Google Photos is ending its unlimited free photo storage soon – CNET

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Google Photos is ending its unlimited free storage policy for photos and videos, Google said in a Wednesday blog post. After June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15GB of storage that comes with every Google account. But don’t worry: Any photos or videos you’ve uploaded before that day won’t be part of the cap. 

The move is meant to encourage people to sign up for Google’s storage subscription service, Google One. Google One plans start at $2 a month in the US for 100GB of storage and other features, like Google Store discounts.

Read more: 6 of the best photo storage options for 2020

It’s a good idea to make sure your existing photos and videos are backed up in Google Photos before the June deadline, since those will be considered free and exempt from the storage limit. You can check your backup quality in the Photos app by going to Settings >  Back up & sync

Once the change takes effect, more than 80% of current Google Photos users should still be able to store about three years of content with that free 15GB. Google will notify you in the app and by email once you get close to hitting your 15GB limit. You can also find a personalized estimate for how long your free storage may last, based on how frequently you back up photos and videos to your Google Account. 

More than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, according to the post, with 28 billion new photos and videos uploaded each week. In June, Google gave the Photos app a refresh, with a map view and three tabs to organize your pictures.

For more, check out the best online photo book services of 2020


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Google Paid Apple $1 Billion To Be iPhone’s Main Search Engine

Google has been paying big bucks to secure its place as the default search engine on Apple iPhones. Indeed, the search engine giant shelled out a whopping $1 billion in 2014 to maintain a starring role on the iconic device’s search bar. That figure, according to Bloomberg Business reporters, is based on a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle’s ongoing copyright lawsuit against Google.

Court documents from the case [Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-cv-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)] reveal the Android operating system maker has had an ongoing revenue-sharing agreement with Apple. Google reportedly pays Apple some unknown percentage of the revenue it tallies through searches conducted via Google.com on iPhones. That revelation is according to an Oracle attorney’s statement last week, at a Jan. 14 federal court hearing.

As part of the deal, when iPhone users open the Safari mobile app on iOS and tap the address bar, Google?EU?s search engine appears by default. While the latest versions of the iOS mobile operating system allow users to change the default search engine to Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, or DuckDuckGo, that option is not obvious to many users.


Apple Benefits

Greg Sterling, vice president of strategy and insight for the Local Search Association, told us there was speculation for several years that Google was paying significant money to Apple to secure its default position on the mobile Safari browser.

“Several financial firms guessed the number was around $1 billion in 2013 and 2014,” Sterling said. “However, if some of the estimates circulating about Google mobile ad revenue are accurate, and there is a revenue share as the court documents assert, Apple is probably getting more than a $1 billion from Google. It could be a good deal more.”

Neither Apple nor Google could immediately be reached for comment,…

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Google Paid Apple $1 Billion To Be iPhone’s Main Search Engine

Google has been paying big bucks to secure its place as the default search engine on Apple iPhones. Indeed, the search engine giant shelled out a whopping $1 billion in 2014 to maintain a starring role on the iconic device’s search bar. That figure, according to Bloomberg Business reporters, is based on a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle’s ongoing copyright lawsuit against Google.

Court documents from the case [Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-cv-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)] reveal the Android operating system maker has had an ongoing revenue-sharing agreement with Apple. Google reportedly pays Apple some unknown percentage of the revenue it tallies through searches conducted via Google.com on iPhones. That revelation is according to an Oracle attorney’s statement last week, at a Jan. 14 federal court hearing.

As part of the deal, when iPhone users open the Safari mobile app on iOS and tap the address bar, Google?EU?s search engine appears by default. While the latest versions of the iOS mobile operating system allow users to change the default search engine to Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, or DuckDuckGo, that option is not obvious to many users.


Apple Benefits

Greg Sterling, vice president of strategy and insight for the Local Search Association, told us there was speculation for several years that Google was paying significant money to Apple to secure its default position on the mobile Safari browser.

“Several financial firms guessed the number was around $1 billion in 2013 and 2014,” Sterling said. “However, if some of the estimates circulating about Google mobile ad revenue are accurate, and there is a revenue share as the court documents assert, Apple is probably getting more than a $1 billion from Google. It could be a good deal more.”

Neither Apple nor Google could immediately be reached for comment,…

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Thanksgiving Trumps Black Friday for Deals

Thanksgiving could be the best day to shop all year. An analysis of sales data and store circulars by two research firms contradicts conventional wisdom that Black Friday is when shoppers can get the most and biggest sales of the year.

Turns out, shoppers will find more discounted items in stores that are open on Thanksgiving. For example, there are a total of 86 laptops and tablets deeply discounted as door buster deals at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others on the holiday compared with just nine on Black Friday, according to an analysis of promotions for The Associated Press by researcher Market Track.

And on the Web, discounts will be deeper on the holiday. Online prices on Thanksgiving are expected to be about 24 percent cheaper compared with 23 percent on Black Friday and 20 percent on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, which tracks data on 4,500 retail web sites.

