone companies that it is almost embarrassing.

Groups lining up to protest include MoveOn.org Civic Action, ColorofChange.org, Credo Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Free Press, among others. The groups say that this protest is to "urge the search-engine giant to live up to its corporate motto: 'Don't Be Evil,'" according to a statement distributed by Free Press. The rally will take place at 3:00 PM EST today in front of Google Headquarters, located at Amphitheatre Parkway and Charleston Road in Mountain View, California.

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Analyst: Games Reach Critical Significance Within Google

August 12, 2010 -

Google is serious about getting into the games business, if you believe Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian. In a recent note to investors Sebastian said that "games have gained critical significance within Google" attributing this significant interest mostly to the company's push for the Android mobile operating system. Sebastian drew these conclusions after attending Google's recent 'Think Gaming' private summit.

"We anticipate that the Android Market could over time eclipse the App Store, as eventually the sheer numbers of the market will pull developers to the platform," he said in his note.

Sebastian also said that he "felt" like Google might tweak its Checkout e-commerce solution for gaming purchases. If the rumors are true that Google is buying micro-transaction company Jambool, then this would make perfect sense. Google has yet to comment on this rumor. Another indicator may be the Chrome Web Store, due for release later this year. Recent previews of the Web store have revealed partnerships with PopCap, LucasArts and Unity.

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The Dark Side of Phone Apps

June 4, 2010 -

The Wall Street Journal looks into the "dark side of phone apps" in a new report about the lack of app vetting in Google's Android and Apple's iPhone app stores. While they don't cite too many examples, save some questionable banking apps that Apple banned, the paper solicits the opinions of nameless FBI and security professionals who are "concerned" about malicious software making its way into these stores and in turn on consumers' phones.

As more companies, government agencies and regular consumers use wireless devices to engage in commerce and share private information, the "bad guys" are finding new and creative ways to steal from them and profit from it.

The paper, speaking to "someone familiar with the matter," reports that the FBI's Cyber Division has begun working on these kinds of cases - specifically apps designed to compromise banking on cellphones, as well as mobile "malware" used for "espionage by foreign nations." The FBI has a standing policy that bars its employees from downloading apps on FBI-issued smartphones. The Air Force has a similar policy.

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Google Removes Android Tetris Clones

June 3, 2010 -

Google joins the BAN-wagon with Apple in removing Tetris-like games from its Android app store, according to Ars. The Tetris Company, which handles licensing for the popular franchise created by Alexei Pajitnov, has sent a DMCA takedown to Google, who in turn has eliminated all Teris-like games from its store.

35 Tetris-like games have been removed from the Android market - even though many of them didn't use any art or knock off names that might trick users into thinking the games were the "real deal."

Tetris Company's challenge to these games, according to ARS, is that they "infringe on the game's trade dress, which is protected under the Lanham Act" (see bitlaw.com for the actual law). Trade dress relates to the "likeness of a product" and deals with copy cat products that might be confused with the real product.

The official game created by EA sucks, says Ars. I'll take their word for it.

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Yahoo Selling Off Game Business?

July 31, 2009 -

paidContent is reporting that Yahoo may soon sell off its Yahoo Games unit in an effort to cut costs.  HotJobs, Yahoo Small Business and Yahoo Personals are already on the sell list.

Yahoo Games averages 19.2 million unique visits per month and partnerships with PopCap, Gogii Games and Big Fish have helped to create a portfolio of hundreds of games. Yahoo’s fantasy sports business would not be included in the fire sale as it is part of Yahoo Sports.

While Yahoo doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation, paidContent’s sources say two potential buyers have already come calling.  Who might be interested in acquiring Yahoo Games?  Speculation runs from IGN Entertainment to Best Buy and GameStop but MSN Games and AOL are seen as the best candidates.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Yahoo have worked out a deal to merge their search engine businesses in a direct challenge to Google's dominance.

Via: GameDaily

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...

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Google's Props to 25th Anniversary of Tetris a Snub to D-Day Vets?

June 8, 2009 -

Last week Google paid homage to the 25th anniversary of Tetris by rendering its familiar logo in Tetris-like blocks.

While the gaming community by and large appreciated Google's nod to the groundbreaking game created by Alexey Pajitnov, not everyone was so pleased. The Washington Times reports that some websites have criticized Google for recognizing Tetris while ignoring the 65th anniversary of D-Day. At the conservative NewsBusters, Warner Todd Huston wrote:

It's far more important to Google to celebrate the anniversary of the invention of the video game Tetris than to memorialize D-Day. It just warms the heart, doesn't it?

