Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Google to rebrand music service to Youtube Music

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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It seems not a week goes by without Google renaming, cancelling or somehow changing one of its services. Google will update its music service with the hope of dethroning  Spotify and Apple Music. 

Google will leverage its most recognized media brand to give music a fighting chance. So you will soon welcome YouTube Music into this world. 

On Tuesday, May 22, we’ll be changing that by introducing YouTube Music, a new music streaming service made for music with the magic of YouTube
— Elias Roman, Product Manager - YouTube Music


Early information suggests it will marry the substantial unique music of Youtube (live performances, covers, etc.) to advanced discovery probably powered by AI. 

This new service will (eventually) replace Google Music. Taking a page out of the Youtube and Spotify playbooks, they will offer a limited ad-supported free tier. Music lovers will be able to buy a $9.99 per month subscription to YouTube Music Premium which will offer ad-free listening. 

Youtube Music will firsts roll out to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. Once again Canada is a second-class citizen. Other key markets will launch "soon" including Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

You can sign up to their availability tracker here music.youtube.com/coming-soon

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Source : Youtube blog

Google to replace Drive with Google One

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Google just announced their new Google One service. Google One will replace the existing Google Drive service and will allow users to buy additional storage that can be used across its various properties (gmail, drive, photos, etc). 

In addition to the new name, Google is throwing in some additional goodies into the existing plans

  • The $US9.99 ($CAD13.99) 1 TB storage plan will be upgraded to 2 TB for free
  • A new 200 GB tier will be implemented ($US2.99)

Existing 1 TB customers will automatically get upgraded in the coming weeks as soon as the move is implemented. 

Google One will allow you to share your storage allocation with up to 5 accounts. Each will have their own private storage using the total allocation.

Google promises to add some sort of consumer product help and provide "extras" like Google Play credits for subscribers. There aren't too many details yet so we'll have to wait and see. Sounds a lot like the TMobile Tuesday promo.

Google promises to roll out Google One to users in the USA over the coming weeks. No news on the global expansion yet.

Turn your legit link into a scary one

GeneralEdward Kiledjian1 Comment
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When Google finally shut down its Goo.gl shortening service, I wrote an article about the best alternative URL shorteners. 

Security specialists cringe at these services because they can often be used to hide attacks, but when brute forced (using a program that tries to find valid links automatically), you can usually find classified or confidential information. If you are interested in this type of research, check out this academic paper entitled "Gone in Six Characters: Short URLs Considered Harmful for Cloud Services."

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The TLDR is that shortened URLs can be scanned using automation and doing so reveals a tone of Microsoft OneDrive accounts storing private information (most unlocked). Knowing that these files are automatically downloaded (most of the time) to the user's PC through synchronization, a threat actor can weaponize them. The researchers also discovered location information such as driving instructions for specialize medical services, prisons or adult establishments. 

Make that link scary

None of these valid concerns is the reason I wrote this article though. The purpose of this article is to take legitimate links and make them scary (at least for tech-savvy recipients). 

The purpose of VeryLegit is to take good links and make them scary (without actually being dangerous of course).

When asked how the service works, the humorous authors deliver this little gem:

Due to rapid advancement in dark ritual technology, the programming community has streamlined the development and deployment of unspeakable eldritch horrors. Using robust open-source libraries like a sack of live geese, websites like this one can be developed with far more efficient sacrificial rituals than ever before. We’re still stuck on the version with really inefficient sacrifical rituals though, due to comp͆aͭatib̊i̼͕l̈̿i̮̜t̚y̅ ͊i͋s̾s̢͈͠u̶e̛̊s̼̃.
— verylegit.link

Let's try it

1 - You copy a link like my article about Google Tasks  "https://www.kiledjian.com/main/2018/4/25/google-launches-new-tasks-app-mobile-web"

2- You paste it into the magical input box

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3 - You click on Make it look dodgy

4 - You copy the scary looking link (http://ctf.verylegit.link/+javaexploit_970speedupurpc!!install-now!!java0day.docm.js.pdf) and voila.  Scare the pants of a tech-aware friend. 

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It will redirect you to your original link only adding lots of scary extensions typically used by scammers and Nigerian princes wanting to give you millions of dollars.

So welcome to Monday, time to have some fun.

