Remember back in 2013 when Google announced their original Chromebook Pixel? At $1299, it was more than three to four times the cost of the average Chromebook. It offered impressive performance and features that made it much more like the ultrabooks on the market at the time but restricted to the Chrome OS. Needless to say, consumers did not think much of it and it primarily was something that Chrome developers may have used. Just last week, Google announced a new Chromebook Pixel model to replace the original. At first glance, it looks nearly identical to the original model but there are some pretty significant changes. Is this now a premium Chromebook that users should consider over a traditional laptop? Continue reading
If you happen to be a dedicated Android device user, you likely have used the Google Play store to purchase some movies and TV shows. This is great for use with a smartphone or tablet, but if you happened to have a Roku streaming device you were kind of out of luck in terms of watching it on your HDTV. Today that changes with the for Roku’s current media streaming devices. This does not currently include the Roku TV (HDTV’s with Roku functions built in) but it is planned to be released in the future.
Two of the big features with the Google Play channel is access to many movies before they are available on DVD or Blu-ray or even many other streaming services. In addition, the Info Cards features can allow viewers to access additional information such as actors that are on-screen by simply pausing the movie in the player.
And if you happen to have a Roku device but don’t have a Google Play account, you can apparently sign up for the account through the application and then receive a complimentary copy of X-Men which can be accessed through the Gifts from Google option.
Just last week I wrote an article discussing two factor authentication as a means for increasing the security of online accounts. Most of these systems work upon a setup that requires access to either an email account or a smartphone that will receive a message to allow you to then get through the standard login procedure. The problem is that we don’t always have access to our email or phone to receive this secondary step which then results in the inability to access the account. Today, Google announced that they have setup a new method that users can do in order to access their Google accounts and services when they don’t have access to their phones.
Google is a new method that allows users to setup a special USB storage device to acts as a key when they login to Google services. In essence, when you normally would be prompted to access the secondary authentication factor, you would instead access the Security Key to finish the validation. There are restrictions to the use of the method though.
- The USB key used to create the Security Key must be one that supports the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standards. Most of the USB flash keys you have probably do not have this as it is relatively new but looks like it will be widely supported.
- This method can only be used on non-mobile devices like a laptop or desktop systems. If you have a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) that is attempting to connect, it should be able to use the other two step verification methods.
- The Security Key validation system will only work with the Chrome browser (version 38 or higher). This means if your PC is using a different browser, you are out of luck.
- Security Key does not work on the ChromeOS (Chromebooks, Chomebox, etc) in the guest mode.
The best part of this system is that the Security Key does not record any of your account information. Anyone that has the key will not be able to login to your accounts by just plugging it into a computer. Users can also login to Google through the other verification methods and disable the key and create a new one.
While not available for ordering till the 17th, Google decided to announce its new Nexus 9 tablet prior to Apple’s big event tomorrow. At first glace, the device looks to be very similar to what Apple launched last year with its iPad Air but of course their are some differences between the two that give the Nexus the edge but that could change dramatically once Apple announces their new version of the iPad. So what exactly does hits new 9-inch tablet offer? Continue reading
Today kicks off the Google I/O conference where they announce to developers upcoming software and products. This year’s conference was a major event because they announced a huge number of items. Based upon what they announced, Google wants to basically get into every aspect of your digital life. In essence, they are trying to tie just about anything into their Android operating system which is used by the majority of smartphones on the market.
New Version Of Android Coming
The main purpose of the Google I/O conference is to highlight the next version of Android, dubbed Android L at this point. This looks to be a major redesign of the interface that also introduces a whole ton of new features that tie into other announcements at the conference. In terms of appearance, it is going to have a more flat design to try and bring together smartphones and tablets into a more unified experience. Graphics support and performance are both being improved which is pretty much expected in just about any update. In addition to these, Google is introducing better ways for developers to try and improve battery life and also introducing a new battery saver mode to help extend running times.
There are no official products announced at this time that will be using the new Android L operating system but the first products should reach market sometime this fall. It should also be noted that this OS is going to be used for a wider variety of applications than just smartphones and tablets. Continue reading
Google has been working on self-driving car technology for some time. I jokingly mentioned to a colleague that they were probably doing this to automate their Google Street View images instead of hiring fleets of drivers whose sole job it is to drive around in specially equipped cars. At the end of May though, the company announced their intention to bring an actual self-driving car prototype to the streets of Silicon Valley this summer. The cars are very different from past conversions in that they intend the vehicles to be fully autonomous except for a start button and some form of voice input so the passenger can state their destination. The vehicles are limited to just 25 mph in speed for use on city streets not unlike the special city cars that are based upon golf carts. But is this something that consumers will want to use? Continue reading