I have to say, though, that this is no departure for Google, a firm that finds it nearly impossible to post images celebrating any American holidays or important milestones in American history. So, what we have here is just one more example of Google's essentially anti-American policies.

At WorldNetDaily, Drew Zahn echoed the criticism:

Google has a history of ignoring major American patriotic and religious holidays, while honoring Remembrance Day in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Halloween and other observances.

A Google spokesperson told the Washington Times:

[Google] special logos tend to be lighthearted and often scientific in nature.... We do not believe we can convey the appropriate somber tone through this medium to mark holidays like Memorial Day.

Via: GameCulture

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Google as Guilty as The Pirate Bay?

April 27, 2009 -

As the operators of The Pirate Bay prepare to appeal their recent conviction by Swedish court, everything is miscellaneous points out that those seeking BitTorrent files can just as easily use Google.

The site takes notice of ThePirateGoogle, a anonymously-created utility which can be used to hunt for torrents, whether public domain or otherwise:

The intention of this site is to demonstrate the double standard that was exemplified in the recent Pirate Bay Trial. Sites such as Google offer much the same functionality as The Pirate Bay and other Bit Torrent sites but are not targeted by media conglomerates such as the IFPI as they have the political and legal clout to defend themselves unlike these small independent sites.

But everything is miscellaneous acknowledges that this is not a simple argument:

Intent counts. The difference between the Heimlich maneuver and assault is intent, and that’s as it should be. ThePirateBay is intended to enable the sharing of copyrighted works... it’s disingenuous to say that the site is ethically the same as Google...

[On the other hand,] I don’t know what to do about copyright. It’s obviously spun out of control and needs to be pulled back in...

Via: boing boing

30 comments

Mass. Effect: Guv Talks Game Biz with Microsoft

February 4, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's West Coast junket touched down in Redmond yesterday for talks with Microsoft.

Mass High Tech reports that Patrick (left), a Democrat, discussed the video game business with MS Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

While the Guv described his meeting with Ozzie as "very encouraging," the Microsoft exec apparently pulled no punches:

Ozzie suggested Massachusetts needs to reinvent its high-tech image.

“The famous Route 128 tech highway — people are thinking of that image as being in the past,” said Greg Bialecki, state undersecretary for business development, who accompanied Patrick on the trip. “How do we talk about a new conversation about what we are doing today?”

 

The [Massachusetts] regional gaming cluster already includes companies such as Turbine Inc., 2K Boston, Blue Fang Games LLC, Harmonix Music Systems Inc., Demiurge Studios, Tencent Holdings Limited, 38 Studios LLC, Mad Doc Software and Crate Entertainment...

 

Patrick said West Coast tech execs tell him Silicon valley has a greater “spirit of collaboration,” and “also the ability to start and fail and start again.” To keep entrepreneurs from heading west, Massachusetts will have to emulate that culture...

The Guv is on a mission to bring high tech companies - including game industry firms - to the Bay State. Patrick's other West Coast meetings this week include stops at Facebook, Google and Electronic Arts.

Google Confirms Ads for Online Games

October 8, 2008 -

Dean Takahashi reports in VentureBeat that Google will begin offering a service that will place ads into online games.

The search giant's beta launch of AdSense for Games will initially target Flash games. Takahashi cites figures showing that 200 million games of this type are played online each month. Sony Pictures, Sprint and eSurance are among advertisers participating in the rollout.

Game publisher Konami is on board and will reportedly publish Flash versions of Frogger, Track and Field and Dance Dance Revolution with Google ads included.

Where does Google go from here? Not surprisingly, Takahashi sees further expansion:

Google’s entry into Flash web games is likely just the first step. After this, you can expect to see the company move into PC downloadable games, console games, and then mobile games. Rivals in those markets include NeoEdge Networks, Microsoft’s Massive, Double Fusion, IGA Worldwide.

 

This is one more ad market where Google and Microsoft can duel... The Yankee Group predicts the market will be worth $971.3 million by 2011. Proponents of in-game ads believe that gamers will embrace them because the ads can be integrated into storylines or environments. You can, for instance, put an ad into a billboard inside a game. That ad can change every time the user passes by the billboard. Of course, it’s hard to do that in genres such as fantasy games.

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Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: Sites like Tumblr make things seem much bigger than they are. A vocal extreme minority start complaining and things go as they do.09/01/2014 - 3:09pm
 

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