How id Software went from skeptical to excited about Google Stadia streaming


This post is by Kyle Orland from Ars Technica


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Google Stadia's controller.

Enlarge / Google Stadia’s controller. (credit: Google)

SAN FRANCISCO—Back in 2016, when Google first approached id Software about bringing some games to a potential new streaming service, the game developer was skeptical to say the least. “The proposal immediately bumped against our main bias,” id Senior Programmer Dustin Land said during a talk at this week’s Game Developers Conference. “Streaming adds latency to the thing we desperately want to remove latency from.”

Fast forward more than two years, and id was proudly on stage this week showing a version of Doom Eternal running on Google’s newly announced Stadia streaming platform. But getting from that initial skepticism to that grand unveiling wasn’t always an easy process, Land said.

Getting to yes

For years, Land said, Google had been watching their YouTube analytics, waiting for a big enough group of users to reach the point where their connections would be able

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Google tries to reassure gamers about Stadia speed and latency concerns


This post is by Kyle Orland from Ars Technica


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SAN FRANCISCO—Google’s Phil Harrison tells Ars that Stadia game streaming should provide a smooth, full-resolution experience on Internet connections above a threshold of 20 to 30mbps, a level that should allow for “hundreds of millions of potential players in the markets that we’re talking about.”

While the company set a threshold of 25mbps for its beta testing late last year, Harrison told Ars that “in actual fact, we only use an average of 20mbps; it obviously bounces up and down depending on the scene.” Since that beta, Harrison said infrastructure and codec improvements “now allow us to get up to 4K resolution [at 60 frames per second] within about 30mbps. So we saw a dramatic increase in quality between then and now without a significant increase in bandwidth.”

Even at that threshold, Harrison acknowledges

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“Energizing Times”: Microsoft to “go big” at E3 in response to Google Stadia


This post is by Peter Bright from Ars Technica


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Sea of Thieves streaming to a smartphone with an attached Xbox One controller.

Enlarge / This controller attachment was shown in Microsoft’s Xcloud promo video, and Bluetooth wireless controller support is also planned. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft announced its Xcloud game-streaming service last August, with the ambition of streaming console-quality games to gamers wherever they are—on their tablets, smartphones, PCs or even consoles. Yesterday, Google joined the streaming gaming fray with its announcement of Google Stadia, one-upping Redmond by offering the assembled press limited hands-on access to Stadia games.

Google promises that Stadia will be “coming 2019,” potentially stealing a march on Xcloud, which is due only to enter public trials this year. But in an internal email sent to rally the troops, Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s gaming chief, seemed unsurprised and apparently unconcerned.

Spencer wrote that Google “went big” with its Stadia announcement, but Microsoft will have its chance to do that, too: he promised that the company will “go big”

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Hands on with Google Stadia: It works, but is that enough?


This post is by Kyle Orland from Ars Technica


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SAN FRANCISCO—Shortly after Google announced its upcoming Stadia streaming platform this morning at the Game Developers Conference, the company opened up a few kiosks showing off the technology in a corner of a Moscone Center West hallway. Unfortunately, these extremely limited demos didn’t answer most of the burning questions that Google has still left unanswered about it much-hyped platform.

The most popular demo, judging by the crowds gathered around the screen, was an opportunity to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on a standard Chromebook via Stadia streaming. The game—running at apparently native resolution and 60 frames per second on a 1080p display—was for all intents and purposes indistinguishable from a local copy running on a high-end gaming rig. Playing and watching the games for a few minutes, I didn’t notice any of the input delay, dropped frames, or stuttering that sometimes characterizes the current state of game streaming.

Google jumps into gaming with Google Stadia streaming service, coming “in 2019”


This post is by Kyle Orland from Ars Technica


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The Google Stadia controller, which includes a few custom buttons. The service will also support wired USB controllers and mouse-and-keyboard controls.

Enlarge / The Google Stadia controller, which includes a few custom buttons. The service will also support wired USB controllers and mouse-and-keyboard controls.

SAN FRANCISCO—At the Game Developers Conference, Google announced its biggest play yet in the gaming space: a streaming game service named Google Stadia, designed to run on everything from PCs and Android phones to Google’s own Chromecast devices.

As of press time, the service’s release window is simply “2019.” No pricing information was announced at the event.

