Google releases Picasa 3.9.9.637 update

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Date: Monday, June 11th, 2012, 06:01
Category: News, Software

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Over the weekend, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.9.637, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed various crashes.

Picasa 3.9.9.637 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google unveils new 3D mapping feature for iOS, Android devices

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Date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012, 10:05
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

You can’t knock a kickass 3D mapping system, especially when it’s on your iPhone or iPad.

Google on Wednesday unveiled what it has promoted as the “next dimension” of its Maps service, with new full 3D renderings that were demonstrated live on an Apple iPad.

Google has been using automated technology to extract data from aerial models captured by airplanes owned by the company. With planes flying overhead in tightly controlled patterns snapping pictures, Google can use the imagery and data to create three-dimensional mapping imagery.



Images of the ground are snapped from 45 degrees at four angles, and those pictures and data can be combined to recreate maps in three dimensions. The whole process allows 3D maps to be built without human interaction, unlike with previous 3D imagery in Google Earth.

In a live event on Wednesday, Google demonstrated 3D models of individual buildings and entire cities. The new features were shown off to members of the press on an Apple iPad, rather than an Android-based tablet.

The company promised that its new 3D imagery will be coming to both iOS and Android devices “in the coming weeks.” The technology will be part of both the Google Maps service, as well as its Google Earth application.

By the end of the year, Google expects to have communities home to about 300 million people mapped in its new space.

Google also revealed that it will bring an offline version of its Maps software to Android devices. The company said it is “working very hard” to bring offline Maps to iOS as well, but did not offer any more information.

Wednesday’s media event comes just five days before Apple is set to hold its own keynote address at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. There, Apple is expected to unveil an all-new version of its Maps software for iOS that will ditch Google Maps.

Apple’s mapping intentions have been evident since at least 2009, when the company began acquiring mapping technology companies. The iPhone maker bought Placebase that year and then Poly9 in 2010. Last year, Apple bought Swedish 3D-mapping company C3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 19.0.1084.54

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Date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012, 06:27
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 19.0.1084.54 for the Mac. The new version, a 38.6 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Supports the Mac transition to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Google Chrome 19.0.1084.54 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple to transition from Google Maps to its own solution for iOS later this year

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Date: Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, 06:15
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

You’ll get from point A to point B, just via Apple’s way of doing it.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has made plans to break from Google Maps and use its own technology for the native Maps app on iOS later this year and could announce the feature at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Present and former Apple employees revealed to The Wall Street Journal that the Cupertino, Calif., company is set to bump Google’s maps service from its mobile OS. Apple would instead “release a new mapping app that runs Apple’s own technology,” the report said.

One source suggested that Apple may show off the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week. The company is reportedly looking to convince third-party application developers to implement its technology into their offerings.

The report went on to note that, according to tipsters at Apple, the plan to oust Google Maps has been in motion for years. The rapid rise of Android sales is believed to have quickened the pace of Apple’s plans.

The iPhone maker’s mapping intentions have been evident since at least 2009, when the company began acquiring mapping technology companies. The iPhone maker bought Placebase that year and then Poly9 in 2010. Last year, Apple bought Swedish 3D-mapping company C3.

The company also revealed last April that it was collecting data for a crowd-sourced “improved traffic service” for iPhone users. Given that the revelation came as a result of a location data controversy, Apple’s comments have been taken as referring to street traffic, though the company declined to provide further details.

Small steps have been taken to gradually wean iOS off Google Maps. In 2010, Apple notified U.S. senators that, beginning with iOS 3.2, it had begun relying on “its own databases” for location-based services and diagnostic purposes. In March, it was discovered that Apple had switched to OpenStreetMaps for the maps in its iPhoto iOS app.

Apple’s reported switch comes as location services are quickly attracting a significant percentage of advertising dollars. According to the Journal, Opus Research projects map- or location-related ads will comprise 25 percent of the estimated US$2.5 billion that will be spent on mobile ads this year. However, the report suggested that Apple’s move isn’t just about the money.

“But more than ad revenue, Apple is going after the map market to have more control over a key asset in the widening smartphone war,” the report read, noting that 90 percent of American iPhone owners use Google Maps. “So Apple believes controlling the mapping experience and offering features that Google doesn’t have can help sell more devices and entice developers to build unique apps for iPhone users.”

