Washington (CNN)Pharmaceutical giant Merck will plead guilty to charges related to illegal promotional activity for the painkiller Vioxx and pay fines and settlement costs totaling nearly a billion dollars, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Justice officials said Merck, Sharp and Dohme Corp. has agreed to the massive settlement to resolve criminal charges and civil claims stemming from its promotion and marketing of Vioxx. The drug was withdrawn from the marketplace in September 2004.
Under the agreement, Merck will plead to a misdemeanor charge for the illegal promotion and pay a $321 million criminal fine.
The firm also agreed to a civil settlement under which it will pay $628 million to resolve allegations of off-label marketing and false statements about the cardiovascular safety of Vioxx.
The federal government will receive $426 million from the civil settlement and the remaining $202 million will be distributed to the participating Medicaid states, the Justice Department said.
“When a pharmaceutical company ignores FDA rules aimed at keeping our medicines safe and effective, that company undermines the ability of health care providers to make the best medical decisions on behalf of their patients,” Assistant Attorney General Tony West said.
The FDA approved Vioxx for three medical purposes in 1999 but did not approve its use against rheumatoid arthritis until April 2002. The government says that for nearly three years in the interim, Merck promoted Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis. An FDA warning letter was sent to Merck in 2001 for making the claims.
Officials say that while this is not a record settlement, the $950 million agreement places it among the top five on record.
Google will showcase a picture drawn by an 11-year old Indian girl as its doodle on Childrens Day (November 14) in India.
Sixth-grade student Anvita Telang won the National Doodle4Google competition, the company said today. Her drawing, titled, “If I could teach anyone anything, it would be” received over 100,000 votes over the past 10 days.
Telang, a student at Vibgyor High School, Pune, illustrated greeneries, water, water life, balloons and other pleasantries in her picture with the message that people should try to enjoy every moment.
Google has run competitions for its doodles (the special picture with a message you see above the homepage search bar) since 2009 in India. In a press statement, the company said with this program it aims to “celebrate and promote creativity, passion, and imagination in our younger users.”
Several other participants were also praised for their submissions. Some of their entires portrayed the significance of Indian classical dance, sign languages, gardening and books. Indian school kids routinely show an immense interest in Googles competition.
Google said kids from over 50 cities participated this year. “Its heartening to see the messages that these young minds wish to communicate with such creativity. It was a tough competition,” said Sapna Chadha, the head of marketing at Google India.
When a relationship gets serious, we start to share more of our lives. We borrow each others cars. We move in together. Inevitably, we start sharing each others technology and even our passwords.
But your device says a lot about you: Your pastimes, your taste in music, your curiosities and the things you shop for. So how do you maintain your privacy online, even with the people who are closest to you?
Here are a few simple tricks to help you keep your secrets under wraps. (Note: Apps and websites do not always work the same across all devices and operating systems. If something isnt located in the menus precisely as I say, look around for a similar action.)
Amazon tracks not only what you have purchased, but also what you have browsed. If you share an Amazon account, both can pose a major problem especially this time of year.
The good news is that you can easily cover your tracks. To erase your browsing history, from your account settings, look for the Personalization section. Go to Personalized Content >> View and Manage Your Browsing History. Here, you have a few options. You can remove only certain items or all items as well as turn off browsing history, so you never have this issue again.
Lets say you want to make it more difficult for someone to find out what you have ordered. Amazon will not completely delete your order history, but you can archive individual orders. Casual snoops will have a harder time seeing what you have purchased. From your account settings, go to Your Orders. Select the item you wish to hide and select Archive order.
You can use the Amazon app as an additional holiday security measure. Suppose you have purchased a pair of shoes for your spouse, youve archived the order, and now youre waiting for the package to arrive. But youre receiving so many boxes this time of year, how do you know which delivery to open and wrap?
With the Amazon app, you can scan the barcode on the box to immediately find out whats inside. It works like a charm unless your spouse has secretly ordered something for you!
Google often auto-completes your search terms based on personal information, such as your location and previous searches. Anyone looking over your shoulder or borrowing your device might be surprised by the guesses Google makes. Google products that collect your information include Chrome, Google Maps, and YouTube.
To delete your search history on Google, you need a Google account. Just log in, go to My Activity, and remove items individually.
Most browsers have a similarly easy way to delete your browsing history, and the controls tend to be in your browsers preferences. Keep this in mind, especially if youre researching something a little unusual.
For many of us, Facebook is like a sprawling digital yearbook. Maybe you have a family computer, and you usually forget to log out of Facebook. Other people use the same computer, they stumble into your Facebook account, and they notice your conspicuous search history.
