Jun 30, 2020
Google’s Stadia controller finally works wirelessly with Android devices
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It has taken more than six months, but Google’s Stadia controller now finally works wirelessly with Android devices. Google originally launched its Stadia service back in November as a subscription to stream games to TVs, Android phones, and the web. Wireless controller support was strangely missing at launch for Android devices, which meant you had to awkwardly connect the Stadia controller using USB.
Google is issuing a Stadia update to its Android app today that will enable the wireless support. It will also be a good opportunity for Stadia subscribers to test how well the Stadia controller roams between a Chromecast, the web, and Android devices.
Google Stadia.Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The News Brig
While the delay to wireless Android controller support hasn’t been ideal, Google has been gradually improving Stadia and bringing the features it originally promised during the cloud streaming service’s initial unveiling. 4K streaming via the web launched in March, and Google’s Stadia free service was made available in April.
Despite the free version and more games gradually being added to the subscription, Stadia still lacks a sold pool of players and multiplayer games to deliver on Google’s bold ambition. Google is promising to deliver more than 120 games to Stadia throughout 2020, so the game selection will certainly grow in the coming months.
News Source: newsbrig.com
A Startup Is Testing the Subscription Model for Search Engines
In November 2017, Sridhar Ramaswamy—the head of Google's $95 billion advertising arm—left the company after a scandal concerning advertisements for major corporations found on YouTube videos that put children in questionable situations. Ramaswamy told The New York Times that shortly after that incident, he decided that he needed to do something different in his life—because "an ad-supported model had limitations."ARS TECHNICA
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast.
Ramaswamy's startup company, Neeva, is that "something different"—and though it, too, is a search engine, it seeks to sidestep some of Google's problems by avoiding the ads altogether. Ramaswamy says that the new engine won't show ads and won't collect or profit from user data—instead, it will charge its users a subscription fee.
Neeva's approach follows an old truism that says if you pay for something, you're a customer—but if you get it for free, you're a product. That's likely to be a difficult sell to a public that has come to expect "free" services and doesn't often care very much about privacy aspects. Even if we hand-wave the difficulty of acquiring a market, other privacy-focused players are expressing significant doubt about Neeva's approach.
Search engine DuckDuckGo is probably the best-known privacy-focused Google competitor. DuckDuckGo serves ads but doesn't track its users individually. Its CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, says the ads are a practical necessity. "If you want the most impact to help the most people with privacy, you have to be free," he said, "because Google will be free forever."
However, DuckDuckGo may not be the most relevant comparison to Neeva. The new search engine is planned to be a second-tier provider, with public results sourced from Bing, Weather.com, Intrinio, and Apple. It also plans to offer its users the ability to link cloud accounts such as Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and Dropbox. In addition to providing search results directly from these private sources, Neeva will include that data in building a profile to personalize search results for each user.
Startpage is a closer analogue to Neeva's proposed model. Like Neeva, Startpage sources search results externally—in its case, directly from Google. Unlike Neeva, Startpage still shows Google ads and collects a cut of the proceeds. But it shows those ads without attempting to personalize them for the user—no profile is built, and the user's potentially identifying information is stripped from the queries passed along to Google as well.
Neeva's Digital Bill of Rights appears to be just the sort of marketing message Beens alluded to. It makes lofty statements about users' rights to privacy, controls on data collection, data usage transparency, and user ownership of their own data. It further declares that companies in general should respect those rights—but it makes no outright promises about whether or how Neeva will respect them. The closest thing to a concrete statement of policy on the page is a line at the bottom stating, "We at Neeva stand by [these values], in solidarity with you."The WIRED Guide to Your Personal Data (and Who Is Using It)Information about you, what you buy, where you go, even where you look is the oil that fuels the digital economy.
Neeva opens that section by saying it does not share, disclose, or sell your personal information with third parties "outside of the necessary cases below"—but those necessary cases include "Affiliates," with the very brusque statement that Neeva "may share personal information with our affiliated companies."
Although the "Service Providers" and "Advertising Partners" subsections are hedged with usage limitations, there are no such limits given for data shared with affiliates. The document also provides no concrete definition of who the term affiliates might refer to or in what context.
Given that the data collection may include direct connection to a user's primary Google or Microsoft email account, this might amount to a truly unsettling volume of personal data—data that is now vulnerable to compromise of Neeva's services, as well as use or sale (particularly in the case of acquisition or merger) by Neeva itself.
Neeva is currently in limited beta testing and is not available for general use. Interested potential users can join a waiting list to become an early tester.
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.