Google Stadia won't just need low latency, it needs a big pipe

I am not enthusiastic about Google Stadia's chances.

Ars:

Google says you'll need 35Mbps to play at maximum settings—that's 4K resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), and 60 frames per second (fps) with 5.1 surround sound. As PC Gamer noted last week, that adds up to 15.75GB per hour, which would use up an entire 1TB monthly data allotment in 65 hours of game time.

Stadia will work at lower resolutions, with Google recommending 20Mbps for 1080p/60fps with 5.1 surround sound, and 10Mbps for 720p/60fps with stereo sound. That's 9GB and 4.5GB per hour, respectively, potentially using up a 1TB data cap in 114 or 228 hours.

Read the rest

YouTube bans kids from live-streaming video without adult supervision

Policy shift follows NYT report on YouTube recommendation algorithm pushing kids' videos to pedophiles

The army of contractor-linguists who power Google Assistant say they had their wages stolen

The reason Google Assistant (that's the product you invoke when you say "OK Google" to your device) works reasonably well is that the Pygmalion team -- a small army of linguists -- work long hours handcrafting variations on common phrases ("set a timer for five minutes," "remind me in five minutes," "in five minutes, remind me...") and grammars that allow the system to correctly respond to your queries. Read the rest

Rumor: DoJ is going to investigate Google for antitrust violations

According to a widely reported rumor -- first published by the WSJ -- the DoJ is preparing to launch an antitrust probe of Google, though it's not clear on what basis such a probe would proceed. Read the rest

YouTube pushes children's videos to pedophiles through content recommendation engine

A mom in Brazil became concerned as she watched the viewing numbers on innocent backyard clip her daughter posted to YouTube suddenly climb hundreds of thousands of views. The child posted a video of herself and a friend playing in the family pool. YouTube's recommendation engine had been suggesting the video as recommended content to viewers who'd just watched other videos that contained sexually oriented video content. YouTube's AI sexualized her kid and pushed her image to pedophiles. This happens a lot, apparently. Read the rest

Google's API changes mean only paid enterprise users of Chrome will be able to access full adblock

Since January, Google has been pushing for a change to its extensions handling in Chrome; one casualty of that change is ability to block unwanted content before its loads, something that would effectively kill privacy tools and ad-blockers. Read the rest

How DRM has permitted Google to have an "open source" browser that is still under its exclusive control

A year ago, Benjamin "Mako" Hill gave a groundbreaking lecture explaining how Big Tech companies had managed to monopolize all the benefits of free software licenses, using a combination of dirty tricks to ensure that the tools that were nominally owned by no one and licensed under free and open terms nevertheless remained under their control, so that the contributions that software developers made to "open" projects ended up benefiting big companies without big companies having to return the favor. Read the rest

Big Tech: "If the USA enforces antitrust laws against us, it means China will win!"

Mark Zuckerberg offered to let Chinese premier Xi Jinping name his firstborn (seriously), Apple purged the Chinese App Store of privacy tools at the request of the politburo; Google secretly built a censoring search-engine for use in China, but America's Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm that they will no longer be able to promote America's global dominance if any of the US Big Tech breakup plans are executed. Read the rest

To chase out low-waged workers, Mountain View is banning overnight RV and van parking

Mountain View -- home to some of Silicon Valley's most profitable companies, including Google -- is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, thanks to the sky-high wages commanded by techies, who have gone on to bid up all the real-estate in the region. Read the rest

In less than one second, a malicious web-page can uniquely fingerprint an Iphone, Pixel 2 or Pixel 3 without any explicit user interaction

In a new paper for IEEE Security, a trio of researchers (two from Cambridge, one from private industry) identify a de-anonymizing attack on Iphones that exploits minute differences in sensor calibration: an Iphone user who visits a webpage running the attack code can have their phone uniquely identified in less than a second, through queries to the sensors made through automated background processes running on the page. Read the rest

A deep dive into the internal politics, personalities and social significance of the Googler Uprising

Writing in Fortune, Beth Kowitt gives us a look inside the Googler Uprising, wherein Google staff launched a string of internal reform movements, triggered first by the company's secret participation in an AI/drone warfare project for the Pentagon, then a secret attempt to build a censored/surveilling search engine for use in China, then the revelation that the company had secretly paid off an exec accused of sexual assault, to tune of $150m. Read the rest

After retaliation against Googler Uprising organizers, a company-wide memo warns employees they can be fired for accessing "need to know" data

Last year, Google was rocked by a succession of mass uprisings by its staff, who erupted in fury after discovering that the company was secretly pursuing a censored Chinese search tool and an AI project for US drones, and that it had secretly paid Android founder Andy Rubin $150m to quietly leave the company after women who worked for him accused him of sexually assaulting them. Read the rest

Google mistakenly started handing out a reporter's cellphone number to people searching for Facebook tech support

If Facebook is broken for you in some way large or small, you can't call them to complain -- the company doesn't have a customer service number, it has a "support portal" for people suffering with the service, which combines the worst of autoresponders with the worst of underpaid, three-ring-binder constrained support staff to make a system that runs like a cost-conscious version of Kafka's "The Trial." Read the rest

Google will now delete your account activity on a rolling basis

Google has augmented its preferences for personal data retention; in addition to choosing to have all your data stored until you delete it, or having no data stored (thus depriving you of the benefits of personalization), the company has a new intermediate option: a rolling deletion program, which lets you specify that any data older than either 3 or 12 months should be autodeleted. That way, if you suffer a breach (or if authorities demand your data from Google), only your recent activity will be exposed. Read the rest

YouTube star Austin Jones faces prison after child porn guilty plea, coerced teen girls to perform sexual acts live online

U.S. attorney’s office to seek 11-year prison sentence for Jones, 26, on Friday May 3.

Google tells U.S. House it spends 'hundreds of millions' on content review each year, found +1M 'terrorist videos' on YouTube in Q1 2019

Alphabet, parent company of Google and YouTube, told a U.S. House panel that it spends hundreds of millions of dollars on reviewing content each year, and claims to have identified at least one million “suspected terrorist videos” on YouTube in the first quarter of 2019. Read the rest

Googlers around the world down tools for "Knit and Sit" protest over retaliation against organizers of last year's googler uprisings

Senior Google employees Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton were key organizers of last year's string of googler protests, including the 20,000-employee walkout over the company tolerance and rewarding of execs who engaged in sexual harassment; last month, Whittaker and Stapleton revealed that they had been targeted for retaliation by the company; now, a group of googlers around the world have staged another walkout in solidarity with Whittaker and Stapleton, this one a "sit-and-knit" that was also held in solidarity with women who've had their sexual harassment claims mishandled by Google. Read the rest

More posts