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Evolution of Android Security Updates

Posted by Dave Kleidermacher, VP, Head of Security – Android, Chrome OS, Play

At Google I/O 2018, in our What’s New in Android Security session, we shared a brief update on the Android security updates program. With the official release of Androi…

New Analytics Academy course: Google Analytics for Power Users

Today, we’re introducing a new course in Analytics Academy: Google Analytics for Power Users.

Google Analytics for Power Users Video

In this course with instructor Krista Seiden, you will have the opportunity to practice advanced Analytics techniques to  improve website content, optimize your checkout flow, and focus your marketing strategy.

By participating in the course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Analyze converting and non-converting audiences

  • Determine the traffic sources that drive the most value

  • Customize channels for increased actionability

  • Identify top performing content on your site

  • Improve ecommerce performance

Sign up for Google Analytics for Power Users to start learning today.

How Digital Extortion Impacts Today’s Enterprises

By now, many enterprise decision-makers are familiar with the concept of digital extortion, particularly in the form of ransomware. These encryption-based attacks lock users out of their sensitive and valuable data, applications and operating systems. Attackers demand a ransom in the form of untraceable digital currency for the decryption key – which may or may…

The post How Digital Extortion Impacts Today’s Enterprises appeared first on .

JETenterprises UK Ltd eases GDPR compliance process with MW | Avast Business

The Company

Based in Waltham Abbey on the borders of Hertfordshire and London, JETenterprises UK Ltd has been providing IT and managed security services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout London, Essex, and Hertfordshire since 2003.

“We’re focused on helping small companies build their business, and we take a solutions-based approach as opposed to just pushing products,” explains owner and founder Jeff Towerzey. “We assess clients’ security needs and respond with comprehensive programs that deliver strong protection and services that set each business up for success going forward.”

Back to Basics: Why We Need to Encourage More Secure IoT Development

The Internet of Things (IoT) is radically reshaping the way we live and work. Before our very eyes, organizations are becoming more agile, efficient and cost effective to run, all while consumers marvel at the wonders of the smart home, fitness trackers and connected cars. There’s just one major problem: Much of this new infrastructure…

The post Back to Basics: Why We Need to Encourage More Secure IoT Development appeared first on .

New T3 Instances – Burstable, Cost-Effective Performance

We launched the t1.micro instance type in 2010, and followed up with the first of the T2 instances (micro, small, and medium) in 2014, more sizes in 2015 (nano) and 2016 (xlarge and 2xlarge), and unlimited bursting last year. Today we are launching T3 instances in twelve regions. These general-purpose instances are even more cost-effective […]

Five insights on voice technology

Over the last couple years something interesting happened—millions of people began having conversations with their speakers, cars, computers and phones. Voice technology is fundamentally changing the way we use we our devices, often in ways we didn’t expect. 

We’ve learned a lot about how we can better serve people’s needs with voice, helping them save time and get things done. Here are a few things we’ve learned since we introduced the Google Assistant nearly two years ago.

Voice is about action.

When people talk to their Google Assistant, they’re usually trying to get something done. Assistant queries are 40 times more likely to be action-oriented than Search, with people asking for things like “send a text message,” “turn off the lights,” or “turn on airplane mode.”

Why do we think this is happening? For many tasks, particularly while you’re on the go, it can be much easier to get things done through voice. I can say “turn on the lights and play some music,” without having to worry about which app I need to open. Even for basic things like creating a calendar invite, I don’t have to look down at my phone or interrupt what I’m doing, I can just say “create an appointment for noon on Saturday.” These seem like small things, and they are. But they illustrate what makes voice so unique—the technology allows me to complete a task in a way that feels natural. The more we can build these types of experiences, the closer we get to an ideal Assistant.

People expect conversations.

When people start using voice assistants, we often see very simple commands. But very quickly, expectations go up in terms of complex dialogue. We might see “weather Chicago” typed in Search, whereas with the Assistant we see much longer and more conversational queries like “what’s the weather today in Chicago at 3pm.” On average, Assistant queries are 200 times more conversational than Search.

We’ve seen that even simple commands can take all forms. For example, people ask the Google Assistant to set an alarm in more than 5,000 different ways, which means that we have to build the Assistant to understand this conversational complexity.  

simple commands take all forms

Screens change everything.

