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E-commerce giant Flipkart launched an app-like mobile Web browser experience on Monday called Flipkart Lite, optimised for low-bandwidth connections and offering app-like features like push notifications and home screen access.

The mobile browser experience, which went live on Monday, works exclusively on Google Chrome – and is a return to the mobile Web for the company after it was shut in April as the first step in the company’s app-only model.

The browser-app hybrid experience – called Flipkart Lite – can be added to the home screen, and has a fluid and dynamic user experience that feels like an app. Product listings on the mobile Web experience trail with a notification box that says offers will be available exclusively on Flipkart’s app, with a link to it. Features like Ping, its internal messenger, were not available on the browser version.

Flipkart partnered with Google to build the mobile website, optimising it to make use of Google Chrome’s newly supported notifications feature, alongside home screen access. Re/code reportsFlipkart had access to three new tools from Google’s Chrome team, including Service Workers, meant to aid development for poor Internet connections .

The report quotes Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, a Chrome product manager, to say Flipkart is the first to take advantage of all the new tools, adding Google hopes other websites will follow suit.

E-commerce companies have been harping about higher retention rates on app-using customers, but it remains to be seen how it compares to the browser Web experience – and whether the consumer will choose one in particular over the other.

Flipkart’s fashion brand Myntra, which went app-only recently, hasn’t gone live with the Chrome experience yet, and may very well be next in line, along with other brands and businesses.

The mobile site launch seems to have been on the cards since April, when Flipkart hired former Google-executive Peeyush Ranjan as CTO and Head of Engineering.

The move puts a new spin on the app vs Web argument that Flipkart had been mired in all year – and was reportedly looking to shut down the desktop version of the e-commerce website as well. In a recent interview, Chief Product Officer Punit Soni, had clarified that Flipkart will not be going app-only.

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Google loses data at its Belgium data centre as lightning strikes

You can protect yourself against manmade attacks but you are woefully unprepared to face God’s wrath. This came true for the global search giant, Google when its data centre in Belgium was struck by lightning four times in a row.

The lightning strike was so fierce that it wiped data from one of the disks at its Google Compute Engine (GCE) storage system marking it permanently unusable.

In an online statement, Google said that just 0.000001% of disk space was permanently affected.

“Although automatic auxiliary systems restored power quickly, and the storage systems are designed with battery backup, some recently written data was located on storage systems which were more susceptible to power failure from extended or repeated battery drain,” it said.

Google said that some of the affected disks later became recoverable but some hardware at the data center has suffered irreversible data loss.

Google operates GCE service which allows its worldwide customers to store data and run virtual computers in the cloud. Google statement did not give a list of the clients who could have lost the data and how it will recoup their damages.

The company said it would continue to upgrade hardware to improve data retention and improve response procedures for system engineers during future incidents.

Unlucky strike

Google’s Belgian data center hosting the GCE was struck by lightning four successive times. Experts say that lightning does not need to strike a building in exactly the same spot more than once to cause additional damage.

Justin Gale, project manager for the lightning protection service Orion, said lightning could strike power or telecommunications cables connected to a building at a distance and still cause disruptions.

“The cabling alone can be struck anything up to a kilometre away, bring [the shock]back to the data centre and fuse everything that’s in it,” he said.

And James Wilman, engineering sales director for the data centre consultants Future-Tech, said that though such data centers are designed to withstand lightning strikes via a network of conductive lightning rods, it was not impossible for strikes to get through.

“Everything in the data centre is connected one way or another,” he said. “If you get four large strikes it wouldn’t surprise me that it has affected the facility.”

We all know NSA is powerful. Getting into your email accounts and accessing all the private information that include your pictures, voice calls, private webcam photos, your passwords and they can even watch your Skype sessions just by typing your name and email address. And this is just the beginning. No one knows how far is NSA’s reach and if something called “Private” still exists with the national agency lurking in the shadow keeping an eye over you 24/7.

