Ben Lovejoy

@benlovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.

Today

GOOG: 862.76

19.57
Stock Chart

A U.S. ban on carrying laptops and tablets in the cabin of inbound international flights may be extended to European countries, including the UK. Any electronic device larger than a phone would have to be placed in hold baggage.

The U.S. government currently applies the ban to flights from 10 airports, mostly Middle Eastern and North African. The measure was introduced last month, the Department of Homeland Security stating that it was in response to intelligence suggesting that terrorists planned to smuggle explosives inside consumer electronics items …

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April 18

GOOG: 836.82

-0.35
Stock Chart

Google teased that it would be launching a ‘brand new experience’ for Google Earth, and it has today announced the details.

The biggest change is that Google Earth is no longer a standalone app on desktop: it now runs as a web app. As of today, it’s Chrome-only, but the company is promising support for other browsers later. The mobile version still requires an app, and is currently Android only, with iOS support promised.

There are, though, two headline new features …

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

9to5mac 

April 13

GOOG: 823.56

-0.76
Stock Chart

Google has sent out press invites to ‘the unveiling of the new Google Earth‘ on April 18. The company gives no clue what to expect, but promises a ‘brand new experience.’

As Engadget observes, the smart money has to be on new virtual reality features …

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April 11

GOOG: 823.35

-1.38
Stock Chart

Trendforce data seen by us suggests that Samsung overtook Apple in Q1 smartphone sales even before the company’s new flagship Galaxy S8 lands in stores in Q2. Most of the gains made by the company were thanks to lower-end devices.

Samsung’s sales results for its high-end smartphones fell short of expectations in the first quarter as consumers’ confidence in the brand had yet to fully recover from the recall of Galaxy Note 7. Nevertheless, Samsung continued to do very well in the mid-range and low-end segments of the market. The economically priced, high-performing Galaxy J series sustained Samsung’s shipments and contributed significantly to the expansion of the brand’s overall smartphone production volume. Samsung was the only brand that saw positive growth in production volume during the off season of the first quarter.

There was less cheer when it came to high-end devices, however …

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April 10

GOOG: 824.73

0.06
Stock Chart

A card spotted in Google’s Home app by tech writer Owen Williams suggests that the connected speaker will soon support multiple users. We’ve since seen the same card ourselves.

It appears that the update was accidentally released early, as there is no other sign of multi-user support beyond a non-functional ‘linked account(s)’ setting, but there is evidence that Google planned this from the start …

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9to5toys 

April 7

GOOG: 824.67

-3.21
Stock Chart

Google has today announced a major expansion of the Fact Check tool it first introduced back in October of last year to help counter fake news. The tool was initially limited to Google News, and restricted to just two countries, the UK and USA.

Google says that it is now making the tool available in Search as well as News, and rolling it out globally in all languages.

With thousands of new articles published online every minute of every day, the amount of content confronting people online can be overwhelming.  And unfortunately, not all of it is factual or true, making it hard for people to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why last October, along with our partners at Jigsaw, we announced that in a few countries we would start enabling publishers to show a “Fact Check” tag in Google News for news stories. This label identifies articles that include information fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations.

After assessing feedback from both users and publishers, we’re making the Fact Check label in Google News available everywhere, and expanding it into Search globally in all languages

You won’t, however, be offered a Fact Check for every single search you conduct …

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April 6

GOOG: 827.88

-3.53
Stock Chart

If you’re looking for an external SSD for use with your Chromebook or other laptop or desktop, Western Digital’s My Passport SSD looks like it could be ideal for the job. With a USB-C connection as standard (and a USB-A adapter in the box), it will be available in a choice of three capacities …

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If you like to keep up to date with Twitter but are tight on storage space or want to reduce data usage, the company has a new option as of today. Twitter Lite is what’s known as a Progressive Web App. Running in Chrome and other mobile browsers, it’s a client-side JavaScript application that takes up less than 1MB of storage space.

