Archive for the 'google' Category



Google’s Nexus 6 Might Be Too Big For Right Now, But Right-Sized For The Future

Saturday 22 November 2014 @ 3:26 pm
Nexus 6-3 As Greg Kumparak noted in the TechCrunch review of the Nexus 6, the phone is very large. Too large, in fact, for most humans. Back when it was just a rumor that Google would be picking Motorola to provide the Nexus 6 hardware, and that it would indeed be a monster with a 6-inch display, I lamented the phabletization of the Nexus line before it was even a real thing. Now, I’ve had some… Read More



Mozilla’s 2013 annual report: Revenue up just 1% to $314M, and again 90% came from Google

Friday 21 November 2014 @ 8:12 am
mozilla_logo

Mozilla has released its annual financial report for 2013, and the numbers hint as to why the organization signed a five-year deal with Yahoo, announced by the duo on November 19. Revenue increased just 1 percent, and the organization’s reliance on Google stayed flat at 90 percent.

For context, every time you input a query into Firefox’s search bar, Google makes a little bit of money from AdSense ads. A portion of that passes to Mozilla via a revenue sharing deal.

The total revenue for the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiaries in 2011 was $163 million, and it increased 90.2 percent to $311 million for 2012. Yet that growth all but disappeared last year, as the total revenue moved up less than 1 percent (0.995 percent to be more precise) to $311 million in 2013.

mozilla_report_2013

85 percent of Mozilla’s revenue came from Google in 2011, and that figure increased to 90 percent in 2012. While the 90 percent number remained for 2013, it’s still a massive proportion and shows Mozilla last year could not figure out a way to differentiate where its money comes from.

Mozilla’s expenses were up by 41.6 percent to $295 million in 2013. Unlike in previous years ($145 million in 2011 and $208 million in 2012), expenses outgrew revenues.

Basic math tells us Mozilla’s contract with Google brought in about $139 million in 2011, almost $280 million in 2012, and just over $282 million in 2013. We confirmed with Mozilla that 2013 will be the last full year it generates revenue mainly from Google, since Yahoo is becoming the default search engine for Firefox users in the U.S. However, the majority of 2014’s revenues will likely still come from Google.

“While Google will continue to be a search option for Firefox users, we are not renewing our commercial agreement,” Denelle Dixon-Thayer, SVP of Business and Legal Affairs at Mozilla, told VentureBeat. “2013 is the last full year for which we will record revenue from Google. Our agreement with Yahoo! begins taking effect in December.”

All of these numbers will likely change significantly in 2015. In addition to switching to Yahoo in the U.S., Mozilla has indicated that it is looking to strike new deals with more partners as well. Mozilla says Firefox now has more choice in search providers than any other browser, with 61 search providers preinstalled across 88 different language versions. In addition to Yahoo in the U.S., Yandex is becoming the new default in Russia, and Baidu will remain the default in China.

The source of search revenue in Firefox isn’t the only shift. The company has already started serving ads on Firefox’s new tab page in an attempt to find another potential revenue stream.

This year, Firefox turned 10. Mozilla made a big marketing push around the fact that it is the only major independent browser maker left:

Mozilla’s contract with Google was renewed many times, most recently until November 2014. Every time the contract was up for renewal, many began asking if Google would turn its back on Mozilla, which would make it very difficult for the organization to make ends meet.

Mozilla may now have five years of breathing room, but the organization is still under pressure to figure out other ways to make money. Yet that pressure has significantly lessened: It has more time now, and Yahoo is not a direct competitor in the browser space.

On November 20, Mozilla also started accepting donations in Bitcoin via the Coinbase platform. You can help reduce the organization’s reliance on Google and Yahoo yourself by going here.

Every November, Mozilla releases its financial report for the previous year. Some details in the 2014 report may provide an early hint at how the Yahoo deal is faring (as well as whether Bitcoin donations make an impact), but the 2015 figures will be particularly interesting, especially if Mozilla manages to strike new deals. What proportion of Mozilla’s revenues will come from Yahoo? Will it make more, or less, than it did with Google?

While we wait to see how the Mozilla and Yahoo deal fares, you can read Mozilla’s full report for 2013 here: Independent Auditors’ Report, Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Information (PDF).


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Google Fiber promises Austin’s public housing residents free 5Mbps Internet for 10 years

Thursday 20 November 2014 @ 2:00 pm
Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 4.56.59 PM

Google today announced it has agreed to participate in Unlocking the Connection, a new initiative by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) to help close the digital divide for the 4,300 people who live in public housing. The company promises to give Austin’s public housing residents free Fiber connections for 10 years.

Unlocking the Connection’s goal is to make the Web more available and relevant to Austin citizens who aren’t online today. That includes an affordable Internet connection, access to devices, basic computer skills training, and opportunities to better understand how the Web can help them in their daily lives. Google Fiber is one of 20 national and local partners in the program.

Here are the pertinent details:

Google Fiber will bring state of the art infrastructure to Austin’s public housing; we will provide a free fiber connection to any existing HACA property in a neighborhood that meets its signup goal to get Google Fiber. If a family in one of these properties signs up for our Basic Service, they get an in-home Internet connection at today’s basic broadband speeds, free for ten years after construction.

Google Fiber Basic Service, which provides up to 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds, is normally free. It does, however, require a one-time $300 construction free (or $25 per month for a year). That’s the part Google is waiving here.

More to follow


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Google Contributor is a subscription service that lets you pay money to remove ads from certain sites

Thursday 20 November 2014 @ 12:17 pm
Dollar Hometown Beauty Flickr

Google, a master of online advertising, has devised a new mechanism for helping publishers — and itself — monetize content on the Internet.