The data is the latest proof that retailers are slowly redefining the Black Friday tradition. It’s been the biggest shopping day of the year for decades, mostly because it’s traditionally when retailers pull out their best sales events. But in the last few years, retailers like the Gap, Target and Toys R Us have started opening their stores and offering holiday discounts on Thanksgiving to better compete with online rivals.

“I was surprised, but it really shifted one day,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe, which is based in San Jose, California.

Shoppers already are noticing the deals on Thanksgiving. Corey Grassell, 34, of Appleton, Wisconsin, said he plans to shop for deals on Thanksgiving and bypass Black Friday. That’s after he grabbed bargains last year on the holiday, including a washer-dryer combination at Sears for about $800, a 50 percent discount.

“I feel guilty for going out on Thanksgiving, but the deals are so…

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Samsung Smart Watch Rumored for Event Sept. 4

Will your next smartphone be on your wrist? The possibility of that happening may increase, if rumors that Samsung will release a smart watch in early September are accurate.

The reports center on an event that Samsung has planned for Sept. 4 in Berlin, two days before the giant IFA consumer electronics show there, and one week before Apple is expected to unveil its new iPhone. According to Bloomberg News Service, the Android-based device will be called the Galaxy Gear, and it will be able to make phone calls, surf the Web, e-mail and perform other functions we now associate with smartphones.

Bloomberg cited "two people familiar with the matter" who remain unidentified. Samsung has reportedly been working on several forms of flexible displays, but Bloomberg says that the initial version of this device will not utilize such technology. Samsung confirmed to news media several months ago that it was developing a smart watch.

'Tipping Point'

Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said that he was "absolutely expecting to see smart watches from a variety of vendors" soon. The "tipping point" has been reached, he said, since the "technology in smartphones has gotten small enough" that useful functions can be handled by small, wearable devices.

He pointed out that "consumers are already walking around with these small computers in their pocket," meaning smartphones, and now some of that work can be offloaded to small companion devices like a smart watch. Greengart said it wasn't clear if Samsung was actually going to unveil its smart watch on Sept. 4, but he was expecting the next version of the Galaxy Note tablet to be shown then. Reports indicate that the next Note, the Galaxy Note 3, will be a combination smartphone and tablet.

No one actually knows how big the market for smart...

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Hacked Web Sites’ Achilles Heel: Outbrain Service

The Washington Post and multiple other Web sites were hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army this week. It appears the SEA was able to hack these sites by first gaining access to Outbrain.

Outbrain is a content recommendation service, and is used by all the major Web sites that were hacked throughout yesterday. After posting pictures, it was confirmed that the SEA had successfully entered the admin panel of Outbrain and compromised the sites that use its services.

CNN, Time, and the Washington Post were all affected by the hack and, as a result, users that tried to visit their sites were redirected to the Syrian Electronic Army Web site. The Washington Post acknowledged the hack had occurred, telling Mashable that the SEA "claimed they gained access to elements of our site by hacking one of our business partners, Outbrain."

Outbrain acknowledge the attack and said it immediately took down its service to protect its customers.

"The breach now seems to be secured and the hackers blocked out, but we are keeping the service down for a little longer until we can be sure it's safe to turn it back on securely," Outbrain told The Post in a statement. "We are working hard to prevent future attacks of this nature."

What Is the SEA?

The Syrian Electronic Army has been gaining attention since last year after first hacking the BBC Weather Twitter account in March 2012. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- who has knowledge regarding computing -- has referenced his "electronic army" before, but no formal ties between the SEA and his regime have been established. Instead, the SEA appears to be made up of professional hackers who simply have the same ideology as Assad.

The SEA appears to be going after anyone who says anything in opposition to Assad. Because of that, news organizations like...

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Motorola Skip Securely Unlocks Moto X

Device maker Motorola is in accessory mode, adding more layers of anticipation for the upcoming Moto X. Now Motorola is suggesting one more reason to feel good about Moto X with its announcement of Motorola Skip, a small wearable clip to unlock your new phone.

The idea is simple and convenient enough. Using Skip, a Moto X owner can securely unlock his phones with a tap instead of pecking out a passcode or swiping.

Only Skip and Skip dots that have been paired with your phone will unlock it, and you can easily unpair them if you lose or replace your Skip.

The device is sized as a wearable, and you clip it onto a belt loop, sleeve, or shirt hem, for example. As to color scheme, Motorola will start out with gadgets that are gray with black accent, but more colors will be available later on.

Above the Market Din

Motorola posted the announcement Friday on its official blog, which began: "Hello Skip. Goodbye PIN."

Actually, that "Goodbye Pin" message rules at Motorola. Consumers are growing deaf and bleary-eyed as smartphone vendors yell over each others' heads to flaunt competing numbers about weight, pixels and memory. Motorola aims to rise above the din with smartphone re-thinks. Number one, it is championing security but declaring war on the tedium of present-day authentication.

"Our smartphones are central to our digital lives . . . the keys to our friends, our finances, and a lot of our personal information," Motorola wrote in its blog post. "Security is increasingly important, but it shouldn't be irritating."