Your significant other may wonder why youve become so curious about the person you once invited to the prom, no matter how innocent your interest.
The easiest way to avoid an awkward conversation is to open your Activity Log on your Facebook page. Select More from the column at left >> Search >> Clear Searches. Or you can remove each search item one by one.
We all have our guilty pleasures, especially when it comes to movies. You may have privately viewed Lars Von Triers “Nymphomaniac” and thought it was a great work of art-house cinema, but that could be hard to explain to a roomful of people.
If you want to hide past screenings, just go to My Account >> Viewing History. Be advised that items arent always deleted immediately; it may take 24 hours for your lists to update on all devices.
Copyright 2016, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com
“For almost all threat models [the Pixels and iPhone] are nearly identical in terms of their platform-level capabilities,” Ludwig said.
Well, so much for that. A group of Chinese white hat hackers managed to hack a Pixel in 60 seconds at the PwnFest hacking competition that took place in Seoul on Friday, according to The Register.
The hackers, who work at Qihoo 360, a security solutions company, won $120,000 in cash after demonstrating an exploit that cracked open the Android and gave them full remote access as well as access to personal information such as messages, phone calls, contacts and photos.
Google is now reportedly patching the exploit along with a previous hole that enabled rival white hat hackers at Tencent’s Keen Labs to breach the Pixel’s security at the Mobile Pwn2Own event in Japan last month.
The iPhone’s been widely praised for its tight security, and Apple CEO Tim Cook’s public fight and refusal to create a backdoor for the FBI earlier this year only strengthened the device’s appeal.
Android, on the other hand, because of its many customizations and open source design, is far more vulnerable to hacking.
It wouldn’t be an Apple event without a little shade, right?
Apple CEO Tim Cook opened Thursday’s keynote at the company’s Mac event in Cupertino with a not-so-subtle burn aimed at Google. The subject was mobile operating system adoption, a noted sore spot for Google.
Cook announced that iOS 10, which was released last month, has now reached an adoption rate of 60%. That’s an impressive stat in itself and we’ve previously noted that iOS 10 has been particularly successful in this regard but Cook took it a step further with this graphic comparing it to Android.
The image showed Google comparatively dismal adoption rate of Android 7.0, which has been out longer than iOS 10 but is installed on less than 1% of Android devices.
This is far from surprising, new versions of Android have always taken much longer to reach the masses than Cupertino’s counterpart, primarily because Google doesn’t control the vast majority of Android’s hardware. But it was still a good burn.
SMS support for the ill, an autonomous reef surveying robot and a fish stock app were three of the successful projects to win Australia’s second-ever Google Impact Challenge Wednesday.
At an event held at Google’s Sydney office, the top 10 non-profit ideas, all using technology to solve social and environmental issues, were whittled down to three winners along with two people’s choice awards. Each of the five received A$750,000.
Clara Chow, a cardiologist at Westmead Hospital, helps lead one of the winners, TEXTCARE. The service send personalised text messages to support people with chronic disease.
An excited Chow told Mashable the experience was “amazing.”
“This is something we’ve been working on for five years,” she said. “We think we’re just at that point where we can upscale it … This has given us, one, the confidence, and two, the means, to consolidate our partners to do that.”
The prize money will be vital. “I’m a pretty driven sort of person, I would have tried to find another way,” Chow added. “But, you know, you never know what’s at your door.”
Hello Sunday Morning, a vaguely “fitspo” mobile program to deal with alcohol dependency, presents more like a startup. That’s something one of the judges, the CSIRO’s CEO Larry Marshall, seemed particularly thrilled about as the winners were announced.
According to Google.org head Jacquelline Fuller, her team have been amazed by the level of social innovation in Australia.
Fuller was particularly impressed the finalists included startups as well as more traditional charities.
“Sometimes the big, global [non-governmental organisations] aren’t always the ones on the cutting edge of innovation. I think it’s really terrific that we saw the full range,” she said.
What’s also important, she suggested, is that the winners are willing to share their data, their innovation and their experiences. “We don’t want organisations all around the world to reinvent the wheel,” Fuller said. “So if what we have created is helpful, we want to give them that, and help them to localise it.”
As well as the cash, the winners will get mentorship from Google staff. “We hadn’t realised in the past how important it was to also get Googlers to volunteer to help make the projects a reality,” she said.
Jason Pellegrino, managing director at Google Australia and New Zealand, told Mashable it was very rare for Google to bring its Impact Challenge back to the same country twice.