The world hasn’t completely shifted to voice, nor do we expect it to. Screens bring a completely new canvas for conversational AI, where we can bring together voice and touch in an intelligent way. So when you ask for a pasta dough recipe, you can get visuals of what the dough should look like while the Assistant reads you the steps along the way.  

With the launch of Smart Displays and our new visual experience for phones, we’ve evolved the Google Assistant to become much more dynamic, spanning voice, screens, tapping and typing. And we’re seeing people respond—in fact, nearly half of interactions with Assistant today include both voice and touch input.

Daily routines matter.

You can access the Assistant almost anywhere you are throughout the day—on the phone, in the car, or on a speaker in the living room. So it makes sense that when people use the Assistant, it’s largely driven by their environment and what they’re trying to accomplish in their daily routines.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways we use the Google Assistant in our daily routines. In the morning, we’ll use our smart speakers to ask for the weather or listen to the news. During lunch and on the commute home, we’ll text and call our friends, or look for local restaurants. When we get home, we want to listen to music. And at the end of the day, we get ready for tomorrow with tasks like “set an alarm,” “set a reminder,” or “ask the Assistant to tell me about tomorrow’s meetings.” Where and how we use our Assistant varies throughout the day, but the consistency of the experience should stay the same.

google assistant daily habits

Voice is universal.

One of the most exciting things to witness about digital assistants is that even though the Assistant is a  new technology, it’s incredibly easy to adopt. There’s no user manual needed, and people of all ages, across all types of devices, and in many different geographies can use the Assistant. Because of this, we’re finding that Google Assistant users defy the early adopter stereotype—there’s a huge uptick in seniors and families, and women are the fastest growing user segment for the Assistant.

Voice is also universal on a global scale. Over the past year, we’ve brought the Assistant to more countries and languages. In places where people are coming online for the first time—like India, where Google Assistant usage has tripled in India since the beginning of the year—voice is taking the forefront as the primary way they interact with their devices.

Of course voice technology is still relatively new and evolving. We’re just figuring out what works in this space. But it’s exciting to see how voice technology is making it easier for people to get things done, and we’re all learning together.

Selling inventory is easier with Google Ad Manager

The digital landscape is evolving, and savvy publishers are evolving with it. There are more opportunities than ever for advertisers to reach their desired audience, no matter what platform, channel, or device consumers are using.

That’s why we launched Google Ad Manager—to help you grow revenue wherever people are watching TV, playing mobile games, noodling around on their desktops, or engaging on social media. Here are a few ways you can use Ad Manager to get the most out of your ad inventory.

Tailor your inventory with Google Ad Manager

Tailor your inventory to meet advertisers’ goals

Start by taking control of your inventory. Ad Manager lets you segment inventory in multiple ways, so you can meet demand for ads that reach specific audiences. For example:

  • Key-values: You can get even more granular by using key-values, such as a specific search keyword, to provide the exact audiences advertisers want to reach.
  • Audience: Organize your inventory from your sites and apps according to your audiences’ interests.
  • Devices and browsers: Organize inventory according to device type, browser, or operating system. You can even use browser language. Want to reach only Spanish-speaking Safari users? No hay problema.
  • Geography: Segment your inventory based on countries, regions, U.S. metro areas, U.K. TV regions, cities, and postal codes. You can also specify places to exclude. Think globally, advertise locally.
  • Delivery: Use Ad Manager’s delivery tools to see which ads in your inventory delivered on your page and why, then manage delivery speed, frequency caps, and day and time segmenting (dayparting) to maximize their ROI. Be surgical and precise.

Sell Inventory

Five ways to sell your inventory on Ad Manager

Regardless of how you work with buyers and advertisers, Ad Manager can help you get the most out of your inventory. So once you’ve optimized your inventory, Ad Manager can help you sell it in a variety of different ways:

