Google’s lightweight search app, Google Go, launches to Android users worldwide – TechCrunch

Google Go, a lightweight version of Google’s search app, is today becoming available to all Android users worldwide. First launched in 2017 after months of beta testing, the app had been designed primarily for use in emerging markets where people are often accessing the internet for the first time on unstable connections by way of low-end Android devices.

Like many of the “Lite” versions of apps built for emerging markets, Google Go takes up less space on phones — now at just over 7MB — and it includes offline features to aid those with slow and intermittent internet connections. The app’s search results are optimized to save up to 40% data, Google also claims.

Beyond web search, Google Go includes other discovery features, as well — like the ability to tap through trending topics, voice search, image and GIF search, an easy way to switch between languages, and the ability to have web pages read aloud, powered by AI.

At Google’s I/O developer conference this spring, the company announced it was also bringing Lens to Google Go.

global launch lens spanish to english

Lens allows users to point their smartphone camera at real-world objects in order to bring up relevant information. In Google Go, the Lens feature will help users who struggle to read. When the camera is pointed at text — like a bus schedule, sign or bank form, for example — Lens can read the text out loud, highlighting the words as they’re spoken. Users can also tap on a particular word to learn its definition or have the text translated.

While Lens was only a 100KB addition, according to Google, the updates to the Go app since launch have increased its size. Initially, it was a 5MB app; now it’s a little more than 7MB.

Previously, Google Go was only available in a few countries on Android Go edition devices. According to data from Sensor Tower, it has been installed approximately 17.5 million times globally, with the largest percentage of users in India (48%). Its next largest markets are Indonesia (16%), Brazil (14%), Nigeria (6%) and South Africa (4%), Sensor Tower says.

In total, it has been made available to 29 countries on Android Go edition devices, including: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Google says the app now has “millions” of users.

Today, Google says it will be available to all users worldwide on the Play Store.

Google says it decided to launch the app globally, including in markets where bandwidth is not a concern, because it understands that everyone at times can struggle with problems like limited phone storage or spotty connections.

Plus, it’s a lightweight app for reading and translating text. At Google I/O, the company had noted there are more than 800 million adults worldwide who struggle to read — and, of course, not all are located in emerging markets.

global launch karaoke

Google Go is one of many lightweight apps Google has built for emerging markets, along with YouTube Go, Files Go, Gmail Go, Google Maps Go, Gallery Go and Google Assistant Go, for example.

The Google Go app will be available on the Play Store to global users running Android Lollipop or higher.

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iPhone warning: Apple blunder spawns new jailbreak, security threats

Apple cancels Siri’s grading program that pried on private conversations
Quality control frequently comes across recordings which should not have existed in the first place.

A rare pubic jailbreak for the most up-to-date version of iOS is circulating online after it was found that the recently released iOS 12.4 undid a patch in iOS 12.3. 

Researchers warn users to be cautious about installing apps from the App Store until Apple releases a patch.

SEE: 10 tips for new cybersecurity pros (free PDF)

Motherboard reports that hackers released a jailbreak for iOS 12.4 on Monday after discovering over the weekend that Apple reintroduced a bug that was patched in iOS 12.3. 

That bug was discovered by Ned Williamson, a Google security engineer who works with Google Project Zero. Apple patched the issue in iOS 12.3 on May 13 and two months later Williamson published an exploit for iOS 12.2 – dubbed SockPuppet – using the bug.

Apple then released iOS 12.4 on July 22 with fixes for several zero-click vulnerabilities also found by Google Project Zero, minus the one Williamson reported. 

Over the weekend a hacker who goes by the name Pwn20wned began refining jailbreaks based on SockPuppet so they support a wider variety of Apple’s A processors used in iOS devices.      

Some hackers like to jailbreak their own iPhones so they modify iOS and install apps outside the App Store. However, Apple cautions against the practice because it does introduce security vulnerabilities.  