The return was thanks to the impact of the first round in 2014, as well as Australia’s relationship with the tech giant. “This was our second international office outside of the U.S,” he said. “Right from the start, this has always been a country that has been technologically forward.
“It’s always an easy place to bring a competition like this, and know you’re going to get great support and great outcomes.”
The bestthings about the Daydream View, Google’s $79 mobile-driven virtual reality headset that comes out today, arewhat it isn’t: Complicated. Heavy. Expensive. Finicky. Most importantly of all, though, it’s not Cardboard. Google knows for Daydream to take off, the VR platform has to be as simple as as the assemble-it-yourself cheapo phone holster that’s brought so many people into immersive virtual worldsfor the first time—just better. Much better.
Much like the Google Pixel phone that powers it, the View is almost entirely featureless. Very unlike the Pixel, though—and unlike every other VR headset out there—the View manages to look and feel cozy. The eyebox is an uninterrupted swatch of soft heathered material. When you slip it over your head, a single wide fabric strap keeps everything secure, and a padded linerlets the headset rest snugly on your face withoutleaving pressure marks. The linercan even be removed and hand-washedwhich, seriously, you may want to consider doing every now and then. Your T-zone will thank you.
Flip down the faceplate, place your Pixel on the four contact points, and the View should recognize it immediately via NFC and prompt you to close the lid. “Should” being the operative word. If I’d recently restarted the phone, all happened as expected, but many times I needed to explicitly launch a VR app just to receive the prompt to place my Pixel in the View—and sometimes I got no prompt at all, leading to a frustrating game of Home Screen Bingo to see what would trigger the launch sequence.
Once things start running, though, and the View is on your head, it (with a little help from you) pairs with the headset’s not-so-secret weapon: the companion controller. As my colleague David has already pointed out, the small pillbox-shaped device functions like a cross between the Apple TV’s remote and a Wiimote, though VR fans will find the Oculus Rift’s remote the handiest comparison. Yet, it’s an improvement on all of those, as well as handily eclipsing the touchpad-on-the-side-of-the-headset input scheme of theSamsung Gear VR, the View’s nearest competitor. It’s your all-in-one Daydream input device, taking various forms depending on what you’re doing. Because it’s motion-tracked, it act asa laser pointer, an aiming reticle, a flashlight, a wand, or just about anything you need it to be. Its buttons bring up in-game options or kick you back to an app-selection screen; around area near the top for your thumbcan function as a joystick, a rotary selector, or a swipe-able touchpad. It’s versatile, powerful, andwhilethe pairing dropped a handful times during my testing, it enhances everything you do in Daydream.
The first place you’ll use it is in Daydream’s pastoral home environment, a forest clearing with a waterfall to your right and a stream flowing nearby. In front of you hovers thesame tiledselection of apps that has emerged as VR’s default UI. (Passing your controller’s selector over the icons in Daydream, though,triggers a nifty 3D animation.) Our review unit included a small selection of titles, from Google’s own products like Street Viewand YouTube VR to third-party games and experiences: astronomy exploration tool Star Chartis a standout, as is cute if inconsequential puzzle game Mekorama.
The good news is that the vast majority of these are flawlessly comfortable experiences. The View might be significantly more wearable than a Google Cardboard viewer, but it’s still essentially the same thing: a phone holster with some lenses in it. There’s no focus wheel, no interpupillary distance adjustment—no input whatsoever. While the Samsung Gear VR has some onboard motion sensors and establishes a hard connection with the phone via its mini-USB jack, the View eschews all that, instead relying solely on the Pixel’s (and controller’s) internal sensors for all tracking. And it does so surprisingly well.
My only brush with VRdiscomfort was in a mini-game collection called Wonderglade:something about the top-down view and the game’s detached camera control came together in unholy matrimony and turned what should have beena pleasant gameof minigolf into a headache I’ve come to know as a precursor to simulator sickness. That’s the fault of the game design, though, notDaydream’s tracking. (By contrast, I found action-RPGHunters Gateto beperfectly comfortable,despite needing to use my thumb and my controller in different waysand looking around at my surroundingswhile doing both.)
For all the good, keep in mind that this is still mobile VR. You can swivel in a chair or look up and down, but you can’t physically move through a virtual space. Fully positionally-tracked VR isn’t yet available in a standalone or mobile-driven headset; for now, if you want to be cable-free or avoid buying a PC or PlayStation 4 (and the multi-hundred-dollar headset to go with it), you’re looking at a somewhat constrained VR experience.