  1. Direct sales. Your in-house team can directly negotiate high-priority ads, such as sponsorships, full-page takeovers, and custom creative integrations. Or, you can create valuable “share-of-voice” ads that give advertisers a certain share of the page views on your site.
  2. Programmatic Guaranteed. Ad Manager’s programmatic features allow you to automate negotiation and sales of your inventory, simplifying the process and reducing the potential for human error. Programmatic Guaranteed campaigns allow you and the buyer to agree on a price and terms for premium inventory ensuring you reserve your best inventory for your highest value advertisers. By offering advanced capabilities for buyers, including global frequency management and the ability to use their own audience lists, Programmatic Guaranteed brings new value to your direct sales business.
  3. Exchange Bidding. Invite trusted third-party exchanges to engage in a unified real-time auction. By allowing multiple exchanges to compete with each other, publishers can make more money for their inventory, while maintaining some control over ad quality.
  4. Open Auction. Let Ad Manager automatically select the highest paying ads that match your business rules from all advertisers bidding in the Open Auction.  In other words, Ad Manager will help you find ads in the open auction, that can help you earn the most revenue.
  5. Private marketplaces. These include both Private Auctions and Preferred Deals. A Private Auction gives a select group of buyers access to inventory before it becomes available in the open auction. Preferred Deals bypass auctions completely, with the publisher cutting a deal at a fixed price with one specific buyer. Both options give high-value remarketing buyers access to more inventory.

Integrate your ad management to capture revenue across all buyers

No matter how you sell your inventory, Ad Manager’s rules-based management system automatically synchronizes advertiser blocks across all your deals and inventory, artfully steering clear of any conflicts. It’s a comprehensive ad sales platform that helps organize your inventory and optimize your connections to customers. By allowing you to connect all your inventory to all your advertising partners in one place, you can earn more and grow your business.

Between two interns: the scoop on a summer at Google

Riley Shanahan is computer science major at UC Berkeley, an explorer of the world’s hiking trails, and a trailblazer for other young women delving into the unfamiliar terrain of STEM. She and I both had internships at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View this summer—I was a part of the BOLD internship program, and Riley was an Engineering Practicum intern. I recently tagged along on one of Riley’s days to learn more about what she was up to all summer. 

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👋Riley!

Zoe: What have you been working on this summer?
Riley: I helped improve visualization tools for Earth Engine users (scientists, researchers, journalists, and people who just generally use Google products).

My main project was a GIF creation tool that lets you view the entirety of a data set at one time, like a timelapse. The motivation behind this project was to empower Earth Engine users to stay on the platform without using third party encoding libraries to create animations themselves.

These GIFs can be integrated within any presentation, which is a serious use case, so that journalists and scientists can present their research and findings to policy makers and show in an animated and effective way why their research matters.

What has been your favorite part of working at Google?
My team—they’ve empowered me to make a difference and grow as an engineer and person. I know how important it is to work on something I’m passionate about, but I’ve found that I’m most energized to contribute when I’m on a team with psychological safety, support and drive. Everyone on the team worked to build each other up, rather than leaving anyone to build something alone.

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Here’s an example of an Earth Timelapse animation that Riley worked on this summer—it shows the Ucayali River and the city of Pucallpa, Peru in the Amazonian Rainforest. 

How did you find your path to computer science?
I did Girls Who Code after my sophomore year of high school. My chemistry teacher recommended I apply for the program because I loved science and math so much. It was a pivotal point in my life. I discovered that the opportunities to help people through engineering were endless, and I could make the most impact while having fun doing computer science.

How have you used the joy you get from CS to make an impact?
The summer after Girls Who Code, I applied for and received a grant to teach a summer computer science program to 50 middle school students from underserved schools in the East Palo Alto/Redwood City area. I got about 25 laptops donated, and I built a curriculum centered around game design, where every student would end each week with a tangible product to show their accomplishments and development. Based on my own Girls Who Code experience, I knew that building toward a final project gives you confidence, ownership, and a sense of accomplishment.

I worked with several female engineers at Google to plan a field trip for all of my computer science students during their last week to visit the Mountain View campus. Seeing how much they cared about my students and the success of my program reaffirmed my dream of going back to Google, not on a field trip or as a guest, but as an intern or engineer.

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Riley and her podmate Jessica (all hail peer mentorship)

What would you say to other young women who are hoping to get into computer science?
Make peer mentorship a priority. It’s important to look at older female engineers or people in STEM careers as role models, but there’s nothing like creating a network of women who are in your shoes and understand how you’re feeling. 

More than just support, I have found that by making friends and developing support systems with other college students in tech, there is a mutual exchange of resources and sharing opportunities. Oh, and don’t compare yourself to other people around you—just jump in!

After spending a summer at Google, what does “Googleyness” mean to you?
Openness. Every person I reached out to this summer was so excited to talk to me and share their work. Other than really secret stuff, the majority of the company is very open and they really treat their interns as part of the family. At the beginning of the summer, I was nervous about wasting engineers’ time by asking them technical questions about challenges and obstacles I faced. I quickly learned that they genuinely wanted to help me and see my project succeed.

