Ira Wilsker's archive

I have a gaggle of grandkids scattered across the country. When my own kids were little a few decades ago, the little Golden Books were among their favorites, and over the years, we accumulated quite a collection. Now, three of my granddaughters, each age 5 or under, have their own Android tablets with Wi-Fi access. All three can tap, pinch and swipe the screen with a degree of expertise that could put many adults to shame. Good or bad? That could be debated, but these kids are quite at home using technology.

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Most of us are familiar with Google as the ubiquitous search engine, even to the point that the term “Google” has become synonymous with the term “search.” Google is much more than a search engine, making frequent announcements about new hardware (such as Google glasses), new software (the recently announced “Android M”), and new Web based services (Google translate, Google Maps, and many more). In San Francisco late last month, Google held its annual developers conference, which it calls Google I/O.

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For several years, cyber security and safety pundits, myself included, have advised Web users to be sure that sensitive information is only transmitted over secured Web connections.

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You have likely noticed that the banner ads and other forms of advertisements on many of the webpages you visit appear to “coincidently” be for many of the same items that you have recently searched for online. In some cases, you may also see online ads for direct competitors of previously visited websites, offering many of the same or similar products that you have looked at on other sites.

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Almost every Android device came with a version of Google Maps installed. One of the most popular apps in the world, Google Maps has between 1 and 5 billion copies downloaded from the Google Play Store, with millions of other copies downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store.

Most people know that the mobile version of Google Maps can recommend driving routes between points, but it can really do a great deal more, now becoming so powerful and feature rich that it could conceivably threaten the market for dedicated dashboard GPS devices.

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