Now the question arises is “Is there any extent to NSA’s breach?” and more importantly, “How do they DO that?” The answer to the first question is a grim NO. And the next one is in a top secret and classified 48 paged documents provided by none other than NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents have been published by The Intercept on Wednesday that date back to 2013. These documents have once again brought NSA under scrutiny and their spying policies. The keyword in that pile of documents is XKEYSCORE.

Used just like common man’s Google, XKEYSCORE is NSA’s tool of mass survilliance and it can collect and store data from across the globe for 3 to 5 days, and the important meta data up to 45 days. The documents reveal that there are tens of billions of records stored in the NSA’s database while the XKEYSCORE program runs across thousands of servers globally, thus increasing its processing power and storage capabilities.

NSA has itself referred XKEYSCORE as its “widest reaching” system. The government agency has previously used XKEYSCORE to steal millions of encryption keys that are used to protect cell phone privacy by hacking inside the world’s biggest SIM card provider Gemalto. The program had been even used to spy on U.N. Secretory General Ban Ki-moon to know his points of discussion before his meeting with President Barack Obama.

When it comes to spying on the general public, NSA uses XKEYSCORE to analyze your Facebook and Twitter activities. Even the iOS and Android apps that garner your data after you accept their license agreements are used to track you down by NSA. According to the report by The Intercept, smartphones connections were tracked by XKEYSCORE to app marketplaces of Samsung and Google.

The XKEYSCORE program is very easy to learn and use as per the CEO of Toucan Systems. It is analogous to common man’s Google. Just type the name of the targeted server into XKEYSCORE and then press enter; and there you are with the login and password pairs.

Not only USA but different nations have access to XKEYSCORE. Canada, New Zealand and UK are some of them that use the mass surveillance program to hack into the world’s biggest domains for their personal interests.

NSA has claimed that this program has been developed to fight against terror, but its actions tell an entirely story. So much lost are the government agencies to secure their countries that they are making their own citizens insecure. It seems that privacy laws do not even exist in the country and neither do the security agency cares.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. With XKEYSCORE as their weapon, right now I’m feeling uneasy about writing this article. So that’s it by me, For now…

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Source : The Intercept

The major tech companies including Google, Facebook, and Yahoo! have joined their hands to launch a new program meant to block fake web traffic by blacklisting flagged IP addresses.

Today, majority of data center traffic is non-human or illegitimate, so to fight against this issue the Trustworthy Accountability Group(TAG) has announced a program that will tap into Google’s internal data-center blacklist to filter bots.

The new pilot program will reject traffic from web robots or bots by making use of a blacklist, cutting a significant portion of web traffic from within data centers, said Google Ad Manager Vegard Johnsen.

Google or any other big tech firm maintains a Blacklist that lists suspicious IP addresses of computer systems in data centers that may be trying to trick the human into clicking on advertisements. Google’s DoubleClick blacklist alone blocked some 8.9% of data-center trafficback in May.

Facebook and Yahoo to Contribute

Apart from Google, TAG’s new program will take help from other industry leaders, including Facebook, Yahoo, Dstillery, MediaMath, Quantcast, Rubicon Project and TubeMogul, to share their own internal data-center blacklists.

“By pooling our collective efforts and working with industry bodies, we can create strong defenses against those looking to take advantage of our ecosystem,” Johnsen said in a blog post.“We look forward to working with the TAG Anti-fraud working group to turn this pilot program into an industry-wide tool.”

Click fraud have become a major issue for big companies as it steals money from advertisers and reduces faith in online campaigns.

Fraudsters are making Millions

Some publishers even run specialized tools in data centers that generate fraudulent ad impressions to inflate user clicks.Two such tools are listed below:

UrlSpiritHitLeap

UrlSpirit is a software that serves as a form of botnet. Named URLs are distributed among Internet Explorer (IE) instances running on most of the data center boxes that operate UrlSpirit.

