Ever fancied a look inside one of Google’s cavernous server farms? Given the security issues, the company isn’t likely to just let anyone mooch around — but understands if you’re curious. That’s why it’s adding a special collection to its Street View data that lets you wander inside without a big trek to Iowa, Belgium or Finland. If you’d like to sample some of the delights, you can check out our gallery or head down past the break to get a video tour of the facility in Lenoir, NC.
Traveling is great — nay, amazing. And travel that requires a passport can be even more fulfilling for those willing to open their minds to new cultures (and, perhaps, deal with entirely too much security screening). But here’s the thing — travel is a lot better, generally speaking, with an internet connection within arm’s reach. Things are never more likely to go awry than when you leave your comfort zone (or, you know, home nation), and we here at Engadget have been investigating the best methods for maintaining a connection whilst abroad for the better part of our lives. To date, you’ve got a smattering of options: rent a MiFi from XCom Global, pick up a rental SIM from iPhoneTrip, pray that you can find a shop that rents data SIMs upon your arrival or pony up for whatever absurd roaming fees that your home operator deems fit.
All of the above options have their pros and cons, but the good news here is that your choices are expanding. As the market for ubiquitous connections continues to grow, another player has recently entered the market. Tep Wireless began as a hotspot rental service that mainly looked after those traversing the United Kingdom, but recently, it expanded its coverage umbrella to include some 38 countries across Europe and 50 nations total. This here editor recently had the opportunity to cross through four of those on a single journey, with a Tep hotspot in hand the entire way. Care to see how things turned out? Let’s reconvene after the break.
Despite Google’s best efforts to continually roll out new features and updates, it can’t add everything. This is where last April’s Map Maker comes in and it’s been given a design refresh in line with the rest of Google’s portfolio. The update also attempts to make the interface easier for first-timers, with a brief tutorial page explaining all the tools on offer. You can now draw in new roads, bike trails and other local features in over 180 countries and once approved — there is a moderation system in place — they’ll appear integrated into this alternate universe Google map. Wannabe cartographers can check the video intro after the break or get involved at the source link below.
We make our own truth. That’s how IDC can come up with roughly the same numbers as fellow research firm Canalys and crown Apple the king, when its rival called Android top dog — it’s all about how you slice it. See, where as Canalys bundled all Android handset makers together, IDC has broken them up, which leads to a rather interesting twist — the largest smartphone maker in the world is now Apple. Cupertino’s growth of 141.7-percent in shipments year over year was enough to push it past Nokia (which slipped to number three) and Samsung (which climbed two spots to take the silver medal), while RIM and HTC rounded out the top five. That being said, no one is running away with the lead here, and Sammy’s continued stratospheric rise should keep Apple on guard.
Let’s bid a bitter welcome to Sega, the latest entrant to the newly founded club of hacked online communities. Sega Pass, the company’s web portal, suffered a breach of its defenses on Thursday, which has now been identified to have affected a whopping 1.29 million users. Usernames, real names, birth dates, passwords, email addresses, pretty much everything has been snatched up by the malicious data thieves, with the important exception of credit / debit card numbers. We’d still advise anyone affected to keep a watchful eye on his or her banking transactions — immediately after changing that compromised password, of course. In the meantime, Sega’s keeping the Pass service offline while it rectifies the vulnerability; it’ll be able to call on an unexpected ally in its search for the perpetrators in the form of LulzSec, a hacker group that boasted proudlyabout infiltrating Sony’s network, but which has much more benevolent intentions with respect to Sega. What a topsy-turvy world we live in!
This must be the season of the hacking witch as we’ve now seen yet another company’s online security walls breached. Independent UK games developer Codemasters, responsible for titles like Dirt 3 and Overlord, has reported that its website was hacked on the third of June, exposing the names, addresses (both physical and email), birthdays, phone numbers, Xbox gamer tags, biographies, and passwords of its registered users. Payment information wasn’t compromised, but when you consider that almost everything else was, that feels like hollow consolation. For its part, Codemasters says it took the website offline as soon as the breach was detected and a subsequent investigation has revealed the number of affected users to be in the tens of thousands.