Google launches New Tasks App (Mobile & Web)

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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In a blog post entitled "With new security and intelligent features, the new Gmail means business", David Thacker (Google VP Product Management, G Suite) announced, "We’re also introducing a new way to manage work on the go with Tasks."

The new refreshed Tasks system will be available on the web and have accompanying mobile apps (Android and IOS). The new updated Tasks system will allow you to create tasks & subtasks with due dates and notifications. 

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The current tasks was an anemic stand-alone product that barely worked. The new one will integrate into the G Suite and allow you to drag & drop emails from GMAIL, files from Google Drive and more. 

Now you can quickly reference, create or edit Calendar invites, capture ideas in Keep or manage to-dos in Tasks all from a side panel in your inbox.
— David Thacker

The announcement is happening in the G Suite (Enterprise blog), but this update will flow to the free consumer-friendly version as well. 

The Google help centre provides additional information about how all of this will work.

Download the new Android version here and the IOS one here

Fairplay - Canadian media companies want the CRTC to adopt more anti-piracy regulations

Edward KiledjianComment
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NOTE: I want to say up front that I believe content creators should be compensated for their work but history proves that laws cannot change user behavior. Make content available affordable in a flexible manner and see what happens (e.g. the streaming music model dramatically reduced music piracy because it became affordable and easily available on all of your devices). 

A coalition of 25 Canadian media companies are petitioning the Canadian Ratio and Telecommunication Commision (CRTC) to establish a new piracy review agency called the Independent Piracy Review Agency [FairPlay movement].

Who makes up this coalition? See the list below but it includes : Actra, ADISQ, Bell, CACE, CBCB, Guzzo, Cineplex,Cogeco, Corus, eOne, etc.

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The recommendation is that media companies want this new IPRA to have the authority to act quickly without needing a court order to block an offending website. 

Understandably many organizations (e.g. OpenMedia & SumOfUs) have mobilized their support base to voice their objections. The first round of comments ended on March  29, 2018, and we can see close to 10,000 comments against the FairPlay proposal. 

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The common thread amongst the comments is that Canadians do not want a small group of publishers to have the power of censorship over the internet. 

Supporters believe the case is clear-cut and the government must act to protect rights owners. Other companies (like ISPs Telus, Shaw) are not card-carrying members but have shown their support for the proposed plan. You can read the Telus Intervention document (support document) here

All supporters of this plan know the public may complain of possible "over restrictions" and most supporting documents go to great lengths to convince the CRTC commission that controls will be in place to avoid "censorship".

I am proud that my Internet Service Provider, TekSavvy is taking the side of Canadians and has come out against the proposal. I believe in voting with my money which is why I chose TekSavvy as my ISP when I moved. I want to encourage more companies to defend the interests of everyday internet using Canadians. 

The [...]proposal for site blocking would fundamentally reshape how Internet services would work in Canada,
— TekSavvy

Open Privacy is a not-for-profit group whose mandate is to empower communities through technology. They have come out against FairPlay on the grounds that it will harm the internet's integrity and openness. Open Privacy believes FairPlay regulations will negatively impact internet affordability and online privacy of Canadians. 

NOTE FROM SITE: We know major telcos have deployed deep packet inspection technologies to determine what users are doing online. It is reasonable to assume that these technologies will become more invasive once this change passes. 

The Creative Commons , A not-for-profit that has created a suite of licensing tools to enable content creators to share their content more freely has come out against this proposal. 

It is not apparent why online copyright infringement should be dealt with as a telecommunications matter — as opposed to a copyright matter
— Creative Commons

Even the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the group behind the .ca domain name system, has come out against this proposal stating that existing copyright protection tools are adequate, effective and sufficient. 

Conclusion

This is a thorny issue with both sides convinced they are speaking the truth. History has shown that piracy cannot be controlled by regulation. The government stopped Napster (back in the day) but they didn't kill piracy. I believe piracy can only be reduced when content is made available easily (without draconian Digital Rights Management arbitrarily determining where and when you can play content you have paid for) and must be offered at a reasonable price. 

Many Canadians feel like they have been beaten with the proverbial stick by Canadian media companies. They feel trapped by expensive content that isn't watchable everywhere. Many see piracy as a silent revolt against the establishment.