Chromebooks aren't accessible - a five-year-old bug

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~2,946 times.

I was in need of a new laptop, so I bought a cheap ChromeBook - mostly because Amazon could deliver it the same day. Sadly, the trackpad was broken. Before I sent it back, I thought I'd try using a mouse with it. That's when I discovered that accessibility is very much a second thought… Continue reading →

Why Android Pie Won't Be Getting the Copyleft Symbol

by @edent | # # | Read ~472 times.
Wikipedia Copyleft page. The icon is a blank box.

Google is a company with nearly unlimited resources. It often chooses to use its power for the greater good of the Internet. Creating amazing projects like digitizing every printed book, bringing Internet access via high-altitude balloons, and offering high-quality language translation. And sometimes it just gets bored and abandons them. Google Noto is such a… Continue reading →

Hundreds of thousands of spam listings on Google "My Maps"

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~307 times.
Google My Maps page with spam content.

Blogging - because Google don't offer a bug bounty for spam reports... Back in 2007, Google introduced "My Maps": Easily create custom maps with the places that matter to you. Allow friends to see and edit your maps, or publish them to the whole world. Like most Google products, it was effectively abandoned after launch… Continue reading →

Context-Aware Text Recognition?

by @edent | # # # | Read ~262 times.
A scanned document, the text is askew. Next to it is a computer-generated version of the text. A passage is highlighted.

I've been playing with Google's Cloud Vision API. It is OCR (Optical Character Recognition) - but in THE CLOUD and uses MACHINE LEARNING! When it works, it is indistinguishable from magic. When it fails, it reveals a very limited understanding of human text. Let's take a look at this quick example - a piece of… Continue reading →

Using canvas to shrink images for Google Cloud Vision

by @edent | # # #
The HTML5 Logo

I've started using Google Cloud Vision for running text detection on OpenBenches images. There's just one problem - Google limits the size of the files that it will accept to 4MB. Why? Who knows! Obviously, it's easy to shrink an image server-side, but how do we do it in the browser? First, let's take a… Continue reading →

Bug with Google Pay and Amex

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~102 times.

It is impossible to contact large companies to report a bug in their software. So I'm reduced to writing snarky blog posts about it in the vague hope that a Social Media Manager will see the issue and raise it with the appropriate team. Welcome to 2017! Google Pay now supports American Express cards in… Continue reading →

Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Families

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~4,850 times.

I've written before about Solipsist design - those services which have been designed to work only for a very specific type of family. I was taking a look at Google's "Family" proposition - which allows users to share their purchases with other family members. What I found didn't impress me. File under "Falsehoods Programmers Believe… Continue reading →

Google's AMP is a gilded cage

by @edent | # # # # # | 47 comments | Read ~72,882 times.

AMP is Google's attempt to re-fight the transcoding wars of the early 2000s. It is actively dangerous to the web ecosystem, helps disseminate propaganda, and is disliked by many users. If, like me, you made the mistake of trying out AMP on your website - you're in a tricky position if you try to remove… Continue reading →

Does Google's Hiring Process Put Off Talented Applicants?

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~5,725 times.

I was contacted by a Google recruiter the other day - and I turned them down without a second thought. Part of the reason is that I'm happy in my current role (hi boss!) - and another part is that last year Google deleted me. But perhaps the biggest reason is Google's awful reputation when… Continue reading →

Liberate Your YouTube Videos

by @edent | # # # # | Read ~359 times.

If you've been following this blog, you'll know that Google unjustly shut down my YouTube channel. They've now reinstated it - but I can no longer trust them as custodians of my data. So, here's a quick tutorial on how to download all your videos - and metadata - from YouTube. The Official Way Google… Continue reading →