Battlefield 3, a detta di molti, sarà il gioco dell’anno. Il rivale Modern Warfare 3 non è male, ma sembra ancora troppo simile al capitolo precedente; il titolo DICE, invece, è davvero rivoluzionario. Grazie al potentissimo Frostbite 2, Battlefield 3 è dotato di una grafica eccezionale e di una fisica realistica. Il “miglior FPS di sempre”, sarà disponibile in Italia dal 28 ottobre 2011. Di seguito alleghiamo tutto il materiale mostrato durante la conferenza. Buona visione.
Il titolo più atteso della conferenza Ubisoft era sicuramente Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, quarto capitolo di una delle saghe più amate dal pubblico, nonchè titolo conclusivo della trilogia su Ezio Auditore. Durante la conferenza sono stati mostrati un fantastico trailer in cinematica che ha svelato data d’uscita e Collector’s Edition, oltre a lasciare un punto interrogativo sulle sorti di Ezio e una sessione di gioco. Il boato finale della platea ha preannunciato un nuovo successo; Assassin’s Creed: Revelations sarà disponibile su PC, PS3 e Xbox 360 dal 15 novembre 2011.
It’s not often that we get the opportunity to mention the Financial Times and Playboy Magazine in the same sentence, but the two publications do have at least one thing in common: App Store aversion. Today, the FT launched a new, entirely web-based app, designed to circumvent iTunes (and Apple’s 30 percent revenue cut) altogether. The paper says its single, cross-platform app will allow it to issue updates with more frequency, while reaching an audience that extends far beyond the iOS realm. Though the subscription service is only available for iPhone and iPad users at the moment, versions catered for Galaxy Tab, Xoom and PlayBook users are coming soon. Perhaps more important, however, is what this move could mean for other publishers — many of whom haven’t taken too kindly to Apple’s subscription revenue and data-sharing practices. FT Managing editor Rob Grimshaw says his paper has “no plans to pull out of any apps store,” but if the system proves viable, it could open the door for others to pursue their own, similarly HTML5-based ventures, in the hopes of retaining full revenues and access to subscriber information. We’ll have to wait and see whether this iTunes exodus ever materializes, but in the meantime, iOS users can hit the source link to enjoy the new app, available for free until July 14th. Others, meanwhile, can head past the break to see a demo video, narrated in appropriately dulcet, British tones.
36 OEMs, 215 carriers, 450,000 Android developers all over the world, Google wants to say “thank you!” Android has recently crossed its 100 millionth activation milestone, and is also growing at its fastest pace yet: 400,000 devices activated each and every day. There are now 200,000 Android applications in the Market, which have accumulated a total of 4.5 billion installs, at a rate which Google actually says is accelerating. These figures have all been cited as a way to illustrate Google’s mobile momentum, which is evidently not even thinking about slowing down.
What is the world’s most valuable consumer-facing brand? If you’d asked the guys behind the BrandZ survey at any point over the last four years, they’d have told you “Google,” but in 2011 their answer has changed. Apple is now the hottest property in terms of consumer goodwill, earning an estimated valuation of $153.3 billion and leading a pack that includes the likes of Coca-Cola, BMW, HSBC, and Disney. The tech sector had a very strong year as a whole, with Facebook’s brand improving in value by a staggering 246 percent (to $19.1b) and Amazon becoming the world’s most valuable retailer (at $37.6b) in spite of having no actual stores. Sadly, there were some downers too, as Nintendo lost 37 percent of its brand worth over the past year, Nokia dropped by 28 percent, and the BlackBerry marque was considered 20 percent less awesome than before. Punch the source link to learn more.
We’ve heard Sony explain itself at length regarding the gigantic PlayStation Network breach, but this might be the most useful version of the story yet — it’s the one that Sony’s Kaz Hirai is forwarding to US Congress members concerned about your personal information. The official PlayStation.Blog has the full English document up on Flickr for your perusal, and we’ll warn you it’s much the same tale — Sony says all 77 million PSN and Qriocity accounts have had information stolen, but the company’s still not sure exactly which pieces have gone missing, whether credit card numbers are compromised or not, or who could be behind the hack. Sony does say, however, that it had 12.3 million credit card numbers on file, and 5.6 million of them from the US, and that investigators found a file on one of the servers named “Anonymous” with the words “We are Legion” inside it. Hard to draw many conclusions from that.
