Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2012 - 07:01 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SSL, search, international, google, encryption
Google recently announced on their Inside Search blog that the company would be rolling out the default SSL encrypted search option for users signed in with a Google account internationally. Previously, the company made SSL encryption the default setting for Gmail and provided an alternative encrypted.google.com webpage for users that wanted to opt in to encrypted search. Earlier this year, they began testing SSL encrypted search and search results pages for users signed into Google in the US, and they are now ready to expand the default setting to international users.
They announced that over the next few weeks, they will begin introducing an SSL (secure socket layer) encrypted search page for localized international google pages such as google.co.uk (United Kingdom) and google.fr (France) among others. Further, they hope that their increased SSL commitment will encourage other websites to enable SSL on their domains to protect users from MITM (man in the middle) attacks and to ensure their sessions stay private.
More encryption is a good thing, and international users will be pleased to finally get a taste of it for their google search queries, especially now that the big G has enabled personalized search results.
Yesterday morning the Internet juggernaut that is Google announced that its public DNS service has far surpassed their expectations for the experimental service. In fact, the company has taken the 'beta service' training wheels off of what they believe to be "the largest public DNS service in the world," and their statement that they are now handling 70 billion requests a day means the claim may not be far from the truth.
Interestingly, 70% of the service's users come from outside of the US, and Google has announced that they are beefing up their overseas presence to service them with new access points in Australia, India, Japan, and Nigeria. Further, they are expanding their offerings in Asia in addition to maintaining the current servers in North America, South America, and Europe.
The company is continuing to provide their DNS service for free, and they ended their announcementby stating "Google Public DNS’s goal is simple: making the web—really, the whole Internet!—faster for our users."
For those curious, DNS is the technology that allows users to punch in easy to remember text URLs and have their computers connect to the proper servers via numerical IP addresses (which are definitely not as easy to remember). It has been likened to the Internet equivalent of a phone book, and that description is an apt one as DNS servers maintain a running list of IP addresses and the accompanying URL (universal resource locator) so that humans can input a text URL and connect to servers using an IP address. DNSSEC makes things a bit more complicated as it adds further layers of security, but on a basic level the description fits.
DNS benchmark "namebench" results
There are several free offerings besides the DNS services provided by your ISP, and open source tools like Name Bench can help you track down which DNS service is the fastest for you. Users connect to DNS servers using an IP address on one of several levels (in software, at the computer level, or at the router level, et al), and for the majority of people your modem and/or router will obtain the default DNS automatically from your ISP along with your IP.
The default DNS is not your only option, however. Further, many routers can support up to three DNS IP addresses, and by connecting to multiple (separate) services you can achieve a bit of redundancy and maybe even a bit of speed. A fast DNS server can result in much faster web page load times, especially for sites that you don't normally go to (and thus are not cached).
In the case of the Google Public DNS, they operate on the following IP addresses.
(The latter two are IPv6 addresses, and were announced on World IPv6 Day.)
If you have not looked into alternative DNS services, I encourage you to do so as they can often be faster and more reliable than the default ISP provided servers (though that is not always the case). It does not take much time to test and is an easy configuration tweak that can save you a bit of time in getting to each web page (like PC Perspective!). Have you tried out Google or other alternative DNS services, and did you see any improvements?
The Prime seems to have no trouble achieving notable firsts. It was the first tablet with a Tegra 3 processor to go to retail, and now it’s the first tablet to have official Ice Cream Sandwich support. The update, scheduled originally for January 12th, actually went live after a surprise announcement on January 9th during Nvidia’s CES conference.
Since we still have our Prime review unit, this update provides us with a unique opportunity to compare Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich side-by-side on the same device. This update is important for the Prime - and all upcoming Android tablets - because the operating system is something that’s currently holding back a number of products with great hardware.
Honeycomb was never an OS that impressed me. It’s often jerky, lacks elegance, and has poor app support. So long as Honeycomb was the version of Android shipping on tablets there was simply no chance for an Android tablet to defeat the iPad 2. The software simply wasn’t up to the high standard set by iOS.