The maps issue has taken on greater importance as the relationship between Apple and Google has become increasingly complicated. The two companies were close partners for years, but have grown apart as they have become fierce competitors in several key markets, such as smartphones, tablets and advertising.

According to the report, Apple became concerned in 2008 that Google may have been compromising user privacy with its map program. Google executives, on the other hand, reportedly felt Apple was being too controlling. The Mountain View, Calif., search company is believed to have angered Apple leaders by withholding the Street View and turn-by-turn navigation features. Its demands were for better branding within the app and incorporation of its Latitude service, which Apple was unwilling to integrate.

The disagreement served as the impetus for Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ search for acquisitions to build out the company’s own mapping team, the report noted. The group from Poly9 allegedly became a secretive “geo” team within Apple. The employees were said to have built a new geocoder to replace Google’s own and began using it last fall.

Google hasn’t been sitting still either, though. Last week, the company sent out invites for an event that will show off the “next dimension of Google Maps.” The wording of the invite has prompted speculation that the company will announce new 3D features for its mapping service. The event comes just days before Apple kicks off its WWDC confab on June 11.

A bevy of reports have claimed that Apple will take the wraps off a new 3D mapping technology at WWDC. Last month, one report cited sources as saying the solution would “blow your head off.”

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said last week that his research points to the unveiling of a “greatly enhanced” Maps application with 3D capability next week. The new service has reportedly been developed in-house.

“We hear the key reason why AAPL decided to do this is that it believes it can deliver a much better use experience in Maps, not to mention provide further differentiation for its mobile devices business,” Wu said.

Apple is also expected to showcase new Macs, iOS 6 and new camera and photo apps at the conference.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 19.0.1084.53

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Date: Friday, June 1st, 2012, 05:30
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 19.0.1084.53 for the Mac. The new version, a 38.6 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Supports the Mac transition to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Google Chrome 19.0.1084.53 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 19.0.1084.52

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2012, 07:46
Category: News, Software

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Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday, I was flying across the country and the plane lacked Wi-Fi. During the flight, “The Vow” with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams happened to be the in-flight movie, should you choose to plug in headphones and listen to it. During this time, I desperately wanted there to be a director’s cut where the characters are slathered in salmon juice and attacked by irate grizzly bears in every scene…

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 19.0.1084.52 for the Mac. The new version, a 38.6 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- [117409] High CVE-2011-3103: Crashes in v8 garbage collection. Credit to the Chromium development community (Brett Wilson).

- [118018] Medium CVE-2011-3104: Out-of-bounds read in Skia. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno).

- [$1000] [120912] High CVE-2011-3105: Use-after-free in first-letter handling. Credit to miaubiz.

- [122654] Critical CVE-2011-3106: Browser memory corruption with websockets over SSL. Credit to the Chromium development community (Dharani Govindan).

- [124625] High CVE-2011-3107: Crashes in the plug-in JavaScript bindings. Credit to the Chromium development community (Dharani Govindan).

- [$1337] [125159] Critical CVE-2011-3108: Use-after-free in browser cache. Credit to “efbiaiinzinz”.

- [Linux only] [$1000] [126296] High CVE-2011-3109: Bad cast in GTK UI. Credit to Micha Bartholomé.

- [126337] [126343] [126378] [127349] [127819] [127868] High CVE-2011-3110: Out of bounds writes in PDF. Credit to Mateusz Jurczyk of the Google Security Team, with contributions by Gynvael Coldwind of the Google Security Team.

- [$500] [126414] Medium CVE-2011-3111: Invalid read in v8. Credit to Christian Holler.

- [127331] High CVE-2011-3112: Use-after-free with invalid encrypted PDF. Credit to Mateusz Jurczyk of the Google Security Team, with contributions by Gynvael Coldwind of the Google Security Team.

- [127883] High CVE-2011-3113: Invalid cast with colorspace handling in PDF. Credit to Mateusz Jurczyk of the Google Security Team, with contributions by Gynvael Coldwind of the Google Security Team.

- [128014] High CVE-2011-3114: Buffer overflows with PDF functions. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (scarybeasts).

- [$1000] [128018] High CVE-2011-3115: Type corruption in v8. Credit to Christian Holler.

Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 19.0.1084.46

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, 12:01
Category: News, Software

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High version numbers be damned, a new version of Google Chrome just hit and you might want to grab it.

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 19.0.1084.46 for the Mac. The new version, a 38.6 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Adds the ability for tabs to be synced across multiple devices (feature will be rolling out over the coming weeks).