But for a constrained VR experience, this is as good as I’ve seen. A Pixel XL’s Quad HD OLED screen delivers an image as good as you’ll get using a Galaxy phone with the Gear VR, and Google has done a lot of work to optimize the phone to deliver great VR. If you’re not a Verizon customer, you’ll need to wait until there’s a Daydream-ready phone on your own carrier, but that won’t be a long wait: as Google announced in May,at least eight differentAndroid manufacturers, from Asusto Xiaomi,will be rolling out Daydream-capable phones. (There’ll even be other Daydream headsets eventually.)
Daydream also has the benefit of coming nearly two years after the Oculus Store first launched. The VR pipeline is robust, and growing all the time. There are more than 40 other games, experiences and apps arriving on Daydream over the next two months,While many of those are already staples of most other VR platforms (Netflix, NYT VR, cartoonish racer VR Karts, the bomb-defusing game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes), a healthy number of them are newcomers. That infusion of talent is integral to people not just buying in, but using VR.
When Google first surprised us withits Cardboard viewer, it was 2014: the first version of the Samsung Gear VR was still months away.Simply by representing an affordable buy-in, Cardboardspawned a seemingly endless paradeofcheap and easy(and, sure, mostlycrappy) phone-based headsets.Google knew that the quality would come; it just wanted people to be willing to tryVR. Now it’s got them thereand it’s giving them a better View.
Google’s Daydream View is wrapped in soft microfiber fabric.
Image: lili sams/mashable
The world of is a convoluted mess right now, divided into three categories: low, mid and high end.
On the low end you’ve got and all the “viewers” that don’t have any kind of head tracking or controllers. These are pretty terrible in most cases.
In the middle, you’ve got Samsung’s and a dozen of clones that provide good VR experiences with limited head-tracking and controller support (either built-in or wireless).
And on the high-end, there’s the and , which require expensive, powerful gaming PCs to work. But man, are the VR experiences worth it. Sony’s gets lumped into this category, too, but it’s a notch down from the Rift and Vive.
The sweet spot will be self-contained VR headsets something Intel and others are that give you a near high-end experience with the portability of the Gear VR.
But until we get there, most people who don’t want to blow a small fortune on VR are going to settle for good enough. Which is why Google’s launching the DayDream View, an $80 VR headset that’s designed to knock out the Gear VR.
It’s familiar, yet different, but still the same idea: Slot your phone into the headset and jack into the matrix VR world.
Soft and cozy
At least that’s how Clay Bavor, Google’s head of VR, described Daydream View during its unveil at last month’s Pixel launch event.
It’s just not sleek looking at all.
“We looked at what people actually wear; we wear stuff that’s soft, stuff that’s flexible and breathable, and so we crafted our headset out of that same comfortable stuff,” Bavor said.
I can confirm Daydream View is indeed soft; the outside is wrapped in microfiber. The look is less Best Buy and more Crate & Barrel.
But despite its significantly smaller size compared to the Gear VR, it’s still a thing you strap to your face with an elastic band. Until these VR headsets that , they’ll always look dorky.
As for cozy, I can’t say I entirely agree. Though Daydream View is about 57 percent lighter (without phones) than the Gear VR it’s not noticeably lighter during actual usage. And while the face pad (the padding between your face and the lenses) is soft as well, it also lets in quite a bit of light around the nose region something you definitely don’t want to happen when you’re looking at virtual dinosaurs or immersing yourself in 360-degree videos on YouTube.
I also don’t love how the Pixel and Pixel XL (the only two phones that currently work support Daydream) stick out between the front flap and the headset. It’s just not sleek looking at all.
There are some clever Daydream View features. The remote-like controller fits inside of the headset for convenient storage, and the face pad is removable and washable. It’s also nice there isn’t a band on the top to flatten and ruin your hair.
Not much to do yet
You’re going to be disappointed if you buy a Daydream View today expecting to get lost in an endless portal of immersive VR content.
The sad reality is there just isn’t much to see or do with Daydream View right now; there are fewer than dozen VR apps and most of them are so-so.
But let’s start with Google’s Daydream VR interface because it’s really simple and easy to navigate, and similar to the Oculus experience you get with the Gear VR.
There are two rows to Daydream (three if you count the last row of round icons: Play Store, Library and Settings). The top row shows three VR apps and you can swipe on the controller’s touchpad to bring up new ones. The row just below it shows the four most recently opened VR apps with the newest on the left.
To launch apps just point your controller, aim the little dot-shaped cursor on the screen and click on the touchpad. A single press on the home button (O) always brings you back to the main Daydream homescreen. If you’ve used Android or a set-top box of any kind, you’ll be right at home.
Buying and installing apps from Google Play is also pretty straightforward. All I had to do was enter my PIN code after making making sure my Google account had money loaded up.
