Verizon to debut "FiOS"; "Chrome" to relay typing
Excerpts from the blog Verizon will finally start offering its fiber-optic "FiOS" TV service next week in the Puget Sound region, at least...
Seattle Times staff columnist
Excerpts from the blog
Verizon will finally start offering its fiber-optic "FiOS" TV service next week in the Puget Sound region, at least partially.
About 200,000 homes in Washington now have access to FiOS broadband. The TV service is coming to many of those homes by Sept. 12 at the latest, but it won't reach all of them initially, spokesman Jon Davies said.
Verizon still doesn't have video franchise licenses in all the areas where it operates here. It's been going city to city, securing franchises it needs to add TV services. Maybe next week's launch will put pressure on cities that are still negotiating.
Franchises were approved this week in Redmond, Mukilteo and Mountlake Terrace. Earlier they were granted in Bothell, Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Kenmore, Lynnwood, Marysville, Woodinville, Woodway and Snohomish County. A deal still being negotiated is for service in unincorporated King County.
Verizon's basic bundle sounds like a great deal: For $99 per month, it includes voice service, 10 megabits per second broadband and 400 TV channels delivered over the same fiber-optic line. High definition costs more, since it requires a different set-top box, and the number of HD channels is still being expanded.
Light on "Chrome"
Google's new browser is getting as much scrutiny as McCain's Thrilla from Wasilla.
In response to some of the questions about the "Chrome" browser's privacy, Google has already revised a spooky user agreement it recycled for the software's launch.
Google search guru Matt Cutts is also responding with a flurry of blog posts, such as one titled "Preventing Paranoia: When does Google Chrome talk to Google.com?"
CNET's Ina Fried pointed out that Chrome will actually talk to Google.com a lot, if users don't change its default settings. From her piece on the Chrome's "Omnibox" feature:
"Provided that users leave Chrome's auto-suggest feature on and have Google as their default search provider, Google will have access to any keystrokes that are typed into the browser's Omnibox, even before a user hits enter.
"What's more, Google has every intention of retaining some of that data even after it provides the promised suggestions. A Google representative told CNET News that the company plans to store about 2 percent of that data — and plans to store it along with the Internet Protocol address of the computer that typed it.
"In theory, that means that if one were to type the address of a site — even if they decide not to hit enter — they could leave incriminating evidence on Google's servers."
Cutts acknowledged that "Chrome will talk to the current search service to try to offer useful query/url suggestions."
His take: "I love this feature, but you can turn it off."
Amazon's TV boost
Just in time for the fall TV season, Amazon.com is boosting its movie and TV rental service with new features, including instant viewing and support for Mac computers.
Amazon claims that the service lets viewers start watching instantly in their browser, where the video is streamed, instead of waiting for content to download. The streaming service has been in limited testing; today it's available to all customers.
Previously Amazon offered downloads via its Unbox application to Windows PCs, TiVo digital video recorders and Windows Media Center Extender devices such as Xbox 360 consoles.
Because the new streaming service uses Flash displayed in browsers, it works on Macs and all sorts of different systems.
The company also announced free two-minute previews of all movies and shows in its library. Previews will play automatically when you visit a product detail page.
Amazon's video service is also being extended to Sony TVs with Bravia Internet connections.
This material has been edited for print publication.
Brier Dudley's blog appears Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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