Pwn20wnd told Motherboard that an attacker who used the jailbreak could create “perfect spyware” in the form of a malicious iOS app that escapes Apple’s sandbox and can access data from other installed apps.     

People using iOS 12.4 or iOS 12.2 and below should be careful with what they download from the App Store in coming weeks because an app could include the jailbreak, according to security researcher Stefan Esser. 

“I hope people are aware that with a public jailbreak being available for the latest iOS 12.4 people must be very careful what apps they download from the Apple App Store. Any such app could have a copy of the jailbreak in it,” he wrote on Twitter.   

That could be an easier task than normal because of the timing of events. Williamson published his iOS 12.2 exploit well after Apple released iOS 12.3, but that exploit code has now been available for hackers to test for several weeks before a patch is available. Presumably Apple will release a fix in iOS 12.4.1.

“Well let me just say that as far as I remember there was never before source code for a jailbreak publicly available before it was patched,” noted Esser.  

Williamson has also confirmed his exploit for iOS 12.2 does work on iOS 12.4. 



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Apple Card launches in the US, adds Uber to 3 percent cash back list

Apple Card: Now will the masses embrace mobile payment?
Apple’s upcoming credit card relies on the iPhone and offers rewards for contactless payments. Jason Perlow and Jason Cipriani debate if that’s enough for mass mobile payment adoption. Read more: https://zd.net/2xqKX9T

After launching earlier this month through an invite program, anyone in the US can now apply for an Apple Card, Apple’s mainly digital credit card. 

If you want to apply for an Apple Card, you will need an iPhone 6 or newer, running iOS 12.4. Open the Wallet app, tap on the “+” symbol to add a card, and select Apple Card from the list of options. You’ll need to fill out some information, and a few seconds later, you’ll receive a credit limit and APR offer. If you accept, your account is instantly open and ready to use via Apple Pay.

Apple Card users earn Daily Cash, based on how and where the card is used. Using the physical card earns 1%, using Apple Pay for contactless payment earns 2%, and prior to the full launch, only purchases from Apple earned 3%. However, Apple has added Uber and Uber Eats to the list of purchases that qualify for 3% daily cash rewards.

I’ve been using the Apple Card and have been writing about the experience. Everything has been impressively simple and very Apple-like. From managing my account through the Wallet app, activating the titanium physical card, to making payments — it doesn’t feel like a typical credit card. But, it’s important to remember it is a credit card at the end of the day. 

One potential downside to Apple Card is how much it relies on the iPhone. If you lose your phone or decide to switch to Android, routine tasks like making payments will have to be done over the phone, and you’ll lack any insight into monitoring your spending and balance.

Are you applying for an Apple Card now that it’s widely available? Let us know in the comments. 

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Yubico launches its dual USB-C and Lightning two-factor security key – TechCrunch

Almost two months after it was first announced, Yubico has launched the YubiKey 5Ci, a security key with dual support for both iPhones, Macs and other USB-C compatible devices.

Yubico’s latest Yubikey is the latest iteration of its security key built to support a newer range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and MacBooks in a single device. Announced in June, the company said the security keys would cater for cross-platform users — particularly Apple device owners.

These security keys are small enough to sit on a keyring. When you want to login to an online account, you plug in the key to your device and it authenticates you. Your Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook account all support these plug-in devices as a second-factor of authentication after your username and password — a far stronger mechanism than the simple code sent to your phone.

Security keys offer almost unbeatable security and can protect against a variety of threats, including nation-state attackers.

Jerrod Chong, Yubico’s chief solutions officer, said the new key would fill a “critical gap in the mobile authentication ecosystem,” particularly given how users are increasingly spending their time across a multitude of mobile devices.

The new key works with a range of apps, including password managers like 1Password and LastPass, and web browsers like Brave, which support security key authentication.