Firefox 4 clocks up 5 million downloads within first 24 hours, fails to beat Firefox 3 download record
We noted Firefox 3′s spectacular eight million downloads in a day when discussing the recent launch of IE9, and that mark shall live on as a record for another day. Firefox 4 looks to have a had a thoroughly successful debut, going past the five million milestone within the first 24 hours of its release, but it hasn’t quite been able to overshadow its predecessor. And before you go comparing its numbers to the latest Internet Explorer, do be cognizant that FF4 released on a wider set of platforms, rendering direct stat comparisons a little dicey. That’s not stopping StatCounter, however, who notes that the latest Firefox already has a 1.95 percent share of the browser market, almost exactly double what IE9 can claim so far. Better get working on that XP compatibility, eh Microsoft?
Remember that massive security vulnerability that Adobe identified in its Flash Player, Acrobat and Reader software? Well, shockingly enough, it hasn’t yet taken over the internet and ground productivity to a halt, but Google’s been proactive about it and patched the flaw by itself. Of course, the fix applies only to its own Chrome web browser, Firefoxes and Internet Explorer types will have to wait for Adobe’s fix, which is expected any minute now. Still, it’s good to know someone’s looking out for the security of our data, even if that someone already has access to most of it anyway.
Verizon execs have been clear as crystal that unlimited smartphone data will follow the dodo — perhaps as soon as summer of this year — but in the meanwhile you can drink your fill of the best as the HTC Thunderbolt will launch this Thursday with an unlimited LTE data plan. While we’ve no guarantees how long it will last, or whether you can grandfather the $30 monthly option into bigger and better devices down the road, it does open up a whole new avenue of opportunity for the Thunderbolt. Considering that Verizon’s 4G USB modems top out at 10GB of LTE data for $80 a month, the HTC handset just became the most powerful, affordable MiFi you could possibly own. Assuming battery life is decent, of course. Find the full PR below.
It’s a milestone in the life of any OS: the day you reach that magical 10,000 app number. Windows Phone 7 is the latest kindred soul to achieve the feat, accomplishing the task in just over four and a half months — that’s faster than both the Android Marketplace and iTunes App Store. Microsoft’s been adding around 1,000 apps a week since it hit 5k right before the New Year, and as of late that rate’s been picking up. Congrats WP7 devs, you’ve officially issued more software updates than Microsoft itself. Your move Microsoft, we’re still waiting for copy & paste.
Yahoo had been pegged a few weeks ago as the culprit behind excessive data usage on Windows Phone 7 devices, sending far more information in replies to requests from the phone than necessary — not really a big deal for those on unlimited data plans, but a legitimate cause for concern if you’ve got a data cap and overage to worry about (as more and more customers on AT&T do these days). Well, turns out Yahoo went ahead and updated its IMAP servers at some point in the last few days, fixing the issue and more or less obliterating the ravenous gobbling of kilobytes. If you don’t use Yahoo… well, this is of little concern, but for the rest of you — whether you’re on a Windows Phone, an iPhone, or pretty much anything else with a limited bucket — this should be music to your ears.
If the warm, soothing waves of IEEE 802.11 are beaming down on your location, there are certainly several ways to send pictures directly from your camera to the cloud, but Sony’s reportedly prototyping a camera that won’t need a single bar of WiFi to get your upload on. Our friends at gdgt cite anonymous sources that say Sony’s got a camera with a built-in 3G modem in the works, and we’re not talking about a cameraphone. While Sony’s cellphone CMOS sensors may have improved, gdgt says the prototype unit will probably be a dedicated point-and-shoot, though the publication says their moles aren’t sure it’s actually coming to market. If it does, though, here’s hoping it comes with some Whispernet so we don’t have to foot a monthly or (perish the thought) per-picture bill!