Looking back on your internship, is there one moment or memory that sticks out?
100%, Google’s Women Engineer conference (held every summer for female engineering interns). It was magical. I never anticipated that Google would make such a significant contribution to both my personal and career growth. I met so many fellow interns and full-time female mentors at the conference, I had never felt more part of a family.

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Virtual visit to Yosemite 

What’s your favorite spot on Google’s campus?
There’s an awesome three-screen TV on the first floor of my building that allows you to go anywhere using Google Earth. I love playing around with it and virtually visiting Half Dome in Yosemite— I love to hike, and I’ve always wondered what it’s like up there.

What’s next for you?
Well in the short term, I am heading back to UC Berkeley for my junior year. I’m also hoping to return to Google next summer as a software engineering intern, and I would love to intern abroad in one of Google’s offices in Zurich or Dublin. There are so many classes at Berkeley that I am dying to take and I am double majoring, which means I can’t study abroad as an undergrad. Interning abroad sort of gives me the best of both worlds.

Final question: describe your internship in one word.
Earthy 🌎

Amazon Kinesis Data Streams Adds Enhanced Fan-Out and HTTP/2 for Faster Streaming

We launched a new feature for Amazon Kinesis Data Streams (KDS) called Enhanced Fan-out, which enables developers to take advantage of a new low latency HTTP/2 data retrieval API. This new API allows customers to attach more applications to a single data stream while maintaining read performance across all of the applications consuming the stream. The HTTP/2 interface reduces the latency between ingestion of data and consumption of data by a consumer application by about 75%, down to less than 50 milliseconds.

Google Images data in Google Analytics

A few weeks ago we told you a change is coming to Google Images referral URLs, and that this would have an impact on how this data is surfaced in Google Analytics. Here’s more detail on those changes and how you’ll be able to use the new level of granularity to improve your marketing efforts.

Previously, all traffic coming from a Google Images search result would be grouped together under ‘google / organic’ in the Acquisition reports in Google Analytics. Soon, when the Google Images team makes their changes to the referral source URL, there will be a new Source line item for image search reflected in Google Analytics which will display as ‘google images’ in the Source report and ‘google images / organic’ in the Source / Medium report within Analytics.

Google Images Organic

You’ll still see a line item for images.google.com in the ‘Referral’ report within Google Analytics. The referral report will continue to show these, and all other sources, as referrals.

Images Referral

This is a change in the way we’re processing and reporting this data and will happen automatically for all accounts. If you don’t have any filters or custom channel groupings set up based on Google Organic Source or Medium, then no changes are needed and you can continue to report on the data within the Channel, Source and Source / Medium reports as is.

If you do have special filters, custom channel groupings, or reports based on this data, then you will want to make updates as needed to capture the new Source parameter in your custom settings.

Note that when this change launches, you may see a drop in data perceived to be coming from ‘google,’ since it will be reclassified as coming from ‘google images.’ In some cases, you may see an increase in organic traffic as we reclassify some traffic previously classified as ‘referral’ to ‘organic.’ These changes should all balance out and you shouldn’t expect an overall drop or increase in total traffic.

Why are we making this update?

We’ve long heard from analysts and webmasters that they want more granularity in their analytics data to help them understand the value of Google Images. With the addition of the ‘google images’ source, you’ll soon be able to do just that.

Within your regular analytics reporting, you’ll be able to compare total Google Organic traffic to that of Google Images traffic via any of the acquisition reports, or add more detail to other reports by adding a secondary dimension of Source. These insights could help you determine when and where to allocate your marketing dollars or business resources when it comes to advertising and site optimization.

The ability to segment audiences based on Google Images versus overall Google Search can help you determine which pieces of content are most valuable, allow you to create audiences specific to image search, and use those audiences across the Google Marketing Platform.

Together, we hope these updates give you a new level of understanding of the traffic coming to your site through Google Images.

The Privacy and Security Risks of Consumer Genomics Kits | Avast

Consumer genomics kits are all the rage. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, industry leader 23&Me sold 1.5 million. I can understand the appeal. For one, it’s fun to learn about where your ancestors came from and perhaps even pick up a surprising fact about your family heritage to share at cocktail parties. You might even discover a long-lost family member or two. More seriously, people want to find out which diseases they are more susceptible to and steps they can take to mitigate their risk. Setting aside concerns about the accuracy and reliability of these tests, we are still left with a major potential pitfall: the privacy and security threats of amassing large quantities of biometric data.

