Google has a long history of using computers to do thing that… quite honestly could probably be done better by humans. But it’s easier to scale an algorithm than it is to hire more people. And that leads to situations where an algorithm makes an obviously wrong decision that stays in place until a human intervenes.
Two recent cases: earlier this month the developer of the popular Chrome extension Pushbullet reported that the app was removed from the Chrome Web Store, but Google never explained what the problem was. The issue was only resolved after enough buzz was generated on social media and blogs for it to be brought to the attention of real people working at Google.
Flash forward a few days and one of the most popular podcast apps was removed from the Google Play Store. Why? Apparently because you could use Podcast Addict to listen to podcasts related to COVID-19, which an algorithm decided was a violation of policies enacted to avoid coronavirus disinformation.
Of course, the Google Podcasts app was still in the Play Store, despite being able to access those same podcasts. And, you know… web browsers. Again, the issue was resolved when it garnered enough public attention. But what happens if you’re a smaller developer that gets your app booted from one of Google’s marketplaces for no good reason and you can’t rally thousands of people to your cause?
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer personally apologizes for Podcast Addict Play Store takedown, app now restored [Android Police]
Google’s automated policing of the Play Store & Chrome Web Store can lead to apps being removed for ridiculous reasons — like Podcast Addict being removed because you can play COVID-19 related content in it. It’s been restored, but the issue persists.
- The Google Pixel 5 will almost certainly not have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 [xda-developers]
Evidence points to the Google Pixel 5 shipping with a Snapdragon 765 processor rather than a Snapdragon 865 chip. That could be good news in terms of price and battery life, although it means sub-flagship class performance.
- Microsoft close to emulating x64 code on ARM laptops [MSPowerUser]
Windows 10 on ARM may gain support for running x86_64 Windows applications soon, according to a recent code updates.
- SD Express Delivers New Gigabyte Speeds for SD Memory Cards [SD Association]
Next-gen SD cards could support speeds up to 4GB/s thanks to PCIe 4.0 architecture. You’ll need new cards and card readers though, so it may be a while before you have gear that can take full advantage.
- Samsung introduces 50MP ISOCELL GN1 camera [Samsung]
Samsung’s new smartphone camera with 1.2μm-sized pixels and dual pixel autofocus promises better low-light photographs, faster focusing.
- IFA 2020 gets the go-ahead as a real-life event in Berlin [IFA]
The annual IFA consumer electronics trade show will take place in-person in Berlin from September 3 -5 this year… but it will be scaled back to abide by social distancing and crowd control guidelines.
- Apple’s AR Glasses Design, Name, Price, Release date [Front Page Tech]
According to Jon Prosser, Apple plans to launch a set of Augmented reality glasses called Apple Glass later this year or early in 2021. Priced at $499, they’d be a lot more affordable than the ill-fated Google Glass.
- Leak: Apple to launch low-cost iPad this year with A12 chip [MacRumors]
According to this report – next-gen iPad may have an A12 processor, entry-level price tag, and maybe a 10.2 and/or 10.8 inch display (there may be two models).
- HTC U Ear TWS earbuds gets certified by the FCC [Fone Arena]
HTC hasn’t officially announced these true wireless earbuds yet, but pictures show what appear to be a set of AirPod knockoffs painted black.
- Initial AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux Performance Is Very Good [Phoronix]
It’s not even AMD’s most powerful 15W Ryzen 4000U-series chip, but it seems to outperform the Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake processor in many CPU and GPU tests (under Linux, at least)
- Walmart expands its budget Android tablet lineup with Onn Pro models [Liliputing]
TFW dozens of tech blogs are covering a story that you reported on three weeks ago…