Motorola reckons the typical person unlocks a smartphone 39 times a day and close to 100 times a day for power users. "At 2.3 seconds each time the phone is unlocked, it adds up to a lot of time spent entering...

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Data Stolen Again at Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been hacked again. The government agency notified employees via email on Wednesday that attackers gained personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, of 14,000 current and former employees, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The July attack was the second this year. The DOE was also hacked in February. But it's not the only government entity that's shown itself vulnerable. In May, the U.S. Department of Labor's website was hacked and malicious code was placed on the site in the process.

"The Department's Cybersecurity office, the Office of Health, Safety and Security and the Inspector General's office are working with other federal law enforcement to obtain information concerning the nature of the incident," the memo, which the Journal obtained, said. "No classified data was targeted or compromised. Once the full nature and extent of this incident is known, the Department will implement a full remediation plan."

How Could it Happen Twice?

Tom Cross, director of security research at Lancope, told us in some cases attackers target information about employees because they can use that information to impersonate those employees in spear-phishing attacks or compromise their access credentials.

"Organizations need to move beyond thinking about computer attacks as involving exploit code and malicious software," he said. "Sometimes, the attackers log right in using employees access credentials and then proceed to access information on the network without using any custom malware. A defensive strategy that focuses exclusively on detecting exploits and malware cannot detect this sort of unauthorized activity."

But how could this happen twice in a matter of months? Anthony DiBello, strategic partnerships manager, Guidance Software, told us this will not be resolved without a complete forensic analysis of the compromised system or systems -- and this process may or may not have already started.

"When incidents like this...

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Fall’s Hottest Smartphones: A Buyer’s Guide

With Apple's latest iPhone widely expected next month, anyone shopping for a new phone right now has a lot to consider. USA TODAY's Nancy Blair and Edward C. Baig offer a roundup of fall's hottest handsets, in no particular order, keeping in mind that pricing and availability may change:

ANDROID

How to choose? Android fans have a shelf full of offerings to consider from every major Android maker. Google-owned Motorola just unveiled the Moto X, the first flagship phone under the Google umbrella. This month also brought the unveiling of LG's G2, which will be coming to U.S. carriers sometime later this summer or early fall. And for Android purists, the Google Play store now offers stock Android versions of the Samsung Galaxy line's popular S4 and the HTC One.

HTC ONE

HTC's thin and stylish HTC One reached U.S. consumers this spring on every major wireless carrier except for Verizon, where the release date has been pushed back several times.

With sleek unibody construction and premium feel, the HTC One offers an excellent screen display, some slick photo features and a unique BlinkFeed interface that pushes your content front and center. Rather than typical icons, you can get a stream of your photos, news and more.

This is a knockout phone. It has great-sounding speakers. And it can capture a few seconds of video and still images through a feature called "Zoe." But it's not without flaws. The Zoe software isn't very intuitive, and the phone's on-screen home button is in an odd place.

Pricing: $199.99 for a 32GB version ($299 for 64GB) at AT&T and Sprint with two-year service contracts. At T-Mobile: $99.99 down payment and $20 monthly payments over 24 months.

Key specs: HTC UltraPixel Camera, 1080p HD video capture and playback, Beats Audio, quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

MOTO X

The first phone produced from scratch...

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Lenovo Mobile Sales Drive Profit Growth

Lenovo Group says it is evolving quickly into a supplier of wireless computing, driven by booming sales of smartphones and tablets as consumers shift away from desktop computers.

Sales of wireless devices rose 105 percent in the three months ended June 30, driving a 23 percent rise in profit to $174 million, Lenovo announced Thursday. Total revenue rose 10 percent to $8.8 billion.

Lenovo was declared the No. 1 personal computer maker in the latest quarter by research firms Gartner and IDC. But that came as global PC shipments fell for a fifth straight quarter, highlighting the rapid consumer shift to mobile.

"We actually sold more smartphones and tablets than PCs in this quarter for the first time ever," said CFO Wong Wai Ming in a conference call with reporters.

PC shipments were flat and their share of total revenue fell to 28 percent. Laptop sales, which account for 52 percent of revenue, rose 4.7 percent. Mobile devices supplied 14 percent of revenue.

"We are impressed by Lenovo's strong execution," said Barclay's analysts in a report. "It is the only Asia PC company that is able to deliver market expectation results, facing strong headwinds from concerns about global PC and smartphone demand, as well as a slowdown of China's economy."

Lenovo, with headquarters in Beijing and in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, broke into the wireless market with the 2010 launch of its first smartphone.

It has since released more phones and Web-linked tablets to compete with Apple Inc., South Korea's Samsung Electronics Corp. and Taiwan's HTC Corp.

An update of its Thinkpad laptop released last year was designed to appeal to tablet users with features that mimic the quick startup and response times of mobile devices.

Other traditional technology leaders are also scrambling to shift emphasis to mobile products and to diversify into services as well as hardware.

Sales...

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