The search engine giant discovered nearly 6,500 installations of UrlSpirit generating 500 Million fake ad requests or an average of 2,500 ad requests per installation per day.

On the other hand, HitLeap is another software that uses the Chromium Embedded Framework, instead of Internet Explorer.

HitLeap is larger with 4,800 installations network of which 16% are operating in data centers.

Mike Zaneis, Trustworthy Accountability Group’s chief executive, declared its new pilot program would also tackle fraudulent advertisements.

“This program is another piece of the interlocking set of solutions TAG is building to fight fraud across the entire ecosystem,” says Zaneis. “The industry is galvanizing its efforts and we will win the war against fraud.”

TAG will soon release a set of principles for online users comments that will be then incorporated into the final pilot program. The ad fraud detection tool will be available to the public by the end of 2015.

You might have witnessed many of your friends having a multicolored filter over their existing profile photo as scroll through your wall on Facebook. This can be witnessed because the social media giant is also supporting the verdict of the supreme court of USA over same sex marriage. Hence, Facebook has introduced a new feature that lets users show off their support for marriage equality by superimposing a rainbow filter over their profile picture.

As yesterday was the major day in the history of LGBT law as the supreme court of United States of America made same sex marriage a legal act. CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally announced the Celebrate Pride tool on his personal page following the US Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. Zuckerberg also changed his profile picture supporting the verdict of the apex authority.

Whereas Zuckerberg added in his post “Our country was founded on the promise that all people are created equal, and today we took another step towards achieving that promise. I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recognized as equal couples under the law. We still have much more to do to achieve full equality for everyone in our community, but we are moving in the right direction.”

This very new feature allows users to superimpose a rainbow over their profile picture with a click of a button, and let them express their support for the LGBT community.

Apart from Facebook other IT giants such as Google, Apple, Uber too have voiced their support for gay marriages on social media channels throughout the day. Whereas on Twitter, you can automatically make a tiny rainbow heart appear in your tweet by including the #LoveWins hashtag.

Google is making it safer and easier to add third-party accounts to Gmail for Android. Soon Gmail users will see the option to add Microsoft and Yahoo accounts via OAuth. That means users will no longer have to enter their user names and passwords into Gmail for Android to add these services.

Instead, Gmail will rely on Microsoft and Yahoo for authorization. If you’re logged in to your Outlook.com account, for example, Microsoft will present users with a button to allow Gmail for Android to access your account. Once that’s done, Microsoft gives Gmail a token (basically a text file) that allows the app access to that account.

If the user isn’t logged in to Microsoft, they’ll have to go through the Outlook.com login process before getting to the OAuth screen.

While OAuth is new to Gmail for Android, it’s something most users should be familiar with. Anyone who’s ever authorized an app to access a Facebook or Twitter account, for example, will be immediately familiar with the Gmail for Android process.

The new Gmail for Android feature is rolling out now. Google says it should be available to all in the next few days.

The impact on you at home: OAuth support offers a higher degree of security, because you don’t have to enter your account details into Gmail for Android. That means an unknown vulnerability in Gmail for Android could never leak your Microsoft or Yahoo credentials, because it doesn’t have them. In the event of a hack, OAuth also allows you to quickly de-authorize Gmail for Android with one click from your Microsoft or Yahoo account settings. In addition, Google says OAuth makes it easier to use added security features like two-step verification, which typically won’t work when you enter a primary password directly into a third-party app.

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Starting from June, the Indian mobile users who have 2G networks (slow internet connections) will have a feature that will allow them to load search links faster. Google will launch Search Lite, which was already tested in Indonesia.

Back in October 2014, the US tech giant announced that Indian mobile Internet space will receive a new feature that can enable a faster search capability for smartphones, if the internet connection is weak. This announcement was made after Google released the Android One smartphones created in partnership with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice, which were extremely affordable for the Indian consumers. The average price of an Android One handset is Rs 6,399 ($100), and the specs are quite decent. But if the internet connection is poor, the users struggle to load search links and this is where the “Search Lite” feature comes into play.