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Three new colors of Apple’s Powerbeats Pro earbuds available to order later this week

Apple’s AirPods are making people scream in the night
ZDNet’s Chris Matyszczyk tells Karen Roby that some people have become so attached to their AirPods that they cannot bear the idea of losing them. Read more: https://zd.net/2KFKIPv

Later this week, you can order the Powerbeats Pro in ivory, navy, and moss. The new colors were first announced alongside the Powerbeats Pro back in April. However, Apple-owned Beats By Dre only launched the black variant. Beats By Dre promised the additional colors would launch at some point during the summer. 

Orders can be placed starting Aug. 22 on Apple.com. Pricing doesn’t change for the new colors, with Powerbeats Pro priced at $250. Retail availability at Apple stores begins on Aug. 30, the same day orders begin shipping.

Powerbeats Pro uses the same core technology as Apple’s AirPods, leveraging the H1 chip for ease of pairing, extending battery life, always-on Hey Siri commands, and longer range.

The biggest difference, of course, is that the Powerbeats Pro is designed specifically for fitness enthusiasts to wear while exercising.

apple-beats-powerbeats-pro.jpg

Apple, Inc.

I reviewed the Powerbeats Pro after they were announced and found them to be well worth the added cost over the AirPods, despite a bigger overall design and charging case.

Disclosure: ZDNet may earn a commission from some of the products featured on this page.

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Disney+ comes to Canada and the Netherlands on Nov. 12, will support nearly all major platforms at launch – TechCrunch

Disney+ will have an international launch that begins at the same time as its rollout in the U.S., Disney revealed. The company will be launching its digital streaming service on November 12 in Canada and The Netherlands on November 12, and will be coming to Australia and New Zealand the following week. The streaming service will also support virtually every device and operating system from day one.

Disney+ will be available on iOS, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Android, Android TV, PlayStation 4, Roku, and Xbox One at launch, which is pretty much an exhaustive list of everywhere someone might want to watch it, leaving aside some smaller proprietary smart TV systems. That, combined with the day-and-date global markets, should be a clear indicator that Disney wants its service to be available to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible.

Through Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Apple TV devices, customers will be able to subscribe via in-app purchase. Disney+ will also be fully integrated with Apple’s TV app, which is getting an update in iOS 13 in hopes of becoming even more useful as a central hub for all a user’s video content. The one notable exception on the list of supported devices and platforms is Amazon’s Fire TV, which could change closer to launch depending on negotiations.

In terms of pricing, the service will run $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year in Canada, and €6.99 per month (or €69.99 per year) in the Netherlands. In Australia, it’ll be $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year, and in New Zealand, it’ll be $9.99 and $99.99 per year. All prices are in local currency.

That compares pretty well with the $6.99 per month (or $69.99 yearly) asking price in the U.S., and undercuts the Netflix pricing in those markets, too. This is just the Disney+ service on its own, however, not the combined bundle that includes ESPN Plus and Hulu for $12.99 per month, which is probably more comparable to Netflix in terms of breadth of content offering.

 

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Trump: Tim Cook makes good case that China tariffs harm Apple, aid Samsung

Huawei ban: Winners, losers, and what’s at stake (a whole lot)
ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani and Jason Perlow talk with Karen Roby about how the security and trade brouhaha impacts everything from the future of regional carriers and the bottom lines of tech giants to 5G’s prospects and consumer’s pocketbooks. Read more: https://zd.net/2WzVRbq

US president Donald Trump says he has talked about tariffs on Chinese imports with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who made it clear they affect the iPhone maker more than its South Korean rival, Samsung.  


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Trump said Cook “made a very compelling argument” over the impact of tariffs on Apple in the context of its competition with Samsung, which doesn’t face the same higher costs because its products are made in South Korea. 

“I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook. And Tim was talking to me about tariffs,” Trump told reporters on Sunday

“And you know one of the things that he made a good case is that Samsung is their number one competitor and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they are based in South Korea. And it’s tough for Apple to pay tariffs because they’re competing with a very good company that’s not,” he said. 