It’s called Contributor, and in posting a website about it today, Google is casting it as an “experiment.” That’s one way to carefully describe Google’s latest attempt to prevent its long-standing revenue-producing advertising business from being challenged.

Google has allied with 10 publishers for Contributor so far, and publishers that aren’t involved yet can add themselves to a wait list if they wish to come on board. Readers can pay $1 to $3 per month to visit participating sites, and in exchange, find content with no ads and perhaps a small thank-you note.

“I think the bigger narrative is publishers are the lifeblood of the Web, and to have a healthy Web, you need to have publishers that are able to thrive and fund their content,” a Google spokeswoman told VentureBeat in an interview about the new service. “We’ve made it a priority since the beginning of our business to provide different ways for them to do just that.”

The spokeswoman pointed to a few previous Google initiatives to give content creators ways to bring in revenue, including a digital tip jar for YouTube channels and Google Consumer Surveys.

The new service, which isn’t yet operational, resulted from “an internal brainstorm from the publisher team,” the spokeswoman said.

Google’s AdSense program, which lets publishers serve ads on their sites, first became available in 2003.


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What to Think, Ep. 30: How Google works

Thursday 20 November 2014 @ 11:26 am
what to think logo

Jonathan Rosenberg, co-author of the new book How Google Works (along with Eric Schmidt), started at Google in 2002. He helped create some of the company’s most iconic products, including AdSense, Gmail, Android, and more.

We talk with him about some of the management and innovation secrets that helped make Google into one of the most successful technology companies in history. For instance, Larry Page used to approve every job offer tendered to a candidate, personally — and he’s still deeply involved in the company’s day-to-day hiring processes.

And given Google’s tolerance for trying new things, feeding the successes and starving the failures, we also ask Rosenberg about some of the failures, like Google Buzz and Google Wave.

Plus, we also tell you what to think about:

All this and more is in our latest weekly episode. Check it out!

Download the MP3 of Episode 30 here.

Or you can find this latest edition of “What to Think” on iTunes.

In addition, you can listen to us on Stitcher or get the What to Think RSS feed for the podcast player of your choice.

Enjoy the show!


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Google’s Project Loon can now fill a balloon in under five minutes and launch up to 20 balloons per day

Thursday 20 November 2014 @ 10:31 am
project_loon_balloon

Google today shared an update from Project Loon, the company’s initiative to bring high-speed Internet access to remote areas of the world via hot air balloons. The company says it now has the ability to launch up to 20 balloons per day.

This is in part possible because the company has improved its autofill equipment to a point where it can fill a balloon in under 5 minutes. This is a major achievement, given that Google says filling a Project Loon balloon with enough air so that it is ready for flight is the equivalent of inflating 7,000 party balloons.

Google also shared some other interesting statistics. Project Loon balloons have now flown 3 million kilometers in total. That distance is equivalent of going around the earth 75 times, or going to the moon and back nearly four times over.

In terms of quality, the balloons now last 10 times longer in the stratosphere than they did in 2013. Some last 100 days or more (Google says the current record is 130 days).

The company explains it achieved this through trial and error, making “hundreds of discoveries” that help it prevent leaks and refine its automated manufacturing process:

We’ve learned a great deal about what it will take to bring the Internet to everyone, no matter where they are. For example, what footwear is it best for our manufacturing team to wear when they need to walk on the balloon envelopes? Turns out it’s very fluffy socks, the fluffier the better, to ensure the least amount of friction when building our balloons.

In short, Google can now pump out more balloons faster, and once they’re in the air, they also last longer.


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Goodbye, Google: Mozilla makes Yahoo the default Firefox search engine for the next five years

Wednesday 19 November 2014 @ 2:08 pm

Mozilla and Yahoo today announced a five-year partnership that will see the latter’s search engine become the default in Firefox for U.S. users. The change goes into effect in December, when Google will no longer be the default search engine in the browser.

Firefox’s global search default has been Google since 2004. Mozilla says when the agreement came up for renewal this year, the company took it as “an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.”

More to follow


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New Google Research Project Can Auto-Caption Complex Images

Tuesday 18 November 2014 @ 9:24 am
Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 2.11.11 PM Image recognition has come a long way over the last few years and maybe more so than anybody else, Google has brought some of those advances to end users. To see how far we’ve come, just try searching through your own images on Google Photos, for example. But recognizing objects (and maybe basic scenes) is only a first step. In September, Google showed how its approach, using the… Read More



Google’s mobile search results get ‘mobile-friendly’ label to show you which sites work best on your phone

Tuesday 18 November 2014 @ 8:01 am
google_mobile_search

Google today announced the debut of a new “mobile friendly” label on its mobile search results page. The company says the change will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks, so don’t fret if you don’t see it yet.

The new indicator is meant to show you which sites are optimized for your phone. You will only see the new label if you’re using a phone: it shouldn’t appear on the desktop version of Google Search, even if sites on the results page are indeed optimized for mobile.

Here is the label in action:

mobile-friendly

Google says webpages are eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if they meet the following criteria:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

The above four requirements are detected by Googlebot. If you want to see whether your site is eligible for the label, you can check your pages with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test by dropping in URLs and hitting the blue Analyze button.

More to follow


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Google open sources security testing tool Firing Range, a Java app with XSS and other web vulnerabilities

Tuesday 18 November 2014 @ 7:18 am
Google-Logo

Google today released security testing tool Firing Range, a Java application that contains a wide range of XSS and a few other web vulnerabilities. A deployed version is available on Google App Engine and since the tool is open source you can check out the code on GitHub.

More to follow


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