Twitter says that the service also minimizes data usage and is resilient on unreliable and congested mobile networks, also supporting an offline mode. You also have the option of further reducing data usage by only downloading low-res previews of images and videos …

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electrek 

April 5

GOOG: 831.41

-3.16
Stock Chart

Battery-life tests conducted by PhoneArena show that Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ phablet out-lasts other Android flagship devices, but fails to match the performance offered by Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus. The site reports that the device provided exactly 8 hours of use.

The Galaxy S8+ battery life test result stands at exactly 8 hours. Compare this with the 7 hours and 18 minutes that the already very good Galaxy S7 Edge scored, and you see that Samsung has managed to improve on their last year’s phone. The S8+ also bests the Google Pixel XL, the OnePlus 3T, but falls a bit short of the battery life on the iPhone 7 Plus … 

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April 4

GOOG: 834.57

-3.98
Stock Chart

April 3

GOOG: 838.55

8.99
Stock Chart

New data from comScore shows that Roku leads the market in streaming TV boxes, with an 18% market share, giving it close to the combined totals of its closest rivals, Amazon’s fireTV and Google’s Chromecast. Apple TV completes the top four, with a 5% share …

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9to5mac 

Android has now overtaken Windows to become the world’s most popular operating system, according to data from Statcounter. Looking at combined usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone, Android usage hit 37.93%, narrowly edging out Windows’ 37.91%.

“This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter.  “It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s.  It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4% of global internet usage share only five years ago.”

The milestone was hit last month, after coming close in February. There are, though, a few points to note …

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March 31

GOOG: 829.56

-1.94
Stock Chart

A video posted by iDeviceHelp shows that the facial recognition system in Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 is so poor that the phone can be unlocked by a photo. The video backs industry sources making the same claims in the Korea Herald …

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March 30

GOOG: 831.50

0.09
Stock Chart

Facebook seems to be on something of a mission at present to copy all the best features from popular apps and services out there. Just a couple of days after it added Snapchat-style ephemeral stories, it has announced that it has created a GoFundMe type personal fundraising feature.

Personal fundraisers allow people to raise money for themselves, a friend or someone or something not on Facebook, for example a pet. Personal fundraisers will launch in the US for people aged 18 years or older, and in beta over the next few weeks, as we hope to continue to learn and improve the product to make it even more useful. For example, we will begin with six specific categories for critical financial needs and include a 24-hour fundraiser review process. As we learn more, we hope to expand our categories and automate more of the review process.

Although Facebook describes the six permitted categories as ‘specific,’ they seem to cover most potential needs between them …

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9to5toys 

March 28

GOOG: 820.92

1.41
Stock Chart

If you enjoy watching live-streaming Periscope videos, be prepared to start seeing some pre-roll ads first. Twitter has announced that it will start selling the ad-slots from today.

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March 24

GOOG: 814.43

-3.15
Stock Chart

If you’re looking to save a bit of cash on a Moto G5 Plus and don’t mind ads on your lockscreen, Amazon has you covered. The mid-range handset is being added to the company’s Prime Exclusive Phones line-up, starting at $184.99 for the 2GB RAM/32GB storage model and rising to $239.99 for 4GB/64GB.

The Moto G5 Plus features a 5.2” Full HD display, fingerprint reader, octa-core processor, 4G LTE speed and compatibility with all major U.S. carriers […] Incredible pricing is supported by personalized offers and ads, including deals and product recommendations, displayed on the phone’s lock screen.

Announced at MWC last month, you get an unlocked phone with a decent spec in a metal design, saving around $45 on the retail price. Alternatively, if you’re just after a budget phone, the company has an option for just $59.99 …

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electrek 

March 23

GOOG: 817.58

-12.01
Stock Chart

March 21

GOOG: 830.46

-17.94
Stock Chart

YouTube has responded to a growing ad boycott by major brands and government departments in the UK. The boycott was prompted by ads being embedded within and alongside hate videos.

In a blog post, Google apologized for the failure in its policies and filters, and explained the three measures it was taking in response …

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