Tag Archives: google

Google and iFixit Launch a Pixel Parts Program

Good news is coming for Pixel users! Google and iFixit are launching a genuine Pixel spare parts program later this year. This will allow Pixel users to fix their own phones, or to bring their Pixel to sites that partner with Google.

Google announced that starting later this year, genuine Pixel spare parts will be available for purchase at iFixit.com for Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro, as well as future Pixel models. This will launch in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and EU countries where Pixel is available. The full range of spare parts for common Pixel phone repairs – things like batteries, replacement displays, cameras, and more – will be available either individually or in iFixit Fix Kits, which include tools like screwdriver bits and spudgers.

iFixit announced that they are working with Google to sell genuine parts for Pixel phones, starting later this year. iFixit will be continuing to write their step-by-step Google Pixel phone repair guides, which are comprehensive going all the way back to the original Pixel. Repair guides are lie for every Pixel through the Pixel 5, and they are writing guides for the 5a, 6, and 6 Pro right now.

iFixit points out that their parts selection will include everything you need for the most common Google Pixel repairs – batteries, displays, cameras and more. They will sell them both individually and as part of Fix Kits, which include all the tools you need to fix your Google Pixel, from screwdrivers to spudgers.

The full set of tools in iFixit’s Pixel repair kits include:

  • iOpener (iFixit’s opening tool designed to apply heat directly and evenly to case components joined with adhesive)
  • Replacement pre-cut adhesive
  • iFixit Opening Picks (Set of 6)
  • Spudger
  • iFixit Opening Tool
  • Suction Handle
  • Angled Tweezers
  • Precision Bit Driver with integrated SIM Eject Tool
  • 4mm Precision Bits appropriate for the specific phone

The upcoming launch of Google and iFixit’s ability to get genuine Pixel parts to those who want to fix their phones themselves, or those who want places like iFixit to do that for them, is a good idea. It follows a similar effort done by Microsoft and iFixit (in 2021) to allow independent repairers, Microsoft Authorized Service Providers, Microsoft Experience Centers, and Microsoft Commercial customers to purchase Microsoft service tools for Surface devices directly from iFixit.

YouTube Has Blocked Russia’s Parliamentary Channel’s Account

Reuters reported that YouTube has blocked Duma TV, which broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament, drawing an angry response from officials who said the world’s most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response.

According to Reuters, a message on YouTube said the Duma channel had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” YouTube (owned by Alphabet, Inc.) had been under pressure from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and officials were quick to respond.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhrova posted on Telegram: “From the look of it, YouTube has signed its own warrant. Save content, transfer (it) to Russian platforms. And hurry up.”

Roskomnadzor reportedly asked Google to restore access to the Duma channel immediately. “The American IT company adhere to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” Roskomnadzor said.

CNN reported a quote from a Google spokesperson. “Google is committed to compliance with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes.”

Here is what stands out to me: there are other video streaming services that Russia could potentially use now that their lower house of parliament’s YouTube channel is gone. Perhaps they could try to use Twitch, or Vimeo?

Twitter allows people to post short videos, and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram also can be used to post videos. Why isn’t Russia using those platforms? Oh, that’s right. It is because Russia itself restricted access to all of those platforms. According to Reuters, Russia also tried to ban Telegram, which is now widely used by their officials, but lifted its ban in mid-2020.

In my opinion, Russia’s lower house of parliament is trying to make the loss of their YouTube channel into something that it isn’t. Google is well known for blocking videos and channels that break their Terms of Service.

Google Suspended Ads in Russia

Google late Thursday suspended all advertising in Russia, a move that came shortly after the country’s communication censor accused the company’s YouTube video service of spreading misinformation and stoking protests, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google said the new mandate covers YouTube, search and display marketing in Russia. Earlier this week, Google blocked access to Russian state-owned media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe in compliance with a European Union sanctions order. In addition, Google said it recently began blocking ads related to the conflict that seek to take advantage of the situation and that it paused monetization of Russian state-funded media across its platforms.

