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There’s a cat fight happening between Google and Microsoft. Basically, Google has a policy to publicly disclose any bugs it finds within 90 days of informing the software provider. In this case, it was a bug in Windows that allowed a person’s system to be taken over. It’s not easy to do, but possible nevertheless.

The 90 window passed with still no fix from Microsoft, so Google went ahead and published the bug for all hackers to learn. Microsoft did issue a fix just two days after Google went public, and obviously isn’t happy with Google. As a Microsoft representative wrote:

Although following through keeps to Google’s announced timeline for disclosure, the decision feels less like principles and more like a “gotcha”, with customers the ones who may suffer as a result. . .What’s right for Google is not always right for customers. We urge Google to make protection of customers our collective primary goal.”

So who’s right, who’s wrong?

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Microsoft is rumored to be working on a new browser for Windows 10. So new, it may not even be called Internet Explorer.

It will still use Trident, Microsoft’s web rendering engine, so it’s likely to be more about changing the user interface (to be more like Chrome) and brand than anything fundamental. However, the break is supposedly big enough that Microsoft will include both this new browser and the existing IE11 “just in case” for Windows 10.

The new browser’s primary feature is to be lightweight and fast loading; hence its code name “Spartan” within Microsoft. This is the browser designed for all devices: PCs, tablets, phones and maybe even smaller.

It will probably have native app support – similar to extensions – and I expect Microsoft to eventually port it to Android and iOS.

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There was the PC revolution, than the Internet and now mobile. Tech analysts are falling all over themselves to predict the next great thing, with wearable devices like the smartwatch being the primary candidate.

Maybe the next frontier is not on your wrist but on your butt instead, by which I mean cars.

There’s some impressive tech on the horizon coming soon to cars. There is of course driverless cars, and that’s been covered here before. There’s a ton of cool stuff brewing between now and that future.

The first is this new take on navigation by Jaguar. Forget the traditional map and blue lines. Imagine a blue hologram car that’s just ahead of you, guiding where to go. It’s the future take of how we used to do guidance — by following a buddy.

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Google announced yesterday the initial roll out of a new “store visits” metric for AdWords. Essentially, it is an attempt to trace conversion from an ad click to an actual store visit. According to Google:

With the holiday season upon us, it’s clear that the majority of sales for many industries still happen in person – in fact, roughly 95% of retail sales take place in physical stores.1 And online activities are influencing offline transactions more than ever, bringing together the digital and physical worlds. Thirty-two percent of consumers say that location-based search ads have led them to visit a store or make a purchase, so it’s more important than ever for businesses to understand the impact that search ads have in driving visits to your physical locations, whether that’s a store, hotel, auto dealership or restaurant.

The implementation, however, leaves something to be desired. Google will establish location by conventional means, e.g. geo-fencing and Wi-Fi, and which can have an error rate of over 500 meters!

This means the store visit metric will only work for certain kinds of retailers. It won’t work for stores in dense areas or in shopping malls. It’ll only work for a Costco-like mega store that’s in the middle of nowhere by itself.

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One of my biggest learning from writing this blog is the power Google wields. Building a following that is loyal and reads whatever you write is incredibly hard; much easier to appeal to the Google gods to send traffic your way.

I understand this, and I’m writing a rinky-dink blog.

The newspaper publishing industry in Spain doesn’t, so they lobbied the government to enact a law so newspapers can charge Google every time snippets appear on Google News. This wouldn’t just apply to Google News but to all other news aggregators too like feecha.

Google responded the way I would’ve and called their bluff — by pulling Google News out of Spain and excluding Spain-based newspapers from Google News.

Here’s the industry’s response:

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Chromebooks are finally getting serious about penetrating the mass market. No, it’s not better offline capabilities, though that would help greatly. And no, Minecraft is not making an appearance any time soon.

Chromebooks are getting serious because finally, Acer is releasing a 15.6-inch version of its Chromebook, supposedly on March 2015.

Months ago, I wrote about how the most popular computing device of the future will be a 15-inch tablet weighing less than 1.5 pounds with a keyboard accessory. While we are a good three to five years away from that getting there, the rationale is that the 15-inch display size is actually the most popular category of laptops.

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Yesterday, I wrote how ads are a valid revenue model for online businesses, and not necessarily anti-consumer. Today, I write how display ads don’t even really work.

Intuitively, you know that to be true. How often have you actually looked, processed and clicked on an ad, much less act on it? Take those probabilities and divide them in half, because according to Google, only 44% of all display impressions were even seen by actual human beings.

The definition of seen is quite generous: at least half the ad’s pixels have to be viewable and for at least one second to be counted. So Google is counting even the ads that appear on the side that you completely ignore as you read the web page’s main body of content.

Under this definition of seen, ads that appear just “above the fold” (i.e. are viewable as soon as you arrive) and ads that are vertically long are seen more often.

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