youtube
YouTube Says It Will Crack Down on All Those Creepy Videos Targeted at or Featuring Kids

Google, along with fellow tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter has drawn increasing scrutiny this year over concerns that its “concentrated authority resembles the divine right of kings,” as the New York Times put it. In recent months, it’s faced stumbling blocks when it returned misinformation and conspiracy theories during crises like mass shootings and became embroiled in the ever-expanding Russian electoral interference scandal. But one particularly disturbing note concerned Google subsidiary YouTube and its YouTube Kids section, which everyone seems to have recently realised was promoting weird-ass, creepy content to children via algorithmically suggested videos and a seeming lack of moderation. Read More >>

google
Russia Allegedly Threatens Retaliation Against Google if It Lowers RT or Sputnik’s Search Rankings

The ominous cloud of doom surrounding the ongoing U.S. investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election got a little darker on Tuesday, with Russian state communications agency Roskomnadzor allegedly threatening retaliation against Google for suggesting it could lower government-funded outlets RT and Sputnik in search rankings. Read More >>

android
Your Android Phone Has Been Sending Location Data to Google, Even If You Opted Out

Tech companies like Google and Facebook provide services in exchange for your data. We’ve known this. But they’ve always stood by the reasoning that it’s nothing to worry about because you’re given a choice. Sometimes the choice is agreeing to a terms of service. With location tracking, Google has always made it possible to opt out, but according to a new report, Android has been forcing location tracking on you whether you like it or not. Read More >>

internet
New Firefox Defaults to Google, Ends Friendship With Yahoo

Mozilla’s new Firefox Quantum browser launched on Wednesday, and there’s a lot to like about it. One change you might notice right away is that it now defaults to the Google search engine instead of Yahoo. Mozilla is framing this as doing the right thing for its users, but in reality it may just be taking advantage of a really bad deal that Yahoo signed. Read More >>

gadgets
Google’s Pixel Buds Aren’t Even Close to Being Good

There was always something off about the Pixel Buds. Google released the smart, wireless headphones a full year after Apple released the AirPods. But the Pixel Buds aren’t exactly wireless, and they’re not exactly smart, either. In fact, after spending a few days with the product, I’m prepared to say it: The Pixel Buds suck. Read More >>

virtual reality
HTC Kills Its Google VR Headset

Today HTC announced a cool new completely standalone VR headset for China, and then promptly dashed hopes in this hemisphere by confirming the cancellation of the standalone headset intended for US and other Western audiences. If you’re based in the West and want the next wave of VR headsets, then it seems you’re going to need to look elsewhere. Read More >>

google
7 Handy Google Assistant Tricks You Didn’t Know About

Google Assistant is keen on taking as big a role in your life as possible, and to that end Google keeps pouring new features into the app, whether it’s on your phone, your dinky smart speaker, your Pixelbook, or your Nvidia Shield. Here are 7 capabilities that the Assistant has been given that you might not have made use of yet—we’ve specifically tested them on phones, but they should work to some extent on other devices too. Read More >>

gadgets
Amazon Echo Dot Vs. Google Home Mini: The Cheap Speaker Showdown

In the gadget-world, it’s cliché to compare something to The Jetsons. But when it comes to a cheap little box that you talk to and that answers your questions and that controls your entire home, the comparison is just too perfect. The £50 Amazon Echo Dot and the £50 Google Home Mini are two such boxes. They’re not perfect gadgets, but they offer a lot for the money. Read More >>

youtube
Don’t Let YouTube Babysit Your Children

Maybe it’s happened to you. You’re cruising around YouTube and then boom: a video of Spiderman hanging out with girls in bikinis trying to make Elsa from Frozen jealous and then the Joker appears, ready to fight. This would seem like a weird video to any sane adult. But the weirdest thing is that it’s actually made for kids. Read More >>

google
Alphabet X’s Project Loon Provides Internet to 100,000 People in Puerto Rico 

Project Loon has provided mobile data to more than 100,000 people in Puerto Rico, according to Google parent company Alphabet. Read More >>

law
Now, Silicon Valley is Totally Cool With a Bill That Could Ruin the Internet 

Silicon Valley has decided to throw its support behind the so-called Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA) that is sure to have enormously damaging consequences for the internet. Previously, most big tech giants opposed the legislation. But this week, Congress started intimating that they might need to bring more regulations to tame the online beast. And suddenly, that one bill wasn’t looking so bad. Read More >>

transport
Waymo Announces ‘Fully Self-Driving Cars are Here,’ Taxi Service Coming

We are in the midst of a pretty historic moment. Leaping ahead of the competition, Waymo has announced that its self-driving cars will no longer use a human safety driver while they are tested on the road. But the even bigger news is that the company is gearing up to launch the first commercial driverless taxi service. Yup, the time has come. Read More >>

google
Google Is Adding Wait Times For Restaurants Because It Follows You Everywhere

Google does a lot of bad and creepy things that often seem to benefit Google more than users. But, dear reader, I have to say that I hate queuing so much that the site’s newly announced “wait times” feature has me feeling great about the fact that my every movement is being tracked by a terrifying conglomerate. Read More >>

google
Once Again, Google Promoted Disinformation and Propaganda After a Mass Shooting

As authorities named Devin Patrick Kelley as the shooter in a horrifying massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas which resulted in at least 26 deaths on Sunday, Google once again served up misinformation and posts from conspiracy theorists at the top of search results for his name. Read More >>

security
Mitch McConnell: Tech Companies Should Help Us Weaponise the Internet Against Russia

Google, Facebook and Twitter, three of the world's most prominent tech companies, all testified before Congress this week that they had unintentionally been part of an alleged Russian operation to spread misinformation and propaganda during the 2016 presidential elections. On Saturday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that the companies involved could make good by helping the U.S. government “retaliate” against Russia. Read More >>