These changes come after Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Federov, tweeted (on February 26, 2021): “I’ve addressed the @Google to stop supplying Google services and products to Russian Federation. Including blocking access to Google market and Google Pay. We are sure this will motivate proactive youth to stop this war!”

Between that tweet, and the tweets posted by Mykhailo Federov in which he asked gaming companies to leave the Russian market, it appears that he is among the most influential voices from Ukraine right now. Some gaming companies have suspended sales of their games in Russia and Belarus. Others have blocked payments in rubles.

The New York Times reported: Google has taken a cautious approach with the Russian government throughout the crisis, because it has more than 100 employees on the ground in the country. In the past, Russian government had threatened to prosecute individual employees of companies that run afoul of the country’s rules.

According to The New York Times, Google said it would no longer permit content from Russian state media to appear on Google News. In addition, the Ukrainian Government asked Google to restrict RT and other Russian YouTube channels in Ukraine – and Google complied.

A paragraph from The New York Times article stuck with me. “The Russian demands to Google are the latest example of how the internet platforms of the world’s largest technology companies are becoming battle grounds for how information is shared during the conflict.”

I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before. I’m hoping that social media companies will become faster at removing misinformation campaigns from their platforms. Eventually, those who want to spread propaganda will have fewer and fewer platforms they can post it on.

Google Introduces the Privacy Sandbox

Google has introduced the Privacy Sandbox. This news was announced on Google’s The Keyword blog. The purpose of this new feature appears to be to “evolve how digital advertising works to improve user privacy.”

Today, we’re announcing a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions. Specifically, these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID. We’re also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection, including safer ways to integrate with advertising SDK’s.

Google claims that the goal with the Privacy Sandbox on Android is to develop effective privacy enhancing advertising solutions, where users know their information is protected, and developers and businesses have the tools to succeed on mobile.

Google acknowledges that “other platforms have taken a different approach to ads privacy, bluntly restricting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers” Google believes that those approaches are ineffective.

It is possible that Google is referring to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, which allows Apple users to diminish the amount of data apps can collect, lets them know what is shared and how it is used, and gives users the ability to turn all of that off.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple’s changes “have already upended the digital-ad industry and contributed to a wipeout of more than $300 billion from Meta’s market value.”

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Google’s new restrictions to curtail tracking across apps on Android smartphones is “putting restraints on an advertising industry that has covertly collected data across billions of mobile devices.” Google plans to keep supporting current smartphone identifiers for at least the next two years to give the ad industry notice before any changes.

According to The Wall Street Journal, one proposal would have users’ Android devices track their app usage and analyze it on their devices, rather than sending raw usage information to outside companies. The phones will then tell third parties the user’s interests so they can be targeted with relevant ads without the advertisers knowing that user’s smartphone identifier.

Personally, I think that Google should do better. Allowing third-parties to send Android users targeted ads based on the user’s interests certainly doesn’t sound like something a Privacy Sandbox should be doing.

Google Announces Qaya for Creators

Google announced Qaya, which will enable people to create new digital businesses. The announcement was made in a post on The Keyword, written by Nathaniel Naddaff-Hafrey, Co-Founder and GM, Qaya.

Qaya is a small and agile team dedicated to helping creators build businesses on the web. Our project began with a simple idea: creators are the next generation of entrepreneurs. As the CEOs of their own businesses, they need the same commercial tools as any successful founder. Since we began live testing in early 2021, we’ve learned a lot from creators on Qaya, their fans, and other creator economy projects.

According to Nathaniel Naddaff-Hafry, “Creators on Qaya sell everything from trapeze workout guides to wellness training videos, photo filters, beat packs, ASMR read-aloud, productivity templates, knitting patterns and much more. We support pay-gated and free products, with tipping, subscription, and other monetization types coming soon.”

The Qaya website is available for interested creators to view. The site encourages people who want to get early access to sign up and choose their store name.

9to5Google reported that Qaya makes it easy for creatures to make centralized web storefronts. In addition to having a centralized hub, Google says users will be able to “design a personalized storefront” that visually scales from desktop to mobile, complete with links to all your social platforms and other sides. Qaya provides stats, customer management tools, and other analytics.