Avast at IFA+ Summit: The humanity of AI | Avast

Avast Security Ambassador and Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov will be making the first splash into next month’s thought leadership pool at IFA+ Summit in Berlin. Garry is kicking off the “Intelligence” cluster of presentations with an opening speech titled “Timeless Values in the Digital World — Where AI Decisions Meet Human Responsibility.” The conference, a gathering of the greatest cybersecurity minds focused on “Next Level of Thinking,” will occur September 2 & 3.

Streamlining the developer experience for instant games

Posted by Vlad Zavidovych, Software Engineer; Artem Yudin, Software Engineer

Google Play Instant enables people to experience your game or app natively without having to go through a full installation process. Removing the friction of installing is a great way to increase engagement, conversions, and lifetime value of your users.

Today, we’ve made it easier to build instant games and apps by removing the URL requirement. Previously, in order to publish an instant game you had to create a web destination for it. The website also had to be connected to the instant game through intent filters and digital asset links verification.

Now, it is no longer required to add URL-based intent filters to your instant game. People will be able to access the instant experience through a ‘Try Now’ button in the Play Store or Play Games apps, via deep link API, and in the future through the app ads.

While being particularly helpful for games which often don’t have a corresponding website, the new URL-less functionality is available to both game and app developers.

How to develop and publish an instant game without adding URL support

Game developers using Unity or the latest Cocos Creator can take advantage of URL-less instant games by simply leaving the URL fields blank in the setup process.

However, if you have your own game engine or have built your game from scratch in C++, check the AndroidManifest to make sure it has the following intent filter declaration:

<intent-filter>
   <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
   <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
</intent-filter>

Starting with Android Studio 3.2, you can create a new instant game, or convert your existing game, without associating a URL with it. In fact, this is now the default behavior. Here is a run through the process:

  1. First, make sure you’re running Android Studio 3.2 or newer by either updating or downloading it here. Make sure to install Instant Apps Development SDK 1.3.0 or higher from Android SDK Manager.
  2. Then download a sample instant app from GitHub. In Android Studio, click File → New → Import Project… and import the downloaded “urlless” sample.
  3. Lastly, after gradle tasks are finished, click the green “Run” button with “instantapp” configuration.

You should see an instant game on your attached device. Instant runtime found and launched the entry point activity in your game with the ACTION_MAIN and CATEGORY_LAUNCHER intent filter.

Once you are ready to publish the sample instant game:

  1. Give your sample game a unique applicationId in app/build.gradle file by replacing existing applicationId – we don’t want different applications with the same id.
  2. Generate signed APKs for both installable and instant version of our sample game.
    • In Android Studio, Build → Generate Signed Bundle / APK…
    • Choose APK for both “app” and “instantapp” modules.
  3. In the Play Console, create a new application, upload APK under “App Releases” tab, and then upload “instantapp-release.zip” under “Android Instant Apps” tab.
    • The installable app must be rolled out before the instant one.
  4. The rollout process may be familiar to most Android developers, but here’s a step-by-step guide in case you run into any issues.

Once you publish your instant game, people can access it via a ‘Try Now’ button in Play Store within 24 hours or sooner. You can also send traffic to your instant game using the deep link API:

market://details?id=MY.PACKAGE.NAME&launch=true&referrer=myreferrer

MY.PACKAGE.NAME refers to applicationId that you have replaced in app/build.gradle file.

What’s next?

With the launch of Android App Bundle we are excited to further simplify the developer experience for Google Play Instant. In the coming months we are making it possible to deliver your app’s or game’s dynamic features instantly from the same bundle as your installable app or game. Stay tuned!

Check out more information on Google Play Instant, or feel free to ask a question on Stack Overflow, or report an issue to our public tracker.

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The Essential Guide for Mac Security | Avast

Macs are beautiful machines, in both appearance and performance. The sleek designs, intuitive OS, trend-setting apps, and, yes, the anti-malware security built into the platform, make them among the most cherished items possessed by their owners.

Alternative input methods for Android TV

Posted by Benjamin Baxter, Developer Advocate and Bacon Connoisseur

All TVs have the same problem with keyboard input: It is very cumbersome to hunt and peck for each letter using a D-pad with a remote. And if you make a mistake, trying to corr…

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