Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Found out that the MSN Talk application for Android phones constantly signs in and out all the time when using a 2G network instead of a 3G or wireless connection.

On T-Mobile UK with their branded HTC Hero.

I haven’t tried it on any other MSN app. Maybe its normal. Maybe it needs more bandwidth than a 2G data rate can provide just to stay signed in.

Thought it might be an interesting post to someone else finding the same thing.


FURTHER UPDATE: I have just spoken to the UK T-Mobile Technical Support who seem to be very good. I haven’t had to phone them before until now but they seem to answer very quickly! The guy I spoke to said the last few calls he had personally dealt with were all regarding the same problems. He put me on hold to ask his colleagues and they had all received calls about the same problem too. He raised my call to the engineers too and said usually a fix is returned within five working days. He did add that given the massive scale of the problem and the amount of calls they are receiving about it, it should be resolved a lot sooner. He also said his G2 Touch was working fine 😛

Sam, the first commenter, did your’s stop working again shortly after?

It is weird how clearing the cache and/or changing to the 2G network seems to give me access for a short while. I’m surprised how many hits this post has had!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Forcing the phone to only connect over 2G networks did make it work for a while but then…. back to the failed signing in and auto sync not auto syncing! I also tried the option at the bottom of GMail where you can view account activity and click to “Sign out all other sessions.” I turned off the Android phone, shut down Google Talk on the computer, and then signed out all other sessions to my account. Still no further.

Some US forums are busy with this problem occurring on the Rogers network and AT&T. Reports suggest after an update was pushed out over the air. The thing is, as far as I know, T-Mobile don’t use Over The Air updates….

Anyone else having the same issues with their Android device?

UPDATE: Selecting to use only 2G networks seems to fix the issue. I have been running fine on it for about an hour. Seems like there is an issue with the 3G network for some of us.

To use only 2G networks go to the Android menu and go to Settings. Then go to Wireless Controls. Then go to Mobile Network Settings and tick the box next to Use Only 2G Networks.

Please comment to confirm if this works for other users or if the problem still persists!


It is Tuesday the 16th of February 2010. I have had a whole day of constant problems getting Google Talk to sign in on my UK T-Mobile G2 Touch. Emails are also not automatically synchronizing anymore and have to be manually refreshed.

The error that keeps being displayed when attempting to sign into Google Talk is “Could Not Connect To Server. Will Retry Shortly.”

This has been happening all day today and started last night. As I have been out most of the day, I haven’t had a good chance to take a look at it until now.

Before calling T-Mobile Tech Support, I took the time to Google the problem itself which brought back a couple of scattered reports of the same problem also posted today on some forums.

I found posts where people had reset their phones back to the factory defaults and started again but were still having problems. I read another post where one guy was given the Californian number for Google and told to call them by T-Mobile! Some other people also re-installed the firmware on their handsets which still resulting in no luck.

I cleared the cache on my phone for the Google Talk and Google Talk Service to see if it made a difference. It didn’t fix the problem for me but it might be worth trying on your handset if you happen to be reading this.

For those that don’t know, below will explain how to clear those caches.

  1. Go to the Android menu and select Settings.
  2. Then scroll down and select Applications.
  3. Select Manage Applications and let the list load.
  4. Scroll down the list to find Google Talk. Click on it and click Clear Data. You will be asked to confirm the action with the message “All information you’ve saved in this application will be deleted permanently.” Click OK to confirm this action.
  5. Underneath the Clear Data button, there is a Clear Cache button. If it is selectable, clear the cache. You will also be prompted by the same confirmation box that appeared when pressing the Clear Data button.

For me that didn’t help at all but was worth a try. I turned the phone off and also removed the battery. I then put the battery back in, turned the phone on again, let it start-up and the problem was still happening.

The whole situation evidently seems to be a network related issue. I can browse the Internet fine. I can receive emails fine although I do have to manually refresh now and they aren’t coming in automatically.

Updated A small army of security and privacy researchers has called on Google to automatically encrypt all data transmitted via its Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar services.

Google already uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) encryption to mask login information on this trio of cloud-based web-based applications. And netizens have the option of turning on https for all transmissions. But full-fledged https protection isn’t flipped on by default.

