Today, Google also updated its mobile app for iOS to provide related article suggestions to people reading online content on their Apple devices. Available only in the U.S. for now, the update will, for example, display brief descriptions and links for other articles about Mars exploration when someone opens the Wikipedia entry for “Mars rover.”
Designed To Save ‘Precious Time’
Google announced yesterday that users of its G Suite productivity apps will soon see contact information in its Gmail and Inbox apps presented as live hyperlinks rather than ordinary text. Rolling out over the next one to three days, the update will be available on the Web as well as on Google’s Android and iOS mobile apps.
“Gmail users often exchange information like addresses and phone numbers with each other to set up meetings, introduce colleagues, and plan events,” Google said yesterday in a blog post. “Precious time can be lost by having to copy and paste this information from an email into other apps and Web sites, so we wanted to provide a better way to perform these tasks that also saves time.”
By clicking on an address link, a user will automatically be taken to Google Maps to see the exact location and access directions. Clicking an email link will open a new message in the user’s default email application, while clicking a hyperlinked phone number will launch a call via the default phone app.
Clock Ticking for EU Antitrust Fines
Starting today, users with iPhones and iPads will also begin seeing new “People also view . . . ” reading suggestions at the bottom of online content viewed with the Google iOS app. The update is designed to help users “keep exploring,” product manager Harsh Kharbanda said today in a post on the Google blog,
“Maybe you’re learning how to cross-stitch, reading up on medieval history, or just looking for good gift ideas — whatever the situation, this new feature makes it easy to explore and discover content while browsing the web,” Kharbanda said. While the update currently applies only to users in the U.S., Google plans to expand the offering to “more languages and locales soon.”
In other Google news, the company has reportedly offered the European Commission a new way to handle comparison shopping results when users search for online products and services. The proposal apparently seeks to mollify EU regulators who have already imposed a fine of €2.4 billion ($2.9 billion) on the company for antitrust violations, according to a Reuters report.
While Google is currently facing a record-breaking fine in Europe in connection with alleged anti-competitive practices online, the company late last month reportedly offered the European Commission a solution in which it would let competing businesses bid for spaces in its Product Listing Ads.
Citing “four people familiar with the matter,” Reuters yesterday reported that “Google is under pressure to come up with a big initiative to level the playing field in comparison shopping, but its proposal was roundly criticized by competitors as inadequate.”
The Reuters article said Google’s proposal was also rejected by the U.K.-based comparison shopping site Foundem, which helped initiate the EU’s antitrust investigation.
“Unless Google is volunteering to break up its general- and specialized-search businesses, the inclusion of Google’s comparison shopping competitors into a new or existing pay-for-placement auction would simply create an additional anti-competitive barrier,” Foundem told Reuters. If Google does not satisfactorily address the EU’s complaints by Sept. 28, it could face daily fines of around $12 million a day, according to Reuters.
Image credit: Google.
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Moscow has requested the extradition of a Russian national also wanted in the United States for laundering billions of dollars through a Bitcoin exchange he operated, a judicial source said Tuesday.
Alexander Vinnik, who headed BTC-e, an exchange he operated for the Bitcoin crypto-currency, was indicted by a US court in late July on 21 charges ranging from identity theft and facilitating drug trafficking to money laundering.
He has been languishing in a Greek jail since his arrest on July 25 in the tourist resort of Halkidiki, near the northern city of Thessaloniki.
According to the judicial source, Vinnik said he would not contest Moscow’s request, dated August 10. He is wanted there on separate fraud charges totalling 9,500 euros ($11,000).
According to US authorities, Vinnik, 37, “stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world.”
In addition, BTC-e “was noted for its role in numerous ransomware and other cyber-criminal activity,” receiving more than $4 billion worth of bitcoin over the course of its operation.
BTC-e, founded in 2011, became one of the world’s largest and most widely used digital currency exchanges, but according to the indictment, it was “heavily reliant on criminals” engaged in identity theft and drugs, as well as corrupt public officials.
Vinnik was also charged with receiving funds from the infamous hack of Mt. Gox — an earlier digital currency exchange that eventually failed, in part due to losses attributable to hacking.
The Treasury Department has fined BTC-e $110 million for “wilfully violating” US anti-money laundering laws, and Vinnik $12 million.
In July, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hailed Vinnik’s arrest and indictment, saying that cracking down on illegal uses of the cyber currency is a key goal of US regulators.
The Greek justice system will now have to decide whether Vinnik heads to Moscow or Washington.
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Aqua Security, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based container security startup, today announced that it has raised $25 million in Series B funding, bringing the total amount raised by the company to $38.5 million.
Container technologies are becoming increasingly popular among IT decision makers, as they offer a means to deploy applications faster when compared to traditional methods.
Aqua’s Container Security Platform delivers a security solution for containerized environments, and supports both Linux and Windows containers, multiple orchestration environments, both on-premises deployments as well as on AWS, Azure, GCP, and other public clouds.
“On a fundamental level, container security is equivalent to hypervisor security,” F5’s David Holmes explained in a 2015 SecurityWeek column.
Aqua says that it uses a combination of intelligent defaults, machine learning, and threat research to protect container-based applications.
The Series B round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, while existing investors Microsoft Ventures, TLV Ventures and Shlomo Kramer also participated in the round.
“The rapid rise and convergence of DevOps, containers, and microservices-based applications is an opportunity to rethink application security.” said Chris Schaepe, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Aqua’s success in leveraging containers to improve security provides visible customer value, as evident from the impressive customer adoption that the team at Aqua achieved in a very short time.”
According to a 2015 survey of 272 IT decision makers in North America conducted by container security specialist Twistlock, 91 percent of the respondents said they were concerned about the security of containers.
Founded in 2015, Aqua says two of the 10 largest financial services companies and three of the world’s top 10 software companies are customers. The company has office locations in San Francisco, CA, Burlington, MA, and London, UK.
Related: Qualys Launches Container Security Product
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