According to Hiroto Tokusei, Search Product Manager, Google Inc, the feature detects when the mobile user has a slow network and Google helps the page load faster. There’s a video proving the capabilities of this feature by opening a page with a normal connection (in the left side of the screen) and being optimized with “Search Lite” (in the right side of the screen). You will see that the page opens in 7.5 seconds with Search Lite activated, while without the feature, it takes 114 seconds for the page to load.

Early this year, Google unveiled renderings of several clear, tent-like buildings that would replace its current Silicon Valley headquarters, known as the “Googleplex.” Renderings may be about as far as the idea is likely to go.

The city council handed LinkedIn about 1.4 million square feet, the lion’s share of roughly 2.2 million square feet of available commercial square footage for the area. Google came away with 515,000 square feet — enough for just one piece of its futuristic four-part campus expansion.Google received about 500,000 square feet, or about enough to build one of the four buildings it had proposed.

“To have one building — it’s a significant blow,” David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services for Google, told the council before the vote. Google representatives declined to talk to me after the meeting.“We know the City Council had a tough decision to make last night and thank them and our community for more than six hours of debate,” said David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president of real estate, in an emailed statement. He added that the company would “continue to work with the City on Google’s future in Mountain View.”

The outcome is clearly a huge disappointment for Google, which had requested essentially all of the available office space in February under a new city land-use plan that saw way more demand than supply. While no one expected Google to get all of its request, the relatively small allocation clearly stung the search giant, and a visibly upset Radcliffe openly questioned the reduced project’s feasibility.

The council decision, on a 4-3 vote, came at the stroke of midnight, six and a half hours after the meeting began. Council members tried to offer Google a lifeline, working in a possibility for further office growth. If Google were to tear down existing office space to build residential, Google could re-use that space in new office development elsewhere as long as traffic counts were kept at a minimum.

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No matter how cultured your security is, the biggest danger is always the same: users submitting their passwords by clicking the wrong links to the wrong websites. It is an awkward problem to solve, but Google has come up with a new concept to tackle it. It has developed a new extension for its Chrome browser that aims to stop people from falling prey to phishing sites.

The free Password Alert extension stores an encrypted version of a person’s password and warns if it is typed into a site that isn’t a Google sign-in page, according to a blog post on Wednesday. It will then prompt a person to change their password.

The extension works by examining a hashed version of your password in contrast to any string of characters you key into the browser. For example, you have entered your Google password in an non-Google website, it will redirect you to a warning page, indicating that something has gone wrong. (The user may also be using their Google password for more than one account, which may be a lesser security risk, but it will still remain a problem). Since Password Alert only keeps the hashed version of your password, it can carry out the check without revealing your actual password at any extra risk. Anyone managing a Google for Work account can also make Password Alert compulsory across their domain. The moment the employee gets an notification, the administrator will be simultaneously alerted of the same.

It’s also recommended that passwords not be reused, as a breach on another web service could allow access to a different one. Hackers often try to see if stolen credentials will unlock other accounts as well.Google also recommends people enable two-factor authentication, which involves entering a temporary passcode along with a username and password.

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Google Inc. said it would launch an experimental portal that allows interested patent holders to sell their patents to the company, i.e., it’s launching an experimental service that will act as marketplace for those interested in selling the company patents.

On its new online portal, patent holders will be able to essentially list the patents they have for sale, and set their own prices. The marketplace will not remain open indefinitely, however – instead, Google says that it will go live on May 8, 2015, and will be available through May 22, 2015. The decision to keep it open only for a limited time means Google will have to work quickly to determine which patents it wants to buy, which benefits sellers in need of a more immediate decision.

Google noted that the usual process of buying and selling patents can “be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls.” If Google decides to buy a patent, it says it will work through due diligence with the company, and close the transaction “in short order.” In fact, the company says it anticipates that all patent sellers will be paid by late August by way of ACH bank transfer.

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