Google's AMP URL Technology Spreads to Images

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Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google invention that is meant to speed up web pages on mobile devices. But since it wraps the page in a Google-controlled container, it’s a harmful technology to the open web. The company has started to bring AMP URL technology for Google Images.

When you select an image, you’ll see a preview of the website header at the bottom of the screen. You can keep scrolling through Google Images, or swipe up on the preview to load the AMP (accelerated mobile pages) version of the site.

Earlier I found a shortcut that can clean AMP URLs. Or, use an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

Your Facial Data is Worth a $5 Gift Card to Google

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Google employees are stopping people in public and offering them a US$5 gift card in exchange for their facial data. The company is thought to be working on a Face ID authentication system for the Pixel 4.

“I assume they’ll use the data to train a neural network to be able to recognize what a face is,” he replied. “Then you train your own phone on what your specific face looks like. And that’s what gets used to unlock your phone, Face ID-style, but more accurately.”

Add three zeroes to that Google, and then I’ll discuss it.

Google's New reCAPTCHA is an Invisible Tracking Beacon

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Google’s reCAPTCHA bot detector is now an invisible web beacon and currently on over 650,000 websites.

With reCaptcha v3, technology consultant Marcos Perona and Akrout’s tests both found that their reCaptcha scores were always low risk when they visited a test website on a browser where they were already logged into a Google account. Alternatively, if they went to the test website from a private browser like Tor or a VPN, their scores were high risk.

A Sorry Tale of the Nest Thermostat Gone Wrong

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Over at Inc.com, Jason Aten tells the sorry tale of the Nest thermostat and its history. When it launched, it was a glorious, must-have product. Then Google bought Nest in 2014 and things went south, according to author Aten. Fascinating reading .

Google Builds HTTPS Directly Into Top Level Domains

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More websites have encrypted their traffic than ever, but there is a loophole. Some use a mixture of HTTPS and unsecure HTTP. Google is closing this by building HTTPS protection directly into certain top level domains.

Which means that today, when you register a site through Google that uses “.app,” “.dev,” or “.page,” that page and any others you build off it are automatically added to a list that all mainstream browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and Opera, check when they’re setting up encrypted web connections. It’s called the HTTPS Strict Transport Security preload list, or HSTS, and browsers use it to know which sites should only load as encrypted HTTPS automatically, rather than falling back to unencrypted HTTP in some circumstances. In short, it fully automates what can otherwise be a tricky scheme to set up.

Google Pixel 4 Gives us a Hint of iPhone XI

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Google just shared a photo of its upcoming Pixel 4 phone, and I think it gives us a hint of what the iPhone XI will look like. Android manufacturers are notorious for copying the appearance of iPhones, like the notch. The Pixel 4 shows a square camera module on the back, so I think it’s likely the rumors and mockups of a square iPhone XI camera module with three cameras are probably correct.

Well, since there seems to be some interest, here you go! Wait ’til you see what it can do. #Pixel4

Privacy is a Luxury Item? Think Again

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Electronic spy eye

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says privacy shouldn’t be a luxury item. Responding at Computerworld, Jonny Evans writes:

The crux of Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s argument against firms such as (obviously including but never named) Apple is that his company offers convenience in exchange for personal secrets, makes its services available for free, and has a “profound commitment” to protecting user privacy.

Author Evans lays bare the reality of how Google operates and the shallowness of Pichai’s whines.