Google Glasses to Be Released Later This Year

Google has invented the nerd world’s next big trend, and I should know because I live in this world.  That trend is glasses that operate like a smartphone.  This just brings to mind the Terminator scene where the terminator is looking at the world through a computer.  Not to say that Google will turn us all into actual Androids, but it is very cool.

The glasses will give the wearer a real time view of the world around them.  This means that they will be able to see navigation routes, friend updates, and be able to record and take pictures.  The glasses themselves resemble Oakley Thumps.  This only adds to futuristic styling imagination that Google is creating.

The New York Times reported that these glasses will be using solely an Android system, but 9 to 5 Google released an update that said the glasses will tie into Google Cloud.  The glasses are meant to be used in combination with Google’s “location services.” They might have a version of Android, but the glasses are meant to allow the wearer to walk around with information popping up on the screen that is coming from nearby Wi-Fi services and GPS.

The glasses will have a heads up display in one lens that is not transparent.  The navigation works by head tilting to scroll and click.  The storage available is speculated to be at least 1GHz.  There will also be voice input and output available.

The release of the glasses will start out as a “pilot program” later in the year to allow Google to see if there is any actual mass market appeal for them.  I do not know about the rest of the planet, but I would definitely like to try a pair of these out.

Yosemite National Park’s Lava Waterfall

The Magma Colored waterfall only happens in a two week window of time outside of the Horsetail Fall at Yosemite National Park. If the sky is clear and the weather is just right, the images captured by the photographers leave people in awe. The waterfall’s color change was first discovered in 1973 by Galen Rowell, an outdoors photographer, ever since; photographers have been coming to the fall to capture similar images.

Capturing these images is more than just going out there and taking a picture with your cellphone camera. If you want to capture the Horsetail waterfall at it’s brightest, you’ll need to know about astronomy, physics, and geometry as hopefuls consider the azimuth degrees and minutes of the earth’s orbit relative to the sun to determine the optimal day to experience it. The photographers are looking for the lowest angle of light that will paint Horsetail the colors of an iridescent sunset as rays reflect off granite behind the water. It materializes in varying degrees of intensity for the same two weeks every year.

The waterfall can only be pictured for that short period of time during mid February, that’s IF enough water accumulates through rain or snow. If the fall is flowing, and the sky is clear, you have two minutes during dusk time to take a picture of the fall. After two weeks of flowing “red” the river will will dry out, and the angles of the sun rays will be out of place.

Michael Frye, who wrote the book “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite.” said that “Horsetail is so uniquely situated that I don’t know of any other waterfall on earth that gets that kind of light,”

If you want to get a shot of this elusive lava waterfall, you’re in luck. Recent storms and snowfall mean the finicky fall is flowing again, and park officials are hopeful it will last through February 24, which is generally the last day of the year it can be seen.

The popularity is reminiscent of an actual fiery fall that entertained guests in the park from 1930 to 1968. Each summer evening as the sun set, employees of the park concessionaire would build a huge fire atop Glacier Point. At 9 p.m., as the fire burned down to embers and the Indian Love Song waned, someone would yell, “Let the fire fall!”

With long rakes men pushed glowing coals over the 3,200-foot cliff. Had visitors looked in the opposite direction at a different time of year they would have seen the watery fire-fall of nature. Via: Yahoo News

Google Wallet Has Been Hacked – Maybe Cellphones and Wallets Aren’t Meant to Be?

Google wallet has been hacked, not once, but twice in two days. Yesterday, the wallet was hacked when people figured out you could exploit a flaw in rooted phones where a user could reset the PIN number for your virtual wallet. Today, another video came out of the wild. The Smartphone Champ, a technology blogger, discovered that you can do the same hack in normal non rooted phones.

Maybe it’s time to realize that phones should be phones and wallets should stay wallets, the Google Wallet is just as secure as a regular wallet. The reason I say that is because the “hack” is not even a hack, it’s more of a “click here to open the wallet” option that is installed on the phone. The video above shows you how simple someone can crack your “wallet.”

The hack from yesterday required you to do a whole bunch of different things before actually pulling the PIN reset trick. This one however, is as simple as going into the applications menu, selecting Google Wallet, and then clearing the data in the app. After the data has been cleared, it forces Google Wallet to reset itself and ask for a new PIN Number. Once you type in a new PIN, you basically have access to the Google Pre-Paid Account and voila – The thief has access to all of your funds.

At first I thought this was a fake story, but Google released a statement regarding the new method and gave out the following tip:

We strongly encourage anyone who loses or wants to sell their phone to call Google Wallet support toll-free at 855-492-5538 to disable the prepaid card. We are currently working on an automated fix as well that will be available soon. We also advise all Wallet users to set up a screen lock as an additional layer of protection for their phone.

Maybe it’s not such a great Idea to keep on putting all of our data into our phones. If you want to prevent people from accessing your information, install an App that allows you to track your phone, or even better a cellphone wiping application to erase all data. You could also keep up with your stuff and not lose the phone to begin with… just saying. [Gizmodo via Electronista]

Google Will Trade You Money for Your Privacy

Everyone complains about their privacy being sold to online companies, if you’re one of the few people that complain about not getting any money in return, Google is about to give you a chance to get your share. How much would you like to get paid for Google to spy on your browsing habits? Would you do it for $5? That’s how much Google thinks your browsing history is worth. Just fill out a form, and Google will send you a $5 Amazon gift card in exchage for letting them spy on your browsing habits.

Screenwise, the name of the research, goes something like this: install an extension in Chrome and start using the internet. That extension will send info back to Google as they figure out “how everyday people use the internet.”

