Breakfast Briefing: Google blocks Adblock Plus, how Anonymous helped trace hackers, Azure's fast cloud

Today's top tech stories include Google ad blocking, Anonymous hacking data used to trace Chinese spies and how cloud services rate for speed

Stewart Mitchell
21 Feb 2013

Today's tech stories include a spat between Google and an ad-blocking company, Anonymous' role in tracing Chinese military hackers, Microsoft's Azure named fastest cloud, and Google brings its Chrome OS app tool to its browser.

Google blocks Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is a favourite with advert-hating surfers, making much marketing content disappear, which would be bad news if you were a web company that relies on advertising, like Google, for example. The makers of the tool have complained that since the the 4.1.2 Android update was introduced the tool no longer works on handsets running Google's mobile OS without jumping through the hoops of an eight-stage proxy server configuration.

The exclusion follows changes that Google made in the name of "security", but the Adblock team disagrees, according to The Register.

How Anonymous helped trace Chinese hackers

Ars Technica has an in-depth look at the data trail in the ongoing Chinese hacking probe that sees the country accused of stealing Western trade secrets and other information. Having ploughed through the user names exposed as a result of Anonymous's HBGary attack – including one Wang Dong - the article finds that hacker group Anonymous may accidentally have revealed the identities of some of the Chinese hackers said to be working for the Chinese military.

Azure tops cloud storage speed test

With more data heading for the cloud it's interesting to know how quickly you can access and write the data. Microsoft's Azure cloud has leapfrogged Amazon's Web Services in terms of speed, according to tests run to compare the top cloud providers. Network World covers a test from storage vendor Nasuni, which polled cloud services and found Azure was faster the Amazon in write/read/delete tests that could be significant for users with large cloud collections.

In one test, Azure proved 56% faster than AWS S3 for writing data into its cloud, and 39% faster for reading. Nasuni found that the two OpenStack powered clouds it tested - HP and Rackspace – were pedestrian by comparison to both AWS and Azure.

Google brings app launcher to Chrome browser

Google continues to blur the boundaries between its Chrome browser and Chrome OS with an app launcher tool for its browser that keeps all the little monkeys in one place. The Next Web reports how the feature – already available to developers and expected to arrive in April – mirrors the way apps work in Chrome OS, but can now be used on other platforms via the browser. The app launcher will first appear for Windows, with later versions planned for OS X and Linux.

"Chrome packaged apps are written in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, but launch outside the browser, work offline by default, and access certain APIs not available to web apps," The Next Web notes.

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