Tag: Google (page 1 of 13)

Google Stadia as pandemic fever dream

I think the comment at the end of this article about people being wary of Stadia because Google tends to shut down services is spot-on. I really liked Stadia, and bought five controllers which I either used within our family or gifted.

During the pandemic, I completed Sniper Elite 4 and all of the DLCs via Stadia. I bought FIFA 22 and Cyberpunk 2077 at full-price as I crossed my fingers behind my back hoping the service would survive.

Ultimately, being refunded for hardware purchases and games I bought is a win-win situation for me. I cancelled my Stadia Pro account earlier this year, dabbling first with Xbox Game Cloud via a Razer Kishi, then upgrading my PlayStation Plus account on the PS5, and more recently investing in a Steam Deck.

The good news is that the true Armageddon situation for Stadia customers is not happening. Google is issuing refunds, which will save dedicated Stadia players from potentially losing hundreds of dollars in unplayable games. The post says: “We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.” That notably excludes payments to the “Stadia Pro” subscription service, and you won’t get hardware refunds from non-Google Store purchases, but that’s a pretty good deal. Existing Pro users will be able to play, free of charge, from now until the shutdown date. The controllers are still useful as wired USB controllers, and a campaign is already starting to get Google to unlock the Bluetooth connection.

[…]

Google Stadia never lived up to its initial promise. The service, which ran a game in the cloud and sent each individual frame of video down to your computer or phone, was pitched as a gaming platform that would benefit from Google’s worldwide scale and streaming expertise. While it was a trailblazing service, competitors quickly popped up with better scale, better hardware, better relationships with developers, and better games. The service didn’t take off immediately and reportedly undershot Google’s estimates by “hundreds of thousands” of users. Google then quickly defunded the division, involving the high-profile closure of its in-house development studio before it could make a single game.

[…]

Google’s damaged reputation made the death of Stadia a self-fulfilling prophecy. No one buys Stadia games because they assume the service will be shut down, and Stadia is forced to shut down because no one buys games from it.

Source: Google kills Stadia, will refund game purchases | Ars Technica

Chromebooks banned in Danish schools

Slowly, and then all at once is how a ‘splinternet’ happens. I’m seeing more and more cases of the EU standing up to so-called Big Tech companies like Google over data processing agreements.

In this case, it’s Denmark’s data protection agency, but I should imagine other European countries might follow suit. There’ll be an uproar, though, because data security and sovereignty aside, Google absolutely nailed it with that operating system.

Denmark is effectively banning Google’s services in schools, after officials in the municipality of Helsingør were last year ordered to carry out a risk assessment around the processing of personal data by Google.

In a verdict published last week, Denmark’s data protection agency, Datatilsynet, revealed that data processing involving students using Google’s cloud-based Workspace software suite — which includes Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar and Google Drive — “does not meet the requirements” of the European Union’s GDPR data privacy regulations.

Specifically, the authority found that the data processor agreement — or Google’s terms and conditions — seemingly allow for data to be transferred to other countries for the purpose of providing support, even though the data is ordinarily stored in one of Google’s EU data centers.

Source: Denmark bans Chromebooks and Google Workspace in schools over data transfer risks | TechCrunch

Chrome OS Flex

About 18 months ago, Google acquired Neverware, a company who took the open source version of Chrome OS and customised it for the schools market.

The new version of Chrome OS, called ‘Flex’, can be installed on pretty much any device and also includes Linux containers. Interesting!

Google is positioning Chrome OS Flex as an answer to old Mac and Windows PCs that might not be able to handle the latest version of their native OS and/or that might not be owned by folks with budgets to replace the devices. Rather than buying new hardware, consumers or IT departments could install the latest version of Chrome OS Flex.

Source: Google turns old Macs, PCs into Chromebooks with Chrome OS Flex | Ars Technica