The new project is called Screenwise. As a panelist, you’ll add a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them. What we learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone.

For every three months you participate in Screenwise, you’ll get another $5 gift card, but only til you’ve sucked about $25 from them. I’m not sure how this is going to be used, but would you give out your privacy for that much? via SearchEngineLand

Google Started to Crack Down on Android Market Malware

The Google Android App Market Place is amazing, one of its strongest points is how “unregulated it is” unfortunately, this is also one of its weakest points. Unlike the Apple App Store that regulates every single one of the apps that goes into the market, Android devices can download and install just about any application made for the phone. This flexibility and “hack-ability” of the phone makes it the phone of choice for many developers.

As the phone market continues to grow however, so does the number of people that use the phone to conduct business transactions, banking transactions, online shopping, and much more. That’s why Google decided that it was time to add a virtual Bouncer to their market place. The Android Market Bouncer has been working in the back end of the market place since last year. It scans available apps for malware, viruses, and other security threats against the Android users.

This is the first time that Google has cared enough about the market place to really do something about it. When a new app is developed, the application has gone through Bouncer system, the application gets analyzed to see if it contains any type of malware, to include Trojans, spyware, and viruses. To take the security process one step further, the market place Bouncer compares the application to other applications that have caused problems in the past. It also checks how the application is operating and not how the application is “supposed” to operate. Which is a big difference:

Instead of checking the application’s functions – the list that tells you what the application want’s access to – The Bouncer checks how the application behaves in your phone. If it detects something is happening, the bouncer will take care of the problem for you.

Lastly, the application detects new developer accounts to see if the developer is a new developer, or if it’s an old developer who has been banned for creating malware and malicious applications. Google has not released information on how they detect that yet. I can only assume is for security reasons.

The Bouncer app has been working in the background for some time and Google claims that the application has stopped 40 percent of bad and malicious applications. Which makes you wonder how bad the market place is, but regardless, it’s getting safer now! Finally, the market place is starting to become a safer place for everyone. [Img Credit: JD Hancock – Via: Google]

Google: From Grad School to $150 Billion Company

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin met back in 95, I’m sure neither of them knew just how successful Google would become. Controlling 80% of the market share for all searches online, Google has now managed to become an integral part of our daily lives. The majority of us probably use Google just as much as we use other everyday items like cellphones.

So, how exactly did Page and Brin manage to start from humble beginnings to creating a $150 billion company?

This cool interactive piece explains how they did it in a comprehensive timeline. It also takes a deeper look at some other highlights from the years of 1995 to 2011 (even popular memes)- def a trip back memory lane.

Just click on the image below to start the timeline:

Created by Online PhD

How The Google Ruined Christmas: How to Opt Out of Advertisement Tracking Cookies

Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes a whole bunch of emotion and joy when you surprise your loved one with that one gift they’ve been waiting for all year. But what happens when your loved one figures out what you’re going to give them? What happens when you figure out the perfect gift but Google ruins the surprise for you?

Well, Google can sometimes be a scrooge, but he doesn’t have to ruin Christmas surprises for you. Earlier in the week, I thought I had the perfect surprise for the wife. But she’s a little quick when it comes to computers and as she was using my office computer,  Google began to display advertisements for Zales. Every website she would visit she would get three different Zales advertisements; it didn’t matter where she went it was Zales Zales ZALES! Until she finally put two and two together and figured out what she was going to get.

But how does Google track your sessions? And is there a way to block their Ad tracking cookie?

Surprisingly yes, Google’s business is to sell advertisement, but they do care about your privacy in a way. They give you the ability to opt-out of the session. According to Google, when you access the web through a browser, Google uses an advertisement cookie called the DoubleClick cookie, this cookie stores what kind of items, stories, and web pages you are visiting. This cookie is used to display more relevant ads to get you to buy things.

If your device, or system does not allow cookie technology, they actually assign an anonymous ID to your device. This ID is a completely random and anonymous string of characters. There are an advantage to this, when a Google ad is displayed, you can be sure that the advertisement is personalized based on your Google Account information.  Here is what Google says about this tracking cookie:

As you browse websites that have partnered with us or Google sites using the DoubleClick cookie, such as YouTube, Google may place the DoubleClick cookie in your browser to understand the types of pages visited or content that you viewed. To serve ads that are relevant and tailored to your interests in applications or other clients that use an anonymous ID, we may use information about your activity in applications or other clients. Based on this information and/or anonymized partner data, Google associates your browser or anonymous ID with relevant interest categories and uses these categories to show interest-based ads. For example, if you frequently visit travel websites, Google may show more ads related to travel. Or, if you download a golf application, Google may show you ads related to golf. Google can also use the types of pages that you have visited or content that you have viewed to infer your gender and the age category you belong to. For example, If the sites that you visit have a majority of female visitors (based on aggregated survey data on site visitation), we may associate your cookie with the female demographic category.

If you don’t like to be tracked because you feel your Christmas shopping will be ruined, there is a way to opt out of the tracking cookie advertisement.    Simply click on the “Opt out” button on the Ads Preferences Manager. When you are accessing the web through a web browser, during your browsing session, Google will not collect cookie information. Google also offers a number of options to permanently save your opt-out settings in your browser. After you opt out, Google will not collect interest category information and you will not receive interest-based ads.

So there you have it, if you don’t want Google to become this year’s Scrooge for Christmas, go ahead and opt out of the session. It may save you the sucky ness of having to deal with your family knowing exactly what you’re going to get them for Christmas.