A new tariff of 10% on $300bn of Chinese imports was due to come into effect on September 1, but was last week delayed by the Office of the US Trade Representative until December 15. 

Trump announced the new tariffs in August after failing to reach an acceptable trade deal with China. 

The upcoming tariffs apply to cell phones, laptop computers, video-game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing, according to USTR.    

The original timing of the new import duties had caused concerns over their impact on the Christmas shopping season. Apple is also set to release three new iPhone 11 models in the third quarter of the year.   

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on the weekend that Huawei’s temporary license to buy US technology would be extended for a further 90 days. 

The current waiver was set to lapse today. Huawei’s addition to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List bans the company from buying US goods without the special license.   

More on Apple, Huawei and US trade



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Disney+ comes to Canada and the Netherlands on Nov. 12, will support nearly all major platforms at launch – TechCrunch

Disney+ will have an international launch that begins at the same time as its rollout in the U.S., Disney revealed. The company will be launching its digital streaming service on November 12 in Canada and The Netherlands on November 12, and will be coming to Australia and New Zealand the following week. The streaming service will also support virtually every device and operating system from day one.

Disney+ will be available on iOS, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Android, Android TV, PlayStation 4, Roku, and Xbox One at launch, which is pretty much an exhaustive list of everywhere someone might want to watch it, leaving aside some smaller proprietary smart TV systems. That, combined with the day-and-date global markets, should be a clear indicator that Disney wants its service to be available to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible.

Through Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Apple TV devices, customers will be able to subscribe via in-app purchase. Disney+ will also be fully integrated with Apple’s TV app, which is getting an update in iOS 13 in hopes of becoming even more useful as a central hub for all a user’s video content. The one notable exception on the list of supported devices and platforms is Amazon’s Fire TV, which could change closer to launch depending on negotiations.

In terms of pricing, the service will run $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year in Canada, and €6.99 per month (or €69.99 per year) in the Netherlands. In Australia, it’ll be $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year, and in New Zealand, it’ll be $9.99 and $99.99 per year. All prices are in local currency.

That compares pretty well with the $6.99 per month (or $69.99 yearly) asking price in the U.S., and undercuts the Netflix pricing in those markets, too. This is just the Disney+ service on its own, however, not the combined bundle that includes ESPN Plus and Hulu for $12.99 per month, which is probably more comparable to Netflix in terms of breadth of content offering.

 

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Low power? How to extend your iPhone’s battery life

iPhone battery locking: Is there a reason for it?
ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes tells Karen Roby that Apple’s decision to lock batteries to the iPhone’s hardware might give people problems, but there may be a good reason behind the decision. Read more: https://zd.net/2Z1SLKk
http://www.zdnet.com/

iPhone is great, but the battery life leaves so much to be desired. When I compare my iPhone to a handset like the Moto G7 Power, I’m amazed at the poor battery life I’m getting.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help make the iPhone’s battery life better.

Must read: How to clear your iPhone’s RAM

Battery life is always forefront in the minds of people who rely on their iPhone. So, after a lot of testing, and spending a lot of time running my iPhone’s battery flat, I’ve come up with what I believe are the best ways of making your iPhone battery last all day. 

And the nice thing is that both of these methods are quick and simple, and don’t involve making huge changes to iOS.

Low Power Mode

The first one is the simplest one, but also the most effective, and that is to switch on Low Power Mode.

As the name suggests, activating this setting puts your device into low power mode. And it really does work, giving you about three hours of extra battery life. If you are worried about your battery not making it through the day, this is the setting to activate.

However, it achieves this by turning off or reducing mail fetch, background app refresh, automatic downloads, and some visual effects.

What does Low Power Mode affect?