Google Chrome 19.0.1084.46 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google developing Chrome version for iOS

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, 12:08
Category: News, Software

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It never hurts to have a choice.

Per macq.wir.jp, Google is said to be planning to compete with Apple’s own Safari by releasing a version of its Chrome Web browser for iOS devices.

The launch of Chrome for iOS on the App Store could be as soon as this quarter, according to Macquarie Equities Research. Its debut is seen as igniting a modern browser war on mobile devices, similar to the “Browser Wars” of the late 1990s between Internet Explorer and Netscape.

All third-party browsers for iOS must be based on WebKit, Apple’s open source browser engine. The existing versions of Google Chrome, available for Mac, Windows and Android, are already based on the WebKit layout engine.

Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter said Chrome for PCs has been a “home run” for Google, as it has “significantly” reduced desktop traffic acquisition costs for the search giant.

He expects that Google will launch a major marketing campaign to hype the debut of Chrome for iOS. The company has run television spots promoting Chrome for desktops for some time, featuring celebrities like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, helping its advertising budget quadruple in the U.S. last year to US$213 million.

Google’s own Android operating system ships with a generic browser, but the company released a mobile version of Chrome for its Google Play application store in February. The free software remains in beta, but is well reviewed.

Third-party browsers first began appearing on the Apple-controlled iOS App Store in early 2009. Prior to that, browsers that would rival Apple’s own Safari were rejected from the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple creating its own mapping services for iOS 6

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Date: Friday, May 11th, 2012, 10:40
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

Ok, this could be interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple will move away from Google Maps services in iOS 6, making the transition to an in-house mapping service that included 3D views. According to the report, Apple’s prior acquisitions of mapping companies Placebase and Poly9 could work with last year’s purchase of 3D mapping firm C3 Technologies rounding out the suite of services.

The most important aspect of the new Maps application is a powerful new 3D mode. The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently and visibly stored in the app. This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms.

Apple’s in-house mapping services will otherwise be rather similar in appearance to the current Google Maps application, although Apple’s implementation is said to be a “much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience” and will include a new icon based on the same view of the company’s Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino but with new colors and styling.

Apple has clearly been working for some time to reduce its reliance on Google by developing its own mapping services for iOS, as evidenced by its acquisitions of mapping expertise and job postings addressing its ambitions for mapping. The company has already moved location services in-house and revealed last year that it is building a crowd-sourced traffic database based on users’ GPS data.

With the release of iPhoto for iOS back in early March, Apple took its first big step outside of the actual Google mapping services, taking advantage of OpenStreetMap and other services to generate its own map tiles for the application’s Photo Journals feature.

Apple is expected to preview iOS 6 at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, with the operating system presumably making its public debut alongside new iPhone hardware later in the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Symantec estimates Flashback trojan could have netted authors $10,000 a day during its peak

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Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 09:58
Category: News, security, Software

Ok, so maybe crime DOES pay…

Per Symantec’s company blog, the malware known as “Flashback” that was believed to have infected hundreds of thousands of Macs may have paid out as much as US$10,000 a day to its authors.

The estimate comes from Symantec, which said in a post to its official blog that the primary motivation behind the malware was money. The Flashback Trojan includes an ad-clicking component that will load itself into the three major browsers for Mac — Safari, Firefox and Chrome — and generate revenue for the attackers.

“Flashback specifically targets queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker’s choosing, where they receive revenue from the click,” Symantec explained.

Peering into the Trojan’s code, the security firm found a redirected URL that generates the authors of the code 8 cents per click. If a user conducts a Google search, Flashback will “hijack” the ad click from Google, taking money away from the search giant and granting “untold sums” to the authors of the Trojan.

A previous analysis of a different Trojan found that a botnet with just 25,000 infections could generate up to US$450 per day. At its peak, the Flashback Trojan was estimated to have infected 600,000 Macs worldwide, which means the authors could have earned as much as US$10,000 per day.

The presence of Flashback has greatly diminished since Apple released a series of software updates last month aimed at squashing the malware, including a Java update and a separate removal tool.

The Flashback Trojan was first discovered by another security firm, Intego, last September. The software attempts to trick users into installing it by appearing as Adobe’s Flash Player installer package.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you haven’t downloaded and installed Apple’s anti-flashback removal tool via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, there’s no time like the present.