Ice Cream Sandwich is a chance at redemption. The rumors have spread like wildfire. Various sources have reported improvements including better multi-core support, a faster web browser, improved notifications and much more. Official announcements have generally limited themselves to commenting on feature improvements, however - going into the ICS update I didn’t have any expectations for performance improvements because none were ever provided by Google. Nvidia also never set any expectations about the improvements, if any, we’d see from Tegra 3 processors running ICS.
Now that the Prime is updated we can test ICS out for ourselves. Let’s jump in, starting with the interface updates.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2012 - 11:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, CES 2012, CES, Android
Android is known for many things: relatively free and open, flexible, creepy little green dudes, and patent warfare. Consistent design is not one of those points. This year, towards the end of CES, Google announced and released the Android application design guide for developers interested in creating for Ice Cream Sandwich. As a result of the announcement, Joshua Topolsky sat down with Matias Duarte, the Google director of Android user experience, for a video interview. Listen in for all of the tough questions and see Google sweat.
Make it Google. Please, for the love of all that is holy... make it Google.
The purpose of the design specification is not to force developers into a single static design such as what could be seen in other, more curated marketplaces. The purpose of the design specification is to show people what Google considers a good design choice in an assortment of situations and hope that people follow suit. The idea is that when given a default choice a developer would need to go out of their way to invent their own solution; once enough developers follow suit it then becomes more difficult to invent your own solution as your customers are already conditioned to a standard method.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 01:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: search, mozilla, google, firefox
Mozilla, the company behind the popular open source Firefox web browser receives a great deal of revenue from it's deal with Google wherein they make Google the default search engine and prominent placement in the search box. The deal between the two companies was set to end this year, and there was talk around the web that Google was set to not renew the deal now that its own web browser, Chrome, was gaining market share. Needless to say, such a deal ending would be very bad for Mozilla and the continued development of the Firefox browser.
Fortunately, according to Tom's Hardware, Mozilla has managed to renew the Firefox Google search deal for an additional three years. While the exact amount of money Mozilla is paid by Google for the search box deal, the deal's extension speaks well to Mozilla's financial stability, and should give them time to build up their browser and explore additional revenue opportunities. Firefox currently holds about a quarter of the browser market, and its continued development is important to keeping the competition on its toes and prodding IE into being standards compliant. The site quoted Mozilla's CEO Gary Kovacs in stating "this new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years," and that the deal between Mozilla and Google was "significant and mutually beneficial."
Are you glad that Firefox is going to stick around? The comment form is always open.
Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2011 - 10:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: voip, google, gmail
Just in time for the holidays, Google is extending the free domestic calling via the Gmail VOIP service another year. Last year the company extended the free computer to telephone VOIP service another year and now they are doing it again. “This is our way of helping you connect with friends and family across the country,” states their recent blog entry.
In case you haven’t used the Gmail VOIP service yet, it is similar to the computer to computer and computer to cellphone (or land line) calling that you can do in Google Voice, only this is integrated into Gmail. It does require a small browser plug-in; however, it is worth it. Accessing it by clicking on the “Call a phone” link in the Gmail sidebar (in the chat/SMS section), you are able to put that headset to work by calling anyone in the US and Canada for free. I’ve used it a couple of times and found it to be rather handy for quick conversations while at my computer. Have you tried it out yet, and did you find it useful?
Subject: Mobile | November 22, 2011 - 02:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: transformer prime, tegra 3, nvidia, ice cream sandwich, google, eee pad, asus
The world’s first quad-core mobile processor was recently made official with our announcement of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, which will debut in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android tablet. Following on Google’s release of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) source code last week, we thought you’d like an early demo of ICS running on the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.
Google has done a great job on ICS and has made the platform open to the ecosystem and easy to develop on. Thanks to Google’s developer support, NVIDIA’s experienced software team was able to work with ASUS to quickly bring up Android 4.0 ICS on the Transformer Prime.
Recorded on November 16, only two short days after the source code for ICS was made publicly available, the video below shows the next-gen Android OS user interface looking clean and snappy on the Transformer Prime. This is just a sneak peak of things to come for the first Tegra 3-powered Android tablet.
This is just an early demo, but we think you’ll agree it’s extremely impressive that so much is already working well. Check out the flawless1080p video playback and quick demo of the quad-core optimized Riptide GP game in the video below.
Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2011 - 01:19 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: google, Internet, social networking
If you've spent any time using Google's new Plus (+) social network for the past few months, the lack of business and brand pages has likely made itself readily apparent. While Google has been working on a method for allowing businesses and brands to join in on the Google + fun for some time now, it has been in a very limited capacity. Until yesterday, that is. The big G has finally taken the velvet ropes and training wheels off of the business pages, and opened up a new Pages feature to everyone. What this means for you, fine readers, is that we are finally (unfortunately I was never able to pester Google enough to allow us beta access ;) ) able to fill that small void in your Google + world with your very own Official PC Perspective Google + Page!
Now do you see why I'm excited? It's PC Per on your Google + (what could be better?)!
What the new business pages bring to the table is the ability for cool things that are not people to finally join the social network, obviously. The Pages are then able to represent the brand in much the same capacity as a person is able to interact with the service by adding and following others, starting and joining hangouts, and sharing text, photos, videos, and links with people in the group's circle(s). Where the business pages differentiate themselves from a normal user is in the new +Direct Connect service. This allows people to jump straight to any brand (with a Google+ Page) they want simply by searching Google with a plus (+) sign followed by the name of the brand they want to connect with. For example, users are able to jump straight to the Angry Birds page by typing "+Angry Birds" into a Google search. Pretty neat. The new feature is only available for certain brands right now but will roll out to every Google + page shortly.
Vic Gundotra, the Senior VP of Engineering stated that although the Google + Pages are now live, they still have a slew of new features to implement before they will be complete and the programmers can get some rest. "Stay Tuned," he ends. What sort of additional functionality would you like to see in Pages? Feel free to head over to the PC Perspective page and let us know what you think!
Introduction, Specs, Design and Ergonomics
Samsung's Galaxy S II smartphone debuted in the U.S. with Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile in September and we finally got our hands on a review sample. The Samsung smartphone runs on Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system and includes an 8 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p video, front facing 2 MP camera, and Samsung’s custom TouchWiz user interface.
T-Mobile and Sprint’s version sports a 4.52-inch display, but AT&T’s version has a 4.3-inch screen that matches the original international version of the Galaxy S II. We are reviewing T-Mobile's Galaxy S II with 16GB of internal memory (there are two options for 16 and 32 GB). The Sprint and AT&T versions are outfitted with a dual-core 1.2 GHz Orion processor, but the T-Mobile version we are reviewing today sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU.
Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2011 - 09:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Internet, google, chrome, browser
Google has been playing around with the "new tab" page in the beta and development builds of Chrome to streamline the interface, and the company has recently rolled one such update into the latest stable release of the popular browser.
The new tab page is the page that you are presented with when first firing up Chrome or hitting the new tab button(s). The new interface is much more streamlined than the old one, and has rearranged several items. The old interface showed everything all on one canvas; however, the updated new tab page has separated the most visited tabs from the Chrome Apps which now have their own page. Users are able to navigate between the most visited tabs page and applications page by clicking on the tabs at the bottom of the screen or moving the mouse to the side of the browser window and using the arrows that appear upon mouse-over.
Further, where the recently visited/closed web pages horizontal list resided below the most visited tabs on the old interface, in the new interface Google has decided to hide the recently used list. It can now be accessed by clicking on a menu item in the bottom right corner of the browser window.
Google has also made it a bit easier to organize applications. You can now click and drag applications around to organize them. When clicking and holding an application, a new recycle bin option appears in the lower right corner of the window that will allow you to remove applications. Removing is now a matter of clicking and dragging items into the "Remove from Chrome" area. This remove / uninstall feature is also available when clicking and holding on the most visited tabs on the tabs page. Finally, the various icons have been given a slight makeover and now are presented with a shiny mouse-over effect.
Google has provided a quick video overview of the interface changes.
Personally, after playing around with the new interface for a few hours now I prefer it to the old way of doing things as it allows for larger "most visited" icons due to having a greater percentage of the Chrome window area available to it (as opposed to the old interface where it was a bit crowded and things tended to fight to attention). Further, I rarely use the applications, so having them hidden away in their own section is okay with me. It definitely seems to have been (at least slightly) by tablets and touch interfaces; however, unlike Netflix's recent tablet inspired redesign i actually like the improvements Google has made. What are your thoughts on the improvements?
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