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Google gears up for mobile security smackdown

Danger, Will Robinson!

The essential guide to IT transformation

Tired of spotty network performance interrupting your web service's performance and of navigating the maze that is mobile application development?

Google can help - just don't rely on the giant's Android mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) when it comes to building in security.

Google has released a version of the Google Gears browser extension targeting mobile browsers, which is a "fully functioning" port of Google Gears 0.2. Google Gears mobile potentially simplifies development of applications featuring offline capabilities by providing local processing and storage of application resources when the network is unavailable.

But you better not be using a Nokia handset, or playing sneaky games on your BlackBerry, or be flash enough to own an Apple iPhone. Google Gears for mobile can be used only with Microsoft's Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile 5 and 6.

Charles Wiles, Google mobile product manager, said Google Gears for mobile will be available for other mobile platforms with "capable" web browsers, as well as its fledgling Android mobile software platform.

Nokia, RIM and Apple are not members of Open Handset Alliance (OHA), which promotes Android. Neither is Microsoft, but IE remains the industry's largest browser in terms of market share.

Paranoid Android

In a sobering twist, meanwhile, it has emerged that Google's Android contains multiple security vulnerabilities that could see mobile devices taken over by hackers.

Core Security Technologies has issued an advisory warning of several vulnerabilities in Android's core libraries used for processing graphic content in commonly used formats.

According to Core, some vulnerabilities were introduced by the native Android code using the image formats or implementing new functionality, and also by the use of "outdated and vulnerable open source image processing libraries".

Google in reverse brain drain shock!

In an unusual twist, the Googleplex's legendary powers of sucking in staff from rivals has gone into reverse. Sheryl Sandberg, Google's vice president of global online sales and operations, has quit after six years to start work as chief operating officer for pimply-faced social network Facebook.

No doubt her presence will be used to help steady nerves of investors like Microsoft and advertisers such as Coca-Cola following the Beacon debacle.®

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