Design-wise, I like that the controller is wireless and separate from the headset. You could blame me for having weak arms from typing all day, but constantly holding my arm up to the Gear VR’s side-mounted touchpad gets tiring.
Functionally, though, the Gear VR is superior; the in-headset cursor never gets misaligned, unlike the Daydream View’s controller and cursor which constantly needs to be re-calibrated and re-aligned during usage. Re-calibrating the controller is extremely easy (just long press on the home button), but it’s annoying when you have to do it every few minutes.
Now back to the apps. Because a VR headset is useless without any content.
During my review period, I had access to YouTube VR, Google Street View, Google Arts & Culture VR, Google Play Movies & TV, Star Chart VR, WSJ VR and a three games including Hunters Gate, Wonder Glade and Mekorama VR. And that’s it.
As you can see, it’s not a whole lot.
I was less amused by apps like Google Street View (360-degree landmarks), Google Arts & Culture VR (viewing museum paintings) and WSJ VR (a weird Wall Street Journal app that takes place within a modern Gordon Gekko-like penthouse office with several of its 360 videos and, of course, stocks shown in 3D graphs).
Nothing was that great. Either they weren’t very immersive or the content was dull. Of the apps provided, the games were the most engrossing and promising. Hunters Gate is a third-person top-down shooter where you have to shoot demons, Wonder Glade offers an amusement park of mini-games including a mini-golf game where you swing the the controller like a golf club (kind of like Wii Golf), and Mekorama VR has you helping a robot make its way through a 3D puzzle.
Google has a list of more exciting VR content like Need for Speed: No Limits VR, experiences based on the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Netflix and Hulu are coming before the end of the year. But it would have been great to see more variety at launch. When you’re playing catch-up you have to come hard and Daydream View’s launch content is really soft.
YouTube in VR
The only app resembling a killer Daydream app is YouTube VR.
Google’s designed the app from the ground up just for VR and I have to say it’s quite good. There are three main panels: On the left is a panel for a video’s description, the center panel shows videos, and the right panel shows videos that are “Up Next.”
At first glance, the panels are a little overwhelming, but as you start pointing your controller and clicking on things, it feels less so.
YouTube VR has a great chance of becoming the place to see new 360 and VR videos.
The majority of videos are in 2D, and you view them in a dark room that’s super barebones with just a giant screen (resizable by swiping up or down touchpad) in front of you. It would have been nice for Google to put some more thought into this simulated “theater” view; on the Gear VR you at least feel like you’re in a movie theater with real seats around you or on the moon. (Even the Google Play Movies & TV VR app show 2D videos on a giant screen on a campsite.)
The app’s got a curated 360-degree video section so you don’t need to look for the content yourself. It’s great except most of the quality of the videos look pretty bad (even on a fast Wi-Fi connection). There are a few gems like Help and the fan-made Star Wars 360 VR: Hunting of the Fallen, but they’re scarce.
Even so, the interface is solid and there’s more than enough content to get lost in for a few hours. Just as YouTube has become the primary place for online video, YouTube VR has a great chance of becoming the place to see new 360 and VR videos.
Building a VR ecosystem
The best analogy for Daydream View is a Nexus phone. Daydream View is like a reference model, so to speak, for other hardware makers to model their own Daydream-compatible VR headsets and controllers after.
But more than just a headset, Daydream View is a jumping-off point for Google’s grand plan to own the mobile VR space. The Gear VR has the Oculus Store and Daydream View (and future Daydream VR headsets) has Daydream, which has access to VR apps and content from the Google Play Store and the YouTube VR app.
With Daydream View, Google’s laying the framework to standardize phones (they must meet certain requirements on screen resolution, refresh rate, processing, etc.) for optimal mobile VR experiences and for the Daydream platform to flourish.
As such, Daydream View feels exactly like what it is: version 1.0. It’ll improve and get better with newer versions and there will be tons more content to experience with Daydream weeks, months and years from now.
If you’ve got a Pixel and want to dip your toes in VR waters, Daydream View is a good place to start. It won’t deliver the superior ocular and audio experience of the Gear VR or an Oculus Rift, but at least it’s not as terrible as Cardboard.
Google Daydream View
Washable face pad Storage slot for controller within headset YouTube VR curates 360 videos into one place
Smaller field of view than Gear VR Not much to experience in Daydream (yet) Pixel XL sticks out of the headset Controller constantly needs recalibrating
The Bottom Line
Daydream View feels like what it is: a version 1.0 product.
WATCH: People try Daydream View VR headset for the first time