Here’s a list of what Low Power Mode reduces or affects in order to increase battery life:

  • Email fetch
  • “Hey Siri”
  • Background app refresh
  • Automatic downloads
  • Some visual effects
  • Auto-Lock (defaults to 30 seconds)
  • iCloud Photo Library (temporarily paused)

iOS pops up a notification offering to turn on Low Power Mode when your battery goes below 20% and 10%, and will automatically switch it off when the device is charged back up to 80%.

You can also turn this on manually, either from the Control Center panel, or from Settings > Battery.

iPhone Low Power Mode

iPhone Low Power Mode

One thing that I do — if I know I have a long day ahead of me away from a charger — is to switch over to Low Power Mode as soon as I start my day. I find that this gives me the longest possible battery life.

Be aware, if you recharge your battery above 80%, this will automatically disable Low Power Mode, so you will have to re-enable it.

Screen Brightness

Another trick I find that vastly improves battery life is turning down the screen brightness. OK, don’t go bananas with this one and turn it down to the point where the screen is completely unreadable because that would be counterproductive, but toning it down a bit when you are indoors and not in bright sunlight really makes a huge difference to how long your battery will last.

You can either drop the brightness from Settings > Display & Brightness or from the Control Center screen.

Change iPhone screen brightness

Change iPhone screen brightness

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Change brightness in the Control Center screen

Tame that display!

Another couple of display-related changes you can make that I find handy — doubly so if you find the iPhone’s screen is too bright — is to head over to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations and make sure that Auto-Brightness is enabled and, if you want to take things further, enable Reduce White Point.

img-ad8d3a75feba-1.jpg

Display Accommodations

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Apple Siri vs Amazon Alexa vs Google Assistant: Tests reveal which is smartest

Apple cancels Siri’s grading program that pried on private conversations
Quality control frequently comes across recordings which should not have existed in the first place.

Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant are all getting better at understanding and answering questions, thanks in part to every tech giant using humans to help improve their AI.

Given that voice is meant to be the next frontier of computer interfaces, investor analysts like Loup Ventures are keen to understand which company has the best interface for voice input.

Last December, the company tested Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana against 800 questions to find out which was superior. 

Google answered 88% of questions correctly, while Apple scored 75%, Alexa scored 72.5%, and Cortana came in with 63%. However, the test was on smart speakers and not smartphones.     

So Loup Ventures recently ran a similar ‘IQ’ test but this time focused solely on assistant capabilities on the phone and dropped Cortana because Microsoft last year decided it was no longer a competitor with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. 

Cortana’s removal and the isolation of assistants to smartphone usage haven’t changed the order of the rankings. 

Google Assistant is still at the top, but now with a score of 92.9% for answering questions correctly. Siri correctly answers 83.1% of questions, while Alexa gets 79.8% correct. 

The questions are typical ones an adult might think to ask a phone, such as, “Where is the nearest coffee shop?”. The questions are designed to test each system’s ability to provide accurate information about local things, businesses, navigation and information, as well as execute commands.

While the smartphone IQ test rankings are the same as the smart speaker test, Loup Ventures analysts Gene Munster and Will Thompson, forgive Alexa’s overall performance, which was negatively influenced by commands because it’s an app rather than fully integrated into the device and operating system. Apple Siri performed best on commands.

“Google Assistant was the top performer in four of the five categories but fell short of Siri in the Command category again. Siri continues to prove more useful with phone-related functions like calling, texting, emailing, calendar, and music,” Loup Ventures writes. 

“Both Siri and Google Assistant, which are baked into the OS of the phone, far outperformed Alexa in the Command section. Alexa lives on a third-party app, which, despite being able to send voice messages and call other Alexa devices, cannot send text messages, emails, or initiate a phone call.”

Loup Ventures argues that assistants on smartphones should be treated differently from smart speakers because they’re used differently and have different interfaces. For example, speakers don’t have screens.    

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Google Assistant fares best overall but falls short of Siri in the Command category.  


Image: Loup Ventures

More on Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant

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