“Google’s default settings put customers at risk unnecessarily,” reads a letter lobbed to Google CEO Eric Schmidt by 37 academics and researchers. “Google’s services protect customers’ usernames and passwords from interception and theft. However, when a user composes email, documents, spreadsheets, presentations and calendar plans, this potentially sensitive content is transferred to Google’s servers in the clear, allowing anyone with the right tools to steal that information.”

Signatories includes Harvard-based Google watcher Benjamin Edelman; Chris Hoofnagle, the director of Information Privacy Programs at Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; and Ronald L. Rivest, the R in RSA.

In the past, Google has said it doesn’t automatically enable https for performance reasons. “https can make your mail slower,” the company explained in a July 2008 blog post announcing Gmail’s https-session option. “Your computer has to do extra work to decrypt all that data, and encrypted data doesn’t travel across the internet as efficiently as unencrypted data. That’s why we leave the choice up to you.”

But 37 researchers see things a differently. “Once a user has loaded Google Mail or Docs in their browser, performance does not depend upon a low latency Internet connection,” they write. “The user’s interactions with Google’s applications typically do not depend on an immediate response from Google’s servers. This separation of the application from the Internet connection enables Google to offer ‘offline’ versions of its most popular Web applications.”

Even where low latency matters, they say, outfits such as Bank of America, American Express, and Adobe have protected their via https without a heavy performance hit. Adobe automatically encrypts Photo Express sessions.

Of course, another good example is…Google itself. The company does automatic encryption with Google Health, Google Voice, AdSense, and Adwords. “Google’s engineers have created a low-latency, enjoyable experience for users of Health, Voice, AdWords and AdSense – we are confident that these same skilled engineers can make any necessary tweaks to make Gmail, Docs, and Calendar work equally well in order to enable encryption by default,” the researchers write.

The problem, they say, is that everyday netizens don’t realize the importance of encryption – and that Google fails to properly protect them from their own ignorance. Gmail now includes a setting that lets you “always use https.” But the researchers complain that most users don’t know it’s there. And with Docs and Calendar, they point out, users can’t use session encryption unless they remember to type https into their browser address bar every time they use the services.

If Google refuses to turn on https by default, the researchers say, the company should at least make sure that users understand the risks of encryption-less transmissions. There are four things they suggest:

  • Place a link or checkbox on the login page for Gmail, Docs, and Calendar that causes that session to be conducted entirely over https. This is similar to the “remember me on this computer” option already listed on various Google login pages. As an example, the text next to the option could read “protect all my data using encryption.’
  • Increase visibility of the “always use https” configuration option in Gmail. It should not be the last option on the Settings page, and users should not need to scroll down to see it.
  • Rename this option to increase clarity, and expand the accompanying description so that its importance and functionality is understandable to the average user.
  • Make the “always use https” option universal, so that it applies to all of Google’s products. Gmail users who set this option should have their Docs and Calendar sessions equally protected.

We have asked Google for a response to the letter, and once it arrives, we’ll toss it your way. Odd are, it will be completely non-committal.

In defense of Google, the company does go farther than many other big-name web outfits. As the researchers point out in their letter, Microsoft Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, and MySpace don’t even offer an https option. But the 37 hold Google to a higher standard. “Google has made important privacy promises to users, and users naturally and reasonably expect Google to follow through on those promises.” ®


Google has responded with a blog post. “Free, always-on HTTPS is pretty unusual in the email business, particularly for a free email service, but we see it as an another way to make the web safer and more useful. It’s something we’d like to see all major webmail services provide,” the company says. “In fact, we’re currently looking into whether it would make sense to turn on HTTPS as the default for all Gmail user.”

Google is planning a trial with a small number of Gmail users to test the affect of https all-the-time. “Does it load fast enough? Is it responsive enough? Are there particular regions, or networks, or computer setups that do particularly poorly on HTTPS?” the blog continues. “Unless there are negative effects on the user experience or it’s otherwise impractical, we intend to turn on HTTPS by default more broadly, hopefully for all Gmail users.”

The company is also considering how best to make automatic https work with docs and spreadsheets.


Google has also said that the researchers were in error in saying that a cookie from Docs or Calendar also gives access to Gmail without https. We have removed this error from our story as well.