Google Stadia will run a selection of existing PC games on Google’s centralized servers, taking in controller inputs and sending back video and audio using Google’s network of low latency data centers. The company revealed a new Google-produced controller, along with a game-streaming interface that revolves around a “play now” button. Press this on any web browser, and gameplay will begin “in as quick as five seconds… with no

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Google Project Zero, Microsoft collaborate for 12 months to find new kind of Windows bug


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Google Project Zero, Microsoft collaborate for 12 months to find new kind of Windows bug

Enlarge (credit: Marco Verch / Flickr)

One of the more notable features of Google Project Zero’s (GPZ) security research has been its 90-day disclosure policy. In general, vendors are given 90 days to address issues found by GPZ, after which the flaws will be publicly disclosed. But sometimes understanding a flaw and developing fixes for it takes longer than 90 days—sometimes, much longer, such as when a new class of vulnerability is found. That’s what happened last year with the Spectre and Meltdown processor issues, and it’s happened again with a new Windows issue.

Google researcher James Forshaw first grasped that there might be a problem a couple of years ago when he was investigating the exploitability of another Windows issue published three years ago. In so doing, he discovered the complicated way in which Windows performs permissions checks when opening files or other secured objects. A closer

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How Google influences the conversation in Washington


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Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Enlarge / Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

A few days after last year’s midterm election, a Google policy manager and lobbyist sent an email to a congressional staffer with a link to a blog post on the right-wing news site Red State, written under the name The Real DC. In the post, the author accuses Google’s competitor Yelp of prodding President Trump to tweet a “professionally designed” video about Google’s alleged bias, which The Real DC calls “fake news” because it “bears many similarities” to content produced by Yelp.

In the email, a copy of which was viewed by Wired, Ed An, the Google lobbyist, said he does not typically share articles from Red State but thought the staffer would find this one interesting.

Neither Red State, its publisher Townhall Media, nor its owner Salem Media Group responded to repeated questions about The Real DC. In a statement, An, the

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Google’s iOS keyboard can translate text into more than 100 languages


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If you use Google’s iOS keyboard Gboard, you can now translate to and from all languages supported by Google Translate — that’s currently 103. This means you can effectively type and translate in any supported language, in any app on your iPhone. The feature is a welcome addition, but it’s a bit overdue. Gboard has supported translation on Android since 2017.

Via: The Verge

Source: App Store

Google Releases Chrome 73 With Support for macOS Mojave Dark Mode


This post is by Juli Clover from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors - Mac Blog


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Google today released Chrome 73, the newest stable version of its Chrome browser for Mac and Windows. Chrome 73 has been in beta testing since February, with several new features included.

On macOS Mojave, Chrome 73 introduces support for Dark Mode. The browser window will display the darker colored theme automatically whenever Dark Mode on Mojave is enabled. Dark Mode in Chrome looks similar to the darker toolbar available when using Chrome in Incognito Mode.



Other new features in Google Chrome include tab grouping for better organizing multiple tabs, support for keyboard media keys, and an automatic picture in picture option enabled when swapping away from an active video.

There’s a new Sync and Google Services section under Settings to make it easier to control data collection settings and other options, spell checking improvements, and a new badge API that will let web app icons include a visual indicator

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After Math: It’s the circle of tech


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While most of us now need Buzzfeed quizzes about “things only ’90s kids would recognize” to remember what a Blockbuster is, the franchise’s inevitable demise is still something to be commemorated — if only by finally returning that VHS copy of Batman Forever you’ve been holding onto. But even as some companies fade into oblivion, others flourish in the market spaces left over. Here are a few from this week.

Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook


This post is by Jon Brodkin from Ars Technica


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Elizabeth Warren holding a microphone and waving while speaking to a crowd.

Enlarge / Elizabeth Warren speaking to a crowd on February 18, 2019 in Glendale, California. (credit: Getty Images | Mario Tama)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today proposed breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook as part of a plan to regulate tech platforms as utilities.

In a blog post, Warren said she’ll pursue the plan if she wins the presidency. The first part of the plan is legislation that would designate the companies as “platform utilities” and break them apart “from any participant on that platform.”