Right now, Qaya is “focused on the U.S.” but hopes to bring Qaya to more countries soon. They are also exploring ways to support creators as they experiment with other types of digital goods.

In my opinion, Qaya is Google’s way of competing with Patreon, Ko-fi, and other similar services. I suppose a creator who uses Patreon, or Ko-fi, might want to try out Qaya, just to see how it works. It might be possible to keep up with more than one of these types of platforms. The risk is that a creator’s followers and fans won’t want to move over to Qaya.

Google Enables Alternative Billing System in South Korea

Google plans to continue charging South Korean app developers a service fee for in-app purchases, even as users for the first time globally can choose to use third-party payment platforms rather than Google’s, The Wall Street Journal reported. In an announcement, Google outlined how it plans to comply with a South Korean law that took effect in September.

According to The Wall Street Journal, it was the first bill challenging Google’s and Apple’s dominance over how apps on their platforms sell their digital goods – and offered, in theory, a way for developers to lower commissions and cut prices for consumers.

The Google Developers blog posted “Enabling alternative billing systems for users in South Korea”. It was written by Senior Director of Public Policy, Wilson White.

Here are some key points from the Google Developers blog:

  •  In response to the recent legislation, developers will now be able to add an alternative in-app billing system, alongside Google Play’s billing system, for their mobile and tablet users in South Korea. At checkout, users will be able to choose which billing system to use.
  •  We work hard to keep users safe and maintain the experience they have come to expect from apps and games downloaded from Google Play. Alternative billing systems may not offer the same protections or payment options and features of Google Play’s billing system – such as parental controls, family payment methods, subscription management, Google Play gift cards, and Play Points.
  •  In this year alone, more than 1.5 million users in South Korea have used Play Points, collectively accruing over 20 billion points in their accounts, which they are unable to use on alternative billing systems. South Korean consumers value these features of Google Play’s billing ecosystem, and we believe it’s critical to continue to offer them the choice to use Google Play billing if they desire.
  •  97% of developers don’t sell digital content and are not subject to any service fee for having their apps displayed in the Play Store…. For the remaining 3% of developers who do sell digital content, we’ve tailored our fee structure with different programs to meet different businesses’ needs, so that 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% or less.

My understanding of this is that Google acknowledges the new South Korean law and intends to comply with it by giving developers and game players the ability to use an alternate payment system instead of Google Play. However, Google’s explanation appears to be an effort to dissuade people from using anything other than Google Play’s payment system.

Google to Provide Protections for Kids Under 18

Google announced they are adding protections for kids and teenagers who are under the age of 18. Google posted this information on The Keyword.

According to Google, they already provide a range of removal options for people using Google Search. In the coming weeks, Google will introduce a new policy that enables anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google image results. Google points out that removing the image from search does not remove it from the web. The company believes this change will help give young people more control over their images online.

Here are more details:

YouTube: Google is changing the default upload setting to the most private option available for teens ages 13-17. They will also “more prominently surface” digital wellbeing features and provide safeguards and education about commercial content.

Search: Google highlights SafeSearch, which helps filter out explicit results when enabled and is already on by default for all signed-in users under the age of 13 who have accounts managed by Family Link. In the coming months, Google will turn on SafeSearch for existing users under 18 and make this the default setting for teens setting up new accounts.

Assistant: In the coming months, Google will apply their SafeSearch technology to the web browser and on smart displays for all signed in users under 13 who have accounts managed by Family Link.

Location History: Google says Location History is already off by default for all accounts, and children with supervised accounts don’t have the option of turning Location History on. Soon, Google will extend this to users under the age of 18 globally, meaning that Location History will remain off (without the option to turn it on).

Play: Google is launching a new safety section that will let parents know which apps follow Google’s Families policies. Apps will be required to disclose how they use the data they collect in greater detail, making it easier for parents to decide if the app is right for their child before they download it.

The New York Times reported that there is growing bipartisan support in Washington to press technology companies to do more to protect children. Google has faced scrutiny over its handling of data related to children multiple times.