Warren wrote:

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The best games for your smartphone


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Sorry, but mobile gaming is the biggest player in the video game market. In 2018, it made almost half of the industry’s global revenue. Smartphone games once existed separately from console and PC titles, but in the wake of titles like Fortnite, it’s all got a little blurry. You’ll find several games in our selection that are also available on your home consoles and PCs, but most of them sing on your smartphone, and the fact that you can play them absolutely anywhere makes up for any other pitfalls. Whether it’s Android or iOS, here’s some crucial games to start with.

A “serious” Windows zeroday is being actively exploited in the wild


This post is by Dan Goodin from Ars Technica


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As a reminder, here's what the default Start menu looked like in Windows 7.

As a reminder, here’s what the default Start menu looked like in Windows 7. (credit: Microsoft)

Google security officials are advising Windows users to ensure they’re using the latest version 10 of the Microsoft operating system to protect themselves against a “serious,” unpatched vulnerability that attackers have been actively exploiting in the wild.

Unidentified attackers have been combining an exploit for the unpatched local privilege escalation in Windows with one for a separate security flaw in the Chrome browser that Google fixed last Friday. While that specific exploit combination won’t be effective against Chrome users who are running the latest browser version, the Windows exploit could still be used against people running older versions of Windows. Google researchers privately reported the vulnerability to Microsoft, in keeping with its vulnerability disclosure policy.

“Today, also in compliance with our policy, we are publicly disclosing its existence, because it is a serious

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Google pay equity analysis leads to raises for thousands of men


This post is by Timothy B. Lee from Ars Technica


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Exterior of Google office building.

Enlarge / Google’s main headquarters. (credit: Cyrus Farivar)

Google has given raises to thousands of men after an analysis of Google’s pay structure found that the company would otherwise be underpaying those men relative to their peers, The New York Times reports. The analysis also led to raises for some women.

Google determines annual pay raises in a three-phase process. First, Google adjusts every employee’s compensation based on standard factors like their location, seniority, and performance ratings. Managers can then seek additional discretionary raises for their best-performing employees.

Finally, Google performs a company-wide analysis to determine whether these raises are biased in terms of race or gender. If biases are detected, the disadvantaged workers are given additional raises to eliminate the discrepancies.

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Google Shares Details on Unpatched ‘High Severity’ macOS Kernel Flaw


This post is by Juli Clover from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors - Front Page


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Google’s Project Zero team in November found a “high severity” macOS kernel flaw that was recently disclosed (via Neowin) following the expiration of a 90 day disclosure deadline.

As explained by Google, the flaw allows an attacker to modify a user-owned mounted filesystem image without informing the virtual management subsystem of the changes, meaning a hacker can tweak a file system image without user knowledge.

This copy-on-write behavior works not only with anonymous memory, but also with file mappings. This means that, after the destination process has started reading from the transferred memory area, memory pressure can cause the pages holding the transferred memory to be evicted from the page cache. Later, when the evicted pages are needed again, they can be reloaded from the backing filesystem.

This means that if an attacker can mutate an on-disk file without informing the virtual management subsystem, this is a security bug.

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Google discloses ‘high severity’ Mac security flaw ahead of patch


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Google’s Project Zero security disclosure program is once again proving to be a double-edged sword. The company has detailed a “high severity” macOS kernel flaw that lets people modify a user-mounted file system image without the virtual management subsystem being any the wiser, theoretically letting an attacker go unnoticed by users. Apple is working on a patch, but the disclosure ahead of the fix could leave Mac users vulnerable until it’s ready.

Via: Neowin, 9to5Google

Source: Monorail

Google declines to pull controversial Saudi government app


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App store curators frequently have to walk a fine line when deciding what to ban, and Google is proof positive of this. The internet giant told California Rep. Jackie Speier that it wouldn’t ban Saudi Arabia’s Absher app from Google Play despite calls from Speier and other members of Congress to remove it. The mobile software lets Saudi men control and track travel permissions for women and migrant workers, leading to an outcry that Google and Apple were promoting “sixteenth century tyranny.” However, Google determined that Absher didn’t violate its agreements and could remain on the store.

Source: Business Insider

Engadget at 15: A look at how much tech has changed


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A lot has changed since Engadget was born, both in the gadgets we use and what we do with them on a regular basis. When the site started in 2004, fitness trackers, voice assistants and electric cars were the stuff of fiction. Now most of these are commonplace, so much so that we put our trust in them on a daily basis. To celebrate Engadget’s 15th birthday, here are 15 things that didn’t exist 15 years ago.